There are many different types of transparency of decking stains. Basically the transparency or lack of comes down to how much pigment the stain has. The more pigment it has the better the UV protection. The less pigment means better penetration and showing the natural grain. With all of these different types of stains, homeowners can be confused as to which stain they should use for their deck. We will look at the differences for each type of stains and show the positives and negatives of each.
Solid (Opaque Stains)
These stains are basically thin paints. They mask the wood so that you will not see any natural grain of the wood. They film or dry on top of the wood which makes them prone to peeling and wearing unevenly. Excellent at UV protection but poor at retaining natural color as none of the wood grain will show.
The Semi-Solid stain is better at penetrating and shows a slight amount of wood grain. Most of these stains are prone to peeling. The only exception that we have seen is the Armstrong Clark Wood Semi-Solid Stains.
The semi-transparent wood and decking stain is our favorite. It offers better then average UV protection while still showing all of the wood's natural grain. Very good at penetration into the wood at easy to reapply down the road when needed as it is not prone to wearing.
Transparent Wood stains
Transparent deck coatings look the most natural as they have the least amount of pigment. The problem is that these stains will always fade much faster as the UV breaks down the stains faster. Average life is about 1 year.
Clear Wood Deck Finishes
Clear Deck Finishes offer little to no UV protection and will gray quickly. Best of the clear exterior wood finishes are the Defy Clear UV and Defy Extreme Clear.
*With all of the different types we like the semi-transparent stains. They offer better then average UV protection, show the natural grain, penetrate will into the wood, and can be easier to maintain in the future.