Howdy and welcome to the latest installment of “All decked out," a series of of posts where I tackle a part of the home where the great outdoors and the green indoors meet: your patio, porch, lanai, deck, terrace, or whatever you might call it. So far, I’ve recommended outfitting your outdoor space with eco-friendly planters, non-gruesome bug traps, alfresco eatin’ and drinkin’ waresdecor items, low-impact lamps and lanterns, eye-catching watering cans, and outdoor furnishings including chairs, sofas, and eco-swings and hammocks.


Last week, I switched gears to focus on chlorine bleach-free cleaners used to safely and effectively eradicate wood decks of mold, mildew, grit, and grime, and to also prep them for today's "All decked out" topic: exterior stains and sealants. 


Although it may be true that oil-based wood stains last-longer and penetrate better, if you're embarking on a deck staining/sealing project why not look into a water- or bio-based formula that's free of petrochemicals and emits minimal volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? Like with indoor paints, the VOCs found in exterior wood stains are linked to a wide array of long- and short-term health complications making it equally important to pay mind to the outdoor air quality around your homeAdditionally, treating your deck with an eco-friendly stain eliminates any risk of harmful chemicals being washed off your deck and entering local water supplies when it rains. 


Here are a few low-toxicity, low/no-VOC exterior wood stains to consider:


Rubio Monocoat 2C Deck Oil @ Eco-Building Products ($54, 350 ml)















TimberSoy Natural Wood Stain @GreenDepot ($36.95, 1 gal.)















DEFY Epoxy Fortified Wood Stain @ Homeworks Supply ($35.96, 1 gal)















[skipwords]Vermont[/skipwords] Natural Coatings PolyWhey Exterior Wood Finish @ EcoHaus ($59.99)














BioShield Aqua Resin Stain Finish #33 @ Eco-Building Products ($26.50 -$28.50, .75 liter) 














BioWash Natural Deck Oil @ EcoHaus ($42.99, 1 gal.)















Timber Ox Green Wood Protectant Stain @ Green Energy Solutions Depot ($64.77, 1 gal.)














Velvit Oil Cabin and Deck Finish @ Green Building Supply ($71.03, 1 gal.)












ECO FIN Eco Friendly Deck Stain @ Sun Frog ($15, 1 qt; $34, 1 gal.)











Sansin DEC Deck Stain (click here for dealers) 










AFM DuroStain @ Green Depot ($13.85 - $75.23) 













Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.