Acrylic Vs. Oil Deck Stains

Written by kaitlin priddy
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Acrylic Vs. Oil Deck Stains
Staining your deck will protect it from mould, UV damage, and stains. (Deck de Madeira image by CarlosNeto from

Staining your deck every few years is necessary for maintaining the quality and appearance of the wood. Since there are many types of stains on the market, it is wise to weigh the pros and cons of oil-based and acrylic stains while considering your specific needs and preferences.


Stains not only improve the aesthetic appeal of your deck or patio, but they protect the wood from unwanted stains, sun damage, and mould. Wood sealers provide protection from moisture and discolouration. Wood stains are essentially tinted sealers that have the added benefit of UV protection and come in acrylic and oil-based varieties.

Acrylic Stain

Acrylic stain is relatively new in the home-improvement realm, with its defining feature being a water-soluble base. Acrylic stains are popular among many homeowners because they can be cleaned up with soap and water, they dry quickly and emit fewer unpleasant fumes. According to, acrylic stains do not allow mould or mildew to grow beneath the stain's surface.

Oil-Based Stain

As the name suggests, oil-based stains are comprised of particles suspended in oil. These products are often favoured by professionals who claim that oil-based stains penetrate the particles of wood more deeply. Though oil-based stains take longer to dry (12 to 48 hours), some hold that they provide a more durable finish. cautions that the natural resins in oil-based stains can serve as fuel for mould and mildew growing below the stain's surface. The average homeowner should also be aware that solvents (mineral spirits) are necessary for cleaning up oil-based stain.


Before applying a stain, power-wash your deck and allow it to completely dry. The key to successfully staining is ensuring that the stain penetrates the wood as much as possible. suggests using a sponge and suggests applying stain with a roller, then brushing or wiping back over the area to avoid puddles and increase penetration.

Speciality Stains

There are several variations of the basic acrylic and oil-based stains. Epoxy-fortified stain has been available since 2008 and is said to be more durable than traditional stain. recommends DEFY brand epoxy fortified stain for pressure-treated wood. If you are interested in natural products there are several soy- and bio-based stains which have fewer toxins and are environmentally friendly.

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