Category: Deck Product Reviews

Olympic Maximum Stain Review

Olympic Maximum Stain Review

OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM Semi-Transparent Stain by OLYMPIC provides a beautiful, subtle color that allows wood’s natural grain and texture to show through. The superior hybrid resin technology penetrates deep into your wood to strengthen, protect, and condition wood fibers, ensuring the Natural Beauty of your wood lasts.

Note: Olympic has changed formulas to the newer water-based Olympic Maximum Stain + Sealant

OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

- The Olympic Maximum in the Cedar Naturaltone is a mix of golden caramel tones. The grain of the treated pine deck had a nice overall color. The knots of the wood were a little light but that can be normal for a deep penetrating oil based stain.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 5

- Overall the Olympic stain had lost close to 50% of it’s color at the two year mark in the areas where there was full sun. The shaded areas and vertical railings did much better though.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

- Close to 80% of the stain was still intact on the horizontal surfaces. It seems that the second winter really did some damage as the stain had worn away from the freeze/thaw effect.

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Thompson's WaterSeal

Thompson's WaterSeal

Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Waterproofer Plus Clear Wood Protector is designed for all exterior wood and decking surfaces. This protection includes: Water repellency, prevents water damage, maintains natural wood grain, all while resiting mold growth. Thompson’s® WaterSeal® claim to fame is the ability to waterproof your exterior wood.

We tested the Thompson’s® WaterSeal® in the Clear finish.

Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

- The Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Clear did not alter or change the appearance of the wood. After full drying we tested the ability to repel water. Water did bead on top of the finish and did not absorb into the wood.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 1

- As far as we can tell, Thompson’s® WaterSeal® does not prevent UV graying at all. This is a huge disappointment as preventing UV graying is the number one reason to stain your exterior wood and decking.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

- Thompson’s® WaterSeal® penetrates deep into the wood. There was no peeling or wearing. We would have given it a 10 if  the product still repelled water but it did not.

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Behr Stain Stripper

Behr Stain Stripper

Behr Premium Stain and Finisher Stripper is designed to remove exterior latex, oil-based and 100% Acrylic coatings on Wood Decks, Siding, Fences, Shakes and Shingles.

Behr Premium Stain and Finisher Stripper Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 7

- Behr Stain Stripper removes general dirt and graying with relative ease. The deep penetration of the stripper softens the dirt and grime so it can easily be rinsed from the wood.

Cost Per Square Foot: 6

- Cost to use the Behr Stripper was high in our opinion since it did not work to remove the wood stain from the deck.

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Defy Deck Stain Stripper

Defy Deck Stain Stripper

Defy Exterior Wood and Deck Stripper is designed to remove transparent and semi-transparent exterior wood and decking stains. Defy Stripper is a biodegradable deck stain remover that restore wood to a like new appearance that will work on both water-based and oil-based stains.

Defy Wood Brightener is needed to neutralize after using the stripper

Defy Stain Stripper Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 9

- Defy Stain Stripper removes general dirt and graying with relative ease. The deep penetration of the stripper softens the dirt and grime so it can easily be rinsed from the wood.

Cost Per Square Foot: 7

- We used 4 gallons of Defy Stain Stripper for the 600 square foot deck. Cost for the 4 gallons was $80, or $.13 per foot. This is average for a stain stripper. Better then most liquid gallons but much more then a powder concentrate.

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Defy Wood Deck Cleaner

Defy Wood Deck Cleaner

Defy Wood Deck Cleaner is a safe alternative to chlorine bleach based cleaners. Defy Wood Cleaner is highly effective at removing general dirt, grime, and UV graying while restoring the wood’s natural color tones. Environmentally safe, powdered, oxygen based concentrate that makes 5 liquid gallons per container.

Defy Wood Cleaner should be used with the Defy Wood Brightener for maximum preparation.

Defy Wood Deck Cleaner Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 8

- The Defy Wood Cleaner did an excellent job at prepping the wood by removing all of the dirt and mold. The test deck had not been maintained in 6  years so the graying of the wood cells was extensive. The Defy Cleaner did a better then average job at softening these grayed wood cells so that a stiff scrubbing removed them from the deck surface.

Cost Per Square Foot: 10

- How can you complain about spending only $20 to clean a 750 square foot deck. That is $.03 a square foot. A bargain compared to liquid packaged cleaners.

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Messmers Part A Cleaner

Messmers Part A Cleaner

Messmer’s Wood and Deck Cleaner can be used to prepare old, weathered wood for prior to applying a stain, or as part of regular wood care maintenance to keep your deck, fence, log home, or other wood surfaces looking great.

The Messmers Part A Cleaner is a concentrated wood and deck cleaner. Mix one 16oz container into 5 gallons of water.

Messmers Wood Deck Cleaner Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 8

- Messmers Wood Deck Cleaner did a pretty decent job at removing graying and dirt. The cleaner restored the IPE deck back to a natural blond color.

Cost Per Square Foot: 8

- The Messmers Deck Cleaner comes in a 16 oz container. This is half as much as similar powdered concentrates that come in 32 oz containers. For example you would need two Messmers ($13.99 x 2 =$27.98) Deck Cleaners to one Defy Wood Cleaner ($19.99). This still makes the Messmers a great buy compared to liquid deck cleaners.

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Penofin Hardwood Stain

Penofin Hardwood Stain

Penofin For Hardwood Stain is a 99% UV protection Brazilian Rosewood Oil finish. This stain was developed to protect and preserve Hardwoods such as IPE and Mahogany. Their exotic hardwood formula penetrates deep into the wood cells. This results in a natural finished look to your wood.

Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish can meet the needs of hardwood in fiber protection, penetration, stabilizing, and nourishment.

Important Note: Testing for Exotic Hardwood Deck Stains

Exotic hardwoods such as IPE are extremely dense and difficult to penetrate. These wood types when stained will always fade faster the other woods such as Cedar, Redwood, and Pine. Testing will be changed to 1 year instead of 2 years for exotic hardwoods.

Penofin Exotic Wood Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 10

- Beautiful! Penofin has traditionally produced some of the nicest finishes and the Penofin Exotic Hardwood Stain does not disappoint. The mahogany wood has a deep richness to it when the Penofin was applied.

Preventing UV Graying at 1 Year Mark: 4

- The Penofin Exotic Wood Stain only retained 40% of it’s color after the year period. As mentioned previously we only test exotic hardwoods for 1 year. Penofin suggests that the stain should be reapplied every 3-6 months for exotic hardwoods. This seems a but much but if you have the time then it would make sense to reapply twice a year.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

- Penofin’s ability to penetrate deep into the wood fibers greatly minimizes any chance of peeling and wearing. This is one of Penofin’s very popular traits.

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Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Review

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Review

Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat is a 100% acrylic exterior wood stain that provides water repellency, mildew resistance, and UV protection. This stain is a waterborne product that was introduces in 2010 as a two component system. One coat of stain and one coat of a protective clear coat needs to be applied. Available in a range of colors, this wood and deck stain can help you protect and beautify your outdoor furniture, deck and siding.

We tested the Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat for only 1 year as it was introduced for Spring 2010. We used the semi-transparent version to be consistent with other field tests.

Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 3

- The Arborcoat after drying had a “plastic” unnatural look to the wood when done. The finished result was a film-forming stain, similar to a varnish. These stain types are definitely prone to peeling in cold weather states such as our test deck in Michigan.

Preventing UV Graying at 1 Year Mark: 10

- We only tested for 1 year but the Benjamin Moore Arborcoat did very well with preventing UV graying. The nano-technolgy seemed to fully repeal the graying effect. We noticed no color change after 1 year.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 1

- We got a call from the homeowner in the Spring of 2011 to look at the deck. On inspection we were extremely disappointed. The Arbrocoat had peeled significantly on the brand new pine deck. Patches of the finish had peeled off the wood in strips. You could peel back with your fingers large sections of stain. The product did not seem to have penetrated into the wood at all.

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SW DeckScapes Review

SW DeckScapes Review

Sherwin Williams DeckScapes Advanced Waterborne Transparent Stain offers 3 way UV protection for wood by absorbing, blocking and stabilizing the wood fibers. DeskScapes enhances the natural wood grain while preventing mold and mildew.

Note: We used SW’s DeckScapes in their water-based toner formula for our test and review.

Sherwin Williams DeckScapes Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 5

- Sherwin Williams DeckScapes is a water based acrylic formula that created a film on top of the wood after drying. The overall appearance of the redwood color was poor and the stain dried unevenly even though it was applied properly.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 6

- After 2 years the Sherwin Williams DeckScapes lost about 60% of it’s original color.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 4

- The Sherwin Williams DeckScapes did not hold up well on our full sun test deck. After the second winter about 60% of the stain had peeled from the floor. This did not happen in just the high traffic areas but throughout the entire deck.

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Messmers UV Plus Wood Deck Stain

Messmers UV Plus Wood Deck Stain

Messmers UV Plus Wood Stain has been manufactured for over 20 years in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. Using a combination of natural oils (linseed) and synthetic oils, Messmers will protect exterior wood with 8 different transparent and semi-transparent colors. The trans-oxides will absorb the UV while preventing oxidation/graying.

Messmers UV Plus Wood Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

- We choose the Natural color as the manufactures said it was the most popular. It enhanced the wood grain “naturally” without adding to much pigment or “orange” tones to our redwood decking. The knots of the redwood did dry a little lighter in color compared to the rich tones of the grain.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 6

- Messmers scored lowest in preventing UV graying. About 60% of the original color was left after the 2 plus years. The decking surface was just starting to turn gray. Being that the Natural color we used was light in tint, we would assume that a darker color/tint would achieve better results for UV protection.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

- The UV Plus did excellent for wear/tear. This finished absorbed deeply into the wood grain. Small amount of worn areas were noticeable around the perimeter of the home from water dripping along the roof edge.

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Defy Epoxy Wood Stain

Defy Epoxy Wood Stain

Defy Epoxy Fortified Wood Stain is a MPI “green” certified exterior stain that protects wood from the damaging effects of weather. The “Epoxy” is not like an traditional epoxy that goes on a garage floor but rather a synthetic epoxy resin that penetrates deep into the pores of the wood. This epoxy resin hardens inside the wood creating a weather proof barrier that prevents water damage and UV graying.

Defy Epoxy Wood Stain can be used on all types of unfinished exterior fencing, decking, and wood structures/homes.

Defy Epoxy Wood Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

- Defy Epoxy in the Light Walnut color added a rich semi-transparent look to the natural grain. The Light Walnut color was a medium brown with a slight hint of red. Our 300 foot deck attained a nice “mahogany” look to it after drying.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 9

- We tested the Defy Epoxy for 2.5 years. When evaluating the deck we would say that 90% of the original color remained on the vertical railings and 80% remained on the horizontal flooring.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 7.5

- The Defy Epoxy did well on 75% of the deck when it comes to wearing/peeling. There were zero issues with the verticals but there was a some wear/tear on the flooring. It is noted that this deck is used for everyday access into the home. This is acceptable in our opinion and other related stains have shown wearing in high traffic areas.

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Penofin Red Label

Penofin Red Label

Penofin (PENetrating Oil FINish) Ultra Red Label wood and deck stain contains a Brazillian Rosewood Oil that allows the stain to penetrate deeply into the wood. Formulated for maximum protection for all types of exterior wood. Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label is perfect where rain, wind, snow, or high elevations are encountered. Trans-oxide pigments offer 99% Ultra Violet Radiation protection

Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 9

- Penofin Ultra in the Western Red Cedar color has a beautiful appearance when dried. One of the best stains we have tested when it comes to penetration into the wood and highlighting the natural wood tones.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 7

- At the 2 year mark the Penofin Ultra Premium stain did an adequate job on preventing UV graying. The high solids of the trans-oxide pigments absorbed the UV radiation, preventing the graying of the wood. About 70% of the color remained since initial application.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

- The Penofin Ultra had little to no peeling on the surface, We expected theses results since the stain absorbed so well into the cedar wood. There was some wearing on about 5-10% of the decking surface mostly in the traffic areas.

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Defy Deck Brightener

Defy Deck Brightener

Defy Wood Brightener is an oxalic acid blend deck brightener and neutralizer. Designed to be used with either the Defy Wood Cleaner or the Defy Stain Stripper. Defy’s Wood Brightener is a concentrated liquid gallon that can make up to 5 gallons covering about 750 square feet. The purpose of this product is to “brighten” the wood’s appearance while cancelling the caustic effects form wood cleaners and stain strippers. Helps to prep new decking by removing mill glaze. Defy Wood Brightener can also be used to remove rust spots from brick, concrete and masonry.

Note: This deck brightener can be used to neutralize any deck cleaner or deck stain stripper.

Defy Wood Brightener Scores (1-10)

Wood Brightening/Lightening: 8

- An almost immediate reaction when applying. The Defy Wood Brightener lightened the wood right before our eyes. After the wood dried there was a very natural look to the cedar decking.

Cost Per Square Foot: 9

- Concentrated liquid gallon makes up to 5 gallons. One gallon for $19.99 covered the 600 square foot deck with ease.

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Citralic Wood Brightener is a powdered concentrate that mixes with water. Citralic was designed to neutralize the caustics from wood cleaners and stain strippers. Manufactured by Extreme Solutions, Citralic works with EFC-38 Wood Cleaner and HD80 Stain Stripper but can be used to with any wood cleaner or stain stripper. Citralic is a professional grade wood brightener but can be used by homeowners as well for impressive results. Citralic is a mixture of acids and surfactants that are biodegradable and Eco-friendly.

Citralic Wood Brightener Scores (1-10)

Wood Brightening/Lightening: 9

- We used the Citralic Wood Brightener on a fence that was cleaned first with it’s sister product, EFC-38. The Citralic brightener lightened the wood within 5-10 minutes of application.

Cost Per Square Foot: 10

- The Citralic brightener was applied to 1000 feet of fencing. One 2 pound container covered this entire area. Cost per square foot was $.02 a square foot.

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Behr Deck Stain Review

Behr Deck Stain Review

BEHR’s Premium semi-transparent wood stain offers a 100% acrylic formula that penetrate into wood to deliver complete protection from the elements on decks, fences and siding. The silicone-fortified formula protects from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Behr’s Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is available in 83 custom colors allowing the natural wood grain to show through.

Behr Wood Deck Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 2

- Behr’s Premium Deck Stain is a 100% acrylic stain which means it is a water based product. We found that the stain does not penetrate into the wood as promised in it’s description. Product had the look of a semi-solid stain not a semi-transparent stain. 80-90% of the wood grain was masked by the heavy pigment. A good way to describe the finished appearance is to compare Behr Deck Stain to a watered down paint. The Cedar color we choose was much darker/redder then other brands.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 8

- Behr Deck Stain performed well in the areas where the stain was still on the surface of the deck after the 2 years of testing.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 1

- The worst that we have ever tested! The Behr Deck Stain had peeled on 80% of the decking surface. This stain seemed to offer little to no protection on the flooring after the 2 years. The railings did hold up much better.

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One Time Wood Stain

One Time Wood Stain

One Time® Wood Stain is a 100% solid stain that can be used on all types of unfinished exterior wood.  One Time® Wood Deck Stain is a proprietary acrylate resin blend that protects by penetrating into the wood cells and cross linking into the wood. One Time® contains no solvent or water to evaporate and cures in the full UV ray’s of the sun.

The manufacturer claims a 7 Year Warranty on UV Fading, Water Damage, and Natural Weathering.

One Time® Wood Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 5

- One Time Wood Stain had a decent look to the finished wood. Very rich in color. We did not appreciate the drying problems that the One Time displayed. This caused a slick/sticky appearance.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 6

- One Time® faded considerably in the full sun areas. About 40% of the original color had remained. The shaded part of the deck still had stain left but unfortunately had darkened considerably.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

- One Time® Stain showed little to no peeling or wearing. This is the only claim by the manufacturer that actually lived up to it’s warranty.

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