How to choose an exterior stain 

After your deck, fence siding or log cabin is properly prepped there will be many things to consider to choosing the correct stain for your application. Here we will dive into many factors to consider when choosing an exterior stain. The first two things to consider are Color and Transparency.

 Lighter colors - Go well over newer wood and light color stains from grills or flower pots.

Darker colors- Blends better over older wood and dark colored stains. Better UV protection than lighter colors. 

Clear stains- Goes best on newer wood. Little to no UV protection because of the lack of pigments. Wood will gray naturally. 

Semi-transparent & Semi-solid stains-We typically always recommend this. Enhances the grain pattern of wood without completely covering it up. Good UV protection. 

Solid Stains- Completely hide the grain of wood. Will eventually peel off and are primarily only available in water based versions. Once this coating begins to fail it is best to completely strip to new wood and start over. Best UV protection but can trap moisture in the wood, leading to premature rotting. 

Another thing to consider is what the stains intended use is and what its primary ingredients are. 

Deck stains- Higher shear resistance than fence and siding stains. Made for horizontal surfaces and for foot traffic. These are made to be tougher. 

Fence and siding stains - Made to last a long time on vertical surfaces. typically cheaper formula then deck stain.

Combination stains- most manufacturers have changed their marketing strategy to all in one formulas. These typically offer the best of both worlds. 

Non-drying oil stains- We recommend these in most circumstances. Can only be used on bare wood. These are the best for pigment penetration and conditioning the wood. They typically aren't available at home improvement stores. Best for the environments

Drying oil stains- Great for going an older finish without needing to completely re strip the deck. These are usually made with Linseed oil and solvents. Worst for the environment. Easy to find in Home Improvement stores. 

Water based stains- We only recommend these on wood that has a water based coating already on it and only in Solid finish.  Usually made of acryllic or latex water base, they dry quickly and can leave runs more easily then an oil base stain. Better for the environment. 

The winner in most situations is a semi-transparent non drying oil stain with a color of your choosing. 

If you have any questions about how to choose a stain, please contact us and I will gladly help you! Even if your a DIY'er or out of state. 

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