Top Deck Stains Oil and Acrylic. What's the difference?

Posted by Terry Jennings on

Top Deck Stains Oil and Acrylic.

Since decks are outside, they are exposed to rain, snow, and other unpleasant things that come with changing seasons, such as falling leaves in autumn and various insects in summer. For this reason, it’s extremely important to keep your deck clean and protect the wood. Staining your deck will protect it from the elements and ensure that you are enjoying your deck for many years. In this article, we will explore the difference between oil and acrylic stains and will figure out which one would suit your deck the best.

Most people only search for different shades of stain and never consider what is in the stain. The two main differences between stains are that they are either oil based or acrylic based. Each type of stain has their advantages and disadvantages. Before you choose your color, let’s explore whether you want oil or acrylic based stain.

Difference between oil and acrylic stains

Oil-based stain penetrates the wood and protects it from within. When staining with oil-based stain you will have to clean up your tools and spots using mineral spirits. Oil as it ages will eventually fade away. This is a great way to tell if your previous stain is oil based. Oil based stain will require raw wood in order to sink in and properly seal.

Acrylic stains lay on top of the wood and protect it from the outside. Acrylic based stains are water-based stains. When staining with acrylic based stains you will be able to clean up your tools and spots using water. Acrylic stains will chip away since it lays on top of the wood. If your deck stain is chipping, then it is most likely acrylic based. Acrylic stains will require you to remove the top layer that is chipping by power washing and sanding.

You should always use the same type of stain that is already on your deck.

So, the main differences are:

  • Oil based stains penetrate the wood and acrylic stains lay on top of the wood like a shell.
  • To remove and clean oil based stains you will need mineral spirits and for acrylics you can clean your tools with water.
  • Oil based stains will fade as they age and acrylic stains will chip away.
  • Oil based stains require raw wood to apply and acrylic will require you to sand.
  • Choose oil-based stain if you have a limited budget and you will get a price-quality favorable solution.

Here are the top deck stains of the most popular manufacturers.

Top oil based deck stains.

1. X-100 Natural Seal Deck Stain

X-100 Natural Seal Deck Stain is an oil based, penetrating water repellant for use on decks.  X-100 Natural Seal Deck Stain is designed to penetrate the wood, protecting against cracking, splitting, cupping, curling, sap stain, mold and mildew and against the environmental forces of wind, rain, snow, ice and Sun.


2. Outlast Q8 Log Oil (Also For Decks)

Outlast Q8 Log Oil is an EPA registered wood preservative specifically designed to control decay causing organisms in log homes and on wood siding. It provides unsurpassed water repellency and sheer trans-oxide color with one coat coverage. Outlast Q8 Log Oil is a totally non-film forming EXTERIOR treatment that will never crack or peel.

3. Weatherseal Stain (Also For Decks)

In addition to log homes, WeatherSeal is designed to beautify and protect: decks, fences, outdoor play sets, natural wood siding, shake siding, outdoor furniture, and pressure-treated wood. Comes in 12 colors.

4. Transformation Siding And Trim (Also For Decks)

Transformation Siding and Trim (Originally High Sierra Formula) Easy to apply   log home stain with water clean-up and no Peel Formula. This popular stain has   a Matte Finish, shows the wood grain, and a wide range of beautiful, natural   colors. Two Coat application recommended. This is a water oil mixture.

5. PPG Sikkens SRD RE (Also for Decks)



Top acrylic based deck stains.

1. Cabot DeckCorrect Solid Tintable Tint Base Acrylic Deck

2. Flood CWF-UV Matte Cedar Water-Based Wood Finish

3. Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

4. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer

5. Minwax Deck Stain



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