Exterior Stain Colors

Exterior stain colors don’t look exactly like they do on the store stain charts.  But why? 

Stain Charts Have Changed

Over the past 30 years, stain charts have changed dramatically for the homeowner. They used to put samples on the actual piece of wood for you to view. But now, they’re just on cardboard paper flyer.

[ click on the middle of the photo below to watch video Mark made for you on exterior stain charts and how they are different when applied to your home or deck.  Enjoy! ]

How to Pick Out a Stain Color

So how do you go about picking out a stain color and have a good idea of how it will look after applying it? First you need to know what material your deck is made of. I normally see two main types of wood that we are applying stain on.

Cedar Wood vs Wolmanized Wood

First, is cedar and second, would be wolmanized lumber. Cedar generally, stains up browner due to the natural tannins in the wood. Wolmanized wood, on the other hand, has a tendency to look greenish from the chemical it is treated with. So when you apply a cedar tone stain to wolmanized wood, it has a tendency to look brown.  

Old Wood vs New Wood

Next, let’s talk about if you have old lumber vs. new lumber. These stain up differently. Older wood has a tendency to look darker due to that it’s age, is more porous, and accepts more material so it can look darker than say a fresh piece of cedar or Wolmanized wood.

Direct Sunlight or Shade on Wood

Finally, is your deck very shaded by trees and shrubs or is it exposed to a lot of sunlight?  Make sure you put a sample on both light and shadowed areas of your deck so you get a really good indication of what your deck will look like on a cloudy day vs a sunny day. If you take the right steps in choosing and then applying a stain to your deck, it will look great. 

Most Common Selections

If you’re not really comfortable with making a selection of stain color, I recommend staying with the most common selections that we see from our customers. Generally, our clients request a cedar tone, Redwood tone, or a natural tone. These are the most popular choices for deck stain choices.

If you enjoyed this post, click here for my post on Deck Maintenance Tips. You may also like my post on Re-staining Cedar Siding.

Thanks again for joining us. Send in your Burning Questions and I will put them out.

Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on getting your deck stained, give me a call. My team and I have been serving Downers Grove, Oakbrook Terrace, Elmhurst, Lombard, Carol Stream, Westmont, Willowbrook, Woodridge, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.