In addition to providing your deck with a coating to protect it from the harmful effects of sunlight and moisture, the right stain can create the perfect color for your deck, allowing it to complement your other outdoor landscaping elements. Whether your decking consists of a dark lumber, such as redwood, or a light one, such as white pine, stain options are available to suit your needs.
Semi-clear stains, also known as semi-transparent stains, allow you to introduce new colors into your deck's design without sacrificing its natural, rustic qualities. As House Painting Info notes, these types of stain provide a well-defined color for your deck without covering up the wood's grain or its texture. The grain of the wood is its pattern of dark- and light-colored bands, which represent the different growth stages of the tree it came from. To maximize the longevity of your semi-clear staining, apply two coats.
Solid color stains are the most opaque options for coloring decks unless you plan to completely hide your wooden deck surfaces with coats of paint. According to House Painting Info, while these types of stain hide the grain and blemishes of the wood, they still allow for some of the textural qualities of the wood to show through. So while your deck surfaces may not appear like natural wood, especially if you choose a green or blue--as opposed to a brown---stain, they still feel like them. In addition to providing strong colors, solid stains also provide a high degree of protection for the wood and can last for up to four years.
Semi-sold stains offer a balance between the transparency of semi-clear stains and the opaqueness of solid color stains. As Reliable Remodeler notes, semi-solid stains hide some portions of the wood's grain but don't cover these natural patterns entirely like their solid counterparts.
While clear is not technically a color, using a clear stain is an excellent way to enhance and protect the look of woods that you do not want to tamper with aesthetically. For example, if you want to keep your white pine deck as bright as it was the day that you built it, a clear stain helps preserve its natural color.
Toners are oil-soluble dyes that manufacturers often mix in with stain solutions; however, you can also purchase them separately. People commonly use them to lighten and highlight the grains of their wood as opposed to providing their deck surfaces with an entirely different color. As Rockler notes, you can use toners for fine-tuning the look of your deck after using a primary stain, as it helps pigments penetrate deeper into the cells of the wood.
- Photo Credit Frost on the Deck image by steverts from Fotolia.com
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