Painting Ideas & Tips
  • May 30, 2020
  • Home Renovations

Semi-Transparent vs. Semi-Solid Deck Stain

For staining your deck, there are many colours and opacities to choose from. Before staining, you should decide on the look you want for the deck. Solid colours will completely hide the grain of the wood, while transparent or semi-transparent colours allow the grain to show-up. The higher the opacity of the colour you choose, the less grain will be shown.

Many colors and stains are available that can be added to your deck. You should choose the stain based on the type of wood used for a deck. Then most common colours used are natural wood colours, redwoods, and darker browns. The opacity depends on the colour chosen. Low opacity stain allows the wood’s natural colour to show through while higher opacity will hide the colour of the wood. Solid stain offers more protection from UV rays than a clear stain.

The Opacity levels of Deck are categorized as

  • Semi-Transparent Stains
  • Semi-Solid Stains
  • Solid or Opaque Stains

Semi-Transparent Stains

A see-through protective layer is formed when a semi-transparent stain is used on your deck. With semi-transparent stains, the pigment colour varies with the wood used for the deck. The colour of the stain is only a general idea because the wood’s natural colour will affect the overall look of the deck stain. It is very easy to maintain semi-transparent stains on your deck. The dirt can be cleaned with a deck cleaner. While re-coating, there is no need for sanding or stripping.

Advantages of Semi-Transparent Stains
  • Never chips or peels
  • Some products can be applied directly on a damp surface
  • Semi-transparent stains give little more protection than toners
  • Recommended for Decks less than ten years old.
Disadvantages of Semi-Transparent Stains
  • Stain settles very quickly, so it is difficult to apply the stain evenly.
  • Cannot be applied over decks that had semi-solid or opaque stains
  • It cannot be applied over uneven decks or decks over 15 years.

Semi-solid Stains

Semi-solid stains offer better protection and coverage than a semi-transparent stain. Some grain of the wood is visible but not much as a transparent stain. If you want to see some hint of the natural grain of the wood, a semi-solid is the most pigment you can have before having an opaque finish like a solid stain or paint.

Advantages of Semi-solid Stains
  • The stain will not peel
  • The best protection from UV rays
  • Can be brushed or sprayed
  • Comes in a variety of colours
Disadvantages of Semi-solid Stains
  • Looks like Solid stain after 2-3 applications
  • Vertical surfaces can look glossy after application
  • Semi-solid stains cannot fill the cracks in the deck
  • Stain can be applied only on decks having moisture below 16%.


Deck staining might be easy, but it can be more time consuming and complicated. Staining must be chosen based on the type of wood used for decks. Want your deck to look great, and our professionals are there to help you. The staining process should be done regularly for the exterior decks. For inspirations, ideas, and Professional Painting & Home Improvement Works, contact Executive Touch Painters in Toronto or Call at (416) 410-0164 Today.