Debunking Myths About Deck Stains | The Deck People

The Deck People

Debunking Myths About Deck Stains

The Truth Behind Deck Stains

Not all deck stains are equal. The quality/type of the stain and how it’s applied will determine how soon (if ever) it will peel. Understanding the different types of deck stains is crucial to your deck’s maintenance.

Water-Based Stains

Since they are better for the environment, water-based deck stains have recently become popular. The issue is that they often need many coats and wear off faster. Although there are exceptions, most water-based stains sit on the surface of the wood. They peel within 1 year of application and this results in constant maintenance.

Oil-Based Stains

Oil-based stains are more durable than water-based ones. They create a better barrier against moisture and UV rays, protecting the wood longer. Despite these benefits, they are difficult to apply. Incorrect application will lead to patchy spots, peeling, and discoloration.

Both water and oil-based stains form a film over the wood. This means that they do not penetrate the wood. They instead form a layer on top of the wood to protect it. The issue is that once the film peels, it requires annual sanding and maintenance. This always happens.

Wood penetrating oils

Unlike most stains found in paint stores, these oils DO NOT form a film when dry. They will soak into the wood protecting it from the inside. These products NEVER peel and only need cleaning and reapplication every few years.

Products like this are a much larger investment as they can cost up to 3x more than cheaper stains. If there is an old layer of film-forming stain beneath it, the oils will not absorb. This means that you must remove all previous products if you want to use penetrating oils.

Evaluate the Deck’s Condition

Before selecting a deck stain, assess the current condition of your deck. Check for signs of aging, previous stain, or sealer remnants. Cleaning and prepping the deck surface is essential to achieve the best results.


Knowing that NOT ALL deck stains peel is critical to the protection of your wood. By choosing the right stain and proper application, you can protect your deck from rot and mold. 

Don’t let misconceptions hold you back. Call an expert and get the right information.

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