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Frequently asked questions about deck staining, painting & refinishing companies

What is the difference between deck stain and sealer?

Deck stain and sealer serve basically the same function: to preserve wood and protect from moisture and the elements. A deck is exposed to wind, rain, and UV rains all year long. Moisture can lead to fungal and mold growth, and it could rot the wood. Protecting the deck from moisture intrusion can lengthen the life of a deck, and it can prevent individual boards from rotting which could create a safety hazard. A deck sealer is a transparent or clear finish that either forms a clear film on top of the wood or penetrates it. A deck sealer does a great job at protecting wood from moisture, but does not protect it from UV rays.

Prolonged exposure to UV rays dries up the wood’s natural oils causing cracking and splitting. Deck stains have the same moisture resistant qualities as deck sealing. However, deck stain has added pigment. This color is partially transparent which gives deck stain an added UV protection benefit.

Is it better to stain or seal a deck?

Staining and sealing a deck achieve the same basic aim which is to protect the wood from moisture. Deck sealers are usually a clear finish that coats the outside surface of your deck’s wood. Sealer protects the wood from moisture, which is crucial. Unwanted moisture can cause rot, and encourage the growth of mold, fungus and mildew. Deck sealer does not protect the wood from UV rays. ‘’Even protected with deck sealer, your deck’s color may only last three-to-six months before graying and fading. Sealant should be applied once a year, and is relatively simple to apply.

Deck stains penetrate the surface of the wood. Stains contain pigment that changes the color of the wood providing UV protection. There are a wide range of stains. Getting the right level of opacity depends on the wood surface and your personal taste. Applying stain is tricky. It may make sense to hire a deck contractor to apply it for you. While stain is more expensive than sealer, and typically involves hiring a pro, it lasts up to five times longer. A sealed deck will look more professional. Ultimately, the choice as to whether to stain or seal your deck is up to you.

Does staining a deck protect it?

It’s great to be able to enjoy the outdoors on your deck. A deck provides extra room for entertaining, and a way to enjoy fresh air in the comfort of your home. It’s important to protect a wood deck from the elements. Unwanted moisture encourages rot which can weaken the structure of the deck and shorten its useful lifespan. Moisture also encourages harmful fungal and mold growth. Both staining and sealing your deck protects it from moisture. However, staining a deck offers the additional advantage of protecting the wood from UV rays.

Deck stain offers UV protection due to the pigment it contains. The darker the stain, the better the deck stain protects your deck. There is a wide array of stains. Getting the right opacity depends on the surface you are staining and your taste. Staining a deck is more expensive than sealing it. The stain itself is more expensive, and it makes sense to invest in hiring a deck contractor to apply the stain as application can be a bit tricky. However, staining a deck protects it from both moisture and UV rays. Deck stain lasts longer than deck sealant.

Do you need to seal deck stain?

It’s important to protect your deck because wood on your deck is exposed to the elements all year long. Rain can seep into the wood and encourage the growth of mildew and fungus. Unwanted moisture leads to rot which weakens wood and shortens the life of your deck. Applying deck sealant protects the wood from moisture. But moisture isn’t the only threat to your deck. UV rays dry out the wood, causing splitting and cracking. In order to protect your deck from both moisture and woods, it makes sense to invest in a deck stain and sealant. The pigment in staining protects your deck from the sun’s harmful rays. Stain is more expensive than a sealant but lasts up to five times as long.

Many stains contain a protective sealant. You can test your deck’s surface to see if the stain with the protective sealant by sprinkling water on the wood periodically. If the water beads up, the sealant in the stain is still working. Some experts recommend resealing your stained deck yearly.

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