Sherwin Williams DeckScapes Stain Review

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.

Cost Per Square Foot: 7

- We used 4 gallons of stain for our 400 foot test deck. 2 Coats of the Sherwin Williams DeckScapes was applied. Cost to stain was around $.35 a foot.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 9

- The DeckScapes tested very well on preventing mold and mildew. No mold was growing in or on top of the stain. Very small amounts of mold was visible in the wood where the stain had peeled.

Ease of Application: 3

- This stain is not easy to apply. We found that the Deckscapes dried incredibly fast. This made it very difficult to apply the stain as we worried about overlaps. We used a brush and roller with application and found that the stain did not apply anywhere near the manufacturers coverage rates. We found that the Sherwin Williams DeckScapes closer to 150 feet per gallon.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8

- Sherwin Williams DeckScapes does not darken in color but fades and peels.

Ease of Reapplication: 4

- Reapplication of the DeckScapes would not be easy. Since the stain had peeled badly you would need to use a heavy stain stripper followed by sanding to remove the stain from the rest of the deck. A light cleaning and re-coat would not work.

Overall Score Defy Extreme Stain at 2 Year Period: 5.75

- We were very disappointed in the Sherwin Williams DeckScapes. Having used SW paints in the past with excellent results, we expected better for their exterior decking stain. The Deckscapes does not apply very well, has a poor appearance when finished and peels.

Buyer Beware!

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Sherwin Williams
Cost: $32.99 per Gallon, $160.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: Natural, Redwood, Cedar
Application Temperature: 40-90 F
Coats Required: 2 Coats
Coverage Per Gallon: 125-150 sq. ft in field tests
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 24-48 Hours
Cleanup: Soap and Water
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in all States
More Info: Product Data
Manufacturer: Sherwin Williams

Test Deck Stats:

When Tested: May 2008
Deck Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 400 Square Feet
UV Exposure: Full Sun, Western Exposure
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used:

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

55 Responses to “Sherwin Williams DeckScapes Stain Review”

  1. Sharon Schaefer says:

    Do not buy this stain. I used this on my deck in April of 2010. Last April you couldn't even tell I stained it. I was very disappointed not only in the cost but the time I put in. I took me 3 days to stain my deck, front porch, landing and steps and deck furniture. It would have been worth it had it lasted even 2 years but it barely lasted one.
    I'm searching reviews to find a different stain to try this year. Please, take it from me, do not waste your money on this stain!

    • Thanks for the post on your personal experience with SW Deckscapes.

    • bill says:

      Sharon: Did your store refund any money for your problem?

      • Bill-

        Thanks for sharing your experience. We used the water based version for our testing. I see that you used the Sherwin Williams oil based version but still had issues. Could you please elaborate as to how you prepped the wood? New cedar wood is not very absorbent and many stains have difficulty penetrating properly.


  2. Bill says:

    Do not purchase this product "Exterior Deck Stain (Cedar)" premium oil based formula. I put this on my new cedar deck in June of 2011 and immediately it started to wash off with any rain/moisture we had in area. Today after less than 12 months, it looks terrible and will need to be restained. To top it off, my local store in Farmington, MO shows no effort in helping in any way. I have taken all my business elsewhere.

  3. joyce says:

    Thank you for these posts. I am having the very same problem with my
    S-W stain this year and it also hasn't even been a year yet.
    So now that I have to restain my deck I will probably
    try a different brand.

    • Joyce,

      Thanks for your post and sorry to hear of you issues with the SW Deckscapes. I would remove the SW with a stain stripper and start over with a deep penetrating stain.

      • Suanne says:

        I used Deckscape on my new deck. What a mess. The whole deck surface had mold growing under the stain. I hired someone to remove this product and now they had gouged the wood with a power washer. This has turned into a mightmare!!! Don't use this product. It is awful!!

  4. Mary Jones says:

    Why are you showing a price per gallon for this product at 32.99 when in the store regular price is 45.49?

  5. fitzie says:

    I am going through the same 2 months after useing deck scaoes it was washing off my deck now looks bad and I do not really want to use their product again who can help me on a better product

  6. Gloria Fuller says:

    We had the SW Deckscapes premium oil-based formuler deck stain put on our dek about 9 months ago . We are in the process of having it redone. SW agreed to comp the painter the stain.

  7. KAMMIE62 says:

    I have used the deck scapes water base product on a 1300 sq ft covered porch, in New Mexico….dry 13% humidity most days. Anywhere the rain hits, the stain peels. The biggest problem I have is it becomes dull and almost seems to be oxidized within weeks of application. When i asked our local S/W dealer what to do…. i was immediately questioned about MY application process, as if it was my fault. I have spot treated areas with every cleaner known to man to cut thru the film with little success. In order for the porch to stay fresh, crisp and clean looking I restain every year. Not a fun job. I have found the best application is a paint pad on a long broom handle. Yes the stain seems to be more of a covering or encapsulating product than a true stain that soaks in. Now that I have found this great web site i will never use S/W again. I assumed it was the best and continued to use it as they have such a good name. NO MORE!! THANK YOU!!

  8. Uli says:

    We had a poor experience (in my estimation,) with this product. It peeled and chipped away, dries very quickly during application and also seemed to just rest on the surface of the wood – creating a plasticized effect. At any rate, our local SW dealer really did respond to our complaints in a generous manner. A store employee came out and reviewed the space, they interviewed us politely and supportively about ur application efforts, And ultimately they did replace the product (same tint color,) at no cost to us. I'm sure that was largely due to my husband being a professionally consumate (though respectful and polite,) nag. No one is better at not letting go of a complaint until it's resolved, (just my opinion.) I could see the salespeople inwardly cringing every time we walked back into their showroom.
    Thing is, of course, all that happened (to my way of thinking,) is that my husband was recommitted to using a product that failed his expectations in the first place. GAH! Make me crazy why don't you?

  9. DesignerChic says:

    Yikes, Was told to check this product out by my painter, but have to admit it concerns me that there has not been one positive comment on this product. I have over 1200 sq. ft. that needs to be done, I get full sun all day and year long and do not want to have to do this every year! Not to mention the cost of labor and product to do this and have it not hold up..What products have people had good results with?

  10. Curt says:

    There is no review of Deckscapes oil toner stain. I want to know how good a product that is.

    • Curt, we have not posted our review yet as it has not been 2 years. We will this Fall. Thus far it has performed better then the water based Deckscapes. I would call it an average stain.

    • John says:

      I used the oil based cedar toner stain on new cedar wood and oil based redwood toner stain on #1 pine two years ago. I have many trees around my house. After two years, the deck that i spent over $20,000 on looks terrible. Some spots have stain while many parts have washed off, leaving that area gray with no protection. Save your money and buy a solid stain that is better quality and will last loner.

  11. Karen says:

    I see this review and many of the comments are for the SW Deckscapes Toner. SW advertises their Semi-Transparent stains as having much better durability and UV protection. Have you reviewed or used the SW Deckscapes Waterborne Semi-Transparent? (I have an agreement with my painter to use this product, but I just found your site and I'm wondering if I should hassle him with trying to switch to a TWP product. I live in KY, PTP 2 y/o deck in 1/2 intense sun, 1/2 shade. It's never been treated.) THANK YOU!

    • Karen, personally I think their semi-transparent is worse. Yes it will get better UV protection but it will peel even faster as it has less (thicker stain) penetration. I would not use it. I would use TWP 100 Series. it should be available in KY.

  12. John Crisler says:

    October 26, 2012
    Warning-Sherman Williams DeckScapes® Exterior Acrylic Solid Color Deck Stain Started Pealing after 2 Years.

    I purchased the DeckScapes® Exterior Acrylic Solid Color Deck Stain in the color Cheyenne Red. In May 2010, the deck was stripped, cleaned, power washed and completely dried and prepped before applying this product with a brush. I wanted to brush-on the stain to ensure the best application. The deck stain started pealing after 2 years.

    The painter who was recommended by Sherman Williams contacted the Sales Representative, and he came to see our deck and how the deck stain was pealing. The Sales Representative said the pealing was due to normal wear. However, the steps and other areas more frequently traveled did not have this defect.

    In summary, Sherman Williams did not stand by their product, and we received no help from them. I am very disappointed with this product, and with Sherman Williams and cannot recommend either of them. :(

    John Crisler
    McDonough, GA

    • John, all stains will eventually fail. Some last 1 year or less. Good stains will last 2-3 years at best. The issue is that companies like SW and Behr will promote theirs stains as lasting longer, 5 or 6 years. This is a bunch of BS. There is no stain out there will do this and they get out of their limited warranties by saying such things a \”normal wear and tear\” does not apply. It makes them look bad and really upsets the consumer. It would be much better to just be honest and give a realistic expectation of how long it should last.

  13. Karl says:

    I got some Deckscapes stain recently from Sherwin Williams, and it says "Premium Oil-Based Formula". I do not recall seeing any "waterborne" Deckscapes at the S-W store that I went to (not that I was looking for water-based). Do they make both types, or did they switch from water-based to oil-based fairly recently? Can anybody tell me how the OIL-based SW Deckscapes stain performs? (The stain I have just says "Redwood Toner" but I would say it is semi-transparent.) I am making redwood planters as gifts, and I want to use a stain that holds up well to moisture and UV fade. So far I have had no problems with it, but I have only several months experience with it, and have only used the stain on items that are indoors, outdoors but under cover, or outdoors but coated with spar urethane varnish. Thanks for any input.

    • Karl,

      We will be posting a review of the SW Oil based Deckscapes this winter. While it is better then their water-based stain, it is still not on par with other brands we have tested. Items used indoors will not have any issues. Outdoors but covered will last significantly longer as well. Never put a spar varnish on top of a deck or wood stain! It will peel causing major issues down the road!

  14. Andrew says:

    I really wish I would have researched the deckscapes oil based stain before buying and staining my deck. I applied the stain a little bit over 4 months ago and have numerous places that need touch up. The deck looks like it's 5 years old. I had a piece of cardboard from a box blow across the deck one night when it was raining. It was soggy and when I picked it up the next day, a patch of stain peeled off about the size of a big mac burger. The cardboard did not have oil or any other chemicals on it that might cause the stain to lift. The manager of the store came out and looked at the deck. I had to sign a release which I really didn't want to and received a free gallon of green stain. If the wood that is stained was old and ragged, I would just paint over the ugly stain and be done with it. Looks like I'll be stripping the stain off and applying a different stain. What's a few more dollars and hours wasted?

  15. [...] Note: This is a test in the Sherwin Williams Deckscapes Oil Based Formula. This formula tested better then their water based version. See Here for Water Based Review: SW Deckscapes Review [...]

  16. Tracy says:

    After 15 of saving $$, my husband and I just had an enclosed deck with 5 feet exposed built. Purchased SW Waterborn and Oil Based Deckscape Stain, both in Yankee Barn, (Brown). My husband used the waterborne in our enclosed portion, didn't like so he bought the oil based for the exposed portion. The oil based color is RED, no hint of brown. The manager told me that just the way it is. The two different types would naturally produce a different color. I understand a different finish, different tone, but one is brown and the other red. I don't think they are willing to help us resolve. Oil stain has been on for 3 days. Can it be stripped off or are we better off covering with a different color stain. All the products I have found state removal of weathered stain. If it should be stripped, which product should we use. Please help me.

    • Tracy, not easy to remove a newly applied stain. I would try the RAD stripper to remove as much as possible then sand if needed the rest off. Make sure to brighten when done. Good luck!

  17. Roy Alley says:

    You were very generous in a wear and tear rating of 4. My deck railings and floor have peeled in most, but not all of the surface. Would have been better if ALL had peeled off. Now, I have a big mess to correct. I wish your rating , since wear and tear is so important, would have worned us not to purchase this product. Sherwin Williams should be ashamed to put out a product this terrible.

  18. Troy says:

    I used the Deckscape oil based stain and got a terribly uneven finish. But more concerning was the fact that the deck is so slippery we can’t walk on it without wearing shoes with rubber soles. This was a new cedar deck and I did what the local Sherwin Williams retail informed me but boy am I disappointed. Can I strip off this stain and do something that will make the deck more useful? This is not only irritating but it is very dangerous. I won’t let my kids even walk on the deck because my son slipped and got hurt the first time he walked on it.

  19. JoAnn Brozowski says:

    Applied this stain exactly one year ago. As of now it is peeling on the top of the railing and over most of the floor area on a large deck. Spent 3 weeks prepping and then applying the stain. At summer's end it was fine. Now it is a mess. Peels up in strips in some areas, flakes off in others.

  20. Laurie Niemer says:

    We replaced our existing cedar deck last year in June 2012 for our backyard wedding. We used SW Deckscapes to stain it following all of the manufacturers suggestions and the builder's suggestions. This Spring we noticed the stain had peeled, not in just one spot, but random spots throughout the 800 sq ft deck. We are so disappointed and mad. We not only spent a lot of money, but time and labor that we thought would last at least 2 or 3 years like the SW salesperson told us. Now we have to strip it and redo it this summer. Not fun!

    Has anyone had any luck with reporting their problem to SW? It would be nice to hear they are helping out their customers.

  21. Steve W says:

    We had SW Deckscapes stain applied professionally approximately 11 months ago, and it is awful. The stain had peeled in countless places, and we are in the process of starting over. Given the cost of the stain plus the labor for application, this is an incredibly expensive problem. SW should absolutely stand by its product, and if it doesn't, I will explore other options. The pro who applied our stain went to the SW store to complain, and they gave him some excuse relative to EPA regulations. There was no disclosure when we purchased the product that it wouldn't last. Never again.

  22. Kelly says:

    I am a professional painter. I use the SW waterborne stain on my deck. It's true, every 2 or 3 years the deck needs to be recoated. This is normal. Normal wear and tear on a deck has nothing to do with your walking on it. The wear and tear comes from rain, sun, snow, ice etc. No waterborne stain will last more than 3 years. The reason being, the deck is a horizontal surface, it has cracks in it (whether you see them or not). Over the coarse of 2 to 3 years the weather will eventually comprise the stain layer due to pooling of water, ice. Once the moisture gets past the stain barrier it begins to break down the wood beneath and separation occurs causing peeling. This becomes more extreme the harder the wood. Softer woods obsorb more stain and will last a little longer. This is why, when applying your stain you must do it on a cool shady day. This slows the drying process and allows the stain to soak into the wood better. Staining on a hot sunny day will give you nothing but grief down the road. Hope this helps.

  23. steve schehr says:

    I wasn't just burned once by SW Deckscapes but burned twice. I first applied it in the summer of 2010 and by March of 2011 it began peeling. Of course Sherwin Williams said it was an application issue but would give me 4 free gallons. I waited over a year and then had a professional strip, clean and re-apply the deckscape stain. Surprise but in March of 2013 my deck began peeling a second time. Sherwin Williams once again is saying it's an application issue. I have been a loyal SW customer painting my whole house inside and out with their paint. I am so disgusted with the results of this product and their reluctance to admit this product stinks that I am boycotting Sherwin Williams completely.

  24. Nancy says:

    What about the SOLID color Deckscapes, which is water-borne? My handyman is recommending this to me and he says the wear is great and cleaning it is like cleaning a teflon pan–i.e. very easy with not a lot of pressure needed using the pressure washer. I see the negative comments here about Deckscapes, but people are talking about the stains and not the solid color product. Comments? If SW Deckscapes solid is not a good product, then what would be considered the ‘best’ solid color deck stain?

  25. Lisa says:

    Just had my deck stained in redwood oil based toner….it is orange!! Help, what can I do to get this changed?

    • Lisa, color is always dependent on the wood type, age, prepping, application, etc. You will most likely need to remove it and start over. Applying on top may change the color but it may also peel in a year.

  26. Luke says:

    I live in Seattle. 3yrs ago I had Cabot semi-transparent New Cedar professionally applied and it peeled in a number of places within 2yrs. I've got a professional painter lined up to restain here shortly and he's recommending SW Waterborne. I will be calling him today and telling him about these reviews and asking why he's not experienced the same results as all of those here and on other sites saying the product is terrible. I am looking for a recommendation on a semi-transparent stain for northwest decks. Thanks!

    • Luke, look for the TWP or the Armstrong Clark for your area. They penetrate deeper and will have less peeling as long as all of the Cabot has been removed. In our experience painters are not deck people. They buy everything from one store and do not venture out for better quality. Not to say he cannot do the work, just does not have experience as a contractor who specializes in wood restoration.

  27. Everett says:

    We are building a brand new deck in the upper peninsula of Michigan and will be using treated cedar. What stain do you recommend. We would like a semi-transparent stain and our builder is recommending Sherman Williams Deckscapes stain, but after reading the reviews we aren't sure what to use. Our builder said he would put 2 coats of deckscape stain on the treated cedar and that should last 7 – 10 years. What do you think?

    • Deck Stain Help says:

      Everett, That made me laugh. Nothing lasts more then 2-3 years and even less on brand new wood. SW will last maybe 1-2 years.e

  28. Pov says:

    We bought a gallon of the oil-based Deckscape for a small BBQ deck out back and were so happy with the results that we used the rest of the gallon on the front porch. On pressure-treated wood, it performed great, but on the fir deck in front, after 2 WEEKS, the stain has not properly cured. It is shiny, rubber-y and still tacky after 2 weeks of 70 degree weather and sunshine. Granted, the front porch does not get direct sun, but this is ridiculous. We had a very nice SW rep come out and explain that the application of the product was the problem— that I had put it on too thick. It should dry with a hard matte finish. (Thing is, I did the back porch myself exactly the same way, and it turned out fine) Guess we will just put the furniture back on the porch and start using it as is. Summer is too short. Going to throw silica sand over the porch and hope for the best.

  29. dennis says:

    used this for 2 years in a row. The water stops beading up after 2 months and the deck peels like a grape after a year. Very, very disaponited, but a bit better then thomspons water seal..

  30. Tammy Maassen says:

    Don't use this unless you want to stain your deck EVERY year. After a year it looked awful and be two not much was left on the flat surfaces. My parents and grandma all used this stain to paint their deck and everyone's deck flaked off and we all had to stain again. We used Behr the next time. Was a terrible waste of money.

  31. Clay says:

    After reading all these reviews I'm a bit on the fence about what to use on our new house's front porch. (still not moved in yet)

    On our current home we tried most of the major brands of deck treatments from Thompson's, Olympic, Cabots & Behr. None lasted much more than 2yrs even if we bought the best grade of their product. Then two years ago we redid our deck again and a gent came along and made an offer to pressure wash our house. When finished we discussed the fact that I was going to retreat my deck and he asked what we were using. He offered he'd gone to the new water based Deckscape from Sherwin Williams and was having good success with it. When I told him I was using 4 gallons each time I redid our old deck he was agast and told me that if I'd by just two gallons of Deckscape in an opaque he would not only cover our entire deck but the front porch and steps as well. I thought he was crazy and took him up on his offer.
    Well, he was good to his word, did it all and had a little left over. He said if you put it on too thick it would just peel off.

    Its been two years and the front porch looks almost as good as the day he put it on. But it is under an overhang. The back deck still looks ok but I think we'll go ahead and do it again while it still looks ok just to keep it so. It is unshielded and bakes in full sun all day throughout the summer and then gets covered in leaves and/or snow & ice in the winter so it is never going to last as long as the front porch.

    I've decided not much is going to hold up real long when its out in the elements but our experience so far is that the opaque water based Deckscapes has been the best. We also liked that it seemed to soak in and cure without the fumes the previous oil based products did and has lasted better as well.

    I'm going to research a bit more but think I may use it on the new house since the porch also is protected by an overhang here.

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