A backyard deck is a great place to entertain. You can extend the life of real wood decks with just a little simple maintenance. Traditionally, wood stains are oil-based products that simply coat the wood with a waxy, paraffin-based ingredient. Choosing a water-based stain will help it to saturate the wood for longer protection. It is a much greener choice since it allows the wood to breathe while it's being protected. Water-based stains contain a lower amount of volatile organic compounds, which means there are less chemicals contributing to smog and ozone depletion.