Semi-Transparent Deck Stain vs Transparent Deck Stain

person staining deck boards
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If you have a wooden deck that needs to be stained regularly, you might consider a semi-transparent deck stain, which provides the best protection without blocking the natural look of the wood. Many pros recommend choosing a semi-transparent deck stain rather than a transparent deck stain or an opaque choice.

Why Use Semi-Transparent Deck Stain?

Water beading up on deck boards

The idea of using a semi-transparent deck stain relates to how UV rays in natural sunlight wear on deck space.

A transparent deck stain may look good when it is applied. It allows the look of the natural wood to shine through. The problem is that transparent deck stains wear off quicker under the light of the sun. Higher traffic spaces are even less protected. Over a period of weeks or months, a deck with transparent stain will often show premature signs of aging, and frequent applications may get to be too much time and trouble for the average homeowner.

Semi-transparent deck stains alleviate this problem by giving the wood more of a tint that shores up the deck against the effects of sunlight. Lots of deck maintenance pros see semi-transparent deck stain as “the best of both worlds” for deck space. Some experts also recommend using deck stains with synthetic resins, rather than natural resins. Synthetic resins are known for being resistance to molding, a problem with many deck spaces subjected to a lot of humidity or moisture.

Opaque deck stains are another option, but these types of stain tend to cover up the natural visual appeal of the wood. Many of these darker stains are also oil-based. Oil-based stains have been decreasing in desirability, partly because state governments are banning them based on the harsh by-products they leave in the surrounding ground. Water-based stains are becoming the norm for the average deck, and many of these are semi-transparent deck stains made specifically to protect a deck with the lightest tinting possible, or in various shades that complement a natural look.

More Deck Stain Tips

scrubbing mildew off a wood deck

For the best results with these kinds of products, it’s best to be sure the deck area is completely clean prior to application. Pros also know that any kind of stain should be applied as evenly as possible to avoid blemishes or uneven marks on the deck space, where attention to blending in corners and other areas will make a stained deck look a lot better.

Choosing deck stains low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or harsh or toxic chemicals is a good way to protect your deck space without negatively impacting your lawn space. Take a look at new water-based semi-transparent deck stains formulated for effectiveness and safety. Homeowners can also consider the most popular deck stains in their region to figure out how local climates determine the needs of wooden deck space.