Latest Consumer Magazine Reports on Decking Stains

Latest Consumer Magazine Reports on Decking Stains is out again this year and we have been getting some questions as to why our ratings differ so much compared to their highest rated products. We have compiled a list of reasons why we believe our reviews and ratings are more realistic and honest examples of how a deck stain actually performs.

Contractor Restoration Network

Reviews and articles are posted by contractors who specialize in exterior wood restoration. All of these contractors are experienced in the trade of prepping and applying a stain to an exterior deck.

Real World Testing vs. Accelerated Testing

Our stains are tested on actual decks with normal exposure to weather and traffic. Consumers uses an accelerated test on an individual board. This board is not exposed to normal everyday “real world” conditions.

Brands Tested: Big Box Store Brands vs All Stain Brands

We test all available brands and versions. Consumers tests mainly big box store brands such as Behr, Sherwin William, Cabots, etc. Many of the best wood stains are not available at these stores but rather in high end paint stores, lumber yards, or online.

Consumers Tests Appearance Only for Mildew, Cracking, Wearing, Color Change, Dirt

Consumers mainly tests only for appearance of the stain after a period of accelerated testing. They do not take in consideration many of the requirement that we look for such as: Ease of application, Cost per square foot, how difficult it is to reapply in the future, etc.

Free vs. paid subscription

Our reviews and ratings are free for all to read and post their own experience when working with a particular stain. Consumers is a paid subscription that requires a monthly or yearly fee to access.

Overall Ratings On The Web

Our ratings and reviews for decking finishes are consistent with real world experiences across the Internet. For example, Consumers rates Behr Stains “Best” while we gave it the worst deck stain rating of any brand tested. In our opinion this is absolutely ridiculous. A quick search online for “behr deck stain failure” will produce a substantial amount of unhappy and mad customers. In fact Consumers own “user ratings” shows that homeowners who have used Behr Stains gave it a 1 Star out of 5! We have never met an experienced contractor who would use Behr on a customers deck. We encourage potential deck stain buyers to do a thorough research online prior to buying.

127 Responses to “Latest Consumer Magazine Reports on Decking Stains”

  1. Dkhdesign says:

    Used Cabot semi transparent stain on deck last July 2011and by this spring -late February…the horizontal decking had peeling in several areas, whether they were traffic areas or not. Vertical decking looks great but now we will need to strip, wash and have stain reapplied. Very disappointing!

    • Mike Ripp says:

      I had the same problem with Cabot semi-transparent on cedar deck.

    • rick lewis says:

      as a lumber dealer and deck enthusiast I can tell you dont use cabot oil toners at least on your deck. it will peel and come up like fuzz on your deck and the only option is to sand it off,,,,no fun. The older wolman fp was great but as with many products now the epa is demanding latex based products and they are having a hard time performing at this moment. I use cabot on my wood siding with fair success but not on decks

    • John says:

      try Superdeck by Duckback, it's the best

      • Jim says:

        I have used Superdeck for years, but cannot seem to find it anywhere?
        I am located in Western, OR. in the Willamette Valley.
        Any thoughts where I might find Superdeck?
        Jim T.

    • mark white says:

      I have experienced the same thing with Cabot, very disappointed that the cabot stain peels after 3 years on exposed wood. I have 780 sq ft of uncovered deck that is peeling. the 700 sq feet of covered deck is fine.

  2. codewriter says:

    Agree. New cedar purchased in fall spent entire winter indoors drying. Wood was stacked above cement floor with space for air. In spring boards were coated, top, bottom, sides, ends. Two years later peeling, fading, flakes.

  3. Trax says:

    Would be great if you would rank order by those mail order only or those i can pick up locally. Looks like the top 5 are not locally available.

  4. sanjay says:

    While your comment on different testing method etc is valid, you comment on bias on consumers report is unfounded.
    If anything you are more likely to be biased (I am not saying you are) because of ads or money paid to you by the manufacturers.
    Further saying that your contractors do not use Behr means nothing – contractors use of stains is not based on any study they do but on their own biases.
    Further your comments on your review is available for free on web vs paid subscription is non-sense – you can buy the consumer report issue that covers the deck stain for $4 at a news stand or look at it in the library.

    I think your results are interesting but to dismiss the consumers report (except for testing methods) is also nonsense.
    Can you explain your testing method in more detail – is it based on your actual tests or is it based on contractors reporting to you? The second is subject to lots of errors and inconsistency.

    Wrt to availability of stains locally – i went to find a local distributor of the defy stain through the distributors
    web site and there was not a single local distributor in the san francisco and san jose area – a fairly big metropolitan area.

    • Deck Stain Help says:

      Sanjay, this site and this article is from our experiences of many years of restoring decks. To call it “nonsense” is demeaning to our profession and experience with a product or company. We never said to be 100% correct, just posting our own experiences and opinions (this is stated at the bottom of every review). We also allow all consumers to post their own experiences with a product, good or bad. We do not allow postings from manufacturers. The purpose of this site is to offer reviews of products and offer help for the general public.

      1. We have no ads on the site from manufacturers.

      2. Contractors do not use Behr as they know how poor of a stain it is to apply and remove. To say that means nothing is saying we are inexperienced in our own profession.

      3. Since our site is web based we were comparing it to Consumers website not the magazine. Ours is free and theirs costs money for online reviews. You are correct that Consumers would be “free” if you found it in a library or sitting in a doctors reception area.

      4. Our testing is from actual decks by experienced contractors. Products were applied according to manufacturer directions. All decks were prepped properly and free if any previous coatings. We have no control over the projects during the testing period. We come back and evaluate after the testing period is done. We call this re world testing as all decks will have different degrees of weathering and wear/tear. That is the problem with Consumers. Their testing is too “controlled”. Sure you can get inconsistencies with our testing but so can you with Consumers Reports.

      5. As for saying that Consumer Reports is biased towards products and brands, it is just an opinion that happens to be shared by many of our readers. See here for an example on the Behr Stain Review

      6. Defy Stains are available all over the country. Might be best to call them direct to see if there is a dealer in the area at 800.860.6327

      We get a lot of great feedback here from our site. Mostly all positive. If you want to believe Consumers offers better and more controlled testing then feel free to use their advice on products.

      We would love some feedback after a couple of years!

      • Iain says:

        I'm waiting for that feed back too, I'm lovin this site. Good work gentleman! My hat is off to you. I'm learning lots and hope to post my own experiences when I see how my efforts turn out.

        Happy staining all

      • apredfield says:

        As a home user, I am genuinely conflicted as to who to believe and am asking your help in figuring that out.

        Saying that I should not trust Consumer Reports because I have to buy the magazine (when, actually, no I don't) makes no sense to me. It seems to me that if an organization is funded by individuals and never by companies, and makes that pledge, they are more believable than someone who I have no idea who they are or who pays them. Your bringing up of this issue does not help me put my trust in you.

        And I do very much want to put my trust in you.

        Saying that CR only tests big name brands doesn't explain why you rank Cabot above Behr and they rank Behr above Cabot. Clearly there is more of a difference going on than in what you test.

        Can you help me understand what the difference is in your testing and how that makes your results the complete opposite of CRs? I want to trust you, but need your help to do that.

        • Apredfield, go to Consumers and read the comments that their own consumers have left under the Behr review from last season. Last I checked there was 11 or so comments from members. 10 of which gave Behr a horrible review and is consistent with our test results. Our results our from our experience using stains as contractors. We also allow consumers to post their own results and for the most part their opinions are consistent with our results. I would read through the comments to get some feedback.

        • Farmer says:

          I wouldn't believe CR for one minute. Their testing methods are suspect at best. Fund that out when they were doing testing on Bell bicycle helmets. Saw a photo of someone with a helmet incorrectly placed on their head ( far back on the crown of the head) and said that the helmet didn't hold up well when subjected to a fall. Idiots!

          As for Behr stains….they stink. It went on just like the website said….like paint. Semi transparent my foot. Peeld within one year. Now I've stripped it off and will be starting over with one of tjs website's recommended stains. Can't beat years f experience.

          PS– don't think or one minute that CR doesn't take money to "test" a product.

          • Dr. Pretorius says:

            CR doesn't take money to test a product. In fact, its shoppers purchase products to be tested, including automobiles, anonymously from retail dealers, just you or I would. CR accepts no advertising and NEVER accepts test samples from manufacturers or dealers.

      • David says:

        To say that Consumer Reports or is biased is both ridiculous and true. Both bring at least biases on testing methods and comparing testing methods is both interesting and valid. However there is no reason for disparagement. CR does makes their best effort at being objective and I assume you do also. I do follow Consumers but don't always believe they got it right. I do not believe they have bad intentions. From this consumer's point of view it's great to have multiple sources of information and reviews. Then it is up to me to make a decision and take responsibility for that decision. I do appreciate your reviews.

    • Diane says:

      Five years ago we built a new deck. We consulted Consumer Reports and Behr was the highest recommended stain. Within a year, there was peeling so we fixed for two years in a row. Behr never lasted a full year. Finally this year the deck had to be sanded and we start over. I understand from a local paint store that there was a class action suit against Behr. Unfortunately, I missed the notice. I will not use Behr again. And I won't count on Consumer's Report again.

  5. harry says:

    I am in the protracted process of striping Defy, applied last summer, from my cedar deck. In my case, the Defy looked great though October, then quickly integrated normal atmospheric residue while turning grey.
    I tried washing It via "Oil Eater", followed by power washing (which has worked great in the past), with no results. Then I went to the opposite pH with oxalic acid, which in my experience works well loosening grime while brightening the wood (an acid is a H proton donor, which I consider better for the wood vs a caustic base like bleach which is a proton accepter, weakening the wood) to little effect. It appears to me that Defy integrates with cellulose better than most, and is a "sacrificial" UV inhibitor, that is, it does not deflect UV, it absorbs it, then turns grey itself. Even with a chemical stripper (Behr) followed by PW, it only comes off stubbornly. I'm now considering a Sikkens stain. Comments anyone? Thanks!

    • Harry, You need a deck stain stripper that contains sodium hydroxide to remove Defy or any decking stain. You then neutralize with a brightener (mild acid) after. Oxalic will not strip any deck coatings. Oil eater would work on an oil based stain but not a water based stain such as Defy. I am assuming that you used the Clear Defy? Having a tint in the Defy such as Natural Pine would have prolonged the graying for at least a couple of years.

      • rick lewis says:

        Gentlemen you are forgetting one thing when you have trouble with a deck made of smooth cedar,,,,,a cedar deck does not like finish,it will do its best to repell any finish put on it, so even if its a great product on treated pine lumber, it may not work well on cedar,,,which we would all think would be the exact opposite,,,,however as owner of 3 large cedar decks if you can seal the under sides of the decks to keep ground moisture from penetrating the boards from the bottom side,,what happens is the moisture travels through the relatively porous cedar lumber and when it hits your expensive deck sealer it is trapped there between the sealer and the surface of the lumber and thats when the peeling,,the popping and the discoloration start

        • Rick, 90% of the decks we stain are cedar and we do not have the issues you are describing. The stains we mainly use are deep penetrating and also breathable as they do not 100% encapsulate the surface. Most likely why we can easily get 2-3 years on a horizontals surface.

    • FL Fruicake says:

      Harry: You did not say which Sikkens stain you are interested in. I had horrible persomnal experience with Sikkens Cetol SRD Semi Transparent stain. It went on and stayed blochy and uneven, dried purple (instead of redwood color) and mildewed bad after 6 months. It was also a lot of work to prepare the wood deck as recommended by manufactuer (I followed all their requirements) before staining and a real pain to strip off afetwards.

      In short I will never but another Sikkens product.

    • Sue Keller says:

      Harry, I am interested if you ended up using the Sikkens on your deck. I have used it on vertical applications with great success. The Sikkens Deck product was a nightmare.

  6. Will says:

    Love the site! Agree that Consumer Reports has become poor (except auto) over the years and recently cancelled. Anyway, stain question. I have a 2 month old western red cedar framed batten board fence. Fence has mostly kept its color but starting to gray in a few areas. We live in Minneapolis. We love the natural look but want to balance that with a long lasting product. We would give some natural look for less maintenance but want to avoid that orange look and define rely want to keep some grain. Friend who is painter recommended Sherwin Williams oil stain cedar toner, got some the other day on sale ($28) but now found this site and thinking of returning. I am hoping to spray with either pump or airless and brush. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

  7. Steve Cariati says:

    I power washed and sanded a 10 year old treated pine deck that had a solid stain and moss. Do I still need to use a deck cleaner and brightener? Exposure is about 85% sun in summer. I live upstate New York near ALbany

  8. Ken Lambert says:

    I am preparing to stain a mixture of woods on and around my house and would love your advice. I have some cedar planks that I just put on my house. I had it milled 2 yrs ago and it has been drying in my shed. My shop has some old cedar planks that have been up for 20 yrs. that has had Thompson applied a couple of times. I also have a deck around my swimming pool that is pressure treated pine. In addition to all this my pump shed has cedar and pine that was treated with Jasco Copper. So I have old and new, treated and not traeted pine and cedar installed vertically and horizontally. I expect a little variance in the finish and thats ok but I want to stain all of it a medium shade to try to get some kind of continuity and I am thinking I should use the some product throughout. I have read so many reviews that I have totally confused myself. Information overload. I am so glad I stumbled upon this site. So what brand would you recommend, oil or water based?

  9. Debbie Goheen says:

    I have a porch made of mahogany/pine pressed wood from 1928. Sanded layers of paint off. Would like to use a clear stain to show off its beauty. Live in West Virginia, we have true 4 different seasons. What is best product. Porch is in sun. Would like something that does not need redone every year.

  10. Susan says:

    Hi, two years ago we refinished our 15 year old 30ft deck sandings it down to the bare wood. We replaced every other board, and turnd over the good boards to reuse. We used Sikkens Dek to stain as my husband makes custom wood garage doors, and Sikkens is the product he recomends to his customers for staining and finishing. We had never tried their deck product line, but assumed it would be as excellent a product as their exterior wood product line. Needless to say, two years later our entire deck is embedded with black mold! I tried a bleach based deck cleaner, along with a pressure washer and it didn't budge the mold. I noticed in a previous comment you said the Restore – A – Deck would not work if the mold was embeded in the stain. I am assuming that is my situation and am wondering what to do now. I thought I had the answer and was ready to order their kit, but now it seems I am back where I started. This is sickening as we worked so hard doing the refinish to try and save money, but it seems everytime we try to save a penny it costs $$$. Please help if you can. Thanks!

    • If it is that imbedded in the stain then it may need to be removed by stripping and or sanding. Have you tried bleach to kill the mold? Water it down 2 parts water to 1 part bleach to see if that helps.

  11. Susan says:

    We hated to have to sand the entire deck yet again…but if it is the only option we'll do what we gotta do. As far as the bleach, I can't recall the brand of cleaner I tried, but I do know that it did contain bleach albeit probably not 2 to 1 dilution rate. I followed up with a good long pressure wash and the black mold is still covering it. What is odd to me is that after sanding the floor to the bare wood stage and applying two coats of Sikkens (brushing it in as per the directions) that it has no signs of beading two years later and is covered with mold!! Even the new boards replaced on the handrail tops molded. We used a far less expensive product after laying the deck new, and have never had an issue with not being able to simply pressure wash off dirt, mildew etc. This year has been an extremely damp humid year in South Carolina with warnings and complaints of mold everywhere…I wonder if that isn't the real culprit here.

    • Susan, mold that grows in the stain is usually the stains fault. Nothing can stop mold from growing on top of a stain though. The difference is that mold on top is easily removed with a cleaner or bleach.

    • alcie says:

      Try using a bleach/dishwashing liquid combo (1 cup each added to 1gallon water). Wear gloves and old clothes. Using a broom, sweep solution over deck. Let stand 5 minutes. Spray or powerwash clean. Prepare to re-coat.

  12. Foster says:

    Hi, we have a 3 year old cedar deck that needs to be re-stained. I believe that the original stain was Sikkens SRD Cetal Log and Siding (Natural Color). The original stain has faded and cracked terribly, especially where water drips on it. Also, it went on very blotchy. We live at 8200 ft in Colorado and the deck is pounded with either hot sun, freezing snow or rain everyday. What stain would you recommend for these conditions? Or are we stuck with Sikkens since it is already on the deck?

    • Foster, if you want to switch then you should remove the Sikkens with a deck stain stripper and or sanding. This would allow the new stain to perform properly. I would look at TWP stains.

  13. Peter Hulett says:

    Behr – Deck Over -I spent in excess of 20 hours putting on 2 coats – results were ceramic bled thru and there were still unfilled gaps in the wood. Currently I'm seeking a refund.
    If anyone would like pics let me know.

    • Tommy says:

      Peter, I am looking at using deckover on a screened in deck that has been painted several time?

    • Col says:

      Could you send us your pictures? We are thinking of using deck over for our rails which are 14 years old. How is your deck holding up since your post? Thanks.

    • Parker, CO says:

      Actually ammonia bleed that wipes off with a mild dish soap. Time will tell how it wears.

  14. Jack says:

    I originally used TWP on my pressure treated wood deck 5 years ago. I restained using Behr semi-transparent 2 years ago — big mistake. Can I go back and restain using TWP over the Behr semi-transparent? Must I (ughh) strip the deck first? Is a solid stain an option?

    • Jack, you cannot put the TWP on the Behr. You must strip if using a stain like TWP. Putting a solid stain on would mask the Behr stain but it will not fix the Behr peeling issues.

  15. Michelle says:

    I have a lake house with 2 levels of pressure treated wood decking and a long stairway down to the lake that I need to stain. I'm not sure of the square footage but I know that it took approximately 14 gallons of stain last time with only one coat. I have pressure washed it and virtually none of the previous stain is remaining (it has been quite a few years since the last time we stained it). The wood actually looks almost new. Do I need to use a cleaner first or can I just go ahead and stain it? Also, which stains do you recommend for pressure treated lumber?

  16. Lynn says:

    Our house has a pressure-treated pine deck. When it was new, we applied Thompson's to one side (deck goes around the entire house). A carpenter told us not to use Thompson's, so we sanded the entire deck and applied Sherwin Williams semi-transparent deck stain two years ago. Last year it started to peel a little in the exposed areas; this year the exposed areas are terrible. I am thinking of applying a solid stain, and hoping that I can just sand the areas that are peeling– is that okay? Do I have to use a deck wash as well? Must add, we live in Vermont.

    • Lynn, It would be best to strip then sand off the SW as much as possible before applying a solid color stain.

      • Buc says:

        WARNING: Before 2004, most decks were made of lumber pressure-treated with chromated copper arsenate (arsenic and chromium). Sanding a wood deck treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) releases toxic arsenic and the heavy metal chromium into the air (and into the lungs of anyone in the area) and the surrounding soil.

        An additional warning: Burning old pressure treated wood does the same thing. I don't know how many times I've seen people tear down an old pressure treated deck and burn it in their fire pits or BBQ. Not a good idea.

  17. Bob says:

    My home on Marths Vineyard has a pressure treated deck about 12 years old. It has been treated only once with a sealer perhaps 5 years ago and pressure washed with beach and detergent last year. Our objective is to achieve that light grey teak look so natural to the New England coastal areas on siding and decks.
    There is some mildew in places and a litle left over light brownish sealer in others and thought that after prep that a solid Cape Cod color Behr Solid color stain would get the surface more evenly gray. Imagine someone WANTING the light gray look of weathered wood!
    But after reading the horror stories here about deck stains and Behr in particular I have no idea what is the best solution or even if there ANYTHING I can do that will give me a few years of satisfaction?
    Any thoughts?

    By the wayBehr has 2 solid products one at $28 and the other at $36 is the higher priced one any better?

    • Bob, Behr is poor for all products in our results. I would look at a deep penetrating oil based stain in a gray tone that is compliant for your area. That is limited but we personally we use the Armstrong Clark in the Driftwood Gray color for this project. Make sure to clean and brighten the wood first.

      • Augi3 says:

        I've just googled reviews for Behr's Deckover and saw this review. I'm in central Ohio and have a 20 year, pressed-wood (arsenic days) deck. It's in bad shape– splintered wood. Had it done professionally about 3 years ago with solid stain. Tried various liquid deck preps. The last was Olympic's. I quit in frustration after trying to strip off the coats of stain. The 3 products that I'm aware of that conceal splintered wood, have UV and mold protection are Olympic's Rescueit, Behr's Deckover, and Synta's Restore. But I'm not sure which of the three to use. Right now I just want prep our deck. Dumb question: stripping the deck entails removing all previous stains down to the original surface or can I paint over a solid stain with another solid stain? Next am I understanding Behr product that is discussed elsewhere in this forum is a stain AND NOT their Deckover product? Finally, to powerwash or not. One big box home improvement store says powerwashing embeds dirt into the grain of the wood. Another says, it's ok to powerwash since one is holding the hose 12 inches above the surface. Thoughts and suggestions? Thanks.

        • Augi3, stay away from all 3 products you mentioned as the track record for them are poor in our opinion. I highly doubt you can apply any of then over a solid stain. Pressure washing does not imbed dirt. I would stay away form the Big Box stores as well as the employees there are usually clueless and the products are inferior. Washing from 12\” is fine though.

    • Patty says:

      Last fall (2013) I painted my decks with Behr Deckover. I used 6 gallons at an average of $40-$50 per gallon. After maybe the second snow storm, I live in Maine, the decks were pealing. I now will have sand and re-paint this season. Also the colors in the book do not match what goes on the deck, much lighter.

  18. lena says:

    Hi there, since none of the top 5 stains are available to purchase in Ontario other than on line, could you please recommend a stain for decks, we used to use the cabet in the old days , we liked the sheen it left on the wood and the furniture, it was easy to wipe, debre didn't stick to it. We have used Flood Solid and I don't like it, it's to matt of a finish. We have a cottage 3 hours north of Toronto that faces south exposure so the sun beats on it along with 3ft of snow in the winter.
    Thanks for your help.

  19. marta says:

    My dock here in SW Florida has been only stained once and the product used was Flood Spa n Deck semi transparent stain. Now that it's time to restain it, the painters around here are only promoting solid stains, like the poorly rated Behr Deckover & Sherwin Williams Deckscapes, which I'm pretty convinced will chip & flake with time. The Flood product never flaked as it aged, which was great and is my #1 priority. My only concern about going back to another semitransparent Flood product is that EVERY SPECK of old, weathered, existing stain is going to need to be removed, otherwise there will be an unevenness to the color, even if I'm going with the same color, am I correct? Also, if so, can you recommend a solid stain that absolutely won't flake? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    • Marta, no such thing as a solid stain that will not peel or flake. Anything that lies on top of the surface like that will eventually fail. Yes you would need to remove the Spa and Deck if using a semi-transparent. There is no easy solution for you. No matter what you put on top it will peel so it would be best to remove it and start over.

  20. John says:

    Four seasons ago, I purchased an above ground pool and built a large cedar deck around it. It was finished in the fall, and didn't have a chance to stain it that year. The following spring, I sanded all the wood, and applied Sikkens SRD Cetol to the whole deck. The coating failed (peeled) on the horizontal surfaces badly that year. Especially where the pool water was often on it. Also, it was a hot spring and I applied it in direct sunlight. Don't make this mistake! The spindles (vertical surfaces) did well though. The following year, I stripped, brightened, and sanded the horizontal surfaces of the entire deck. What a pain. The retailer of the Sikkens was good enough to provide me with 3 more gallons of Sikkens for free. I reapplied the product following the specs. of the manufacturer on the horizontal surfaces. Two years later, same problem. The vertical surfaces are from four years ago and still holding up. The horizontal surfaces begin to fail within a year, and are terrible in two years. I would like to point out Sikkens worked well for vertical surfaces and is recommended.I live in Minneapolis, MN, and the deck is in full sun. I'm looking at Restore by SYNTA, since I'm interested in NOT refinishing my deck every two years. I love the look of cedar though. It seems a shame to cover it up with a solid coating. What do you recommend? You seem to like TWP a lot. It's mentioned often here. Does the manufacturer sponsor this site? Also, I would love to find a coating that can be reapplied rather than stripped & reapplied. When a surface peels, reapplication is uneven and blotchy. Is there a coating that you recommend that dries out/erodes rather than peels? Thanks for your advice.

    • John, no manufacturers sponsor this site. TWP would last about 2 years as well but all stains will have issues where the pool (bleach) water splashes on it. Verticals will last 2-3 times longer then horizontals as well. You will nee to clean and reapply every 18-24 months on this pool deck so best to choose a stains than can be easily cleaned and reapplied like TWP or Armstrong Clark. Stay away from the Synta in our opinion.

  21. Janet says:

    We purchased a home in Hockney Hils Ontario. It has about 1900 feet of decking which faces the South and gets the east morning sun ,then the full south sun right up to about 3:30 p.m.. We also have snow in winter and rain in spring and fall.
    The original wood was cedar then boards that have been replaced were spruce. The deck is probably around 20years old and has had every kind of stain and porch paint put on it. It has peeled of course and now we have lots of places were the. Spruce is showing grey while other pieces are still light in colour.
    We are paying a great deal of money to have it totally sanded off and need advice on which way to go. My partner wants a semi-transparent stain on it, others have said no go solid because the wood won't match….HELP….and do we need to put anything on it after it has been sanded regarding cleaning the deck. We already spent $1200.00 last year to have it reprinted a nd it's totally peeling away even when you put the leaf blower on it. We are desperate.
    I await your response.

    • Janet, make sure to not sand with more then 60 grit paper. After the sanding you will need to clean and brighten the wood to remove sand dust and open the pores. I would look at the Armstrong Clark stain in a semi-solid color for this deck.

  22. Mike Rivait says:

    OK. I am reading all this stuff but am half way through replacing a huge deck with CRW cedar. It is half way done and I live in Windsor Ontario. About as south as you can go in Canada. We are South of Michagan. Pretty much have Chicago Weather.
    I have had a Cedar deck at the previous house I lived at and had a peeling issue with the Behr stain from A big box store I used in the past. I do not want to make the same mistake. It is really Hot here in the summer but can get pretty cold in the winter. NO peeling wanted !!!. Should I wait to stain , or should I do it new ? From what I am reading so far, I should use a deep penetrating stain , semi transparent for the UV factor. Oil base or latex, Parafin ? I don't mind doing upkeep yearly but do not want any peeling. Help with my beautiful deck please !!! Not really any mold issues here !! Please help. Maybe Cedar was a bad idea ???

    • Mike, make sure that all of the old stain is removed by stripping and or sanding. Brighten when done. Try a deep penetrating oil based stain such as Armstrong Clark.

  23. Andrew says:

    Any recommendations for a stain for a commercial pressure treated deck that is next to volleyball courts in Buffalo, NY? I'd prefer to not have a solid color stain. I'd do a clear but i've read it doesn't hold up as well.

    • Andrew, I would look at the Armstrong Clark in a semi-solid color for this deck.

    • BillB says:

      I used SuperDeck 1201 Cedar on 2 month old Pressure treated 2×6's. The finish is absolutely beautiful! It's too bad this site requires registering. I have pictures to prove the point.
      Try it, you'll like it

      • BillB, I am sure it does look great when applied. The issue we have seen with SuperDeck is down the road after a year or two. In our experience it always seems to turn dark brown or black. Let us know if that happens to you or not.

  24. Jenn says:

    Hello – I have a deck that is in need of either restaining or paintingof some sort. I have been looking into a product called Deck Restore, however this past weekend while at HomeDepot I was told about Deckover by Behr. Does anyone have any info about either of these products how they wear, maintance etc? Thanks

  25. Jayne says:

    Do you know anything about behr premium deckover? Am re doing a pressure treated wood pool deck. Thanks

  26. Sheree says:

    Has anyone compared the deck restoration products RESTORE(Synta) to Deckover(Behr)? I would like to get a comparison of the products. I used RESTORE on concrete and so far so good but want to do deck and RESTORE requires 2 different produts for floor and rails, vs Deckover same product for all. DO is $10 more/gallon.

    Any comments, reviews, remarks?

    • Jerry says:

      I was just at Home Depot, which carries both products. Restore (now owned by Rustoleum) will be about twice as thick. Which means you have to purchase perhaps about twice as much to do the recommended two coats. They had samples of each. I haven't used any yet, as I am still in research mode. I haven't researched DeckOver much yet, but I'm suspecting the Behr product line is not too good.

  27. Chris says:

    I applied Behr Deckover last September and the results have been fantastic! We first applied around our pool, which has a wooden deck. It filled in cracks and left a smooth but textured finish. We were so happy with the pool deck, we decided to do our boat dock as well. Our color is cordovan brown. We now have the look of a composite deck without the cost of one.

    • Julie says:

      I have been looking at the Deck Over by Behr but am worried about spending so much money and then having it peel in 2 years. I have spent 3 days at least trying to get off a semi solid by Dura Stain and it won't come off. Could you post some pictures of your deck? Looking at the colors it is hard to pick. Reading this site, I am prone not to use it. You have been the only positive person for this product.

    • Libby says:

      I also would like to see your pictures. I have at least a 10 year old splintered (never sealed or stained) deck around a pool and I love the idea of DeckOver, but it seems the people on this site are not happy with it. Anyone that is please share your experience with it. I don't want to spend $450-600 dollars on a product that doesn't really work.

  28. Bruce Simons says:

    Anyone tried Flood deck stains? What did you think.

    • Chuck says:

      In 2009 or thereabouts, Flood's SWF Solid Color deck stain was rated #1 by Consumer Reports. I had a deck in very bad shape so I decided to go with the best I could find, and soo I went out of my way to find it (hard!) in our area and paid a premium for it. I restained in 2011 with the product again, and this year it really needs restaining badly. Overall, I think it has held up ok. My problem is that my old wood is splintering — and I really can't blame the stain. (In fact the reason I am here is because I want to read the reviews on Behr's new Deckover product.) But back to Flood SWF: There are indeed some patches that have flaked off – but read reviews of any solid stain and you will find that that is going to happen to one degree or another. Overall the adhesion has been quite good, especially in areas where the wood is in good shape. Bottom line: I think Flood SWF is a fine product. However, you should know that the latest Consumer Reports review does not rate it nearly as high as some other stains. I just checked. Ironically, while people here say that Behr stains are lousy, Consumer Reports has rated their solid stain #1. Go figure!

  29. Vicki says:

    Having recently purchased my first home I find the deck to be in sad shape visually. It seems solid but has some splintering and most of the old stain peeled off. I can not afford at this time to totally rip it out and start over with new wood. Wondering if there is a product out there that will buy me a few more years use before I do in fact build a new deck? I too had looked at Deck Over and Restore but now will not consider using it. We are subject to high winds, strong summer suns and heavy snowfall in the winter here in central Wyoming. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  30. Danny says:

    My deck currently has a solid stain on it and it is pealing badly. I am not sure how old the stain is but it needs to be redone. I live in Maine and would like to use a high quality solid stain to protect my deck. What do you recommend?

  31. hemdag says:

    BEHR Premium DeckOver – once it's dry, does it scratch when moving deck furniture, hoses, hose reels, etc.

    • Dennie says:

      Yes, horribly. Every little thing will mar the surface. Also it is a dirt magnet! Nothing will clean it off either. Even their own expensive product they recommend to clean it with. Every footprint from the yard shows. Very unhappy.

  32. John says:

    Recently bought a 1994 home with a deck. No idea how old the deck is. It is in decent but not great shape. I have hired a company to power wash it to prep it so I can stain/seal it. They have not done the work yet and I can likely cancel if need be. My question — is just power washing a deck a reasonably good way to prep it for staining/sealing? Thanks.

  33. Laura says:

    Virgini (border on northern and southern)
    I think it's pressure treated pine
    Part of the deck is exposed to afternoon sun with no overhang, other half of deck is morning sun with a roof.
    Deck is old but has been decently maintained.
    No real mildew or other issues.
    Prior owners used a behr premium oil based wood sealer and finish with a dark redwood color solid stain. We have since cleaned, lightly sanded and restained every 2-3 years with extra cans they left since I can't get this redwood color in our area. Deck is due some attention, I just pressure washed it and it looks like the stain is almost flake like in the exposed areas and mostly there in the covered areas.

    I need generally the same color throughout as the deck is all connected. What should I do? Sand the whole deck (big job), strip the existing stain that is holding on in the covered area, yuck? Should I do oil based again or switch to water based? I don't really car about the color but it seems it might be easier to stay dark. Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Laura, you cannot strip a solid stain off. Best to just wash off what is loose and dirty then restain with another solid color stain. Stay with oil based so it adheres correctly.

  34. Vic says:

    Living in Colorado – high temperatures and dry in summer and lots of snow in the winter, I installed Restore two years ago on a concrete pad and on the leading areas of a wrap around deck. After it held up well, I installed on three sets of stairs on the deck.

    I have shoveled and water sprayed and NO PROBLEMS. After our son saw our area he wanted it installed on his horrible (low grade wood) deck and his patio. We applied three coats (my suggestion) and after two years it still looks great – Austin, TX. We usually had to restain his deck at least once a year. I also used Restore on west facing bay window sill. I had to redo the wood every year, now I have not done it in two.

    I must tell you that all the work done with Restore on our house was with a brush and three coats to get no bald spots. On our son's house it was with a roller. Both with great success. But the deck must be prepped. Spray clean well. Let is dry before you install Restore. Wait at least a day to put second coat and another for the third day. But in Colorado everything dries quickly. Still wait a day.

    I had come to this website to try to find a comparison between Restore and DeckOver by Behr.

  35. Dave says:

    3 1/2 year old pressure treated wood deck. Used Benjamin Moore Semi Transparent alkyd stain. Extremely faded to the point of needing re-stained.I think it held up terrible. Is that out of line? I was thinking of changing to a Cabot solid. No pealing or splintering on the deck just faded. If I just cleaned it and went to a solid or even a darker color, would totally removing the old stain be necessary? Thanks!

    • Dave, high quality deck stains need to be reapplied every 2-3 years so the BM lasting 3 is pretty good. Nothing will last longer than that. Solid stain will peel in 2-3 years or less. If switching brands then you should remove the old coating.

  36. Katy says:

    Living in NH, Pressure treated deck – 3 sections, different levels, 1st 10 years old, 2nd replaced last year, 3rd replaced 2 months ago. The old section is pressured washed and deck brite used. We are not home improvement fans and would like a product that we can put down that will make the deck look the same across all sections. Deck Over sounded like the ticket, but not great reviews. Can you recommend something that is similar to this or a product that will last the longest before reapplication is needed?

  37. Very disappointed in the Behr Premium Concrete Dye kit. Read instructions thoroughly and watched DVD 2 times, said this kit was enough to cover our 200 sq ft backyard concrete patio area. Base coat was just about 1/4 – 1/2 can short, so I went back to Home Depot to purchase a can of Behr Dye. Problem is Behr does not sell dye seperatly, but sells all the other products in this kit seperatly. According to your website from consumers asking about selling dye seperatly the response is you have to buy another kit to get any more dye. I did some research online and found a manufacture that makes the same color dye that I can buy from a local retailer, even though it may not be exactly the same I will use it instead of the dark applicator supplied in the kit. Lesson Learned, I will never buy any Behr product from Home Depot.

  38. profkaeli says:

    I have been using Cabot Clear Solution on my fir deck. The deck is beautiful, but requires an annual coat. The weather exposed portions have not weathered well. Also, Clear Solution does not seem to be available any longer. Does anyone have suggestions for me? I am not against using another Cabot product. I am looking for a more durable finish though.

    On my back deck I use Cabot Solid Stain, and it has worn well. I am careful to clean, lightly sand, and put two coats on every 2-3 years. I am happy with this Stain (I use a thatch color).

  39. Kristin says:

    Does anyone have experience with Duckback's Deck and Dock product? When I contacted our local lumber dealer, they recommended that product instead of Behr's Deckover or Rustoleum's Restore. I have been using Olympic's oil-based deck stain with two-three times increased solids. It's worked well for many years, but my deck is getting old (24 years) and some boards need to be replaced. I thought one of these elastomeric coatings might even things up and fill in the cracks.

  40. Carl says:

    Location-Granger, Indiana. We installed a pressure treated pine deck eight years ago (2005). The deck was never stained or sealed. The only maintenance performed had been to shovel off the snow. Over time the deck had turned grey. I had purchased "Mold Armor" EZ Deck and Fence wash from Menards for less than $8.00. Two applications and plenty of hand scrubbing and the deck looks, in my estimate, relatively (90%) close to new.
    After reading ALL of the comments in this web side I decided to do nothing and let it weather again for the next eight years.

    • Ray says:

      Location: Richmond Hill, GA (near Savannah). 10 year old yellow pine deck with 8 yr old add-on section. After using Behr semi-transparent stain, which claimed it would last 5 yrs, decided to strip what was left of the fading stain after 2 yrs. Stripping and cleaning cost as much as putting the stuff on and 3 times as long.

      After that experience, decided to just let it go, which I did for the last 5+ yrs. Just recently pressure washed it (2500 PSI). Took about a day to complete the wash but wood is back to about 90% new looking. I am considering just using Thompsons to keep the wood new looking for a year or so and redo again with none of the hassle of stains or paints.

      My neighbor had a similar experience and just applied Deck Restore, which he seems happy with at the moment. It claims 8 to 10 years but I wonder what you have to do after that period since it seems it would be next to impossible to get off the wood.

      Then again, I could do like Carl and just let it fade again. What to do…. or not to do…

      • Ray, Thompsons will not keep the wood looking new. It really does nothing expect bead water for a month or two. I would not do what your neighbor did. It will peel and create issues with future restoration.

  41. Patrick Kerber says:

    Location: Seattle, WA. Cedar deck built two years ago but the rainy season started before I could stain it. Deck turned grey and last summer I cleaned most of the deck using Behr All-In-One Wood Cleaner. Heard it was damaging to the wood fibers so then tried a product called Restore (not Restore-A-Deck), which came in a black gallon jug and didn't work nearly as well as the Behr product at removing the gray. In any event, the rains came before I could finish and I am now back at square one with a grey deck. Would like suggestions for the best products to use, including cleaners, brighteners and stains. Would like to use a clear or cedar-toned, semi-transparent stain to show the grain of the wood. I live near salt water and would prefer to not use products that might cause harm to the aquatic ecosystem. I also have a Trex deck that is in good shape but needs to be cleaned. Any suggestions for both are deeply appreciated. Thanks!

    • Patrick Kerber, use the Restore A Deck Kits with a light pressure washing to restore the color. You can use the cleaner on the Trex as well. Stain with Armstrong Clark or Defy Extreme for low VOC products.

  42. Sandra welsh says:

    I live in Cody,Wyoming. our deck was finished with Behr solid deck stain, it is peeling. Our deck is made of fir, full sun, extreme wind and temperature changes, grain lifting. what product works under these conditions, thanks

    • Sandra, you cannot apply a stain on top of the Behr and assume it will \”fix\” it. The only thing you can really do is remove the solid stain 100% by sanding and start over with a penetrating semi-transparent stain like TWP.

  43. Karen says:

    I need help with a deck that was built 15 years ago and has always been stained with Glidden Smoke Pearl Endurance deck stain (semi transparent). The deck needed to be done last year but due tot he fact that I could not find a match for the glidden stain I put the project on hold. The deck is in bad need of staining so have decided to jump in and get the job done. I would like to stay with the smoked pearl color as a match if possible. I am told I may be able to find a flood match. Should I go that route or start all over with something better.

  44. kitster says:

    Location: CT. New to all of this. 2 separate issues: #1. Ancient back deck that I can't afford to replace and probably never been maintained. Cracks , splinters, you name it. Just horrid. Was thinking of trying Restore or Deckover as it's in such bad shape until I read the reviews. Cleaning, brightening, conditioning, solid, semi-transparent – all very confusing. Suggestions? #2. Covered front porch probably 15 years old. Floor hasn't ever had any treatment and looks OK, but starting to see some mold and weathering at edges. Like the natural color OK but how to preserve and should it be stained or just sealed? Porch railings and spindles are white, solid stain, I believe, now peeling and some mold. Can I clean, sand peeling, and then restain or so I need to completely strip? Need suggestions of what products and what to do in which order. Can you help? Thanks.

    • kitster, clean and prep all the wood with the Restore A deck Products. Stain the old deck and porch floor with Armstrong Clark in a semi-solid. For the rails, sand any loos paint off and repaint them white again.

    • Terri says:

      We used Restore and it is a DISASTER. As soon as it got cold, it started cracking. We had a painter with experience with the stuff apply it. He says where he put it down on concrete at his house it is also now lifting. Following the directions does not guarantee that this stuff will stay put. Stay away from this junk!

  45. Janet says:

    Any comments on ready seal, durability. It is an oil based seal.

  46. Charann says:

    Three concerns: #1 Just finished painting a huge deck and front porch with the Taupe shade of the Behr Deckover. It is at least 2 to 3 shades lighter than the chip-which had I known there was that much difference, I would have gone darker. Not a dealbreaker. #2 Just finished 2 weeks of cleaning, prepping, and painting our two year old deck and it looks fantastic-mostly. However, we came home two days after we finished to find that a flock of birds had flown over on their way from some berry field and left their calling cards all over the lower part of our deck. We immediately tried to hose it off, could not so we had to soap it up and brush it off. Again, not a deal breaker, #3 HOWEVER we were very dismayed to see that each bird dropping was marked in immortality by a yellow stain. We are not at all happy. Hopefully if we put on a new coat we can move ahead and fully enjoy our lovely deck .

  47. Chris says:

    I have a 100 year old house in Minnesota with wood steps. I previously put on a solid color stain but it peels. I would like to put something on the steps to match the berry color of my soffit and fascia. I also have some 20 year old mystery wood furniture from Target that needs a finish that could be the same.

  48. Eldon Scharer says:

    Have you ever used Penofin penetrating oil finish. I used this product, UN 1263 blue can, on my deck, Port Orford Cedar, 9 years ago. I live in Oregon with plenty of rain, snow and sun. The deck looks remarkable good after pressure washing, considering my lack of maintanance. I think I will use this product again.

    • Eldon, here is our review on the Penofin Blue Label:

    • Ben says:

      I am surprised more people don't use Penofin. We run a deck staining company in a place where we see hot temperatures, rain, snow, ice, etc. and we haven't had any issues using Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label. One thing that we do recommend is using a darker than cedar color. Nine times out of ten, we can put Mission Brown on our clients deck and they are extremely happy that they listened to us. Reapplication is extremely easy as well. I would recommend doing a quick softwash on it with minimal if any soap. If you do use soap, use Penofin Protech Cleaner and Brightener only.

      • Ben, in our experience as contractors, the Penofin turns an ugly dark brown or black after a few years. Smells bad too. Do you have this issue? It may be based on where we live.

  49. Dave says:

    I have a 13-year-old elevated deck on the south side of the house in south central Kansas. It was built of "premium" (according to the big box store) treated pine, and according to the salesperson's opinion at the time, should not be treated or stained. In recent years, the wood has deteriorated badly and I am in the process of replacing the floor and seating surfaces with Western Red Cedar. I also built a pergola over part of it, also of WRC. It's quite attractive, but obviously the mixed woods (old gray treated and bright new cedar) present a finishing challenge. It's a complex structure that will require a lot of handwork and I don't want to refinish any more often than necessary. What product would you recommend, all things considered?

  50. L spill says:

    We used the Behr Deck Over on our deck and spindles. Our deck was prepped properly " this is the key to longevity" too many people cut corners. Proper dry time is a must after cleaning surface 48 hours of dry weather, if not you trap moisture and it will need to escape which will inhibit your stain properly curing or may cause flaking. Our Deck was stained in June 2013 and looks great Deck Over is a great product just needs proper prepping. Follow the manufacturers directions and do not take short cuts. Prep is the most important step to all stain projects.

Leave a Reply