What Is the Best Stain or Sealer to Use on a Pressure Treated Wood Deck?


Quick Answer

Oil-modified finishes are the best choice for pressure-treated wood decks. The best stains for pressure-treated wood decks are those that are formulated to penetrate the dense surface of the wood. Stains and sealants that do not penetrate well eventually peel.

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Full Answer

Oil-based finishes tend to penetrate the wood better than water-based finishes. Water finishes, on the other hand, cover better and offer easier clean up. Oil-modified finishes penetrate as well as oil and cover as well as water, making them beneficial for pressure-treated wood decks. On the other hand, Southern Pine recommends applying a semi-transparent stain topped with a water-repellent sealer to pressure-treated wood on decks that are fully exposed to the elements.

Stains and sealers prolong the life of the deck by preventing moisture from penetrating the wood and by maintaining the appearance of the wood. Some stains are completely opaque and look like a layer of paint after application. Some stains are semi-transparent, allowing some of the wood's natural grain to show through. Clear sealers do not add color. However, wood decks do gray over time because of exposure to sunlight, and clear sealers show this. Any style of stain is appropriate for pressure-treated wood as long as it is a deep-penetrating formulation.

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