Oil Based vs. Water Based Decking Stains

Whether you want a deck stain that is more natural looking or one with a bit more color it's important to protect the wood with some type of water repellant wood stain. All types of wood decking are subjected to harsh weather conditions that can cause UV fading, water damage, and mold/mildew issues. One of the main choices you will have to make when choosing a decking stain is whether to go with an oil based or water based stain.

Oil Based Decking Stains
Oil based stains are used for all types of wood projects such as decks, fences, gazebos, and outdoor furniture. Both synthetic and natural oils are used in oil based stains. The more common oils used are Linseed, Tung, Paraffin, and Rosewood Oil.

Oil decking stains penetrate wood very well and provide excellent protection. Oil molecules are smaller than water molecules so it penetrates better in comparison. The better a wood decking stain penetrates the better it performs and lasts.

By nature, oil based deck stains are easier to apply than water based. They are perfect for the do-it-yourselfer because they are user-friendly and can give you professional looking results. Oils stains are normally more natural looking than water based stains. They enhance the beauty of the wood by allowing more of the wood grain to show through.

Most oil based stains have a strong odor and can expect to have longer drying and curing times compared to water based deck stains. Though a longer drying time can be inconvenient it actually assists the stain to accomplish a more even finish.

Water Based Decking Stains
Water based decking stains have become increasingly popular in recent years due to stricter VOC laws in many states. Water-based stains can retain their color better than oil based but they are not as user-friendly.

Water based deck stains also dry much quicker and have far less odor. In comparison to oil based, they do not penetrate as well and lack in performance but there are some exceptions.

Where an oil based stain will fade over time and be easier to maintain, a water based decking stain will normally peel or flake off once it fails and is considerably harder to maintain. Water-based wood stains clean up easily with warm water and soap and they are also environmentally friendly.

Select a wood decking stain that fits your needs best. Consider factors such as stain longevity, ease of application, appearance, and maximum protection.

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    The Sealer Store · 06/29/2017
    mike wright:
    how do I removed an oil based stain from my deck before applying a fresh stain

    Do you know the brand and the type of stain that it was? Solid, semi-transparent, etc?
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    mike wright · 06/28/2017
    how do I removed an oil based stain from my deck before applying a fresh stain
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    marla osgood · 10/13/2016
    It is raining here so my new outdoor porch cover wood is wet. The wood was kiln dried, but has been in the rain for 3 or so weeks. Before they put the cover on it I would like to stain it. Will the stain adhere to the wood and stay on? Would you recommend an oil based stain rather then the water base? We live in Washington so the winters and springs are pretty wet. One more, do you have a product you recommend?
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    The Sealer Store · 09/11/2013
    Bill, there is a link on the top of the left hand column for samples. There are many colors in the Honey range. You should strip off the old stain. Apply a stripper and pressure wash off. Use a wood brightener when done.
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    Bill Morey · 09/11/2013
    I need to restain and seal my log home. I don't see any samples on your web page. Presently my logs aea honey color. Do you offer something in that color? I have a True North Log Home stain on the logs now. I believe it to be a oil base stain. Do I need to power wash the logs and allow them to dry then restain?
    This is the second time I have sent your an email and was never answered with the first email.
    Help, time is a wasting!
    Sincerely,
    Bill Morey.
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    The Sealer Store · 07/25/2013
    kathy, we are an online dealer for deck stains. Not sure about local availability of products.
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    kathy drescher · 07/25/2013
    I am stripping my deck at this time and wonder what stain to use. I live in the foothills outside Seattle and we get a lot of rain. Sun too in the summer. I used Sikkens CRD cedar before but thinking about TWP or Defy. I don't think many places sell Defy out here so I'd have to have it sent. Do you know why that is?