Choosing A Deck Finish
When choosing a deck finish you need to consider the characteristics of each type of finish and the ultimate look you want to achieve. The basic rule-of-thumb is the more wood grain you want to see, the more often you will have to re-coat your deck over time.
A clear finish shows the wood's own tones and grain, yet protects it from the elements and the wear and tear of normal deck use. Clear finishes require the most frequent re-coating.
A tinted finish adds color without hiding the natural wood grain. Tinted finishes come in a variety of wood tones and last longer than clear finishes.
Semi-transparent stains add more color while still allowing some of the wood's natural wood grain to show through. These finishes provide longer protection than clear and tinted finishes.
Solid stains add color that covers the wood grain. These finishes can often hide minor imperfections in wood. They last the longest of all deck finishes.