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Cabot Wood Deck Stain Review3.21/5(4)

Cabot Wood Deck Stains

Cabot Wood Deck Stains

Cabot Deck Stains offers 3 way protection for exterior wood and decking. This offers maximum durability from water damage while penetrating deep into the wood. Containing linseed oil and Trans-oxides, Cabot Stains will reflect UV damage giving long lasting protection. Cabot traditionally has been one of the leaders in the exterior wood restoration industry.

For the test deck and review we choose to use Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil in the Natural tone.

Cabot Australian Timber Oil Wood Deck Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 7

- The Natural Tone of the Cabot Stain did a remarkable job at restoring the wood colors in our pine deck. The stain did not penetrate into the wood as expected and had shiny spots throughout the flooring.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 6

-The Cabot Deck Stain showed 60% color retention after 2 years. The Natural tint faded in color significantly on the flooring. We expected better results from the Cabot Australian Timber Oil.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 7.5

-On 25% of the decking surface the Cabot Stain was completely gone after two years. It seemed that the winter did substantial damage to the stain as there was heavy wearing.

Cost Per Square Foot: 8

- We only needed one gallon of the Cabot’s to cover the 200 square feet. This equates to $.23 a square foot.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 7

- After 2 years there was a decent amount of mold growing on about 30% of the deck. In addition there was algae growth under the railings and around the perimeter of the house.

Ease of Application: 7.5

- The Australian Timber Oil did not apply as easy as we would like. The finish spread very well as far as coverage but we had difficulty with getting the stain to absorb evenly into the wood. We used a stain pad applicator and applied evenly but the Cabot dried tacky and sticky in several areas.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 7.5

- Darkening of the stain had occurred where the stain was still attached to the wood. Mostly due to dirt and mold.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 7

- We would suggest a heavy stripping followed by a wood brightening to restore the Cabot Stain. We suggest stain removal since the stain had worn in places and there was mold/algae. This would be the best way to prep for another coat of stain.

Overall Score Cabot Wood Deck Stain at 2 Year Period: 7.19

- The Cabot Australian Timber Oil had an average score compared to other stains that we tested. We expected more from Cabot when it comes to preventing mold and algae. In addition the UV resistance scored low. Not a bad stain but not the best either. A good option if you are limited to buying from a big box store. There are better decking stains online.

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Select Hardware Stores or Online
Cost: $45.99 per Gallon, $225.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent
Available Colors: Amberwood, Honey Teak, Mahogany Flame, Natural
Application Temperature: 45-90 F
Coats Required: 1-2 Coats
Coverage Per Gallon: 200-300 sq. ft
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 24 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in All 50 States
More Info: Product Data
Manufacturer: Cabot

Test Deck Stats:

When Tested: June 2008
Deck Wood Type: Pine
Deck Square Footage: 200
UV Exposure: Mostly Sun with southern exposure
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used:

*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

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41 Responses to “Cabot Wood Deck Stain Review”

  1. John says:

    Ive tried many stains with all the decks I have built, this one is the worst I've ever used. It looked great when it was applied but not for long. Here in Texas a good stain and seal will last about two years, I got 9 months out of this product. Don't waste your money and time for this overpriced underperforming product. I even tried to contact Cabot with no response.

  2. Kdane says:

    I agree. Cabot is not for texas. I have a large deck , six chairs, two tables and a swing I have to redo because the Cabot lasted less than a year. IN THE SHADE!!

  3. Sylvain says:

    Cabot's product provide such a nice look.

    Here in Canada I'm using Cabot Australian Timber Oil Natural Transparent Exterior Stain on top of my Red Cedar and I need to apply 2 coats (withinh 2 days) every year. If I go beyond 1 year then I need to strip the deck back to bare wood and it's such a painful job to do.

    My advice if you want to use this Cabot product: apply 2 coats at fall time before temperature gets cold. It will help protect the deck against snow (I know.. not inTexas LOL)

    Now the bad news: it seems that they have changed the chemical content to meet some environment regulations. The replacement mixture is NOT looking at all like the old one ! It's really bad because my only option now is to strip the deck AGAIN and use either that new formula OR to chose a complete new product (which I think is what I'm gonna do)

    Any suggestion for a good looking / long lasting replacement to Cabot Timber Oil ?

    • Sylvain, I would look at Armstrong Clark Stains.

      • Steve says:

        Armstrong Clark Stain for hardwoods ruined my Ipe deck. I followed the instructions and we had rain after 3 days dry time turning the stain into a nasty orange sludge, had to strip and sand the deck, as well as repaint my siding, deck trim and doors..pitiful product!

  4. Jan Young says:

    We used cabot stain on our newly built deck in Michigan. It was rated #1 at the time. Within 3 months the stain was peeling. We contacted cabot and they said it was old wood. We purchased the treated lumber from 3 separte lumber companies. Several pieces of the wood was sent and again they would not stand behind their product. We had and upper and lower wrap around deck. The deck had to be sanded to get the existing stain removed. I will never buy anything with cabot's name on it

  5. Raymond Jean says:

    This is the worst stain ever. I had professional painter paint my T-1 11 walls and ceiling with this crap (ATO) resulting in uneven, blotchy, etc. walls and ceiling. ( 2 season ventilated room).

    I contacted Cabot and their recommendation is to sand the 900 plus square feet of T-1-11 boards to remove this stain. They do not stand by their product. Plus this stain was recommended by Lowes. Thinking I was getting the best stain. All I can recommend is to stay away from this product. It should not be on the market.

  6. diana says:

    Deck Location: Tucson, AZ_
    Exposure: Full Sun _
    Wood Type: Raw Pine _
    Mold or Mildew Issues: No _
    Reason for Previous Stain Failure: Faded did not absorb.
    Previously used: Sherwin Williams brand stain

    Lowes sells Cabot but I'm not seeing good reviews. We are looking at ordering TWP.

    • Diana, Make sure to remove any remnants of the SW stain prior to applying a new stain. TWP 1500 would be a good choice. It penetrates well into the wood and can be cleaned and reapplied without difficulty in the future.

  7. Darin says:

    Diana, I'm in Las Vegas. Let me know what product works for you down there. I need to switch off of Cabot, too.

  8. hsl says:

    I used this when my deck was put in and the first year it proved to be wonderful. Two years later, I wanted to do another coat for the floor and railing tops due to the deterioration of the finish. That was last year, and it is clear that there has been a formula change. Even with prepping exactly as outlined, the finish was pretty much gone before the end of the season. I didn't have time to redo before winter set in here in MN, and the deterioration from the lack of protection with the Cabot is incredible. As soon as the weather warms, I'll be redoing the entire deck with something very much better.

  9. Richard says:

    I have a new, small deck made from pressure treated deck boards. How long should I wait to stain it, and what stain would you recommend, and how many coats? What prep will it need first? I would like it as natural a tone as possible (right now, after one month, if has the tone of a light, yellowish cedar, which looks good). But I would also, of course, like it to be protected from UV, etc, with as little maintenance as possible. If you say Armstrong Clark, which one, and should I then refinish it with the same, or should I then go to TWP? How soon will I have to re-do it, and how difficult will it be?

  10. Ken says:

    Thanks for the reviews. I have had great coverage with Super Deck. Lasts a long time for me in cold winter and hot dry summer Canada.

  11. kris olson says:

    We used Cabot's Semitransparent stain on our rough wood siding. It seems to fade out quickly, They suggested it at Menards. The planks run up and down and this is something we could sand to redo. We use to use Olympics but Ace had suggested this as a better paint 10 years ago

  12. Teresa brockway says:

    HI I used Cabot`s semi solid deck stain.It is now showing white spots all over the deck…Why would this happen ?It cost a lot of monwey to have this done.$250. dollars for the stain and I payed $ get it done I am so upset .

  13. Mike says:

    I have used cabots timber oil on my ipe decks and have found that if you wipe and buff the stain just before it dries and is still tacky, it looks great and lasts for 2 years. I have not re-done my decks in the last 2 years. but when I read these reviews, and comments about the formula being changed, I am certainly concerned. Should I consider switching to another product when i re-stain? I had great results with the color Mag. flame color. also had 2 gallons left over and just finished daughters cedar deck and it looks great, but need to get another gallon for the rails and again Im concerned about the formula change, any suggestions would be great.

  14. Brad says:

    Amazing to see so many consistent reviews. Lowe's recommended Cabots Timber Oil to me, but a friend who builds a lot of decks sent me a picture of his deck a year after applying the same…totally worn off of the walk area's – looks terrible. The paint salesman at Lowe's just used it to protect his deck, I wonder what he will say next year. I went with Olympic Maximum penetrating oil forumula. After reading the reviews here, I think I will consider TWP next year.

  15. john says:

    Need to seal my PT deck. Its new and now dry. We're I Maine and the weather is starting to turn colder at night so time is running out. Everything I see says it needs to be above 50 degree for 48 hours for drying. After spending all this $$ for a new deck, I'd like to make sure I protect it. Not sure I have the time to order and wait for a TWP shipment. Looked like Cabot had good scores based on the evaluation but after reading everyone's experiences here yikes! I'm stuck with a decision. What to use… I have basically big box stores and Sheman Williams locally Ideas? Or do I forgo sealing the deck for winter?

    • John, when was it built? Many manufacturers want you tow wait 3 or more months before applying stain to new wood.

      • john says:

        about 8 weeks ago. I did the water test on it and no water beaded up.. According to the things I've read it's ready for sealing. The installer told us to make sure we go it done before the snow flies. I'm going to try for Flood sealer – natural – as see how it goes. The reviews both here and elsewhere look good and I can get the product locally. Today is warm as is tonight it should be above 50. I'll let everyone know how it goes…

  16. Joe Lippincott says:

    deck built last year. waited for it to dry. Coated with Cabots natural oil base. This year purchased natural oil base but it was a different number. Lowes salesperson said it was the same. Vertical railing and post stained as advertised but top of railing and deck surfaced turned black. Underside of railing and surface is still sticky. Railing was done 2 wks before the deck surface was done,sill sticky.Natural number is 379501, last year was different. Surface did not last but one year before it was pale and water absosrbant . recommended to friend, wished I hadent.

  17. Ari says:

    I bought Cabot Oak Brown Semi-transparent stain. I had someone apply it to our porch and they did a terrible job, it looks not even and a lot of brush marks. I just hired someone else to do a second coat and hope they can fix it and make it look better. However, after reading so many bad reviews, I am afraid of applying the product to the fence and re-applying it to the porch. I keep reading that after a few months the products start to peel or look bad. Should I just remove the stain and start over with another brand? Is CAbot a terrible stain? The local stores only have SW, Bher, Olympia and Cabot. Please advice?

    • Ari, applying more will probably not fix the issue and could make it worse. If it is done correctly, Cabot is a slightly better then average stain for decking and will work fine with no issues on the fence.

  18. Mike says:

    My deck is tree years old pressure treated with no finish. The 650 sq.ft. deck was pressure washed 3 days before staining with Jarrah Brown Timber oil and it sucked up 5 gal. like crazy and after 2 days drying the finish is very uneven. Can I put a second coat on yet?

  19. Sissy says:

    If it stays tacky too long what do I do? Apply another coat or strip & start over? I used water based.

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Writing from Canada. I bought two gallons of Cabot semi-transparent deck stain for my deck which is two years old. I stripped the wood and was left with a beautiful finish, close to the original look of the the wood when the deck was first built. I stained the upper part of the deck with the first can of stain and it looked amazing. I was quite happy with the result, bright and shiny, very good coverage after two coats. I started the second half of the deck with the second can of stain and noticed a remarkable difference in the quality of the stain compared to the first gallon. The stain was runny, I could not get rid of the brush strokes after two coats, it was dull and that portion to the deck looked as if it was stained a year or more ago. I stopped staining and went to Lowes to voice my displeasure; however, was told they could not to anything and someone from Cabot will come to my home to view the deck. I am still waiting for a phone call and that visit. Not sure what to do. My deck cost me $4800 and was ruined by a $40 can of stain. Shame of Cabot.

  21. Kevinp79 says:

    How many of these reviews are regarding the new low-VOC formula with the blue label on the lid? The old formula was one of the best stains on the market for many years. The new formula is so bad that Lowe's had to drop the entire line in my region due to complaints and returns.

    Love the higher VOC ATO, would rate at least 9/10.

    • I agree the the old formula was much better! Unfortunately the new formula is garbage.

      • smoghat says:

        i'm not going to comment on the new ATO vs the old ATO. I will, however go on record saying it is a great replacement the high VOC Cabot Clear Solutions or CS stain. It's a scary stain to work with. It seems all wrong when you apply it. Do NOT apply it with a brush if you can avoid it, use an applicator and do not do it on a hot day. But it does work and it works well. It holds up longer than the old CS stains, looks great, and if you live in a woody area like I do, it doesn't get black mold. High VOC stains have a problem which is that mold loves the oil that they rely on. A year after application high VOC stains inevitably got black mold where I live. This stuff just doesn't.

  22. Guest says:

    Writing (or can you hear the screams) from Canada.

    We have a 320 sq. ft treated pine deck professionally installed. Waited for 2 years to apply a coating, as per lumber yard's instructions. First used an Olympic oil penetrating stain then bought a 'touch-up' can and only after application did we realize that Olympic changed the formula. Went back to Lowes to register a complaint only to learn that Dalton McGuinty, Taxario's answer to the Fabian Society, 'ordered' the original oil based stains off the shelf from ALL retailers–even the paint girls at Lowes were inundated with the massive volumes of ticked-off customers.

    Olympic came through with a cheque to reimburse our stain costs and threw in a gallon of their Deck Cleaner.

    Glad we came across this Cabot Stain complaint board as we were just about to crack the lid on Cabot Semi-transparent mahogany flame stuff. Best not contribute anymore to our Liberal deck: McGuinty stain, Wynne kinky hose, made in China, duped by a deceptive 'Made in Canada' sticker; some type of Toronto urban type moss growing that we have to beat down with a stick. Hope the screws are homemade or we'll be living in saw-dust by year's end.

    Thanks Folks–you saved us money and time. Seems Cabot sucummbed to the polticos.

    Great discussion board, keep up the good work!.

    PS: Any of our US cousins know of a NFL franchise re-doing their astro-turf?

  23. Maryann says:

    Im so upset! Our home is Bord and Batton and we used Cabot. It lasted 8 yrs befor we had to redo the South wall only. We were so happy with the product that we ran out and purchased This new Cabot austrailian timber oil for our very large deck. I did everything correct and followed the can directions to the letter. My 2 nabours came over a few days later and fell in love with the new look of our deck. They ended up doing their decks a week later and they are 2 times the size of ours. After a long winter and a bit of snow shoveling all our deck are a mess, not to mention the marks left from the summer furniture. I cant beleive this product did not saturate the wood. I even put a second coat on the following year. This was a lot of work and now i dont know what to do. Any how, its too late now and the damage is done. SAVE YOUR MONEY ON THIS ONE!

  24. Ron says:

    Well doesn't this just suck…Didn't think I would need to read reviews. Cabot was always said to be the best. Then on top of that, I bought their "premium stain" said the salesperson at the Do-it Center. Australian Timber oil. Just spent this entire weekend applying 9 gallons to my fence, deck railings, and Rainbow play structure. (TREX Flooring!) Sounds like I need to read reviews no matter how far beyond average I believe that I am purchasing.

  25. donna says:

    the stain comes off too.

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.