Semi-Transparent Stain Versus Solid Stain

Here is a quick compare between semi-transparent stain and solid stain.

Semi-Transparent Stain

Semi transparent stain is a penetrating stain that enhances wood surfaces while still allowing the grain, texture, and color variations within the wood to show through. It is a popular choice for finishing decks and patios when one wishes to retain the natural look of the wood. It can be applied over bare wood or previously semi-transparent stained wood if it has not been sealed. Semi-transparent stain comes in a large selection of colors and generally lasts for about two years. Because it penetrates into the wood, this type of stain is more flexible than film-forming solid stains so blistering and peeling is not an issue.

Solid Stain

Solid stain is more similar to a paint than a stain. It provides a painted look that covers the wood grain pattern completely but still shows the wood texture. However, it is generally less expensive than paint and does not require a primer or the prep work that paint does. It takes longer to dry than semi transparent stain and usually requires two coats. Solid stain provides a higher level of UV protection than semi-transparent stain and is also longer-lasting - many quality brands protect exterior wood for 3 to 5 years. Solid stains can be applied to all exterior wood surfaces including those previously painted or stained. Over time, as several coats are applied, solid stain can form a film that is susceptible to peeling and chipping like paint.