Behr Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain Review 2024  2.4/5 (97)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

BEHR PREMIUM® Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain & Sealer Review

Behr Premium Wood Stain Review

This is our 2nd Review of BEHR PREMIUM® Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain & Sealer.

See here for our first Review: Behr Deck Stain Review

BEHR PREMIUM® Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain & Sealer

Behr Premium Deck Stain Manufacturer Description

Enhance your wood’s natural patterns while providing increased protection from the elements. This 100% acrylic formula seals out the elements, and the sun’s harmful UV rays, for up to 6 yrs. on decks and up to 8 yrs. on fences & siding. It’s available in 60 custom colors to help you create a look that’s as beautiful as it is durable.

BEHR’s best semi-transparent product, this advanced 100% acrylic formula penetrates deep into the wood to deliver complete protection from the elements for up to 6 years on decks and 8 years on fences and siding. The silicone-fortified formula delivers excellent protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. BEHR PREMIUM® Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is available in 60 custom colors that add beauty while allowing the natural wood grain to show through. The alkyd/acrylic formula combines the benefits of an oil-based finish and the convenient clean up of a water-based product.

BEHR PREMIUM® Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain & Sealer Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 2

– The application of the Behr Premium Weatherproofing Stain was a repeat of our first test. We found that the Behr does not penetrate into the wood like the product claims it should. It dries on top of the surface like paint. It had the look of a semi-solid with much of the wood grain masked by the pigment. The Cedar color on the deck made it look like a pumpkin.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 8

– The one positive about the Behr is that it has excellent UV protection in the areas where the stain had not failed. Unfortunately, this was only half of the deck floor and most of the railings.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 1

– The cedar porch was “Behr” of stain on more than half of the flooring. The stain had peeled or worn in large uneven patches. Vertical rails did not have any issues.

Cost Per Square Foot: 4

– Behr Premium Weatherproofing Stain costs $39 per gallon. We used 5 gallons for the 300 square feet for the 2 coats applied.

$.55 per foot.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 7

– Behr Premium Weatherproofing Stain had some mold growing on the flooring near the home and on top of the rail cap.

Ease of Application: 2

– Applying the Behr Premium Stain is like painting your deck except it does not apply evenly. We have stained 1000’s of decks and have never found a stain to be more difficult to apply than Behr. It dries extremely fast and will show overlaps if not careful. We used a paintbrush and hand-applied the stain to the entire deck as that seemed to give the best results.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8

– Behr Premium Weatherproofing Stain does not darken in color much or at all.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 2

– This is how we fixed the Behr Premium Wood Stain. We applied a heavy dose of the Behr Stain Remover and tried to pressure wash off the remaining stain. It did not work. We then used the RAD Stain Stripper at a very high concentration and repeated. This removed about 85% of the stain. We were left sanding off the rest then cleaning and brightening the wood to even out the porosity of the wood. Prepping took 12 hours and needless to say, the customer switched brands.

Overall Score Behr Premium Stain at 2 Year Period: 4.625

– Rated #1 By Consumers. Not sure why and feedback from most of our users agree. Consumer Reports own website has a user rating of 1 out of 5 stars. Thirteen out of the 14 reviews from actual users gave it a 1 star.

This stain should be removed from sale to the public.

Buyer Beware!

Product Information:

Behr Deck Stain Home Depot

Where To Buy: Home Depot
Cost: $39.99 per Gallon, $199.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Premium Semi-Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: 60 custom 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: 1-2 Hours
Cleanup: Soap and Water
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in all States

Test Deck Stats:

Deck Wood Type: Cedar Porch
Deck Square Footage: 300 Square Feet
UV Exposure: Full sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 
Cedar

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

BEHR Semi-Transparent Deck Stain Photos

BEHR Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

Disgruntled Behr Customer

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

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

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mj sreve
mj sreve
1 year ago

The stuff traps water under the stain. I would scrap up huge pieces of peal and under it would be very damp wood. This is on a south west facing deck on a hot sunny day. Dont use.

Lovie Kaufert
Lovie Kaufert
2 years ago

My whole deck was destroyed. We stained last summer 2020 in August and we were walking to the deck to begin cleaning the pool May 2021 and this is what we found. So frustrated. Time, effort, and money spent only to have to do it all over again.

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Irma thomson
Irma thomson
3 years ago

Stained new cedar deck following all instructions. Like others I found it stayed tacky for several days. Home Depot was confounded. It finally dried but after less than one year the deck is totally peeling and needs to be redone. Absolutely useless product!! How can this be sold??

KENT Miller
KENT Miller
3 years ago

April 2019 built a 500 square foot cedar deck. I applied the Behr semi-transparent stain as per the. Instructions on the can. The weather conditions were “perfect” . A week later, most of the deck was still tacky. Customer service at HD said that this was very unusual. By October, the color had faded and most of deck was peeling or showing bare wood.
Threatening a law suit, HD reimbursed me for refinishing the deck. It had to be completely sanded to remove all of the stain.
Another complete weekend wasted in Toronto, where the summers are relatively short.

C A
C A
3 years ago

That is exactly how my cedar deck looked the following season after staining it with Behr…..peeling all over the horizontal surfaces. The vertical surfaces, however, looked great for many years.
So, for the past 10 years, I’ve been doing a clear coat every year.
This year, I’ve decided to give Behr another try. I’ve done all the proper prep work, just like I did the first time. The stain doesn’t seem to penetrate at all, it stays on top and is tacky…which is weird, because when I shake the can, it seems so watery.
Since I’m getting too old for this, I’ve decided I am never going to do my own deck again and will hire someone, I figured I’d give it another try anyway, so we’ll see what I end up with next spring, and if it doesn’t hold, its going to be done by a professional anyway next time. It looks great the year you stain it, so at least it’s nice now.
But based on my original experience, this stuff is crap.

Charles Wheeler
Charles Wheeler
4 years ago

This is the worst thing I have ever have happened to my deck. I have been a professional painter for over 25 yrs. and have been happy with other Behr products. This stuff started peeling within weeks of application and after one winter is peeling everywhere. While it is holding up well on my fence DO NOT USE on any lateral surface. Now the nightmare of the guarantee begins.

Diane H
Diane H
4 years ago

I read the warnings and thought naw, it can’t be true! Well folks! It’s true. Colors are gorgeous. However! Stain doesn’t penetrate, stays tacky and peels! Behr will come on the threads and say user error, was applied too thick, I am here to tell you not the case. Their internal testing is done on a roof not a deck, so it is not a fair comparison. Hours of wasted work, time effort and cost for nothing! Expensive lesson. Buyer beware! Do your homework, other sites say the same thing. Run. Do not use on decks.

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Dhanna
Dhanna
4 years ago

I read the warnings and thought naw, it can’t be true! Well folks! It’s true. Colors are gorgeous. However! Stain doesn’t penetrate stays tacky and peels! Behr will come on the threads and say user error, was applied too thick, I am here to tell you not the case. Their internal testing is done on a roof not a deck, so it is not a fair comparison. Hours of wasted work, time effort and cost for nothing! Expensive lesson. Buyer beware!

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Unhappy_Behr_Customer
Unhappy_Behr_Customer
5 years ago

Same as most reviewers here, Behr Premium Semi-Transparent Stain ruined my new deck!
The stain was applied on a brand new deck as per manufacturer’s instructions.
However, after only a couple of years of clement Californian weather, the stain started peeling off. My deck looks terrible now (see attached picture).
Now I have to spend a more money and a LOT of effort to remove this stain, and apply another brand.
VERY UNHAPPY WITH BEHR!

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June
June
4 years ago

Are all these rotten reviews about behr water based or oil based semi transparent stain? I bought oil based but haven’t opened it yet and am thinking of returning it since it was a stock color.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago
Reply to  June

The oil based Behr is definitely a superior product for decking, as are oil stains in general. Oils penetrate and leave no film on the surface to peel.They allow moisture that gets into the wood to exit without causing damage.

Bob Locola
Bob Locola
1 year ago

Will Behr solid stain work through a power sprayer?

Bart
Bart
1 year ago

Peeling like crazy after 1 year!! DidNOT penetrated wood!! JUNK!!! DO NOT BUY!

JoJo
JoJo
1 year ago

Well, I actually like this stain. Although, it could be the way how I applied it. We applied it to new pine deck boards and also made a nice pine horizontal privacy fence. I used the palm sander, wiped it clean, and then used a white cloth staining pad to apply the stain. After I applied it, I wiped off the excess stain after about 30 to 45 seconds. I then waited 45 min to 1 hr for it to dry. Then, repeated the process 2 more times and then flipped over and did 3 coats on that side as well. Yes, it’s time consuming, but the result is magnificent! Our back deck does get some sun and of course shade. It has been about 2 months now and it still looks great! I have no complaints. We have gone through a couple of bad storms as well. We are in Georgia.

Dave
Dave
7 months ago

If he wiped the stain after each coat, he would not be over applying it. He will have wasted stain that did not penetrate though.

kim ilene Moseley
kim ilene Moseley
2 years ago

can you tell if a fence has been stained in the past?

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Bruce
Bruce
2 years ago

I wish I had seen this forum earlier, it would have saved me a lot of grief and expense. I did everything by the book and wound up with disastrous results. It is hard to apply without getting overlap marks. It does stay tacky for a long time (and yes, I used their recommended application procedures and applied coats as thin as I could) . It looked great once it was on. Then a few months later started flaking off.. What a mess! THIS STUFF IS PURE GARBAGE!

BLD
BLD
2 years ago

This stuff is terrible. How do we get reimbursed?
Our deck peeled within a year. Leaves a bunch of peeling pieces to infiltrate your yard and house. Yes we did everything right and careful about application.
(We are in Oakland CA)

Im so glad I found this site tho!
Great work!
I was really liking the look of rustoleum rock solid resurfacer, but am now 100% convinced that its a bust. Im considering gulf revive now…

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Rick Richards
Rick Richards
2 years ago

So I used Behr stain on my older sect after 3 weeks sap is coming out of the deck . What causes this?

Lisa bailey
Lisa bailey
2 years ago

It is horrible. The clear coat is brown and colored my gutters and my new outside door. It says you can add a photo but it won’t let you. I’m so disgusted! Don’t buy it. I have an 18 by 10 deck and 2 gallons didn’t cover it. Don’t waste your money

Wilfredo Bucaneg
Wilfredo Bucaneg
3 years ago

Does it need a thinner?

North Ga
North Ga
3 years ago

Started peeling on new deck within 2 months. Prepped and applied exactly as directed. Now it’s peeling.

MNL
MNL
3 years ago

I used Behr Deck Plus Semi-Transparent Stains a couple of times over a decade ago, and the quality of product was good; 1 coat application. The current Deck Plus Stain looks reformulated that requires 2 coats. The old version of Deck Plus Stain that I had left over had a “thicker” oil based formula. For my situation, labor time to cover a large fence area requires a 1 coat application; I did not have the time to labor (during my free time) another 10 days to apply a 2nd coat. I would opt to spend a little more money to buy Olympic brand stain in the future.

Marty S
Marty S
3 years ago

Applied this product to a small (200 sq ft, 15 yrs old) deck in 2019. Application and initial appearance were very good. One year later there are several spots on the horizontal surfaces where the stain has worn away. This deck is used lightly. I am looking for a better option.

John oliver custom decks
John oliver custom decks
3 years ago

Ive been using behr 501 for over 20 years. Im a pro deck builder. In that time its only failed twice and esch time it was application error. If you dont do everything right it wont adhere, or wont cure properly, and it will fail prematurely. Its that simple. Prep the surface. Clean it. Use the behr deck prep and rinse thoroughly. Allow it to dry between 10 and 20% moisture level in the boards…usuall that is a day or two of drying. Do not apply in direct sunlight but if you do make sure it less than 65 degrees. Apply on low humidity days. Apply TWO THIN coats! Do not over apply. Thicker is not better! It will fail!! 2nd coat must be applied within 72 hours of first coat….ideally the same day. Temp range is 50 to 90 and must not get cold at night. My stain usually lasts 5 to 7 years. I hope this helps some of you. I understand some here can’t /wont follow instructions. You must follow application guidelines.

John oliver custom decks, st louis mo.

C P
C P
3 years ago

Just tried the behr semi transparent stain in “Redwood” -(not custom mixed) the color was Cheeto orange! Nothing like the color represented on the can or in the brochure. Beware.

Jerry
Jerry
3 years ago

Is it oil based or latex based?

JAck R
JAck R
3 years ago

Can I apply a second coat after waitin a werk

Bill
Bill
4 years ago

What is The best oil penetrating clear stain that is water resistant and does best in Arizona hot sun?

Bob Kline
Bob Kline
4 years ago

I have applied Behr Premium Transparent and Semi-transparent chocolate color stain to my log-sided house on two applications, 1st in 2008 & 2nd in 2014. I am thrilled with the results. It allows the grain to show through with a satin sheen that is beautiful. There was no tackiness, peeling or other issues. I use the transparent on areas that don’t receive much direct sunlight to maximize the grain visibility and semi-transparent on areas with more exposure. They blend together very well and achieve the same color and sheen. It has been 5 years since the last application and I estimate another couple years before the most weather exposed areas will require another coat. The more protected areas look nearly as good as 5 years ago and are years away from needing work. I am getting more life out of the second treatment. I have achieved similar results on a pt deck railing using their natural finish. I don’t have experience with wood deck flooring as I applied a 60 mil exterior vinyl flooring realizing the never ending maintenance wood flooring requires. The vinyl deck surface is 15 years old and only requires occasional hosings and annual scrubbing.

KimK
KimK
4 years ago

This stuff is junk! We have a deck that we wanted to change the color of, never stained it before. Went to Home Depot and asked what to get. Told him our deck was 7 years old, cleaned the deck every year and looked great, just wanted to change the color and protect it. Got the semi transparent stain and protector and got the wash suggested by Behr. Washed the deck and waited a good week or two before staining it. Went in good, looked great UNTIL… this spring, the boards got spongey .. and someone put their foot right through it. It is rotting my boards from underneath.. had to replace the whole deck floor… but the floor joists were perfect, just the floor.. and Home Depot had no answer for me, said they had never heard of this happening. Junk …

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  KimK

More likely junk wood. Most lumber has become much lower quality(knots, wide/loose grain, flat grain) primarily due to using species of inferior characteristics and fast growth rate. Could also be affected by poor ventilation, your micro climate, too close to the ground, insufficient board spacing, etc. Fungus rots wood (with sufficient moisture content MC>19%), Not coatings!

Maybe your deck should have been left unsealed. Or an oil based sealer would have been a better choice for YOU to make. Nearly every manufacturer makes an oil based option.

Jack
Jack
4 years ago

I used several Gallons of this on vertical and horizontal surfaces. I haven’t noticed the issue with tackiness or flaking that other people are mentioning here. As a matter of fact, the wood seems to “drink” the stain really quickly and dries WAY faster than the label indicated. The first fence I used it on was redwood and I didn’t even bother to sand it first. That was six months ago, and it still looks like day 1. I will note that on second coat it was dark enough that it almost looks like paint, despite being semi transparent.

I will not that my fiance helped me with one side of a staircase and she was a little careless in her application (not wiping off excess), and it is splotchy and you see lap marks everywhere.

Also note that it seems to go on really well with a brush versus a roller.

Sanjivraval
Sanjivraval
4 years ago

CONSUMER REPORTS FINDS BHER STAINS EXCELLENT- I find your findings definitely biased and suspicious. Have lived in Michigan for 54 years and stained my deck on over 12 occasions in 3 homes i have owned- Bher has been excellent as well as DEFY – not sure how much TWP IS paying you. I have used it and its mediocre.

Tracee
Tracee
4 years ago

I’m reading the older comments re: slow curing, tacky finish. I must admit to our fault in the situation, but I’m still confused by the continued problem. We are in Northeast Ohio. Waited for new PT deck to settle from 9 months being installed. Did all the prep correctly. Watched neighbor’s blooming tree for pollen. Took dog to daycare. Watched weather report constantly to check local hourly and radar. Thought we were finally ready. Seemed to go on as stated.
Apparently the weather forecast changed sometime during our work. Less than 2 hours after second coat, the rain came. I was sick to my stomach not wanting to look. There was some beading but also areas of pooling. In the days and now 3 weeks out, the tackiness was noticeable and ongoing. Despite there being a nice sunny day on day 2 and many after. Not being able to keep our dogs from using deck to backyard forever, they went out but still no prolonged play. Regardless, the beautiful deep brown I dreamed of is marred by every single paw print no matter if it’s wet or dry. We’ve spent hours trying different methods to clean the prints off only to have the same and more return. It’s like trying to get white cat fur off black wool. I’m hoping to try the baby powder method because one more try won’t hurt. I’m a big review reader but somehow missed this post. I’m mad at myself. Now I’m afraid what will happen after a winter or two. Any hope to offer?

I trebick
I trebick
5 years ago

We have a cedar fence previously stained with semi transparent Thompson stain from Home Depot. In less then 3 yrs it faded a lot -some places down to bare wood.
We now have a gallon of Behr tranperent stain. I looked online and we should have semi transperent stain.
We picked a darker colour -are we on the right track?

Jacob
Jacob
5 years ago

same issues!! Do not buy

Nancy Norman
Nancy Norman
5 years ago

This Behr product ruined my whole project. I spent months on this project and it was a great success–until the last step of applying the Behr waterproofing finish. It should be taken off the market.

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