For whatever grief choosing a paint color causes for my decision paralysis, choosing the perfect exterior wood stain color is INFINITELY worse! What’s up with that?
BUT after days of indecision, I finally found the absolute best deck stain color of all time!
We have been living in our house for exactly 6 years, and other than pressure washing, we have never once stained or sealed our back porch wood floors. I know; that’s really bad.
How Often Should You Stain a Wood Deck?
At the very least, you should reapply wood sealer every three years. In many cases, you really should seal a deck once per year in instances of heavy foot traffic and sun exposure.
Without staining and sealing regularly, decking can experience wood rot and break down faster. So it’s an expensive fix to replace, if you don’t protect a wood deck every couple of years.
And we definitely didn’t want to replace anything, if we could help it.
How Much Did It Cost to Refinish the Deck?
Refinishing these wood boards was way overdue, and we really got lucky thanks to patching a few damaged wood boards with Bondo Rotted Wood Restorer.
We rented an orbital floor sander machine (from Sunbelt Rentals) for $67 for the day to speed up the process by giving us a clean, new surface and had our entire back porch covered with its first coat of wood stain and sealer within 4 hours.
In all, for equipment rental, wood patch, stain & sealer, and supplies, it cost us $307.
Our Favorite Neutral Driftwood Deck Stain Color
I guess your definition of the best and my definition of the best might be two different colors. But this deck stain is the perfect light neutral driftwood shade that eliminates yellow in the wood without any weird blue undertones.
See how pretty it is?!
The taupe solid stain version would work well on an older deck that has significant stains you need to cover them.
We used this same Behr deck stain in a different color on other backyard projects 2 years ago, and it has held up incredibly well in the harsh weather. If I had known about this driftwood stain color, I would have been using it all along.
Here is how the Behr stain color in Taupe looked as I brushed around the edges of our deck.
Driftwood Stain Color in Different Lighting
See how the stain looks around the perimeter on top of our yellowish wood deck?
I haven’t edited these photos below so you can get a sense of how it looks in person. The lighting does looks slightly blue in this first photo below in more direct sunlight, but it’s still a very neutral driftwood stain. I didn’t notice any blue or purple tint in person.
Why You Should Always Test Stain Colors First
Here is how the Behr Taupe semi-transparent waterproofing exterior stain looks along the brick wall of our porch.
It drives me crazy when I brush stain on a piece of wood thinking it will be a great neutral light brown and it ends up being a dark reddish or yellowy color. So these are some things to think about as you sample stain colors to make sure it will work well on your own deck.
Wood species does play a major roll in how stain colors appear, so it’s always important to test your wood stain on a scrap piece of wood or in an inconspicuous area on your deck.
Before applying stain, be sure the wood is clean as dirt and grime can affect the color’s appearance. The age of your wood plays a significant role in stain color. Older wood tends to appear darker than new wood after stain is applied.
Keep in mind that the look of stain colors will change depending on your lighting conditions too. So if you’re really concerned, look at the stain color sample at different times of the day before starting your project.
The color might look completely different on an overcast day versus a rainy day or sunny day.
Recommended Stain Application
We tried this Behr Taupe color on our pine porch floor as well our pressure treated wood deck steps.
Unfortunately, we did make the mistake of rolling the stain on the large area of porch flooring, and it left a slightly less transparent finish.
The stairs that we hand brushed looked so much better with a semi-transparent look, so in hindsight, it would have been worth it to spray or brush the entire space to see more of the wood grain.
Finished Deck in Behr Taupe Stain
Still we absolutely love the end result of our refinished porch wood flooring, and this taupe stain color is now officially my go-to from now on!
If you love the look of Serena & Lily, it would be beautiful to use wood patio furniture to create that similar light, airy, coastal style with the neutral driftwood tone.
We’re not totally sure how old this wood decking is, but it’s definitely been here for well over a decade.
It really turned out beautifully considering its age. (By the way, can you picture a fireplace in place of that faux mantel? I just ordered the materials to start that project and cannot wait! Eek!)
Related: 35 DIY Backyard Ideas on a Budget
Wood Deck Before Refinishing
Quite an improvement from just a day before, right?
Cleaning the wood deck with a pressure washer and degreaser detergent and sanding was absolutely a necessity to make it the color of my dreams.
I didn’t even know it was the deck color of my dreams until now. You learn something new every day, I guess.
So now the back porch is all dressed up and ready for summer!
Now that it’s been 2 years since we bought our Walmart patio furniture, I plan to share an update about it soon.
Related: Our Back Porch Refresh
We’re still working on refinishing the side deck connected to this back porch, updating the no longer working outdoor speakers, and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. (That haint blue ceiling still has my heart.)
Backyards, decks, and porches really are a pain in the maintenance department, but it’s a good thing they’re so rewarding.
More things will be happening out here soon!