Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
Deck Stain Help Articles
Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
We Would Love to Hear From You!
Please post a review in the Consumer Star Ratings Below.
The Comment Area Below is for in-depth reviews and any questions you may have!
Visit us on Facebook to share your pictures.

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review 2.3/5 (30)

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Review

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Review

Important Note:  This is Our 1st Review of ArborCoat DeckStain. Our second review was completed in 2015. Please see here: Benjamin Moore ArborCoat Review 2016

Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat is a 100% acrylic exterior wood stain that provides water repellency, mildew resistance, and UV protection. This stain is a waterborne product that was introduced in 2010 as a two component system. One coat of stain and one coat of a protective clear coat needs to be applied. Available in a range of colors, this wood and deck stain can help you protect and beautify your outdoor furniture, deck, and siding.

We tested the Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat for only 1 year as it was introduced for Spring 2010. We used the semi-transparent version to be consistent with other field tests.

Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 3

– The Arborcoat after drying had a “plastic” unnatural look to the wood when done. The finished result was a film-forming stain, similar to a varnish. These stain types are definitely prone to peeling in cold weather states such as our test deck in Michigan.

Preventing UV Graying at 1 Year Mark: 10

– We only tested for 1 year but the Benjamin Moore Arborcoat did very well with preventing UV graying. The nano-technology seemed to fully repeal the graying effect. We noticed no color change after 1 year.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 1

– We got a call from the homeowner in the Spring of 2011 to look at the deck. On inspection, we were extremely disappointed. The Arbrocoat had peeled significantly on the brand new pine deck. Patches of the finish had peeled off the wood in strips. You could peel back with your fingers large sections of stain. The product did not seem to have penetrated into the wood at all.

Arborcoat Failure

Arborcoat Failure

Cost Per Square Foot: 5

– Arborcoat retails for $42.99 a gallon. 9 gallons were used for the 1000 foot deck at a cost of $.39 a square foot.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 10

– No mold or mildew as on the stain after the one year mark. The zinc oxide in the formula definitely seemed to help.

Ease of Application: 4

– We found the Arbor coat to be difficult to apply. As with most water-based formulas, the Arborcoat dries fast and displayed overlap marks. Adding the clear top coat did help even out the appearance somewhat. The stain applies like a paint and dries on top of the wood. We were skeptical of the appearance and if the stain would make it through the winter (it did not).

Color Shifting (darkening) after 1 Years: 8

– There was no visible darkening of the stain expect for some dirt that accumulated on top of the finish.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 1

– The customer was so displeased with the condition of the deck after less than one year that they requested the Arborcoat to be removed. A traditional deck stain stripper did not remove the stain or top coat. Power sanding was needed and cost the unfortunate consumer a substantial amount of money.

Overall Score Defy Extreme Stain at 2 Year Period: 5.75

– Benjamin Moore’s Arborcoat did not perform well in a cold weather state and on a newly built deck. The unnatural appearance was reason enough not to use the stain but the peeling and difficulty of removal, really was tough to swallow.

Buyer Beware!

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Benjamin Moore Paint Outlets
Cost: $42.99 per Gallon
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: 75 Custom Colors
Application Temperature: 40-90 F
Coats Required: 2 Coats. One stain coat and one top clear coat
Coverage Per Gallon: 150-200 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: Benjamin Moore

Test Deck Stats:

When Tested: August 2010
Deck Wood Type: New Pine Decking, ACQ
Deck Square Footage: 1000 Square Foot Deck
UV Exposure: Mostly Shade
How Many Years Tested: 1 Year
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.

Sharing is caring!

145 responses to “Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review”

  1. Pizzed off Customer says:

    Horrible product for the money they charge. Call BM and they said it was an application problem, basically blaming me.

    • Kim Casey says:

      I HAD THE EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE with BM, they blamed me, and I followed the instructions to the tee! BM is well, BM. (get it ? nudge nudge) on decks, (holds up well on Vertical surfaces, though. )

  2. billymo says:

    I have to admit that I was blinded by the BM brand name. I am royally pissed at myself for not researching beforehand. I have two young kids and my time is precious – staining my two tiered mahogany deck was a big job for me.. Never in wildest dreams could I have guessed the stain would be a colossal bust. The areas that did not fade were only succeeded at taking permanent imprints of dirty footprints. Now I am in the midst of stripping and prepping (twice) with the RAD AC product (which seems to be working). I am now a pro at pressure washing and deck maintenance and i have Arborcoat to thank for it! Nevertheless, I will not be buying another BM product ever again. I can hardly wait to get the AC mahogany stain on and finally enjoy our deck for a change.

  3. Tom C. says:

    Just bought arborcoat and applied to our 1 yr.old deck. We used a lighter color (tan) with a semi-solid stain. On lighter tone boards it looks great but on the darker posts it just looks like hell. We have applied a second coat on them to even out a little but not the look we were looking for. Semi-solid should show some grain but this looked hideous. There was serious overlapping. I should have chosen a darker stain perhaps this wouldn't have been an issue but we don't like burning our feet on scorching hot desks. Since the railing is now done I will buy a gallon of the solid for the floor. Hope this covers better.

  4. Michael says:

    Having endured the catastrophic failure of Arborcoat semi-transparent with the 636 clear on an Oceanside deck complex in Northern California I switched to an Arborcoat Translucent deck stain one coat thin application for all my decks and have had great results. After a year or so a simple light pressure wash with hydrogen peroxide ( wash safe cape cod ) and a maintenance coat and all is well. No sanding, no stripping, no hassles.

    Translucent: the stain that fails in a friendly way and looks great doing so.

  5. Chris Sumerlin says:

    Had to sand entire exposed upper deck of home in Maine after two years of exposure. Reapplied new coating this past week, 8/25/2015, and will replace non wood product next season if this application does not take. Very disappointed with this product. Complained to Hardware store here in town and was told they have had nothing but complaints on the stain. Interior paints have been very good but dropped the ball here.

  6. Betsy says:

    Total disaster, my new wood deck is A mess after applying Arbor coat
    Last summer. There was flaking and mildew that was trapped underneath the finish that did survive. Had to pressure wash twice, scrubbed with TSP and Bleach, and scrapped gummy finish off with a 3" scrapper. Hardware store owner said that it should be able to be recoated after letting it dry out. I think it needs to be sanded but that would be very expensive. I plan to call Benjamin Moore customer service tomorrow

  7. dennis says:

    The solid is the ONLY varieation of this product to consider. Have professionally applied it many times (decks and childrens playsets) to high end clients. 0, thats right, zero clients who didn't love it. BM should drop the rest of the line period

    • angela says:

      do you apply the clear coat after the solid stain? Do you have to?
      how does it stand up against Behr's Solid Color Weatherproofing All in One?

  8. Primary says:

    Abor Coat is simply awful. The semi-transparent stain begins to peel/flake wherever there is a knot in the wood. This is by far the worst deck stain I have ever used and I have been doing this type of work for over 20 years professionally. Complained to B. Moore…get in line! They know, and they do not care! SIKKENS will always be my product from here on out.

  9. Cathy says:

    Dirt and tracks from walking on backyard lawn onto deck causes footprints and dog paw prints that are like glue on this flat stain. Even BM cleaner with a scrub brush will not remove the dirt. I was told by BM rep to put indoor outdoor carpeting on my deck and steps to alleviate the problem. Then hose down carpet. Ridiculous. This is a substandard product. Do not use it.

  10. Nick L says:

    I used the semi on my new deck this will be my third season. The color is great Saddle Brown … with the UV topcoat perfect!
    The problem is the winters are not kind to this product so each spring I touch the shovelling scoffs. It also has pealed on the stairs.

  11. joy says:

    Terrible product. We used it on a new red cedar deck. Two winters later the deck looks like scum. The clear coat is peeling and is a dirty grey. We hope that a stain remover used in a power washer will get it all off. What a waste of money and time!

  12. Gregory Flis says:

    Brand new deck, applied Arborcoat, did not last one season. Product has peeled of at least 75% of deck area. Will not use this product again.

  13. Tim says:

    I have an absolute nightmare!!! 6months in. I talked to the Bejamin Moore rep and she told me everything i did wrong. I will never use their stuff again. The sad thing is they couldn't care less.

  14. Rip off says:

    Total waste of money bought at Canadian tire. After One winter the deck is peeling and flaking , this product is also a dirt magnet. BM you should remove this product from your line. I am amazed at how many terrible comments related to this product , also customer service is very poor.

  15. Marty says:

    Like most of the posters here, I did not perform any research into this product, trusting instead on the reputation of the BM name. After seeing the horrible results of weathering on the product (multiple shades of color fade, and the most horrible peeling that one can imagine, I am done with BM products for life. As one reviewer put it, BM couldn’t’ care less, they got their money and after attempting to deal with their customer service reps who put quite bluntly blamed me (even though I followed the instructions EXACTLY) I am convinced that is all they care about. Yeah BM you got me for quite a pile of coin this time, but you will never get another penny from me! I hope your business model takes your company into the dust bin of history of once great companies who succumbed to corporate greed which in the long run destroyed the company.

  16. paint scraper says:

    I have the exact same issue.. after only 2 years this paint is peeling off in big pieces. It has not penetrated or adhered to the wood at all. Very disappointing and now left with many big 2-6 inch chips of peeling paint.

  17. Joan says:

    We had our front porch professionally sanded – beautiful job. Picked a brown wood colored semi solid stain to cover. The paint is not at all like the color on the brochure – it is PINK! dark pink, but pink nonetheless. Definitely not a wood color. Not returnable, of course. The salesperson agreed: it's pink, but… We will not be replacing this can of stain with another BM stain. Don't trust the brochure colors. We always thought Benjamin Moore was the best, but no longer. Will not be buying any more of their products.

  18. Barb says:

    We used BM Arborcoat on our deck last fall and this spring it is peeling off, I just went to the dealer and was told that this is very common and there is nothing that they will do, this stain only lasts over one winter, of course I was not told this when I bought it. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT. I have used Benjamin Moore paint for years and will never use any of their products again.

  19. CIndy says:

    I wish I could post you a picture of how TERRIBLE this stain is. It is so bad that BM discontinued making it, but they will not stand behind the faulty product. IT WAS A2 STEP SYSTEM. Our entire new deck, kitchen, built ins, and walkways are completely peeled and stain particles blow off in the wind after one winter. The stain did not penetrate the wood. We are so disappointed about the thousands of dollars we invested in a deck and now have to spend thousands more trying to fix it. I really feel that so many people had the same experience that there should be some type of law suit for restitution for the labor and new product.

  20. Barbara key says:

    very disappointed in this product. It only looked good for about 2 years! expected it to be more durable

  21. Bruce says:

    We applied Arborcoat stain to our new deck in May 2015. The application was a nightmare…took many hours to apply (much longer than oil based stain). Much to our dismay it was peeling in less than 1 year!!!! I sanded it off (a huge time suck) and used an oil based stain this spring. I will never buy Arborcoat products again. I feel I should be compensated for testing their product.

    • dfqwfwqe says:

      most of the problems i see here with it, is that people used it on new decks. when you build a new deck you have to let it sit for atleast a year before top coating it. i have had it on my deck for 5 years now and no problems at all

  22. BruceMN says:

    We applied Arborcoat stain to our deck in June 2015. Application of AC was difficult to say the least. Within 6 months horizontal surfaces were peeling! I sanded the Arborcoat off and applied an oil based stain. I've invested a lot of time and money correcting Arborcoat's dismal performance. There has been so much discussion on the sites like this where people have had horrible experiences with AC stain. Its apparent the product performs poorly for the vast majority of the people using it. Most people advocating the product appear to be connected with the company or the store selling AC.

  23. Donna McCorquodale says:

    Just as bad as described above?? wish I had read that review before buying. Worst Ben Moore product I have ever used!

  24. J Watts says:

    (2) Decks: Vail and Littleton. Both peeled horribly within one year. Both brand new decks, professionally prepped, seasoned and dried; sanded and cleaned. My paint contractor stepped up, fought with Benjamin Moore rep and replaced the Vail treated deck for free. The Benjamin Moore Rep is in full denial. Their stores, like Guiries here in Denver blame the homeowner, the prep and or the contractor, anyone but Benjamin Moore. Now they say, it's merely a trade-off in annual maintenance; oil based fades, Arborcoat peels an a mere power wash and reapplication will look the same. My view: only if you want your new deck to look like a calico cat, spotty and awful. The rep says its reformulated, so it's better, but I don't see that in these reviews. Wake-up, this product is horrible, it's ruined two new decks an I'll never buy another Benjamin Moore product by my choice again, given their attitudes.

  25. g wright says:

    No only did Arborcoat peel after the first Canadian winter but trying to get the remainder off was all but impossible. We applied it to a new cedar deck. It was far worse than nothing at all.

  26. steve vreeland says:

    I have been using BM Arborcoat solid and semi solid for more than ten years. With proper prep work, primer (solid) this stain works well. No clients have complained. There are cases of peeling, but , it is usually because home owners use salt and shovel the deck in the winter. I would say re-coating horizontal surfaces in five years is average. prep work means all the difference. If power washing, the deck should dry for at least 4 days. Power washing drives water into the boards. The deck must be dry!! I disagree with you evaluations.

  27. MAK says:

    I was told by a local BM rep that they have had many complaints from customers using this product in the northern areas of the US. Apparently the freeze- thaw cycles and related moisture changes have wreaked havoc on the two part system. Lower 48 states that do not get the extreme cold winters of the north had fared better. I agree that there should be a legal action to recoup costs from homeowners that have been financially hit by this poor product.

  28. James C. Wade says:

    I had new top boards installed on my deck. I waited four months for them to completely dry. Bought Arborcoat because I wanted an oil base stain. Took my time and applied it with a brush. Within a few months it turned BLACK from MOLD. I had to use a MOLD removal product. It left my deck looking very chalky. I re-applied another application of Arborcoat. Now it is a few months later and my deck is completely BLACK again. It looks terrible and we are completely embarrassed when we have company. I am thinking about turning all the boards over because it looks so bad. As a side note we have an outdoor bench, table, and chairs. I applied Behr Solid Color Waterproofing Wood Stain on it. Several years later it still looks great. I used the Arborcoat on my deck because it was supposed to be an even better product. Also what is so confusing to me my deck is in complete bright sunlight. I would love to at least get my money back for this terrible product. Proof is in pictures here is mine:

  29. Robert Kent says:

    Mold, where there was never mold before. I power washed the deck two years before I finally stained it, and let it sit. I got no mold ever in two years. I washed it again, applied chemical treatments, rinsed and waited for it to dry. I applied the Arborcoat, and for about a month it looked good. We had some bad rain for about a week and now there is mold all where the Arborcoat is. I have never had mold before. Eastern Exposure lots of light in the A.M. hours. The mold is a mess, and not easy to remove – it is a real problem, but I here there may be a class action lawsuit, so maybe I will get it fixed.

  30. Rosario says:

    Would stay away from this stain, bought 3 gallons for my cottage deck and one was gone bad looked like wood chips. Went back next day brought what was left and they told me that they had a bad Bach, gave me another one went back to the cottage that weekend same problem bad stain. Went back return what I had left they said they will talk to the rep to see what they will do . Because I have to strip off that stain and redo the deck, it's been over one month with no word. Don't buy it's garbage

  31. Maia says:

    I used this stain on mahogany and the most exposed part of my deck to the sun 3 months after was black like sooth was setting in, power wash it twice and it comeback, never use this product agai

  32. Tyler williams says:

    I use this product and within less than a year all of it came off the knots. I was given the excuse that knots are harder it won't soak in. I cleaned the wood with a pressure sprayed and The special cleaner that they suggested. I did everything that I was supposed to do! don't buy this product it's a rip off not worth your money. also doesn't look like staying after applied looks like you applied some kind of plastic layer to the wood looks fake. I contacted my dealer took pictures of the issue and he stated that they would get back to me and they never dead they won't stand behind their product I would not ever recommend to buy this!

  33. Marian Winn says:

    I applied this to my deck in 2014. I am reapplying now after 2 very hard winters. I find that you probably want to give it 2 coats.My deck really soaked it up. I am both pleased with the color and the protection it offers and I would use it again. I did not find any peeling. Where it wore off, I had some algae start to grow. For me, that was an indication that I really needed to re-do it. Hey, nothing lasts forever–especially in our cold and snowy New England winters. I would certainly use it again and felt it was well worth the money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Deck Stain Help Stats
as of December 2016
  • 28,000+ Questions, Answers, and Consumer Reviews
  • 14,000+ Contributors
  • 170+ Help Articles and Reviews
  • 3600+ Forum Help Posts
  • 2800+ Consumer Star Ratings

Google Search

More info on brands? Use Google.

Find Products?

Manufacturers and Websites:
...See All Product Websites


Forum Posts

*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.