Deck Sealing vs Staining


Deck sealing vs staining

It’s normal when you come home and find your deck less attractive-compared to one year ago. You might want to tidy it up by adding a new and attractive top coat of either a stain or a sealer. But which one is better

Deck sealing vs staining?

To avoid the risk of making a mistake in the process, you need to understand the difference between the two.


Wood sealing protects the wood against the penetration of water. Almost all the sealants you can find in the market today come with compounds that guard the wood against the harmful UltraViolet rays from the sun. Ensuring a consistent application of the sealing is excellent for maintaining the wood’s natural look for many years.

What’s good comes with some limitations as well; most sealants have wax, which protects the water from penetrating the wood. As much as it offers some resistance to water, it also causes the beading up of water, preventing it from draining away. 

You must have seen some decks having standing water days after heavy rain; it’s because of the sealing. So that you maintain the protection, it’s indispensable to reduce the protectant by each passing year.

Advantages of Wood Sealing

Sealing has excellent benefits for your wooden structures. Some of the advantages that come with using sealers include:

  • Most of the sealers are friendly to the environmentally
  • Usually, it involves a one-time application procedure
  • Sealing will leave your wood with a bright, natural finish that has no surface membrane
  • Sealers help enhances the grain in the wood
  • Sealers will give your wood a surface for a perfect bonding of paints, adhesives, and varnish
  • Like their names, they seal, offer water resistance, preserves, and hardens your wooden structures
  • Sealers easily penetrate the wood to form an internal seal
  • They do not have effects on the physical aspects of the wood
  • Sealers are slow to seepage; they don’t dampen quickly; they resist mold, warping, and fungus.

 Disadvantages of Wood Sealing

  • Sealers are not very durable and continuously calls for recoating after a couple of years.
  • Constant recoating might prove expensive.


Deck staining, on the contrary, involves a change in the color of the wood. The best stain to use is an oil stain because of its high ability to penetrate the wood. The Oil-based stains are semi-transparent; they tend to make the color of the wood a little dark while showing the wood grain. A semi-transparent wood stain lasts longer compared to other sealants or the different stain types.

For the case of weathered wood, a solid stain is the best option. Solid stains help hide the flaws in the deck; it covers the grain of the wood, providing a semi-smooth finish. Solid stains have a tendency to show slight effects of weathering, which is why you should give it a new coat annually as a maintenance practice.

Advantages of Staining

  • It’s Simple to Use

If you compare paint and stain, which one will be simpler to apply as well as maintain? It’s pretty much evident that a stain carries the day. In fact, you can use a stain without a primer, and this can amount to halving the total amount of time you’d take to apply it. 

Maintainance practices extended to stains do not come so frequently, depending on the prevailing environmental conditions; usually, it takes at least a year before re-staining.

  • Stains are Cost-Effective in the case of Walking Surfaces 

Wood makes a great walking surface for outdoor areas; if used for this purpose, it undergoes a lot of strain due to foot traffic. You can use paints in this situation; however, it will be the wrong choice as paints have low durability in such a case. It doesn’t take long before the paint may start cracking, affecting the appearance of the surface. Instead, use stains which are cheaper and easy to apply and will take longer before adding another coat.

  • Staining helps Preserve the Aesthetics of the Wood 

The wood’s aesthetic appeal is in its natural look. Painting, for example, would completely cover the grain hence affecting the natural beauty. It, therefore, leaves you with staining, which allows the grain of the wood to show. Furthermore, the stain exists in a variety of tints and colors, which makes it easily customizable. 

  • Staining Prevents the Rotting of Wood

Wood rot is a common thing, especially for the ones that are outdoor and lack sealers. Rotting, as you would expect, will make your woodwork less pleasing, it can further cause the collapse of your structures. Staining your wood projects the right way can help prevents the occurrence of rot.

  • Offer Protection against Sun and Moist Conditions

The penetration of water or elements of moisture into wood can result in rotting. Wood can freeze and break after absorbing water. Sunlight also emits UltraViolet radiation that can discolor the wood; therefore, using a stain will preserve the appearance and structural integrity of the deck in the even of these threats.

Disadvantages of Staining

  • Some wood stains have harmful chemicals that can have a direct health effect on the user working with it.
There are products that do deck sealing and staining, for example, Ready Seal Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer.


A good number of people might think that a deck stain and a deck sealer are the same. That’s not true whatsoever; the two products are different. However, both deck sealing and staining have a common purpose, which is preserving and protecting the wood against different harsh conditions.

There are some aspects of sealers that are better than the stains and vice verse. Therefore, it’s crucial that you properly comprehend deck sealing vs staining before you settle on the one that best fits your project.

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