How to Choose a Finish for Your Deck or Porch

Your porch or deck may get a lot of traffic. If you enjoy entertaining, then your guests may spend a significant amount of time outside. But it’s important to take care of your deck or porch with a finish that not only looks complimentary to your home, but that protects the wood.

The first step when shopping for a deck or porch finish, is to choose color, shade, and finish. If you want red, consider what shade of red you would like (dark or sheer), and if you want either a flat or glossy look.

Once you have a general idea of the color you would like, it’s time to consider what type of sealant and stain to buy.


Oil Based: This type of sealant is available in clear or slightly pigmented colors. This type of sealant protects the wood on your deck or porch from water damage from within. You could also consider using additives, which would help protect against insects, fungi, mildew, and sun damage.

Water Based: A water-based sealant acts like a shell that protects the wood on the surface. If your porch or deck was previously sealed with an acrylic finish, only use another water-based sealant.

What type of stain is recommended? What are the different types available?


Semitransparent: This type of stain transforms the appearance of wood by enhancing it. If you like the look of the wood and only wish to add a light color on top, then this stain is recommended.

Heavy-bodied: Unlike semitransparent stains, this type offers a lot more color pigmentation. By using this type of stain, the wood grain will be less visible. But unlike paint, the woods natural look won’t be completely hidden.

Paint: Stains enhance the look of a wooden deck or porch, but paint covers up the look of wood completely. Paint costs more than stains and the application takes longer. That said, paint lasts a lot longer than stains and thus requires less upkeep in the long run.

It’s important to seal your deck or porch to not only keep it looking good, but to protect the actual wood from damage.

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