Once a deck is cleaned and ready to be finished, a common question I’m asked is whether to use a stain or sealant.
When it comes to the most popular choice, my clients tend to opt for stains. This is mainly because stains offer a color variety including solid and semi-transparent stains that highlight the natural beauty of the wood grain. Compared to sealants, stains are absorbed directly into the wood so it tends to last longer. When choosing between water and oil-based stains, I prefer oil-based stains since it soaks into wood easily, creating a long-lasting color. On the other hand, water-based stains are generally less difficult to clean up and a little more forgiving to apply.
Sealants are typically translucent but, similar to stains, may also come in tinted varieties. Clear sealants will repel water, but do not provide UV protection. However, if the sealant is pigmented, it can better protect against UV rays.
Nowadays, there is also the option of a stain and sealer in one — a personal favorite. Stains with sealants allow for the best of both worlds, as it is long-lasting and protects against water and sunlight.
Once you’ve decided on a finish for your deck, be sure you have the necessary tools to apply the finish. This includes:
Like most DIY projects, it’s important to follow all directions as instructed on your stain or sealant packaging. For specific directions on how to stain or seal your deck check out this video!
Mark knows more about tools than anyone has a right to know. With his wife Theresa, Mark hosts the popular MyFixitUpLife talk show, is the general contractor for Food Network’s ‘Save My Bakery,’ and has been a project manager for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and expert guest on PBS, DIY Network, Discovery Channel, A&E, NBC’s The 10! Show, Good Day Philadelphia, and other national radio and TV programs.