Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
Deck Stain Reviews Ratings

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

Reviews and articles are posted from our experience as contractors who specialize in exterior wood restoration. We are experienced in the trade of prepping and applying a stain to an exterior deck.

Real World Testing vs. Accelerated Testing

The 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 help articles, 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 help articles, 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.

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

  1. Jane says:

    Are your reviews up to date for 2014? Just moved into this home. What is the best solid color stain to use on a previously stained deck (2009 solid color applied to deck) Thank you.

  2. plum gang says:

    Have a 14 year old deck of CCA pine that was treated years and years ago with a Behr product. The Behr product was supposed to be semi transparent but went on closer to a solid. The color was not what the chip showed and we were refunded all the purchase price which was a substantial amount on a 1500+ sq ft wraparound deck! The finish did not last. We need to retreat as the wood is showing cracks and is grey and doesn't repel water. I have been on Consumer Report's website and am here now as my own personal experience with Behr, there best buy, is less than positive.

  3. George G. says:

    Hi – I live in Mid Hudson Valley, NY — Pressure treated lumber deck. I just pressure washed, looks like new lumber! Gets little sun, so it's prone to having a mildew/mold problem. I want to put clear wood preservative on (not a STAIN). Have used TWP in past and that's where I'm aiming. What do you recommend? If Thompson's, which of their products do you suggest? Thanks for your time and attention!

  4. Tennessee says:

    Live in Chattanooga, TN. Have a 2 yr old pressure treated pine deck that has never been sealed. Deck faces east and receives sun until about 3pm. No mold or mildew. Quotes and recommendations from contractors vary widely and most want to use SW Deckscapes semi-transparent stain. So, now I am considering tackling this project myself. What stain would you recommend for my area?

  5. Steve says:

    Can't seem to find a local dealer in central massachusetts that sells Flood Solid deck stain. Called Flood and they told me ace hardware or true value would either carry or could order for me. Called some local stores and they did not carry nor would they order. I found one hardware store that will order for me but they cannot tint for me. Said i'd have to take it elsewhere. Could I order this and bring somewhere that does not have Flood tinting instructions? Doesn't seem like that would work but figured i'd ask. Any suggestions on where i can purchase/order online and get tinted to the color I want? Thanks!

  6. Rick says:

    Was told the Superdeck deck and dock was a good choice over the rustoleum, deckover, or rescue product? Has this been used or tested? I would really like to try on a cleaned deck that is on its last limbs anyway, but I dont want to be disappointed when i peel it off in sheets next year. Any info from anyone who knows about or have used the deck and deck and have had it down for over a year please let me know how it held up. Thanks

  7. sue14 says:

    I live in Portland, OR where it rains a lot, but winters are relatively mild. I have a 300 sqft cedar deck ("Pro-Deck Tight Knot cedar deck boards and handrails") that was added to the house in 2008 by the prior owner, stained with Sikkens Brand (Cedar 077) semi-transparent. The stain is peeling.

    I would appreciate your advice re. stripper, brightener, semi-transparent stain to use based on your experience with cedar in similar conditions. Should I use the same stain or is there something better? Thanks in advance.

  8. sue14 says:

    What is an "average" per sqft charge when a cedar deck requires stripping, brightening and staining in the NW? The actual size of the deck is around 300 soft, but there are also rails and stairs from this first level deck with handrails. I need a base of comparison with quotes that I plan to get.

  9. Lisa says:

    I'm trying to figure out which deck restore type paint is the best. I have read good and bad reviews for all of them. I have an older deck that I want to bring back to life but I don't want to tear it down this year it's just not in the budget and I have been reading about Rustoleum and Behr and Rock Solid and I am wondering if anyone has had personal experience with any of them or recommends one over the other

  10. JBT says:

    Four year old pressure treated pine, coastal Maryland (black mold) but deck is in full sun (faces directly southwest, gets the hottest part of the day at 110° heat index unless it's rainy season where black mold will form immediately).
    I bought my dream house with my dream deck….but the floor was gray (railings are pvc). I discovered Minwax stain and Thompson's (ugh) in the shed. No wonder it was so much work! Powerlessness with deck cleaner, sanded with floor answer, powerwashed again with Oxalic Acid, now it's bare wood and looks amazing. I want to keep it looking great (most important criteria: NO MOLD and NOT GRAY). I actually purchased the SW Deckscapes Semi Transparent in White Birch (I got a light color to reflect the heat rather than absorb, my last deck I painted in Behr Wood Chip after prepping the same way (yeah yeah, don't laugh, I sold the house last July after three years of kids, dogs, dropping bbq on it, stupid hot summers, and even Snowpacalypse, it looked like I painted it yesterday. Maybe I'm just that good of a painter, but I truly had zero problems with the Behr solid.). At any rate, after this much work, on a fairly new deck, on my Forever House, I don't want to cock it up. Recommendations? Maryland. Full sun. On the bay. Mold issues. Light semi transparent color that doesn't gray (best UV protection). And no VOC concerns because I can get whatever (frequent interstate travel). Please help a DIY girl out!

  11. Olga says:

    I appreciate the info on this website. Could you please clarify something that was mentioned in this thread: do manufacturers of all reviewed products pay you? I would like to understand how objective/biased these reviews are. Is there a disclaimer on this site explaining who "supports" you? Thanks.

  12. Olga says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. Would you mind sharing the approach you use to derive ratings? Is there a number of contractors that need to review a specific product before you publish results? Is there a number of actual restorations and related experiences before you rate a product? What I can see (as I am looking for products for my deck) is that every contractor that gave me an estimate has his "pet" product which is "great" for where I live and for my deck (both the same for all of them). They do get discounts from the manufacturer of the product that they use. I asked about your top rated product and NONE of the 4 Angie's highly rated contractors heard about it…..How many contractors used and rated your top product and in how many restorations vs. the bottom product? Thanks in advance,

    • We have restored over 10,000 decks with the top products. We have seen numerous failures with the bottom products. Many 100\’s. We will not use them ever again as they are so poor to apply and fix down the road.

  13. Joe Stock says:

    I have used F & P finish and preservative about 6 yrs. ago with good results .Has the formulation changed due to EPA requirements ? Is it still a good product ? F& P is a Wolman oil product .

  14. sue14 says:


    I posted a new question a day or two ago and I cannot locate it anywhere… I tried searching for my login ID but didn't help. Are some posted questions occasionally not published/answered for certain reasons? Thanks

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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.