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Behr Deck Stain Review 2.2/5 (48)

Behr Deck Stain Review

Behr Deck Stain Review

BEHR’s Premium semi-transparent wood stain offers a 100% acrylic formula that penetrates into the wood to deliver complete protection from the elements on decks, fences, and siding. The silicone-fortified formula protects from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Behr’s Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is available in 83 custom colors allowing the natural wood grain to show through.

Behr Wood Deck Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 2

– Behr’s Premium Deck Stain is a 100% acrylic stain which means it is a water based product. We found that the stain does not penetrate into the wood as promised in its description. The product had the look of a semi-solid stain, not a semi-transparent stain. 80-90% of the wood grain was masked by the heavy pigment. A good way to describe the finished appearance is to compare Behr Deck Stain to a watered down paint. The Cedar color we choose was much darker/redder than other brands.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 8

– Behr Deck Stain performed well in the areas where the stain was still on the surface of the deck after the 2 years of testing.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 1

– The worst that we have ever tested! The Behr Deck Stain had peeled on 80% of the decking surface. This stain seemed to offer little to no protection on the flooring after the 2 years. The railings did hold up much better.

Cost Per Square Foot: 4

– Behr Premium Deck Stain costs $39 per gallon. The manufacturer stated 250-350 square feet per gallon when actual coverage was less than 150 feet per gallon. We used 20 gallons for the 1200 square foot deck translating to a per square foot price of $.67 a foot.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 9

– As expected with a water based stain, Behr had no mold or mildew on top or growing in the stain. Small amounts of algae were present along the perimeter of the home.

Ease of Application: 1

– Nothing positive to say here. We tried applying by manufacturer directions with horrible results. Behr suggests applying with a pump sprayer and back brushing with a pad applicator. The problem is the stain does not apply evenly or at all with a sprayer. We switched to a pad applicator but still had horrendous results with ease of application. It was next to impossible to achieve an even finished appearance with the Behr Stain.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8

– Behr Deck Stain retained close to 90% of its original color after 2 years. No noticeable darkening and the railings looked like they had not changed at all in appearance.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 4

– The Behr Deck Stain would be difficult to fix. Since the stain failed so badly we would suggest a professional cleaning with a stain stripper and possibly sanding of the entire surface.

Overall Score Defy Extreme Stain at 2 Year Period: 4.625

– Behr Premium Deck Stain gets our lowest score to date of all deck stains tested. The initial appearance, application, and peeling making Behr Decking Stain a poor choice for any exterior wood restoration project.

Buyer Beware!

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Home Depot
Cost: $36.99 per Gallon, $166.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Premium Semi-Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: 83 mixed colors
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: Behr

Test Deck Stats:

When Tested: May 2008
Deck Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 1200 Square Feet
UV Exposure: Partial Sun
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.

Please Rate This Product. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

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196 responses to “Behr Deck Stain Review”

  1. Brbra Walsh says:

    I applied Behr 1903 superdeck stain to my new redwood deck a year ago and it did not last even one year. What should I do?

  2. Jimmy campbell says:

    Just did not last like it should have. I was very disappointed. The can said it should last six years. Two years in and most of the stain had disappeared off of our deck. I would not recommend.

  3. Darlene says:

    Worst stuff I've ever used & guess what – I'm using it every year because I can't bear the thought of sanding everything down to bare wood. Instead, we just keep staining the damn deck every year with this crap. The reviews are absolutely correct – peels easily and difficult to apply with obvious brush marks and uneven coverage. This stuff should be outlawed. I actually can't wait until my deck rots so that I can replace it!

    • Maxman says:

      Well, how big is your deck? Mine is about 15' x 30', and it only took about 5 hours with a handheld orbital sander to sand the whole thing, taking a lot of it down to bare wood. I was just out to sand off all the loose stuff and even so, a lot of it ended up as bare wood. If I was seriously trying to sand the whole thing bare, I would have used a belt sander or rented a floor sander. It's really not as bad as you think. Just get it in your head that it's a "job", that it might take you one or two days to really get it done, and you will need power sanders and lots of sanding sheets. If you are eager to get it done in a couple of hours and restain it, then you will fail because it's a much bigger job than that. But it won't take you weeks of work to do this unless you have an enormous deck.

      The durability and results are enormously better when you gut it out and sand. Since doing that job, I have converted to a totally "sand everything" guy. Paint, trim, railings – heck with it. Sand the daylights out of it, and then reprime/repaint/stain (whatever you are trying to do). The finish lasts so much longer than just trying to scrape a little, recoat, and "get by".

      I wish you the best of luck.

  4. Tiberius says:

    So I've got this stuff on my deck. The previous owner told me the stain was applied two years ago. I'm having the peeling issues around the whole perimeter. It would be a massive undertaking to sand it all off. Can anyone recommend a product to go over the top of this stuff that would still let me see a little wood grain without having to strip off the old stuff?

  5. Bruce, Quinlan, Tx says:

    Purchased 2 gallons. Put much effort into initial deck preparation. Stain application not particularly difficult. When I finished the job it looked ok but somewhat mottled. I was suspicious of the claim of 6 year guarantee. I've never seen any deck paint or stain that would last that long. 2 months after applying "stain" we began to see chips and flakes coming off surface. I was extremely disappointed that a manufacturer could make such false claims for a product. Home Depot was very professional by refunding my cost. However, my time and labor have been lost.

  6. ondeckstaining says:

    I use this product every day and never had a problem with it. Just did a job this summer I did 8 years ago using Behr Weather Proofing Natural 500 Transparent and Behr Weather Proofing Solid Redwood. The red was still red and not turning pink as most products do. The Natural 500 was still holding strong, little faded in the sunny spots on the deck but not bad after 8 years of dogs and people walking on it.
    Ok people I've read most of your aggravation and the problem is poor prep. You must prepare the wood for stain by removing all dirt, grease, ink and most of all the mill finish. What's a mill finish? It's a sealer that's sprayed on the wood to control how the wood dries during the drying process, especially pressure treated wood. If you don't remove this finish stain WILL NOT STICK. The only way to remove this finish is to sand, sand and sand some more. They do make cleaners to remove this finish but the problem with the cleaners is if you miss a spot the stain will not stick their. Plus some of these cleaners changes the color of the wood so your better off just to sand.

  7. Janice wilhoit says:

    DoesnN't look good and won't completely dry after2 wks

  8. nonhandyman says:

    I stained with this product and it lasted 4 years before showing substantial wear, and the house is on the ocean in New England where it's been exposed to direct sun, salt, high humidity, hurricanes, and ice storms.

    I prepped as follows: Power wash (low setting), apply deck cleaner, rinse with hose, dry for 48 hours.

    I stain with a brush on the railings, and a pad on large surface areas.

  9. jon says:

    Jon Langbein Painting License # 13vh07127500.
    June 17 · Edited ·
    I stained a deck not 2 years ago using Behr semitrans stain. most of the deck was new cedar which was washed, dried for 10 days then sanded and blown free of dust. the stain was rolled then immediately backbrushed. the stain is now peeling off both the new and old sections. behr will only refund the stain price. it cost almost $2000. in labor to prep and stain this 3 tiered deck on a slope. no more behr for me. Behr won't even send a field rep out to diagnose the problem with their product.
    A Behr rep in California stated that all problems are diagnosed from Cali and that their field reps are just salesmen that apparently just stock shelves. Thats a company that doesn't give a crap about its end user.
    I recommended to my customer to seek legal advise.
    update. Behr told me that since I did not use their cleaner that the warrantee is voided. I used chlorine bleach first followed by an oxalic acid wash then sanded with #80 paper. The oxalic acid is the same active ingredient in the behr cleaner. Behr is BS.

  10. Eddie says:

    We used this prior to reading test result. It is truly a horrible product with some areas having darker color, some with wood- grain appearance and other areas solid. I stirred it frequently to insure even color and this didn't help. A good stripper to remove is about $60, and then light sanding as this stain is horrible, and then a good brightener is about $40. THIS IS ABDOLUTELY A BAD PRODUCT IN MY OPINION!

  11. Jim says:

    I have the same results your video looks like my deck. We followed the instructions to the T used the berh cleaner as well . My deck is all western red cedar and I just noticed that it looks like mould on the railing I installed . Did any one get reimbursed from berh for the product or labour?

  12. Peggy Ullery says:

    Worst stain we have ever used…followed all prep..blotchy blotchy..1400 sq ft deck is a mess…

  13. Dont USE says:

    Will pile on ABSOLUTELY Do not use. Horrible peals up.. but here is the worst.. It wont come off cleanly. So its shoddy material that fails but sticks good enough in spots to be horrible to remove. .

    HOURS and HOURS of repair.

  14. Debra Golletti says:

    It has been only 1 year since application to our deck and it has peeled off of the deck flooring and top of railing. We have always used Behr paint and figured the deck stain would be just as good. Boy what a disappointment. Now we will have to power wash this stuff and do some sanding, and figure out what to use next. It won't be Behr.

    • Use a stain that soaks fully into the wood grain. They do not peel and will be easier to maintain every 2 years. Try Armstrong Clark.

      • Jo-Ann Freburger says:

        Two years ago, I removed as much of the awful Behr stain as I could get off, and then used Armstrong Clark.I am EXTREMELY happy with it. This is the best stain I have ever used and the only stain I will ever use!

  15. Tom says:

    The Home Depot sales people must be on the Behr payroll for recommending this so strongly. don't listen. This is the worst deck stain product in the world. Difficult application, poor penetration, tacky for weeks, gross flaking and peeling in less than a year. And I did the complete prep regimen as recommended before application. Anything else is better.

  16. JON A says:

    After only 6 mo. deck over stated peeling. cracks opened up. I made sure I cleaned deck well with brush. Was told NOT to use power washer as this would push dirt in. Went over entire deck taking out all nails that were up a little, replaced with deck screws. Next I used Behr deck wah and scubed deck then rinsed off entier deck twice . Waited three days until deck was dry (as was recommended by home depot ). Next i went through and hand brushed all the cracks. waiting agian a couple of days to dry. Went over cracks again that the wood soaked up product. After waiting a couple of days. I started hand brushing the entire deck after the sun was not directly on the deck. Then gave it a second coat using the same hand brush method. This of coause to a couple of weeks. It looked really good after I was done. Now i need to resand entier deck. Lots of man hours. Positive not Behr is replacing the stain and wash. Now if i can get them to help me sand.

  17. Carlos says:

    A lot of you guys/Gail's probably aren't properly preping your deck prior to apply Deck stain. Preparation is the most important part of the entire process, all I use is Behr products and it never failed me nor have I had a customer complain after the job or years later. I have been doing decks for a while now and never had a bad review BEHR ROCKS!!?

  18. Brian says:

    Terrible, horrible product. What a waste of time and money. I did all the proper prep and it peeled horribly after just one season. Behr warrantied it with more crap product. So disappointed. Thanks to this site I have ordered the Armstrong Stain and looking forward to a much better experience. Now that I have had to sand every inch of the other crap off! DONT EVER BUY THIS PRODUCT, EVER!!!!!!

  19. Dan says:

    I used this product week ago ,2 coats it looked great came back several days later the color was good finish was dull now mind u the wood was old but bid the job at 2 coats and now have to apply another coat I'll stick with thompsons.

  20. Maxman says:

    I have used Behr 5330 Semitransparent "Redwood" on our back deck. The first time I used it, all we did was pressure wash the whole deck to drive off any loose peeling stain from the previous owner. The Behr applied very easily with a roller, and after 2 coats, it gave us a really nice, very uniform finish. In 5 years' time, we never had any trouble with mold, algae, darkening, etc.

    BUT… adhesion was lousy on that first application. By the following year, there was severe peeling. The stuff would come off like you were pulling bandaids off of somebody, you could grab a hold of a little peeled/lifter spot and then pull a long strip/sheet of the stuff right off.

    So second time around, I was much more diligent. I took a power sander to the entire deck, and really got off every darn bit of anything loose or questionable. A lot of it I sanded down to bare wood. It took the better part of a whole afternoon and lots and lots of sheets of 80 grit sandpaper. But in retrospect, heck, 5-6 hours to completely sand down a deck is not that bad. If you are expecting to just wash a deck, then slap on the stain, forget it. How could anything penetrate into the wood like that? You have to roughen it up and open up the surface.

    Two coats after that sanding, and it held up tremendously better. It was perfect through two solid summers. This year, 3rd summer, we started getting some peeling in a few places. So I went at it with the sander again. It required much less work this time, as most of the deck has a firm coat on it that is not coming off. So I just sanded the problem spots bare, lightly ran the sander over the whole deck just to lightly roughen the surface, and then reapplied the stain. I have a strong suspicion that the problem areas are places that I just did not sand well enough the first time.

    As before, it applied easy, and the finish is very good.

    I am still on the fence about whether this stuff is crap like some people say, or whether it just really requires you getting it onto bare, clean wood to make it last. So far, I am seeing evidence that it can work really well if you take the time to seriously sand first.

    Oh… and as to the tackiness issue – I am useing a semi-transparent, which is in reality pretty darn opaque (that's just how they make it, so if you don't want that, go with transparent). But anyway, I'd say with two full coats, it took about a week in warm weather for it to really get hard and completely tack-free.
    But it was reasonably good enough to walk on after about 3 days. I wouldn't go sliding furniture across it for at least a week, though.

  21. D. MacKenzie says:

    After only 2 seasons my deck stain, Behr Premium Plus, peeled and wore right off the traffic area of the deck. Had to strip and restain this season and even though Behr did refund my purchase of stripper, cleaner and stain I don't care to do this again any time soon. If it happens again, no more using Behr stain!

  22. Shawn emerson says:

    I used deck over on my pool deck last year. It was not easy to apply and it took 10 gallons to put 2 coats on. When I opened the pool this year, 80-85 percent of all of it was peeling up! I am extremely disappointed in this product and would NOT recommend this to anyone. The whole deck has to be stripped. My deck is 8'wide around a 16×32' pool, so it's not a small deck.

  23. S Anderson says:

    Horrible results – lasted one year before incredible amount of peeling. Home Depot should be embarrassed to sell this garbage. I will now sand the entire deck before applying a different product. 10 years on decks – satisfaction guarantee – I don't think so…

  24. John Dendy says:

    I don't understand the complaints here. Maybe it was the semi transparent version that doesn't hold up.

    I stained my back deck 5 years ago with Behr solid color stain and it has held up great. I also stained my front porch (which is under a shed roof) and it looks almost new.

    I did stain the porch again this month because we painted the wooden railing and dripped paint all over the floor. The solid stain covered the white dripping perfectly. I will probably redo the back deck next year..

    By the way, we use the deck and porch all the time. including adult children and grandchildren on weekends. The only wear was this year , right in front of the door, and I spent 5 minutes touching it up

    Maybe the problem is the semi transparent. type.

  25. MIKE says:

    just want to add my two cents. the worst stain ever! first show fall and its all peeling up. CRAP STAIN!!

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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 in consideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.