Deck Staining 101: Different Types of Paint and Stain

calander Apr 4 , 2021 user-iconAnderson Painting

Now’s a great time to start thinking about how you want to protect and enhance your outdoor deck for the warmer months ahead. Depending on who you ask, you might be told that staining is the way to go, or that deck paint is actually the superior option. As we’ve discussed before, both options have their upsides and drawbacks, and the right choice for you will depend on your preferences and needs; knowing more about these various deck staining and painting options will better inform your choice. Let’s explore the different types of paint and stain to consider for your deck.

Deck Stain Selections

Those who wish to maintain their wooden deck’s natural beauty often opt for deck stain rather than paint, since even the most solid stains aren’t as thick as deck paint products. Deck stain is also easier to apply than paint and penetrates the surface’s pores for increased resistance to moisture. Still, there’s plenty of variety to be found in deck stains. Let’s break down these differences.

Opacity Options

Deck stains come in a range of finishes, from highly transparent to totally solid and everything in between. To keep things simple, deck stains are often divided into five distinct categories of opacity: clear, transparent, semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid/opaque. The differences between these options aren’t merely aesthetic, either. A more transparent stain permeates the substrate deeper and often requires less maintenance but doesn’t offer as much protection as a more solid deck stain, for instance.

Composition: Oil- or Water-Based

Deck stains differ in composition, too. The two primary categories here are oil-based stains and water-based stains. Oil-based options are usually more durable but more expensive and contain a higher number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are bad for the environment. Water-based stains are more environmentally friendly and easier to clean. Both types of stain offer strong protection.

Special Formulations and Features

When looking for the best deck stain for your purposes, you may notice that certain products offer special features that make them more enticing, such as resistance to water, chemicals, impact, and ultraviolet radiation (i.e., sunlight). Indeed, while all deck stains offer some degree of protection against these environmental threats, some are formulated with specific threats in mind.

Different Types of Deck Paint

If deck stain options aren’t doing it for you, you may prefer paint instead. Unlike deck stain, which penetrates the substrate, deck paint is meant to lay over it and conceal surface imperfections. Because paint is thicker and contains more pigment, you might appreciate the wider range of color options it affords. Deck paint also tends to last longer than stain, though it does run the risk of peeling and chipping away over time. Much like deck stains, deck paints come in a variety of compositions, including:

  1. Epoxy Deck Paint -- epoxy allows for increased durability and flexibility, and there are options for both wood and concrete surfaces

  2. Acrylic Resin/Enamel Deck Paint -- often good for wood and concrete decks and patios

  3. Oil-Based Deck Paint -- usually fast-drying and highly durable

Many paint manufacturers offer numerous deck paint and stain options in regards to color, composition, features, and other parameters. The key to making the right call is knowing what you want for your deck.

Decking Out Your Deck with Fresh Coatings

Whether you’re leaning toward deck stain or deck paint this spring, you want someone in your corner who can help you make the right purchase and, if necessary, apply these coatings for you. Look no further than the deck coating experts at Anderson Painting. To learn more about us and all we do, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at!

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