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How to Choose the Right Exterior Stain

Choosing the Right Type of Exterior Stain

Not all wood surfaces are the same, and neither is stain. Selecting the right type of stain for your exterior project, whether it’s your deck or fence, is just as important as choosing a colour. As well, using the right exterior stain will also help protect your investment. You will need to consider a few factors to ensure you get the results you desire and the protection you need and we’re here to help guide you.

Six types of natural wood with Cedar coloured stain applied.

Consider the Type of Wood

Before you start it’s important to know the surface you’ll be working with. There are many types of natural wood and each will impact the final look of your stain.  Pressure treated, being the most commonly used, will appear much darker when stain is applied than a lighter wood like white pine for example.

Consider the Age

It’s also important to remember the age of your wood. New wood will be more forgiving with lighter stains than aged wood as a darker stain will accentuate any imperfections like dings and scratches.

For older surfaces, cleaning is an integral part for staining success. Getting rid of old mildew, unwanted BBQ grease, loose wood fibres, dirt and dust will make the staining process that much easier. Products like RESTORE, REMOVE, CLEAN and BRIGHTEN from Benjamin Moore will help remove unwanted dirt and prepare the surface to achieve the best results.

Decide the Opacity

Can of semi-transparent Arborcoat stain

Arborcoat Semi-Transparent Stain. Great for horizontal surfaces.

Can of Arborcoat solid stain

Arborcoat Solid Stain. Great coverage for older woods.

When it comes to choosing an opacity, it’s simply whether you want to showcase more wood grain or cover the wood completely. Stain
opacity has many options but the most popular are translucent, semi-transparent and solid, each having different results.

We do recommend using semi-transparent for horizontal pieces, like floorboards and steps as it’s more forgiving in high-traffic areas. Whereas solid stains are generally more popular for aged decks as it hides more impurities and imperfections in the wood.

Choose a Colour

It’s time to select a colour! Arborcoat is Benjamin Moore’s most popular stain with a wide range of colours in various opacities. Translucent stain is available in 9 ready made colours, semi-transparent has a selection of 75 and solid is tintable in over 2000 Benjamin Moore colours.

See Benjamin Moore’s full colour palette >>

Sidings & Railings: Seagull Gray ES-72 Solid
Trim: Fairview Taupe HS-85 Solid
Door & Floor: Cedar ES-40 Translucent
Ceiling: Teak ES-30 Translucent

Keep in mind, choosing a darker shade draws more heat, which in turn can reduce the durability of the stain.  Therefore, choosing a lighter colour option will make your stain last longer.

If you’re looking for serious curb appeal why not try a two-tone deck? By using semi-transparent for horizontal boards and solid stain for vertical boards you can achieve a trendy modern look.

We are here to help you every step of the way when choosing the right exterior stain for your home.  Our experts can help you choose and pair colours to get the exterior of your home ready for summer entertaining!

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