Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
Deck Stain Help Articles
Deck Stain Reviews Ratings

Posts Tagged ‘deck stain failure’


What is Best Deck StainsNote: This is the first version of our most popular article on We help by guiding consumers in finding a high quality and low maintenance deck stain based on a series of questions. This article alone had had over 11,000 Q&A questions to date. We have updated this article by including some answers to our most popular questions.

Please visit our updated article here: The Best Deck Stains?

What is the Best Deck Stain?

This is the most popular question that deck owners have. Unfortunately there is not a “best” deck stain out there. There are products that are better then others, but there is not one that will outperform every other stain.

A better way to approach this common question is to ask, “what is the best stain for my deck and it’s environment”? Just because a deck stain performs well in the Northeast part of the country does not mean it will perform well in the high altitudes of Arizona. There are also VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Laws the come into effect for different parts of the country. This may limit what is available in your state. For example, TWP 100 Series cannot be used in 17 states that have a low VOC content of 250.

To understand a deck stain and its potential longevity, we should first look at the main reasons deck stains fail:

  1. UV rays from the sun will damage the wood resulting in degradation of the wood cell structure. This will break down the stain while causing the wood to oxidize (turn gray).
  2. Water, snow, and ice will cause damage to the wood by breaking down the exposed cellular structure.
  3. Freeze/thaw will expand and contract the wood resulting in the stain “bond” with the wood cells to fail.
  4. Mold, mildew, and algae will  leave the wood unsightly/dirty and can result in rotting.
  5. High traffic areas will leave “wearing” patterns.
  6. Previous stain used was of low quality or applied poorly.
  7. The Stain was not applied properly or the wood was not prepped properly prior to application. Bad prep is the number one reason stains prematurely fail!

Continue Reading

Peeling Deck Varnish
Peeling Deck Varnish

Peeling Deck Varnish

Deck stains are meant as a protective finish for exterior wood. They contain special UV shielding pigments and mildewcides to ward off mold and mildew and to keep the wood from fading. Other sealers or clear finishes will not adhere well to a deck stain and may result in the topcoat failing prematurely. Most likely the clear sealer or polyurethane will end up peeling and flaking off the deck stain.

Unlike paint, stains and sealers are not necessarily designed to adhere to each other. Most are designed to penetrate into the wood or at least adhere to bare wood in the case of film forming stains. Applying a clear sealer over a deck stain is never a good idea. It really won’t help the deck stain or give any added protection more than the deck stain already is. Clear sealers have no pigment and therefore provide zero UV protection. The same goes for polyurethane.

Continue Reading

Failing Deck Stain
Deck Stain Failure

Old Deck Stain

Bringing an old deck back to life can be very rewarding. But like any rewarding venture, the task can be daunting. With the right knowledge however, it can be well worth the effort. A restored deck can give your home’s exterior a much needed facelift not to mention raise your home’s curb appeal and value.

Re-staining an old deck requires a few tools. A pressure washer is very helpful but a scrub brush can also be used. Pressure washers can be rented if you do not own one. Before re-staining an old deck, the surface needs to be clean. A good wood cleaner will go a long way in aiding the cleaning process. A quality deck cleaner will loosen dirt, grime, and graying making them easier to remove with the pressure washer or scrub brush. It will also rid the old deck of mold, mildew, and algae. The idea is to reveal clean bare wood so the new deck stain will perform properly.

Continue Reading


It is best to never stain any exterior wood when inclement weather is forecasted, especially rain. Most deck stain brands will warn against application of their product within 12-24 hours of rain being forecasted. But as we all know sometimes the weather is not so predictable. So what do you do if it does rain shortly after staining?

You cannot do much until it stops raining once it starts. After the rain has passed and the deck has dried take a closer look. It really depends on how hard it rained and for how long. A light drizzle most likely won’t hurt anything but a good downpour can be a different story. The type and brand of stain can make a difference as well. Some stains can handle rain shortly after being applied better than others.

Continue Reading


Prior to staining a wood deck it is necessary to properly clean the wood for the best results. Removing all the dirt, mold, mildew, and graying will help the new deck stain to penetrate better and last longer.

When dealing with a deck that has an old failing deck stain on it, a simple wood cleaning is not enough. In this case a deck stain stripper must be used to emulsify and soften the old stain so it can be removed more easily. Wood stain strippers are more aggressive than a typical wood cleaner.

Some of the best deck stain strippers that we have found contain a mixture of Sodium Hydroxide and other surfactants and typically come in a concentrated powder formula. Once mixed with water they can be applied using a pump sprayer.

Continue Reading

Moldy Deck
Moldy Deck

Black  Deck Stain

Why Did Your Deck Stain Turn Black?

Many things can happen to a deck stain when it is not applied or maintained properly. The biggest reason for a deck stain turning black is mildew. All wood surfaces need to be cleaned correctly prior to staining. The use of a quality wood cleaner and pressure washer or scrub brush is necessary to remove all the contaminants like dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and graying.

When contaminants are left in the wood pores and stain is applied a whole host of problems can occur. Mildew can begin to grow underneath the deck stain, which causes discoloring. This can also lead to rot and decay because if there is mildew there is also moisture present.

Continue Reading

Peeling Deck Varnish
Peeling Deck Varnish

Peeling Deck Varnish

Unlike some wood stain finishes on hardwood floors that have a reflective or shiny finish, most exterior deck stains are not meant to be shiny. A deck stain works best when it is applied to a clean wood surface. This allows the deck stain to penetrate deep into the wood pores to ensure a solid wall of protection against sun and water damage. The amount of deck stain that is applied depends on different factors like wood age, condition, and porosity. Not all wood surfaces will absorb the same amount of deck stain when they are being refinished.

Continue Reading

Peeling Solid Deck Stain

Have you had a bad experience with a decking stain?

Our most popular article, “What is the Best Deck Stain” has become the #1 article for consumers on the Internet for deck stain questions and answers. We have decided to create an article based on negative consumer feedback and experiences with decking stains.

We are looking for bad experiences with a particular brand of decking stain.

Please include:

1. Brand of Deck Stain

2. Type of Deck Stain (i.e. Solid, Semi-Transparent, Transparent, Semi-Solid)

3. Location and date applied

4. How long did it take for the stain to fail and how did it fail. (Peeling, Turned Black, Mold, Etc)

5. A brief description of your overall negative experience.

Note: This is mostly for fun and to allow you to vent your frustration!

Rate Our Article

Average Article Ratings Score

4.56/5 (25)

Peeling Deck Varnish

Should I Apply Polyurethane to a Deck?

Selecting a deck stain or sealer is a vital step when finishing your deck or when your deck is in need of being recoated. Wood decks are exposed to severe weather conditions and need to be protected with the correct type of wood sealant.

Continue Reading


How to Change From Water Based to Oil Based Exterior Decking Stain and Vice Versa

The longevity of a deck or other exterior wood structure depends highly on how well it is maintained. A wood surface left alone or neglected will not last long in the harsh environment. Wood needs to be sealed and protected from moisture, UV rays, mold, mildew and such contaminants that will cause rot and decay. The most common types of wood protectants are oil and water based.

Continue Reading

Deck Stain Help Stats
as of July 2016
  • 25,000+ Questions, Answers, and Consumer Reviews
  • 12,000+ Contributors
  • 170+ Help Articles and Reviews
  • 3400+ Forum Help Posts
  • 2300+ Consumer Star Ratings

Google Search

More info on brands? Use Google.

Find Products?

Manufacturers and Websites:
...See All Product Websites


*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.