Every deck is a bit different and depending on the area of the country the type of wood used in its manufacture can vary a lot too. For most of the country a pressure treated wood deck made of a pine wood is pretty much the standard and because we all want something that looks nice the next step after installing it is sealing or staining it.
So, should you choose a Solid Stain, Transparent Stain or a Sealer that will protect your deck from the weather?
There are advantages to all three types of products and lets take a quick look.
Waterproof sealers are often used on decks with a specialty wood that looks great in its natural color however this treatment will not protect the deck from UV Light. This means that your beautiful redwood deck will probably fade in a few years because it doesn’t have a pigment in its sealer to protect it from the sun. Waterproof sealers are good for decks that have already been treated with a solid or semitransparent stain to reduce the labor needed to re-stain the deck in a few years.
Semitransparent Stains are a good option for people that like to see the natural wood showing through their top coat. It can be a very attractive result depending on the choices you make. Cedar Stain on a Pine Deck will definitely make it look a bit more luxurious vs the natural wood color. For UV protection this product is a step up from a clear coating but it won’t protect as well as solid stain.
Solid Stains are similar in appearance to paint but they don’t get the same gloss features. On your deck wood the use of solid stain will hide all of the colors of the wood grain but you will still be able to see the texture of the wood. This product has the best UV hold out and normally will last for 3 or more years while semitransparent requires 2 to 3 year recoating and clear sealers can require yearly recoating.
Oil vs Waterbased products is another choice to make and although waterbased is easier to clean up its not like you are going to be concerned about washing up once every 3 years or so. Oil based products will penetrate into the wood better and provide longer lasting finishes no matter which type you pick semi full or clear.
When you visit your home store you will be able to see what each product looks like on a variety of different wood types.
I have normally used semitransparents myself because they give you decent coverage and uv protection and by adding additional coats you can hide out some bad grain or knots. On the other hand solid color is good to reduce the UV rays from destroying your deck.
If the deck is in open sun which is harsh you might want to pick a lighter color on top of a solid or semitransparent product.