What Is the Longest Lasting Deck Stain?

Deck Stain

Spending time outside can make homeowners fall in love with their deck, and they want to know the best deck stain to protect their prized wooden retreat. Maybe you may relate to this too. What information is required to choose a deck stain with the greatest lifespan?

A beautiful Wooden Deck

Finding the Longest Lasting Deck Stain

Deck stain is a practical way to preserve your wooden deck and protect it from the elements. Good stains defend your deck from moisture, UV rays, and other aspects of Mother Nature.

Deck stain is a useful approach to preserve and safeguard your hardwood deck from the weather. Your deck is protected by good stains against moisture, UV radiation, and other elements of Mother Nature.

Different Types of Deck Stains

There are various options for deck stains within the two main categories of water-based and oil-based stains.

Water-Based Deck Stains

There are several immediate benefits to water-based deck stains over oil-based ones. To begin with, the state where you reside might have laws prohibiting several types of oil-based stains. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) rules are the name given to these limitations.

Water-based stains have the advantages of being easier to clean up after the process, being mold and mildew resistant, and posing fewer problems with environmental standards.

On the other hand, they rarely penetrate as deeply and are thinner than oil-based stains.

Oil-Based Deck Stains

Oil-based stains have been around much longer than water-based ones. They provide exceptional protection and pierce the wood deeply. Many deck owners feel that because it is made of natural (and synthetic) oils, it has a more organic appearance than its water-based equivalent.

It takes longer to apply oil-based stain than water-based. The smells are much stronger, and cleaning up is difficult and necessitates a powerful cleaning product. Additionally known to darken with time and be susceptible to mildew growth are oil-based stains.

How Do They Dry?

Dry time is another distinction between stains that are oil- and water-based. Oil-based stains typically need more time to dry.

There are two distinct types of oils used in oil-based stains. Curing oils dry on the wood’s surface. This aids in sealing the wood but takes time.

Other oils never cure like paint since they are non-drying. Instead, they saturate the wood so thoroughly that they have no impact on how the surface feels.

A high-end oil-based stain that serves as a wood sealer, conditioner, and general protector will usually prove to be the deck stain with the longest lifespan.

Prepping Your Wood for Staining

Many homeowners make the error of focusing so much on choosing the perfect stain that they forget to properly prepare their deck for staining. Even the longest-lasting deck stain won’t stay as long on a poorly prepared deck as it will on a well-prepared wooden deck treated with a mid-level deck stain.

In other words, the deck and the stain work together to determine which deck stain will last the longest. How then do you get your deck ready for stain?

Wood Prep

Your wood will become more porous and ready to accept stain after preparation. The wood can then be stained more thoroughly.

Before staining, thoroughly clean your wood with a suitable wood cleaner and wood brightener.

Importance of Sanding

Deck Being Sand

Sanding the wood is crucial if you’re staining new wood that hasn’t been stained before. Sanding the wood can significantly extend the life of your stain because new wood is not inherently absorbent.

Sanding using 60 to 80 grit paper is advised and can be significantly more efficient than using a pre-stain wash alone. Before applying new stain, some deck owners will even sand their previously tinted decks.

An electric hand sander can be used to sand a small deck that can accommodate two chairs and a small table, but a walk-behind sander may be necessary for a bigger deck. Even if you utilize a sizable rental sander, a smaller unit is still required for the corners.

All kinds of deck wood, whether cedar, pressure-treated timber, or something else, can benefit from and is advised to be sanded.

Should I Pressure Wash?

Some homeowners choose to pressure wash new decks rather than sand them. This makes sense considering how long it takes to sand a deck. Pressure washing can be useful by removing surface impurities prior to staining, even though it is less efficient and does not directly enhance absorbency.

The disadvantage of pressure washers is that they typically offer considerably more power than is necessary to remove surface debris, and you run the danger of harming your wood.

It can be a useful pre-sanding prep stage if you have the know-how to use the pressure washer without damaging the wood, and it can also make the process of sanding easier.

Special Considerations for Old Wood

Depending on how old or weathered the wood is, you may choose a different preparatory strategy when staining a deck that has already been done. You don’t have to sand worn-out wood all the way down to its naked surface.

It is sufficient to sand lightly in preparation for a new coat of stain. A 120-grit sandpaper is sufficient in this case. Be sure to remove any loose pieces.

It is sufficient to lightly sand the surface before applying a fresh coat of stain. In this instance, sandpaper with a 120-grit rating will do. Remove any fragments that may be loose.

If you think your heavily weathered wood can still be used, you could find it useful to use a stripper to get rid of everything that stands between the surface and the usable wood below. Even if you strip and prepare, sand the surface first.


How transparent a stain is depends on how much pigment is in it. Generally speaking, stains linger longer when they are darker.

Opaque Stain

Solid decking stains, often known as opaque stains, cover the wood like paint. They don’t let any of the wood’s inherent grain show. They also take an irreversible risk because it is very impossible to remove opaque stain and return to bare wood.

However, opaque stains do provide the strongest UV protection, and if you don’t like the way natural wood looks, you can choose exciting colors just like you would with paint.

Transparent Stains

Nearly the entire natural appearance of the wood may be seen when using transparent stains. Although it has the most authentic wood appearance, it has the least amount of coloring and may not last as long.

Transparent stain is less UV-protective than opaque stain but is simpler to apply and reapply as necessary.

Semi-Transparent Stain

Some of the visual qualities of the natural wood can be preserved with semi-transparent dyes while still providing sufficient durability. They come in water-based and oil-based versions.

Semi-transparent deck stains may be the best compromise, although not having the greatest lifespan. They keep the natural beauty of your wood while providing sun protection. If you had a complete change of heart, you could still remove them (with some effort).

Stain Care

Brick Wall on Top of Wooden Floor

The greatest deck stain will last the longest if it is properly maintained, even while choosing the best stain and prepping your wood for staining are both essential steps.

Make sure to apply your stain on days when the weather is appropriate according to your brand’s guidelines. Always aim for room temperature as a general guideline. Avoid days that are unusually hot or cold. It is preferable to avoid using stain in the direct sun, even on days when the weather is suitable.

Additionally, you might not do the full task in a single day. Be careful when storing your stain. Keep your stain up high and away from children for safety’s protection. Remember that stains can catch fire, especially oil-based stains, so stay away from open flames and other potential fire hazards.

Store stains away from high or low temperatures. If properly maintained, a good stain can last for a very long time, so whether you’re storing during the week or over the winter, make sure it doesn’t freeze or get too hot.

If not stored properly, many stains will lose their premium quality or become worthless.


To get the deck stain that lasts the longest, consider a number of criteria. Sorting through the myriad of brands and variants available on the market can be challenging. Everybody has varied needs for pressure washers and sanders because there are so many different types and sizes of wooden decks.

Oil-based stains often persist longer than water-based stains, and more pigmentation increases lifespan. However, the person on your block with the stain that lasts the longest was probably the one who made sensible purchases, meticulously prepped his wood, and carefully maintained his stain.

A deck may win the hearts of homeowners who enjoy spending time outside, and they want to know the best deck stain to protect their prized wooden retreat. Perhaps you can also attest to this. What do you need to know to select the deck stain that lasts the longest?

Thomas Furze

This country boy can fix anything! Thomas is a 29-year-old former local activist who enjoys going to the movies, relaxing and football. He is careful and precise, but can also be a bit rude. He can do anything from a table to a toilet.

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