Deck Stains

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Deck stains are the final touch in the deck construction process. Once you've completed the planning and installation phase of your deck, you're ready for the final artistic finishes. For many homeowners, this is the most satisfying part of the process. Deck stains can give the deck surface just the hue you want to beautifully offset your home, yard, and even the other deck components.

For example, a deck with gray railings can be stained a warm sandy color, creating a dramatic contrast between cold and warm tones. Particularly ambitious designers may even choose to stain deck boards with alternating shades or colors. On the other hand, if you prefer a more subdued color scheme, you can stain deck boards and railings with the same hue to create perfectly matching components.

The Wide World of Deck Stains

Deck stains have traditionally been used with wood decking, which is porous and thus receptive to staining. However, stains can also be used with composite decking materials, which combine wood fibers and plastics to create a low-maintenance, wood-like product. Stains can even be applied to purely synthetic decking, though most people purchase synthetics precisely to avoid extra treatment.

Stains come in two major categories, oil-based and acrylic. They also vary greatly in opacity, from highly transparent oil finishes to opaque acrylic wood stains. Stains can be manufactured for coloring purposes alone, or mixed with sealers for added convenience. Many people prefer stain-and-sealer products because they combine two essential steps into one, saving time and effort.

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