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Semi-Transparent Decorative Deck Stain

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A sun-brightened deck treated with Benjamin Moore wood stains in complementary colors, and a flower-adorned dining table and chairs.

Give your deck a distinctive look that adds style as it brings out the natural beauty of the wood with a decorative deck stain, such as Benjamin Moore Semi Transparent Deck & Siding Stain.

Decorative Deck Stain Tools and Supplies


  • Benjamin Moore Semi Transparent Deck & Siding Stain (070) in: Thousand Oceans (1645), Natural Cedartone (045), and Birch Bark


  • Three 2½-inch Benjamin Moore bristle brushes
  • Disposable latex gloves
  • Hand sander
  • Masking tape
  • Pole sander
  • Rags
  • Straight-edge ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Studio Finishes® Latex Glaze (405)

Note: The amount of stain and the tools required depend on the square footage of your project. For guidance in calculating the size of your project, consult your local Benjamin Moore retailer.

Step 1 - Make Sure Your Deck Is Dry
Before you begin staining your deck, make sure to allow for at least three to four consecutive dry days. If you are uncertain how dry the wood is, test it with a moisture meter. If you do not have a moisture meter, visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer, and they may be able to provide you with one.

Step 2 - Sand Your Deck
Remove any dead wood fibers or mill glaze by sanding your deck thoroughly. If your deck has a previous coat of finish, it must be removed with a product such as Benjamin Moore's Finish Remover, available at your local Benjamin Moore retailer. Once you have sanded your deck, lightly wash it to remove any dust particles.

Step 3 - Select Your Floor Pattern
Draw the pattern you want to create directly on your deck with a pencil, taking care to work with the natural lines of the wood. The less you have to work against the grain, the better your staining will look.

Step 4 - Score the Pattern
Use your utility knife and ruler to score the pattern you have selected into your deck surface. The cuts may be thin—1/32 of an inch is enough—but must be deep enough to be visible.

Step 5 - Tape Off Patterned Areas
Use masking tape to tape off the patterned areas you plan to stain. Also select your stain color—in this case, we have chosen Thousand Oceans (1645), Natural Cedartone, and Birch Bark, all in Benjamin Moore Alkyd Semi Transparent Stain (328/C328).

Step 6 - Start with Vertical Surfaces
Start by staining your deck's vertical surfaces, such as railings and balusters, using a brush to ensure the best penetration of the stain.

When you apply stain to a board, be sure to completely finish its entire length. If you stop in the middle, lap marks may result. Always stain vertical surfaces first so that drips from your brush won't land on previously finished areas.

Step 7 - Apply the Stain
Follow by staining your deck's horizontal surfaces, using the same manner as on the vertical surfaces. To apply stain on the scored areas, brush the stain at the edge of a scored line. Use a brush with the lightest color first, and then apply the rest of your colors.

When you apply different semi transparent deck stain colors next to one another, begin with the lightest color first. Then move to the next darkest, and so on.

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