Enjoying your coffee on a cool, summer morning or hanging out with your friends while cooking out. We all love our deck… Until it’s time to stain it.

If you have a new deck made out of pressure treated wood, it is already protected against rot. But you will need to stain it in order to protect it from the weather.

When trying to figure out the best deck stain for pressure treated wood, you have to know how the wood was treated.

Treated Lumber Categories

Wet Treated – It’s called this because, well, it’s wet when you purchase it. This lumber should be left to dry out for up to six months depending on the condition of the wood and the weather. Staining it before it dries will end up sealing the moisture behind the stain. This will cause issues as the moisture tries to escape the wood.

Water Repellent Added – You can ask the dealer if water repellent has been added or look to see if the tag says Thompsonized. You have to be careful if you use a water-based stain, because it will not adhere well.

Kiln Dried Pressure Treated – This is the best because, in most cases, you can use it right away. The only time you shouldn’t stain it immediately is if a water repellent was added during the pressure treatment. It is usually tagged or stamped with KDAT or ADAT.

If you don’t know how your lumber was treated, use oil-based and semi-transparent stain to be safe.

You can test your wood to see if there is any water in it. Using a nail, poke a small hole and see if water bubbles out. If it does, let it dry out longer.

You can also test it by pouring water on it. If the water does not bead and soaks into it, you’re good to go.

As soon as it’s dry, you should stain it. When you wait too long, the wood may lose some its ability to allow the stain to adhere to it. This results in more steps during the preparation.

Preparing Your Deck for Staining

Power Washing - Deck

It’s important to clean your deck before staining. A pressure washer works best but you must be careful that you don’t use too much pressure. The recommended PSI is between 1500 and 2500.

If it’s an older wood, you can use a wood cleaner for decks. This helps condition the old wood to accept stain uniformly. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

If your deck is brand new, the lumber could have a green hue or a slick surface, which is known as mill glaze. When this is the case, you should sand it with a 60 to 80 grit screen and then sweep with a broom. If your lumber doesn’t have these qualities, then you can skip this part.

Always check the weather forecast. Do not stain the deck in direct sunlight. This causes the stain to dry too quickly leaving visible lap marks and a blotchy surface. For the best adherence, the temperature of the wood should be between 50°F and 90°F for at least 24 hours.

Ideally, the relative humidity should be between 40% and 70%. You want to be sure there is no rain in the forecast for at least a couple days.

You should also test whatever stain you decide on in an inconspicuous spot. This is a huge undertaking, and you want to be sure that you are going to be happy with the results.

Deck finishes


Now you have to decide between a sealer or stain. They are both used to protect the wood from the elements. Just like when choosing a stain for your fence, you have to decide whether it’s more important for it to look good or if you want to protect the wood and find the best balance for what you want.

The type of finish depends on how much of the grain you want showing. Solid stains will last the longest but hide most of the wood grain. If you want the wood’s natural grains to show through, a semi-transparent stain or a clear sealer will be a better choice.

Sealer – If you are looking for a high-gloss look that shows the natural grain of the wood, a film-forming sealant is the best option.

Just beware that if you wish to change color or stain it, the sealant will need to be stripped off. Another downside is that the wood could turn gray from the UV rays over time.

Semi-Transparent Stain – Semi-transparent stains have added pigments to change the color of the wood and to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. A gallon is quite expensive at approximately $50 a gallon and more. In some cases, you might have to reapply it each year, or at least every 2-3 years.

Solid or Opaque Stain – A solid stain will hold up the longest, though it will hide the grain of the wood similar to paint. Unfortunately, if you have added a few coats, it can peel and crack just like paint.

Deck staining services

The Best Deck Stain for Pressure Treated Wood

Every piece of wood has a natural color and grain. Most pressure treated wood has a green hue.

You have to understand the difference between a water-based and an oil-based stain because of how they affect the wood and the colors.

Both water-based and oil-based stains will penetrate into the wood to protect it against the damaging effects of the weather.

Water-Based Stains

These stains contain resin and pigment that stick to each other as it dries. A water-based stain has less odor, is less expensive, dries fast and is a breeze to clean up.

The downside is that you will have to apply more coats and it won’t last as long as oil-based stains. A water-based stain is more resistant to mildew than oil-based stain however.

Oil-Based Stains

Although more expensive, an oil-based stain will last longer and help to preserve the wood better. Oil-based stains can be rolled, sprayed or brushed on. Be sure that you are constantly stirring the stain as you are working.

A paint brush ensures the best coverage, allowing it to get into the grooves. However, this method also takes the longest.

BBQ on the deck

Get Your Deck Barbecue Ready

Summertime is the season for throwing outdoor parties and barbecues. You want to design an outdoor living space that’s fuss free to enjoy festive, summer evening parties or for grilling out with your friends.

Our decks often become an extended living area and it’s the perfect space for entertaining when it’s warm outside.

Instead of working on staining your deck, you can be working on planning your summer fun when you hire a professional.

What to Expect When You Hire a Pro

It can be overwhelming trying to decide what the best deck stain for pressure treated wood is. If you don’t have the time to handle this heavy-duty job yourself, hiring a professional will get you the best results.

If you’re ready to transform your space, click the Schedule A Free Estimate button to contact us today. You can keep on loving your deck without all the headache and hard work.