Welcome to Canada, where winters are long and exterior stains are under immense strain! In a nutshell, here’s what I know about choosing the right stains for your project. This article looks only at exterior stains.
Before you start, the very basic you need to know is that there are 2 main types of stains: opaque stains and semi-transparent or translucid stains. The later lets you see the grain whereas the first gives a paint-like effect (usually a flat finish). If you want to see the wood grain, that’s great, I prefer it too… Just keep in ming that if your wood is beat up, has many previous services, has been stained in opaque before or if the wood is just darn ugly, forget it! Opaque might be the nice clean-up you need. Then again, if it’s rather new, and/or well cleaned, semi-transparent is a terrific choice.
Here are a few deck stain tips to get you going:
A) Do your due diligence! Go onto the websites of the products and look up the specs. Although the “warranties” are only worth “what they’re worth…”, it is an indicator of how much a company is willing to stand behind it’s products. Also inquire about the Life Expectancy of the product…
B) Understand that, typically, oil stains are harder and therefore better for floor surfaces. Wood also tends to soak up oil better than water-based stains (acrylics included).
C) Most stains, including Benjamin Moore’s, often have a life expectancy of 18 months to 24 months. If you ask me, that’s kind of lame. Some, however, have 36 months to 15 years. Now that’s rather wow! Wouldn’t you say?
My favorite stain:
Let’s say you want the sexiest look for your garage door, or even your deck: Go with Sikkens– a 250 year-old Netherlands’ company that will make any wood look like, precisely, one million bucks. Unfortunately, it’ll cost you because every 3 years you’ll hve to strip it all and restart (according to the specs). Although I’ve often assisted people in jumping a cycle with a bit of special love.
The stains for which I offer a full service guarantee:
Cabot and Flood stains. They’re both American brands (sorry for not buying so local here). Although you should refer to their spec sheets rather that give me 100% responsibility here, from my memory, they both offer a 5-year warranty on horizontal surfaces and a 15-year warranty on verticals. Glidden used to sell Flood but claim that they had poor service for guarantees and stopped holding the products. (I think it’s because of mergers and consolidations in the field, but that’s just me.) Cabot is sold in Glidden stores now as well as Rona’s (I think).
Things to remember when staining your deck:
- Prep it! Cabot (sold at Glidden) has a great acid product called Problem Solver. Use it! Behr (sold at Home Depot) also has a good caustic product called the 2-in-1 wood prep solution (a green-cap plastic gallon). Stay tuned for another blog on this topic for the details or call me if you need to know now.
- Let it dry! between the moment where you wash it (or the last rain) there should be about 3 days of dry time. Stains are peculiar. If you jump this step, you’ll be calling me in 6 months to do it again.
- Hide from the sun! Stains need to dry slowly while the fluids seep and flood into the wood. The surface needs to be cool. Don’t take this lightly — it’s CAPITAL to your successful deck staining. If the wood is hot to the touch or if the sun is about to turn the corner, forget it!! Really! It’ll cost you a fortune because you’ll have to strip it later and recommence. This is much more true for stain than paint.
- This article may also be an interesting read before you stain that deck.
Your Painting and Staining Expert in Montreal since 1998