Whether you’re staining your deck for the first time or attempting to restore some life to an older deck, choosing the correct stain for the job can be a challenging task.
There are many different brands available, and you might need a little help to sort through them all. We’ve already reviewed dozens of different types of deck stains and seen the good and the bad. We have chosen six different brands of solid deck stain that we feel are worth sharing with you. We’ll go over what we liked about each one, and you can decide if you agree with our reviews.
We’ve also included a solid deck stain buyer’s guide where we clarify what’s important to look for in a deck stain so you can feel more comfortable about shopping around yourself.
Keep reading for our in-depth reviews of each solid deck stain, where we compare coverage, odor, water resistance, and durability to help you make an educated purchase.
|Flood/PPG Architectural FIN FLD820-01|
|500 sq. ft.||4.95/5|
|Olympic Stain 79614|
|350 sq. ft.||4.75/5|
|Restore-A-Deck Solid Color Stain|
|300 sq. ft.||4.65/5|
|SaverSystems 300604||130 sq. ft.||4.40/5|
|Rust-Oleum 319368||40 sq. ft.||4.20/5|
The Flood/PPG Architectural FIN FLD820-01 Pro Past Base Stain is our pick as the best overall solid deck stain. This long-lasting stain is guaranteed to last for six years on your deck. It features something called “e-b emulsa bond adhesion technology” that helps the stain form a strong bond with the wood or previous stain. The stain comes in rich colors that won’t fade in the strong ultraviolet light from the sun, and it’s also mold and mildew resistant.
The Flood went on very smooth in our tests, and when it dried, it looked nice and had a hard, durable finish. The only thing we didn’t like was the strong odor while we were applying it to the deck.
The Olympic Stain 79614 Maximum Wood Solid Stain and Sealer is our choice for the best value, and we hope you will agree it’s the best solid deck stain for the money. This brand of solid deck stain is a stain and sealer in one. The sealer works to protect your wood from water and ultraviolet light from the sun that can strip your deck of its color and dry out the wood to the point of cracking.
When we used the Olympic stain, we found it easy to apply, and it cured to a hard finish that resisted scuffing and provided excellent traction. The downside to this brand is that the color is very light and is surprisingly different than advertised.
Restore-A-Deck Solid Color Stain is our premium choice, and this stain is for those that want the best at any cost. Restore-A-Deck is a solid latex stain and wood sealer in one. It’s available as a solid color or as a semi-transparent. The built-in wood sealer adheres to the wood and protects it from harmful ultraviolet rays and prevents moisture from absorbing into the woodgrain. The stain is environmentally safe and doesn’t produce a lot of VOCs, but in our experience, it did have a slight unpleasant odor as we were applying the stain to our deck.
The SaverSystems 300604 #1 Deck Wood Deck Paint and Sealer features an opaque finish to hid blemishes and provide maximum protection for your deck. We found this deck stain to go on smooth and covered untreated and previously stained wood in one or two coats. The stain dries quickly, and it doesn’t put off a lot of odor.
We did notice that after the stain dries, it’s easy to scuff and not so easy to scrub clean.
The Rust-Oleum 319368 RockSolid 20X Deck Resurfacer is a thick substance for heavily damaged decks with high levels of traffic. It’s tough to think of this thick opaque stain as a stain at all, but this product will restore your damaged wood and protect it from moisture and ultraviolet rays in the most extreme environment. This product is very thick, and a gallon will not go very far. It also takes a long time to dry and smells terrible, but when it cures, you will have a smooth non-slip surface that is exceptionally durable.
Besides being hard to spread, it splatters everywhere, and the color of our stain was very different than the picture on the can.
The Cabot 140.0001880.007 Solid Color Decking Stain is another deck repairing stain on our list. This brand features an acrylic finish that cures hard and is exceptionally resistant to moisture. The hard-acrylic finish is well suited to high traffic and accidental spills.
While we were applying the Cabot deck stain, we noticed that it didn’t have a strong odor, but it didn’t cover the surface very well either. It took a few coats to get a uniform color. We also found that this brand of stain can crack and chip in cold temperatures. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you could find yourself reapplying this stain every year.
Let’s look at some of the things that might be important to look for in a solid deck stain.
Staining your deck will protect it from moisture, harmful UV rays, and temperature changes. Moisture can enter untreated wood and cause it to expand and warp. The same will happen as the wood dries again, which can lead to cracks and permanently deformed wood. Ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays can dry out the deck, causing crack and splinters to occur. The sun can also bleach the wood and change its color.
Another problem with leaving your deck untrained is that it invites certain wood-eating insects like the carpenter bee, which prefer unstained and intreated wood. These insects are much less likely to attack a stained deck.
It’s essential to prepare your deck before staining. Make sure your wood is clean and sanded smooth. If your deck is older, this is the perfect time for a pressure washing. Use the pressure washer to get as much dirt as grime off the surface as possible and allow the deck to dry completely for a day or two. Applying stain to a wet surface will interfere with the way the stain penetrates the wood.
We buy stain bases on how clear it is. For example, a solid color stain resembles a paint more than a traditional stain. A clear coat stain is transparent and will not be noticeable after you apply it, but it will still protect the wood. The clearer a stain is, the more often you will need to reapply it.
Let’s look at the different types of stains that are available and when you might use them.
The solid color stain is also sometimes called an opaque stain. It looks very much like paint, and it can be confusing if you’re not sure of the difference. The solid color stain is usually a color associated with wood, and it has special ingredients to penetrate and protect the wood that paint does not have. The solid color stain will obscure all your wood grain, but it is the most durable and can last up to five years. Use solid color stain for reconditioned wood and high traffic areas.
A semi-solid stain is also sometimes called semi-opaque stain. This stain allows a little more of the wood grain to show through but still provides much of the durability of a solid color stain and will last just about as long. Use this stain when you want to see a little more of the grain in a high traffic area.
A semi-transparent stain adds a noticeable amount of color to the wood but still allows the wood grain to show through. The semi-transparent stain is the type most of us are familiar with and is by far the most common in use outside of deck staining. This type of stain is perfect for railings, or other surfaces that aren’t expected to get a high amount of traffic. You can expect to get about three years out of semi-transparent stain.
The transparent stain is sometimes called a clear coat. This type of stain imparts no color onto the wood, but still penetrates and protects the wood. This type of satin is the least durable and will last no longer than two years.
A wood sealer is a transparent stain marketed with a different name to avoid confusion. Many people will apply a sealer or a transparent stain over a semi-transparent stain that still looks good to extend the wood protection without changing the color.
We use paint to cover and protect any surface. We use stain to penetrate into the wood to preserve and rejuvenate.
Just like we have with paint, stain gives us a choice between oil and latex.
The oil-based stains have been around for a long time. They do a fantastic job of repelling water and conditioning the wood to deal with the harsh environment. Oil stains can take up to 48 hours to dry, and they are flammable while they are wet. Oily rags can also spontaneously combust if not correctly disposed of, and cleanup will require paint thinners or mineral spirits.
Latex stains use water as a solvent. Latex stains are becoming popular, and the quality is improving. Modern latex stains have the same water-repelling, wood preserving qualities the oil stains have. These stains produce much less harmful vapors in the form of VOCs, and they dry quickly in two to three hours. These stains clean up with water, and there is no fire danger. Latex stains are much more expensive than oil.
We hope that you have enjoyed our solid deck stain reviews and learned something new from our buyer’s guide. If you’re still having a hard time deciding, we highly recommend our choice for the best overall. The Flood/PPG Architectural FIN FLD820-01 Pro Past Base Stain is a high-quality stain that cures to a hard finish. It lasts a long time, and the color won’t fade. The Olympic Stain 79614 Maximum Wood Solid Stain and Sealer is our choice for the best value, and it too can provide years of maintenance-free protection or your deck.
If you have learned something new and are closer to purchasing a deck stain, please share these solid deck stain reviews with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit By: Olympic Stain 79614, amazon
Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!