Staining or sealing your decking is up to you. Although there is a difference between staining and sealing a decking, doing any of the types will make your decking last longer. But that depends on the kind of decking that you install. If you build composite decking, for example, you don’t have to stain or seal the decking because it is durable without a stain or sealant. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take extra steps to protect your composite decking. So, the question to ask is, should I stain or seal my decking? 

Staining a Decking

A stain is something that you put on your decking to maintain the surface colour. If you have a faded decking, and you wish to make the colour look good, you can stain the surface. An alternative to staining your decking is painting it. Like a stain, you can use good latex paint to make the appearance of your decking attractive. There are different stains available in the market that you can get. Once you have applied the stain on your decking surface, you will conceal scratches that distort the appearance. 

Sealing a Decking

Unlike stains that are applied to cover scratches or make the surface of a decking beautiful, sealers are applied for different reasons. The essence of sealing a decking is to prevent moisture from infiltrating the surface of the decking. If moisture gets to the core of your decking, it can damage it because the decking will swell and eventually rot. A rotten decking is not worth having. This is common with timber decking but not composite and plastic decking. 

Wood decking owners must seal their decking regularly to prevent water from entering it. But since we are dealing with composite decking in this write-up, you don’t have to seal it. When you seal your composite decking, you will give it extra protection against the elements. That is if you are using the first generation uncapped decking. The newer second-generation composite decking has a capped surface that prevents moisture from entering it. This one does not require sealing.

How to Stain Your Decking

Most decking manufacturers will recommend that when maintaining your decking, you should seal and stain it to make it last longer. Since staining your decking will give it a good appearance, sealing the decking will prevent moisture from entering it. So, you can do both on your decking if you want it to last long and look beautiful at the same time. If you have made up your mind to seal and stain your decking, you must seal it first. 

Step One – Clean Your Decking Surface

Cleaning your decking surface is the first thing to do if you want to seal your decking. You should ensure that the surface is free of dirt and debris before you apply the stain. To clean your decking, use a garden hose to spray water on the surface. Or, you can sweep the surface of your decking with a broom to remove dirt. 

Step Two – Apply the Stain

You have to purchase a good stain from the market to achieve the task. After buying the stain, you should pour the content on a large bucket and use a roller to apply it to your decking surface. Then you should wait until the stain is dry before you can start using your decking.

staining your composite decking

How to Seal Your Decking

Sealing your decking follows the same step as staining the decking. But you have to use a sealer instead of a stain. Note that the sealer will protect your decking from moisture and prevent swelling and rot. 

Step Three – Apply the Sealer

If you are continuing from staining your decking, then you don’t have to clean the surface of the decking again. You should apply the sealer after staining your decking. But you must ensure that the stain is dry before you proceed to apply the sealer. Also, you should use a good sealer to prevent moisture from entering the surface of your decking. 

Use Second Generation Composite Decking

When you use the Second generation capped composite decking, you don’t have to stain or seal your decking’s surface. This type of decking has an extra layer of plastic that encapsulates the birds and prevents water from entering them. 


Should I stain or seal my composite decking? It depends on you. Staining your decking will improve the appearance, while sealing it will prevent moisture from entering the boards.

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