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What is the Worst 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!

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Average Article Ratings Score

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241 responses to “What is the Worst Deck Stain?”

  1. Karen says:

    I am in eastern PA, here we are in September and I decided to strip and clean my deck. The intention was to seal/stain it before winter, would I be better off leaving it unprotected over the winter and sealing/staining in the spring?
    It is an old deck, how old, not sure I've lived there 13 years and thought it was on it's last leg then. I've been sealing it over the years, usually with transparent of some sort, never stick to the same brand. I used cabot timber oil last time about 4 years ago. I am torn between trying a solid or cabot semi solid or a semi-trans. Any thoughts on what I can put on now and it will still look good in the spring? I am finding maintenance to be very hard on the back, any thoughts on what to do where I won't have to strip the stain, can just reapply over top?

  2. Jim W. says:

    My contractor want to use Sherwin Williams Superdeck on my new cedar deck. Its all over the charts what is the best deck stain to use. Any thoughts from someone who has used Superdeck would be appreciated.

    • Peggy Patton says:

      Do NOTE use Sherwin Williams. Worse stuff out there. Wish I knew what was best but i'my searching after a SW nightmare.

  3. Annie says:

    Just put in a new cedar deck and have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what product to use to protect it. After reading this forum and others, reading reviews etc, I've come to the conclusion that it may be better to simply allow it to age gracefully. Sounds like most people go through the cost and effort of staining only to have peeling or some other problem within 6-12 months anyway.

  4. hsl2000 says:

    Behr Semi-transparent was given Consumer Reports top rating so I decided to switch to it after having good success with Cabot Semi-transparent right after the cedar deck was rebuilt. I expected to have to re-do the finish every two years or so, since I wanted to keep as much of the wood grain showing as possible.

    Bottom line: the Behr didn't even last through one winter and left a terrible mess, peeling, uneven color wear etc. Now I am finally able to get to refinishing near the end of our Minnesota summer, and power-washing and cleaning have barely touched the unevenness so I will have to sand it down completely before going back to Cabot, hopefully still with Semi-Transparent if I can get the finish even enough.

    The problem is the season, with our nights dropping into the 50s often and rain about every other day–at least part of the reason for the late start since it never seems to be able to dry out. My question: can I leave the wood unprotected over the winter without too much harm? I actually like the greyish look of aged cedar so that isn't as much of a concern to me as whether I will be causing too much deterioration to the wood by leaving it without any finish.

    Help please!

  5. Barb says:

    Has anyone used Zar deck and siding solid color stain on cedar siding?

    • Guest says:

      I am a firm believer in ZAR Deck & Siding Products. ZAR makes good quality product and there Solid product can be used for decks and siding. If you are going use a light color think about the possiblity of tannin bleeding. You might need to prime first with a tannin blocking primer first. Dark color should not be an issue. Remember with any coating cleaning the surface and making sure it is fully dry is 99% important. Moisture in wood causes the most product issues.

  6. Frank says:

    The absolute worse deck "stain" was Home Depots (Behr) DeckOver. I applied it according to directions, prepared the surface and applied it (June) on a non humid, no rain forecasted, warm day. It looked great all summer, Then in March, I noticed it was peeling and by April the deck looked like it never ever had any treatment ever. I contacted the company and after a few calls, they agreed to reimburse me for teh cost of the stain and the cost of removing it professionally. The contractor orginally said it was take a day, but it tookl over 3.5 days with 2-3 guys working on it. It was resistant in some spots and in others it peeled inHome Depot rarely has it anymore. There was also a class action suit but I settled without joining the suit.
    The BEST stain is STORM, which I used to redo the deck after it was sanded to bare wood. I HIGHLY recommend STORM stains — it is easy to apply and shows NO wear after 2+ years !!

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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.