I like to keep my product reviews positive, however, I must be honest and objective to provide value to my readers. I want to discourage all humans from ever using a semi-transparent deck stain (STS). This is not manufacturer specific as I have never seen any semi-transparent deck stain look good, even when applied by professionals in perfect conditions.
If you go into any paint store that has a trained and knowledgeable staff (typically not a big box) and ask them if they recommend a toner or a STS product, they will tell you to use a toner. If you push and ask them why, they will tell you things like the toner looks better or some customers complain that the STS didn’t look good, etc. They are just being polite because the manufacturer of that STS signs their paycheck. I can be honest.
Semi-transparent stains suck.
This is a product that really shouldn’t exist. The philosophy is to provide consumers with more product options, but that shouldn’t mean terrible options. When it comes to painting, consumers already have a plethora of options, each boasting that it is the best. It must be incredibly overwhelming for a “non-paint” person to walk into a paint store and know what to buy. The following narrative of a husband and wife choosing a stain is common and reveals the allure of the dreaded semi-transparent stain.
Wife: I want a solid color stain so that the deck that matches the accent color of the shutters and doors.
Husband: We already have enough color and we paid extra to use the better wood for the deck. Why would we cover the grain that you thought was so pretty with a solid stain. Let’s use a toner that brings out the wood’s natural beauty.
Wife: I changed my mind. The toner looks boring.
Husband: What about this semi-transparent stain? This is perfect. We can choose a color, but you can still see the wood’s grain. We get the best of both worlds.
Wife: That is perfect! Let’s go to Cheesecake Factory to celebrate semi-transparent stains! We can say it’s your birth and get free ice cream.
I hope they enjoy the Cheesecake Factory because the fun will be over after they put that STS on their deck. The idea of STS is good. You use color to enhance wood’s natural beauty. The problem is that semi-transparent stains are either too semi or too transparent which results in an incomplete and uneven appearance. I worked for Sherwin Williams for 5 years and have operated GreenWave Solutions for 5 years and the most common complaint I got was about semi-transparent stains looking bad. Customer’s being unhappy with STS is so common that we will not use semi-transparent stains on any project, even at a client’s request.
I have done this long enough to know that no matter how well you apply them, they always look bad and I don’t want people thinking that GreenWave Solutions does work that looks hideous. Clients think they want a semi-transparent stain, but what they really want is a colored toner. That is where I steer my clients that ask for STS deck products; to colored toners.
I’m sure that there are some people that think semi-transparent stains look great and they are entitled to their opinions. There are also people that think “Honey Booboo” is a good show. Some people just have bad taste.
Please save yourself, your painting contractor, and your paint store a lot of headaches and don’t choose semi-transparent stains for your deck staining projects. Instead, use a toner that has the color you like. And remember, because all wood accepts stains differently, DO A SAMPLE TO SEE IF YOU LIKE HOW IT WILL LOOK BEFORE DOING THE WHOLE DECK.
Good luck and remember that GreenWave Solutions is the best painting company in Dunwoody.
President of GreenWave Solutions, Atlanta painting company and Dunwoody house painters. GreenWave Solutions offers the best painter services in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Dunwoody, Decatur, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Brookhaven, Duluth, Grant Park, Inman Park, Buckhead,Milton, Midtown, and more!