When should the homeowner stain their new deck? This is a very good question and you better know the right answer or it could put you in a bad situation and cost you deeply.

I am asked this question on almost every sales appointment I go on by the homeowner. Over the years I have tried several different methods and products on new decks and found out there is no perfect product, but know the most important time to seal and protect your deck is upon completion of your deck.

Should I apply a clear or color stain, water base or oil, this product or that one? On new decks I have always used an oil based product due to better penetration of the product. I first started out using the color stains instead of the clear products due to better protection.

I don’t think anyone would disagree a color stain protects a deck better then a clear product. The problem with a color stain it does not adhere to new decks as well as older decks, therefore the stain will wear off sooner than the homeowner expects.

When I apply a color stain to a new deck I tell the homeowner the first application will not adhere to a new deck as long as you would like. It will last up to two years or more on an older deck, but more likely it will only last a year or less on a new deck. I tell the homeowner I do not mind applying a color stain; however I cannot warrant the product or labor.

I recommend using a clear product first which penetrates deeper into the wood pores then a pigmented stain and sealing up the deck fine. The reasons I like a clear product better than a color stain for the first application is that it’s a much easier application and when the product wears off you do not notice it like you do a color. This means no call backs from unhappy customers asking you to redo their deck for free.