This time of year is great for applying a fresh coat of stain to your deck, fence, or outdoor furniture.

There are lots of choices when it comes to stain, so how do you know which to choose?

Benjamin Moore has a helpful guide on its website to understand the options you have when choosing a stain. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Which Opacity?

Opacity is the degree to which you can see the natural grain of wood, achieved by using one of the following…


  • Clear stain has no color added and shows the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Translucent stain doesn’t obscure the grain and texture of wood and includes just the slightest tone.
  • Semi Transparent stain allows most of the grain and texture to show through, with slightly more prominent color.
  • Semi Solid stain, with its deeper shades, covers most imperfections while allowing some of the grain and texture of the wood to show through.
  • Solid stain offers the greatest color depth of all, covering the majority of imperfections while allowing the texture of the wood to peek through lightly.

Material Matters

Wood remains the most common choice for decks.

More expensive hardwoods such as mahogany or ipe offer gorgeous grain and texture that shine through when using a more transparent stain like Transluscent or Semi Transparent.

Softer, less expensive woods, including pressure treated southern yellow pine or cedar, benefit from Semi Solid and Solid stains’ innate weather barrier.

Wood alternatives known as “composite decking” are also a popular choice. While often sold as maintenance-free, composite decks demand protection from color fading as well as from the elements–just like their wood counterparts; Arborcoat Solid Deck & Siding Stain provides excellent color retention for these popular decking choices.

Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat line of stains offers the full variety of opacities to give your deck, fence, or outdoor furniture exactly the look you want.


This post is sponsored be Benjamin Moore.