• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O'Connor discuss the perfect wood-deck finish for the job.

    1. Choose a clear waterproofing finish to protect wood without adding color or hiding the wood grain.
    2. To tint the decking, use a semi-transparent stain, which adds a little color, but still allows some of the wood grain to show through. Semi-transparent finishes also provide a modicum of protection from ultraviolet light.
    3. For ultimate protection from ultraviolet light, apply a solid-body stain. It has a very high pigment content for excellent color saturation and wear-resistance, but it does conceal the wood grain.
    4. Keep in mind that clear wood finishes are thinner than semi-transparent or solid-body stains, so they will require more maintenance.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      Applying stain can be a bit messy, but it's not at all difficult
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      Video Directory

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      Tools List

      • paintbrushes
        Paintbrushes of various sizes, used to apply stain to smaller areas
      • paint pan
        Paint tray

      Shopping List

      Deck finish

      Paint rollers and pads

      Plastic drop clothsPainter's tape

      Rubber gloves

      Clean rags