Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to get on deck! Whether you’re refinishing a deck in preparation for summer or applying the final touches to a brand new outdoor sanctuary, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a finish.

Deck Finish image

First things, first — make sure to perform a routine check-up and properly clean your deck.

Should I choose a stain or sealant?

Once a deck is cleaned and ready to be finished, a common question I’m asked is whether to use a stain or sealant.

When it comes to the most popular choice, clients tend to opt for stains. This is mainly because stains offer a color variety including solid and semi-transparent stains that highlight the natural beauty of the wood grain. Compared to sealants, stains are absorbed directly into the wood so it tends to last longer. When choosing between water and oil-based stains, many prefer oil-based stains since it soaks into wood easily, creating a long-lasting color. On the other hand, water-based stains are generally less difficult to clean up and a little more forgiving to apply.

Sealants are typically translucent but, similar to stains, may also come in tinted varieties. Clear sealants will repel water, but do not provide UV protection. However, if the sealant is pigmented, it can better protect against UV rays.

Nowadays, there is also the option of a stain and sealer in one. Stains with sealants allow for the best of both worlds, as it is long-lasting and protects against water and sunlight.

Applying your finish

Once you’ve decided on a finish for your deck, be sure you have the necessary tools to apply the finish. This includes:

  • A piece of drywall to protect the deck from marks and paint stains when you place your can of paint down;
  • Gloves to protect your hands while painting and finishing your deck;
  • A paint brush to apply finishing touches (a brush is preferred, as the paint may drip to the deck board below with a roller).

Like most DIY projects, it’s important to follow all directions as instructed on your stain or sealant packaging.