Prevent Solid Color Stain From Peeling

Benefits of Solid Color Stains

Depending on your circumstances and goals, solid color stains can be a great alternative to semi-transparent stains. If your deck is old, weathered, or damaged, solid stain can help cover blemishes and beautify your deck. Unlike semi-transparent stains, solid stains sit on top of the wood similar to paint. If you don’t want to see the grain of the wood and prefer a bright pop of color, solid stains are your best option. Some brands have set color options and others can be custom tinted in-store to whatever color you want just like with paint. Check out our solid color stain.

Because solid color stain is different from semi-transparent stain, application and care is also different. One of the most common issues with solid color stains is peeling. Read below for reasons for peeling and how to avoid it.


Stain Peeling

Solid color stains can peel for a variety of reasons and understanding the reasons why before you begin your project can help you avoid problems down the road. 

The product is not meant for use on horizontal surfaces (walking) surfaces

Not all solid color stains are meant for application on horizontal surfaces.  Some products are not much different than inexpensive house paint and designed only for use on vertical wood siding. Using them on walking surfaces can be a real disaster as they simply won’t hold up. Look for solid color stains that are designed specifically for deck stain applications. These can normally be identified by just reading the label. The manufacturer will have some type of verbiage on the back of the label cautioning the consumer to only use the product on vertical siding. However, if the label clearly states that the stain can be used on vertical and horizontal surfaces, it is perfect for your deck, siding, or any other project at hand.

There is ponding water on the boards

Over time, deck boards can warp and “cup”.  When this occurs, the deck boards will allow water to pond on the surface after a rain.  Ponding immerses the surface of the board in water and normally results in failure. If cupping has occurred, it will need to be sanded flat replaced prior to staining.

Poor ventilation doesn’t allow the wood to dry out

All decks need air flow around them to allow moisture to evaporate and the boards to dry out.  Poor ventilation can be created by constructing the deck too close to the ground, butting the deck boards closely together and not leaving a gap between boards or closing off the sides of the deck too tightly with skirting.  In all cases, air flow needs to be restored prior to staining or the product is certain to fail.

The surface wasn’t properly cleaned/prepared prior to staining

Cleaning the surface with a safe, non-toxic cleaner prior to staining is key.  Cleaning removes dirt, grime, and contaminants that can cause a stain to fail. It also opens up the porosity of the wood which allows the stain to better soak in to wood, creating a stronger bond.

The product was applied over an existing stain that failed

If the existing stain is peeling/failing, remove as much of it as possible prior to applying the new product.  The product that you are applying will adhere to the surface of the old stain and if the old stain peels it will take the new product with it.  Power wash, scrape, sand, and remove as much of the older coating as possible prior to applying the new stain.



Follow these steps to ensure your solid color stain beautifies your deck and lasts!

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