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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Advice from the Pros:

Stain Selection


In our previous blog we gave you the basic information on how to prepare you deck before staining. Now it's time to decide what type of stain you're going to apply.

Let's start with the basics. You can choose from typical alkyd- or latex-based stains or the new Arborcoat line of stains. Next, decide on the opacity of the finish  before making the all-important color decision.

For years, most decks were stained with a transparent or semi-transparent alkyd stain. Despite having to clean up with solvent, these were good options for the times: they were relatively easy to apply and offered good durability. But because of new regulations, the formulas have changed and alkyds are no longer the product of choice. There are latex alternatives available which offer easy application and have very good durability and color retention, but they simply don't have the penetration properties of alkyds. A far better option is Arborcoat, which uses a waterborne alkyd and an acrylic resin. The result is penetration properties of an alkyd with the durability of an acrylic--the best of both worlds.

Arborcoat comes in translucent, transparent and semi-transparent finishes. Opacity is both a personal and performance preference. Many people like the look of a translucent, transparent or semi-transparent stains. These finishes allow most of the grain of the wood to show through. Although the appearance is appealing these products contain only small amounts of pigment so they offer less protection from UV rays. Arborcoat offers greater durability with its 636 Clear Protective Coat, which must be applied over the Arborcoat 637 Transparent or 638 Semi Transparent stain. Arborcoat 639 Semi Solid and 640 Solid stains will mask some or all the grain but allow the texture to show through. These two finishes offer the best protection for you deck. 

Now the hardest decision--what color to choose? Except for solid finishes, stains allow some of the natural wood color to show through so the final color may look different on each deck, depending on the type of wood, how old it is, and how you have prepared the surface (did you only need wash it, or did you sand it?).

Here is a brief overview of color selection in each finish:
Arborcoat Translucent: 6 Ready mixed Colors
Arborcoat Transparent: 6 Ready mixed colors
Arborcoat Semi Transparent: 72 Custom Colors
Arborcoat Semi Solid: 72 Custom Colors
Arborcoat Solid: Unlimited Colors

To help you with this decision, pint samples of all these products are available through your local retailer. Test them in an inconspicuous area on your deck to make sure you like the color result. If you don't like the look, sand off the color and test another shade.


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