Treating/Staning Decking

I am looking to stain/protect my decking but after looking at the prices of the stain it seems that each small tin which I need 5 of is going to cost me about 120. Is there a cheaper way of doing this? It has been treated at the timber yard but I wanted to go for a dark brown stain.
TIA Simon
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Efficacy and appearance of wood treatments is directly proportional to price.
At the high end you have products like Jotun which can be obtained in any colour you like, look superb and will last for many years, protecting the wood well. This originates from Norway and is widely used for property preservation. I've used their Trebbit product and it has lasted perfectly for over 8 years. I expect to re-do it the year after next.
In the upper mid range, there is Sikkens and Sadolin. Each has a number of ranges, with the better ones (e.g. Sadolin Classic) coming in a reasonable range of colours and are solvent based. I've used this one and reckon the life is about 7 years in most cases. They have lower end garden building products as well, but these do not seem to be a lot better than other brands.
In the lower mid range, there is Cuprinol. Many of their products have now been switched to water based, although at least these come in a few reasonably acceptable colours. There are still some solvent based preservatives from them, although the colour range is limited. I've also used these on garden buildings and reckon on about 5 years life.
At the low end, there is the own-brand stuff from the DIY stores. These are almost always water based and come in very poor shades of colour with the result that the finished result will make the house look like the one in Play School. Penetration is not at all good and lifetime limited. Two years is typical, three if lucky, but it is showing bare wood in that time.
So I would choose based on the wanted lifetime of the item, and consequently don't use the low end stuff any longer. Apart from the direct cost because of repeat treatments, there is the time taken.
For a deck, which presumably you would want to have for a minimum of ten years, I wouldn't use anything less than a Sikkens or Sadolin product - it's a false economy.
However, you should be able to do better on pricing if you shop around, especially on line. Unless it's a vast deck, perhaps half of the figure you mention?
I think you also have to weight it against the cost of replacing the deck if it deteriorates. Again, economising on wood preservatives really is a false economy.
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Andy Hall wrote:

The cheap stuff my have less of the preservative in it who can say without the expense of an analysis. What is difficult to gauge is the quality of the stain. The colouring is an earth based dye so the penetration is not going to be deep whatever.
If the wood is white pine then even if the grain of the colouring is small, little or no penetration can take place. Even solvents are unlikely to go deep without pressure treatment to rip open the cells of the wood.
In the good old days the stuff developed out of the gas the Germans developed to kill Jews was widely used. However along with agent orange and some weedkillers, lindane is no longer in use.
Virtually all preservatives since then have been very expensve metal salts or some pretty weak stuff. I would check out the contents of the stuff you are buying and compare that with the alternatives before settling on a colourant.
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Weatherlawyer wrote:

Transparent iron oxides are pretty damned small. Pigments but indistinguishable from a dye they say.

What they call stains now are actually coloured varnishes, which is why they look so bloody garish IMO.
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said:

I am looking at the Jotun Trebitt but I am trying to work out the coverage.
Says here http://www.woodcaredirect.co.uk/product_detail.cfm?ID "19
Typical coverage per litre 8 - 10m2 (is that per coat? will it need 3 coats?)
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Sorry, I should have been bit clearer. When mentioning Jotun, I was really talking about the manufacturer. I used Trebitt for a garden building application where I wanted a particular final appearance.
There is a translucent stain version as well.
The best information can be found on their Norwegian web site where there are also colour cards.
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said:

They have stuff for decking specifically but it is water based is that OK?
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