Best stain to protect new deck?

by Tim Gannell
(Columbus, OH)

We are currently finishing a new deck and had a question about what is the best stain to protect a new deck out on the market?

The decking is cedar and the the framing is pressure treated wood. We would like to stain it all and have everything come out the same color.

I was looking at a product called Flood semitransparent cedar stain.... Good?...Bad? Please let me know what you think. Thanks a bunch!

Editor's Comments

This is a classic question and one that I have been working on myself having used many common stains and wood sealers on the market.

I have used supposedly the best stains to protect new decks from all the big names like Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Sico and others I can not remember.

Flood looks interesting to me, mostly because it is promoted as an oil based stain which in my experience tends to perform better than the latex products.

Check out Flood here.

Latex is highly finnicky. You have to apply it with a flat brush in a very very thin coat. The weather has to be just right. Ideally cloud cover and no more than 70F (20C) in my experience. Otherwise it goes on to thick, does not adhere well is is forming air bubbles under the film within two weeks time.

You have to redo this every year!

So oil based stains do historically perform better because they are supposed to penetrate into the wood. But investigate this further because it turns out some oil based stains also more or less sit on the surface like latex films rendering them susceptible to the same kinds of environmental wear and tear of the latex variety.

There was a move away from oil based deck stains because they were harder to wash up and clean but I notice Flood oil promotes itself as easy to clean up with soap and water. Sounds intriguing.

But there is another product I am looking at closer and it is from Australia but distributed by All Weather Wood here in North America.

Cutek is quite impressive because it really penetrates deep into the wood unlike traditional oil wood stains that sit more on the surface and tend to create films which eventually peel off.

Check it out here.

Cutek is marketed more as a sealant to protect wood against moisture but I don't see much about UV protection. So just keep this in mind. But it does seem to be a leader in the market for water protection and going really deep into the wood so it will not peel.

If this is the case I say Halelujah!

And you would too if you have used the products that so easily peel off in six months. So please do not take this as the definitive answer to what is the best stain to protect new decks but it is my experience.

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Finishing a deck for high sun exposure

by Gene Solyntjes
(Las Vegas, New Mexico)

I am in the midst of creating a deck/pergola/patio at 6,500 feet in the Rockies in New Mexico in full sun with 326 days of full sun here. The deck itself will be fir. With this bright sun here I am seeking the best finish so the deck resists turning gray, mold not being a problem with only 12 inches of rain a year.

I have already created a sunken conversation pit and finished it with 4 coats of brushed spar varnish. I like the finish, and it brings out the woods' character.

Is spar varnish the very best finish for this exterior surface in full sun? I am not afraid of the extra work involved in applying the finish, but wonder how long it may last in this environment.

I'd appreciate some experienced insight in this. I spent some time looking for finishes on the Internet and found one that had a fine guarantee as to long life. I did discover that that finish was indeed sold in New Mexico, but without that guarantee!

Editor's Comments
I think it is worth doing some research into the Cutek stain mentioned in our other discussion on this topic.

Spar varnish is not likely to perform very well. It will almost certainly peel away as it just sits on the surface. Furthermore, I would not be surprised if it turned yellow pretty quickly given the reaction is will have to the intense UV rays.

And not all stains are the same. The reason I am quite curious about Cutek is because it comes from the land of the sun, Australia and so I figure if it can perform well there, then New Mexico would be a similar environment.

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