How to: Choose a Seal or Stain Product

“What is the best sealing or staining product for my deck?”  This is one of the most common questions customers ask us when calling for help with maintaining their deck.  There are many options available to use including toners, semi-transparent, semi-solids, or solids. How do you know which one is right for you?

Below is simple cheat sheet listing the various types of sealing/staining options available:

Sealant: Clear, protects wood and preserves its natural color; sealants will last about 1 year
Toner: Slightly pigmented, limited colors available, mainly natural colors; toners will last 2 – 3 years 
Semi-Transparent: Lightly pigmented, allows the wood grain to show through; lasts 2 – 3 years 
Semi-Solid: More pigmented and almost completely hides natural wood grain and color; lasts 3 – 4 years.
Solid: Fully opaque and will cover older stains, many colors available; can last up to 4 or 5 years

Ashburn Farm VA Deck StainChantilly VA Deck Pressure Wash and Stain
Ashburn VA Pressure Wash and Solid Stain in Valise.Chantilly VA Pressure Wash and Natural Stain in Cedar Natural Tone.

 

There is not one product type that directly beats the other; the best product for your deck will depend on a number of factors specific to your deck:

  • What is the age of your deck or fence? What is the condition it is in?
  • How much sunlight does your deck receive? How much shade does your deck receive?
  • Does the deck have color on it from a previous stain or paint application?
  • How natural of a look are you trying to achieve on your wood?
  • How long do you want the product to last (i.e. what is more important to you - external appearance or lasting performance)?

When working with a deck cleaning professional, you should be asked a series of questions similar to what I mentioned above, and then some.  He/she should take their time going through the options with you, answering you questions and provide an in-person walk-through and free estimate for you.

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