Acrylic deck stains or paints are defined as a fast-drying stain containing pigments which are suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic stains and paints are water soluble (able to be dissolved in water) but become resistant to water when they dry.
What does this mean to you?
Acrylic deck stains have come a long way. Pigments, additives, and other chemical additives are of much higher quality and durability. As we stated earlier, acrylic deck stains are designed to protect the wood by forming a barrier on the surface, protecting from the harsh effects of weathering, debris decomposition, ultraviolet radiation, and “wear and tear” from foot traffic and the sanding effect this has on a deck.
What are the differences between the acrylic deck stains?
Transparent deck stains
Transparent deck stains have the least amount of pigments and allow you to see the natural grain of the wood in its entirety. It allows your deck to maintain its “natural look” while still protecting it with a professional finish.
The tradeoff however is that transparent deck stains have less pigmentation in the stain thus giving it less color and protective qualities and properties.
Protection time? Generally 2-4 years depending on factors affecting protection such as weather and ultraviolet exposure and other factors. Four years is generally a stretch with transparent stains but possible.
Semi-Transparent (or semi-solid) Deck Stains
The most popular of deck stains, it offers the “best of both worlds” in that it affords the necessary protection to your deck (due to the higher pigment content) while still allowing you to see the grain structure of the wood.
Protection Time: Generally 4-6 years for a regular stain and 6-10 years for a premium stain and also depending on the quality of the brand and other environmental factors discussed earlier.
Solid Deck Stains
This deck stain has a “painted” look and contains the highest pigment levels and thus, the highest protection. What you sacrifice in wood grain transparency you gain in protective qualities.
Protection is generally 6-10 years for regular stain products and 8- 10 years + for premium products considering all the factors we discussed.