We recently got our deck redone with new planks of pressure-treated wood. We were advised by the contractor to give the planks 6 months before staining. It's time now. We live in central Indiana. The deck receives direct sunlight for about 8 hours of the day. I prefer the protection of the wood over appearance. In the past, we have used a semi-transparent stain. But this time I am open to using whatever will provide the most protection to our deck.

  1. Would a solid stain offer better protection or are there other considerations that favor a semi-transparent stain for a pressure-treated wood deck?

  2. Would it be better to go with a water or oil-based stain?

Any insights regarding this would be highly appreciated!!

  • 1
    Not sure if todays pressure treatment is better or the same as the older stuff, but my two small decks/steps were done with PT wood in the early 90s, no stain or paint and no rot so far.
    – crip659
    Apr 16, 2023 at 0:19

2 Answers 2


I know product recommendations are off topic here, but I'm going to do it anyway in a bit. But first, don't use a solid surface finish like Urethane or Varathane. They will fail (start flaking off) within a 2-3 years, You would be better served by a penetrating oil such as Pentofin. Yeah, there's maintenance with that too, but all it amounts to is a light sanding and wiping on more oil every few years, much easier than full sanding of flaked out solid surface finishes and re-application.

  • 1
    +1 for penetrating sealant/stain. My back porch was painted before I bought the house, grumble mutter, which has probably shortened its lifespan; I need to do another pass of trying to blast that off.
    – keshlam
    Apr 16, 2023 at 3:28
  • the best stain is a paint Apr 16, 2023 at 5:27

The best stain is a paint.

If you want the stain look then you want a penetrating sealer stain. A lot of stains you can have the paint store add extra pigment for additional protection.

HomeRenovision likes c2paint stain.


I used a penetrating stain on my cedar. Unfortunately my stain contained linseed oil and the mold in my area likes to eat it so my cedar soffit is now moldy despite being in the soffit and protected from the majority of rain.

I switched to sansin dec which is another highly reviewed product. Make sure which ever product you decide to use that you search for reviews.

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