Decks need to be restained every couple of years. They take a heavy beating from the weather and deal with heavy foot traffic. When choosing a stain for your deck, you don’t want to go cheap.
To find out the best deck stains, we surveyed our entire network of painting contractors. For more information on the best interior paint or exterior paint, then contact us for more resources like this.
While many sites have mixed reviews on any product you can find, we place a great deal of trust in the painting contractors and business owners in our network. They stand behind their service, and their businesses hinge on the quality of the products they use.
At first, we expected the votes to come in heavy for Sherwin Williams products (if you’ve read some of our other review articles, you’d know why). However, the highest voted semi transparent deck stain was the PPG Proluxe series!
PPG Proluxe is a fantastic product. Proluxe is consistently praised for its ease of application in addition to the opulent finish it leaves behind on properly prepared surfaces.
Be warned, Proluxe can set you back a pretty penny, as it’s normally priced anywhere from $40-$70/gallon – varying with source & promos. Most reviewers of the product, however, said they’d much rather have paid premium prices for a premium product, rather than risking a lower-priced product of inferior quality.
Average Price: $40-$70
Solid(s) Content by Volume: 55.1%
Practical Coverage/gallon: 400-500 sq ft
Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Touch): 6 Hours
Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Hard Cure): 24-48 Hours (at or above 77 degrees Fahrenheit)
Normally speaking, when we run these kinds of product surveys, we end up with a fairly large gap between 1st and 2nd place. However, this time, that wasn’t the case.
Our runner up as the best semi-transparent deck stain lost the title by only one vote. Yup, that’s right, only one vote.
But let’s not get hung up on the process here. After surveying our network, the runner-up by a single vote was:
That's right, Sherwin Williams makes an appearance with it's line of SuperDeck semi-transparent deck stains.
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of SuperDeck.
Following the semi-transparent "upset," it seemed even more surprises were in store for us when it came to the results for solid deck stains. Against all odds, we ended up with a 2-way tie between Sherwin Williams SuperDeck and Benjamin Moore's Arborcoat product series.
Given that we've already reviewed the SuperDeck product line, let's discuss Arborcoat.
Product Specifications (SuperDeck):
Average Price: $40-$54
Solid(s) Content by Volume: 31-33%
Practical Coverage/gallon: 200-400 sq ft
Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Touch): 1 Hour
Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Recoat): 2 Hours (at or above 77 degrees Fahrenheit)
Product Specifications (Arborcoat):
Average Price: $40-$48
Solid(s) Content by Volume: 38%
Practical Coverage/gallon: 300-400 sq ft
Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Touch): 1 Hour
Drying time @ 50% Relative Humidity (Recoat): 3-4 Hours (at or above 77 degrees Fahrenheit)
Q) What's the Difference Between Solid & Semi-Transparent Stain
The most notable difference between a solid & semi-transparent stain is the opacity. Semi-trans stains allow some of the wood grain to show through the light pigment. Solid stains contain a great deal of pigment that completely covers the wood grain. Additionally, solid stains form a film on top of the wood, while semi-trans stains penetrate the wood grain.
Q) Do I need to prime a deck before staining?
This one is up for debate. Several referenced sources recommended using primer if you'll be applying a solid stain. However, most top-of-the-line products these days are self priming. Some contractors recommend staining with a solid stain, then following up with a waterproof sealer.
Q) What kind of prep do I need to do before staining a deck?
It's generally recommended that you remove any old/peeling stain from the surface you're working on. This typically involves a chemical stripper, powerwash, and good sanding.
Q) My client just built a deck and they want to stain it - can I do this?
This depends on a couple of things. Is the wood they used pressure treated? If it is, then you'll need to wait several (6) months before that wood can "receive" a stain. If you're using a solid stain, you may have a bit of wiggle room here, as it doesn't need to penetrate the wood.
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