Staining Center

Choosing a Stain

Choose Your Stain

When choosing a stain consider, “What is more important? Aesthetic appeal or maximum durability?” The rule of thumb is the more opaque a stain, the more durability it will have. The trade-off of using more opaque stains is that you’re unable to see the wood grain, which is most likely why you own a wood deck or maintain wood siding.

STAIN TYPE   WHAT IT DOES   HOW LONG IT LASTS   WHY TO CHOOSE
CLEAR   Repel water and defend against some UV damage   Colorless transparent water sealers usually have a short life of about 1 season   Use when staining is not an option, or when you want to naturally grey the wood
SEMI-
TRANSPARENT
  Shows the grain but imparts much more color to the surface   Semi-transparent stains should be reapplied every 1 to 2 years   Easier to recoat
SEMI-SOLID   Imparts more color than a semi-transparent stain and also hides more of the grain   Will add another year or two, but should be checked regularly   Easier to recoat
SOLID   Shows none of the wood grain but offers maximum durability and protection for the surface   Can last 5 years or more on a sound surface without heavy wear   Lasts longer, covers more blemishes, matches colors for replaced boards, richer color