Why Stain

staining with a brush


Why Stain


There’s more to staining than just making your wood look beautiful. Staining is the best way to protect your investment and preserve and beautify your deck.

All wood types need to be protected, no matter if the wood is chemically-treated or naturally protected. While cedar and redwood are naturally resistant to rot and decay, these woods still need to be protected from discoloration and UV degradation.

Before jumping into your staining project, there are a lot of factors to consider. For starters, you’ll need to consider the climate in which you live, the wood type and its current condition, and what you plan on using the space for. Only after considering these initial questions, can you start to think about the products and techniques you’ll use for your project. 


  • Clears, Transparents, and Semi-Transparents all look the best on new or reconditioned wood
  • Check for Mildew by holding a rag with bleach on the area, if the marks disappear you have mildew
  • The more opaque your stain the more protection you will have

UV Rays

Constant exposure to the sun’s UV rays will fade wood & start the aging process that leads to wood degradation and graying.


If allowed to soak into to wood on a consistent basis along with temperature changes, can cause a number of catastrophic problems such as:

  • Splitting and checking
  • Wood rot
  • Fungal growth in the form of mildew, mold, & algae

Temperature Changes

As the wood expands and contracts, stain will maintain the wood’s integrity and waterproofing. Need to protect against large temperature variations, especially when moisture is involved (snow melting and refreezing in wood).


Anything from mold & mildew to dirt and pollen or sap from trees. Stain helps protect and keeps it easy to clean and maintain.

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.


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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