Deck Stain Quality at Lowes Or Home Depot  4.4/5 (138)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Deck Stain Quality at Lowes Or Home Depot for 2024

Here at DeckStainHelp.com, we have worked hard to become the Internet’s number one reference for your deck stain opinions and reviews. Those who have ever bought deck stains at Lowes or Home Depot can attest to the quality of their products. In this article, we investigate why their products don’t stand up to the elements or the test of time. If you have used a deck stain purchased from Lowes or Home Depot, we would like to hear what you think, so feel free to leave a comment below and pictures of your projects if you have them.


Deck Stain Lowes

We would love to hear from you if you have used any of the Big Box Brand stains such as the Behr Premium Wood Stain. Pictures of your experience with deck stains from Lowes or Home Depot can be posted in the Comment Area below.  Please specify the brand of decking stain that was used and a description that is positive or negative as it would be helpful for other consumers who are considering which stain brand to choose. The majority of comments below describe issues of peeling, application issues, and color problems with most of the stains that can be bought at Lowes and Home Depot.

Olympic Deck Stain Failures

Deck Stain Home Depot

As a homeowner, you know that regular maintenance can not only prolong the life of your property, it can also increase its curb appeal and value. Nothing is truer when it comes to the exterior surfaces of your home like a deck. Deck maintenance includes regular cleaning and sealing the wood to protect it from the harsh elements. Doing so ensures a lasting surface that will provide years of use and value.

To perform proper deck maintenance it is crucial to use quality products including wood cleaners, brighteners, and especially deck stains. Deck restoration or maintenance can go wrong in a hurry if you use the wrong products. The biggest culprit to deck maintenance gone wrong is applying a cheap or inferior deck stain.

Behr Deck Stain Failures

There are plenty of good deck stain products on the market and the key to finding a quality wood stain is looking in the right place, or better yet, knowing where NOT to look. As you know, many of the big box stores carry a wide variety of deck stains. It’s convenient, fairly priced, and you will notice they carry some well-known brands of deck stain such as Cabot and Olympic.

So it would seem the search for a quality deck stain is over that quick or is it? There is no doubt that some of the brands they sell are quality brands but the problem stems from where they are being sold. Manufacturers of products are forced to make a “cheaper version” of their once quality products before being stacked on the shelves of any big box store.

Big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot compete on price, so they literally tell any company wanting in the door that they have to make a cheaper version of their product to sell at a certain price point. This is known as the Wal-Mart Effect.

What this means for a deck stain company is that the formula has to be changed so it is cheaper to produce allowing them to sell at a lower price. The bottom line is when you buy a quality brand of deck stain at a big box store; you are not buying the same quality formula they have always been known for but rather a watered down version. That’s right! A cheaper, less effective formula of deck stain that does not perform or hold up as well as it should. It is the sad truth and it preys upon unsuspecting homeowners every year. You buy what you thought was a quality wood deck stain and a year after applying it, it begins to fail, leaving you confused, frustrated, and back to square one.

Let’s Look at the History of Deck Stains at the Big Box Stores:

Penofin: Entered the Home Depot market in the late 1990s and was almost put out of business. They came in with the same formula but was forced to either move their operations offshore to keep the same quality or pull the line. They did the right thing and pulled the line.

Cabot Stains: Before Valspar bought Cabot in 2005, Cabot was considered one of the bests. This stain was immediately introduced into the Big Box Stores but with a new modified formula. Cabot has to yet recover the quality it had pre-2005.

Flood: Great stain back in the 1990s. Put into Home Depot with a new formula. Same results as Cabot.

Sikkens: Entered Home Depot in select stores a few years ago. A completely different formula that is sold at the hardware and paint stores. Sikkens was removed from Home Depot as well in 2015/2016.

Behr Wood and Deck Stains: One of the worst stains ever made. Just research the many angry and unhappy consumers on the Internet who have posted reviews.

Don’t fall into the trap of buying deck stain at the big box stores regardless of the brand name. There is a good chance it is not the quality product that you think it is.

 Have a Review of a Stain Bought at a Big Box Store? Please Post Below.

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.

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
152 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Larry
Larry
3 years ago

Okay I purchased Valspar tinted transparent stain off the shelf at Lowes. The product was used on new pressure treated
built custom deck in 2018. All prep recommendations like cleaning, scrubbing and power washing before applying product even let deck cure 6 months before prepping to let new wood cure from pressure treating process. I noticed while trying to apply product it dried vary rapidly causing dark overlapping. I googled Valspar product to make sure I was
not doing something wrong like applying it in to hot or direct sunlight. Then I seen the multiple complaints reviews about the peeling problems people were having. Next after seeing this I called Valspar directly to talk to tech. I had already struggled with about 10 of 30 (20′ each deck boards). Questioned tech about product which they of course said people were not properly preparing deck and was told that you cannot second coat this product. So now I waited until cooler sunny summer day about 75 degree and waited til neck was in afternoon shade to see if that would help with it drying so fast. I applied product with brush by hand not with a roller to make sure I was getting sufficient amount of product. This actually helped waiting til warm shaded times product seemed to go on more evenly. But being 1/4 way though the deck surface when I called leery of what I had read, I finished the deck surface in about a week waiting for shaded hours. Well NOW I wished I would had stopped and ate the cost of 10 new boards. The product peeled just like everyone else had complained about. The deck was quite a bit more complex project with stone wrapped columns resting on top of the deck surface. I built this as a showpiece to last the next 20 years certainly outlasting me. The product failed within the 1st six months, as soon as winter turned to summer I began to see the nightmare. I have done more turn key construction projects than I can count in my lifetime, this as they say was not my 1st rodeo. So ending my rant, I can only say that I will never use another Valspar product as long as I still draw breath. Cant wait to hear from company rep now after talking to Lowes manager for at least a refund on product (like that’s gonna help a ton in the overall repair of a $7000 project.) because they cant refund on basis of crappy product. Maybe someday someone will start class action to recoop loses not this lip service where they are only responsible for product replacement cost and not labor to fix problem. I would be happy to except emails to get list of people affected by loses.

20190505_193919.jpg
20190505_194031.jpg
20200903_121932.jpg
20200903_121939.jpg
Roscoe
Roscoe
8 days ago

We’ve been using Behr semi-transparent deck stain at our place in the Bahamas for 8 years or so, mainly because of the necessity to order from Florida and have it brought over on a boat, but frankly it’s worked great! The deck material is 5/4 x 6 P.T. Southern Pine. I apply brushed, wet-on-wet, and almost immediately wipe off excess. Often on long runs I can only do one board at a time due to the heat, though I try to work early and in the shade. It’s lasting about 3 years with zero peeling, and our place is right on the beach with all that means as far as beating sun, salt air, and huge downpours. I do a light sanding when I refinish. Absolutely satisfied, what can I say, surprised the product is so despised!☺️

Mari
Mari
1 year ago

i was not happy with BEHR at all. i have used the paint products and happy with those over the past 18 yrs. the stain was terrible. i called and they sent a coupon for another replacement and it did the same thing. it did not last as it said and peeled within 2 yrs. not a good product at all.

Jacqueline Lorenzen
Jacqueline Lorenzen
1 year ago

Can you mix the stain with the sealer, make it a one coat

Gary Hart
Gary Hart
2 years ago

what about a good exterior wood sealer ?

Terry
Terry
3 years ago

Sirs, your site is great. I really appreciate it. But do you have advice about stains for wooden fences? And best cleaners for fence? Thanks in advance.

Christina Ricards
Christina Ricards
3 years ago

Cleaned& brightened my old stain penofin on redwokd fence buy it is really dark in most area is it the cleaner im using cabot cleaner& other brightner. I’m sanding 80 grit& using same cleaming out back deck (r.wood )also but 10yrs negleted grey weathered& hope doesnt get dark like fence b ut am using twp 1500 transperant stain making custom color 2ceddertone 1dar oak&1/2 redwood hope it turns out wish me luck

Dennis
Dennis
3 years ago

I want to be a little skeptical but I’ve heard of this many times. It’s well documented, for example, that Walmart reduced Rubbermaid shelf space when Rubbermaid tried to increase its prices due to the increased cost of Rubbermaid’s raw materials.

However it seems that any intelligent company would realize that ultimately this practice of reducing quality would destroy their market? So my question to you is this. “One of the products that seems well respected is Sikkken, however Sikken sold their North America’s division to PPG. While some sites assure me the product is the same I noticed on PPG’s web site that some products are designated “Home Depot”. It seems that you are of the opinion that the “Home Depot” products are “watered down” but perhaps the products NOT sold through Home Depot may be fine?

(I hope this question and the links are ok to post as I think this information would be helpful to a lot of us.I wish there was a definitive way to test.)

Farrar
Farrar
4 years ago

This was a good article but why go through the process of describing all the “not to do’s” with buying deck stain from the box stores and NOT introduce -in the same read- a suggested alternative??? I was anticipating what you “experts” suggest in the way of a good quality better than box store choice…oh well.

Farrar
Farrar
4 years ago

I failed to read on further within the site. Apologies. I would be curious to know what suggestions you have for length of time before staining treated lumber in a humid/hot climate like Houston, TX and which of the highly recommended products you’d recommend (TXP or the AC)? I’d like to add that my preference would be to have more of a solid appearing coverage rather than the semi-transparent look. Is there a product that you recommend that has all of the protections and qualities of say a TXP or AC?
After reading this site, I’m very leary of wasting money on the Valspar Solid One-Step product they have.
Thanks in advance!

Carl Ingram
Carl Ingram
4 years ago

Just sent a thank you for the article. Do have a question. I would like to fill the screw holes in the deck with wood putty. Is this a good idea? If so should I wait till time to stain? Any recommendations of type of putty? Thanks again.

Christy Tier
Christy Tier
4 years ago

So if not buying wood stain at a big box store where do you suggest buying it, and how do you know you’re getting a good product? I have a pergola that I’m trying to buy a wood stain for that has a grey color tone.??

Jake
Jake
4 years ago

I have a piece of outdoor furniture that I intend to stain. It’s oak wood and has been sanded. I’m in Arizona and this piece will be exposed to direct sun so am looking for good UV protection. There is obviously a myriad of stain options however, any advice on oil based versus water based would be helpful..
Thanks in advance..

JK

Sherry
Sherry
4 years ago

I had a new cypress deck built last year. Cabot was recommended. Its been less than a year and the stain is chipping, has mold all over it and turning grey. I need to re-do this deck and not sure what brand of stain to use so I don’t have to re-stain this deck every few months because it looks like its 20 years old and not taken care of. So confused what to do at this point

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

We have a brand new cypress deck – quite large. What clear sealant would you recommend?

Pat Bell
Pat Bell
4 years ago

We don’t mind the deck graying. Gray would actually match the landscape and exterior of the house better than anything. We just want to best protect the wood.

Mark
Mark
4 years ago

Just stained a barn with Cabot solid stain so far so good but now I’m nervous about it. I have another bigger barn that needs stain what kind should I use? Was thinking about using a solid stain.

James Abernathy
James Abernathy
4 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Used honey teak Australian oil last weekend. Very satisfied.

John McNeely
John McNeely
4 years ago

I used Cabot on a refurbished deck 6 months ago and it looks like I stained it 5 years ago.I can’t believe I will have to restain my deck already… very dissatisfied with Cabot.

Anna E.
Anna E.
4 years ago

Then who makes good deck paint and where is it sold?

MDC
MDC
4 years ago

Wow this is disheartening. My pre 2005 Cabot stain Dune Gray was a workhorse and looking to refinish my 22 year old deck. Yes it lasted that long. It’s now 2019. I just got back from Lowe’s and Ace and the Cabot representation is almost non existent. The color swatches aren’t the same as online. I’m looking to do semi solid and a brown. I left empty handed. I am online researching because I’m wondering if I have to find something else. Now after reading this article idk if I want to pursue Cabot if their formula has changed and is inferior now. I don’t mind spending $$$$. You get what you pay for. Why are we all about price nowadays and not quality?

Mshul
Mshul
4 years ago

I am re staining my gazebo. I have power washed it and the wood looks good. I plan on using the Valspar All in One cleaner next. If the wood still looks usable do I have to sand before staining? Also I am torn between using Valspar wood stain or going to Benjamin Moore and using their stain. Is there a big difference between the two or should I save some money and use Valspar. Seems like Valspar is the most recommended Lowes or Home Depot brand. Thanks!

Ron
Ron
4 years ago

Yes i agree. Do not buy valspar solid stain it is junk. It messed my deck up.

vyoma
vyoma
4 years ago

None on the internet gives a clean review.. it would be nice if someone ranked these stains for each type of application or requirement type.

Preston Lane
Preston Lane
4 years ago

Just applied valspar solid deck stain.
It went on well. Covered good, and could be applied on damp wood.
I gave 2 full coats to qty 12 , 12 ft new pressure treated boards.

Hoping to get 8 years with no damage.
This deck is in full sun.

Loretta
Loretta
4 years ago

What is the best solid stain for a deck

Zulfi
Zulfi
4 years ago

Where can we buy TWP 1500, Defy or Armstrong Clark in Toronto Canada

John
John
5 years ago

I need to stain a fence that has been cleaned. I was looking at Armstrong cedar tone transparent or cedar semi-transparent. I am in Northern Virginia (4 seasons), but gets humid during the summer. Advice?

Thank you.

David Waterhouse
David Waterhouse
5 years ago

Which Armstrong Clark wood stain can I bring into Canada?

Barb
Barb
5 years ago

Looking for a one coat exterior stain for wood doors, what do you recommend? Hoping there is something that last more than 1 year. Northern
Utah, 4 season weather.

Barb
Barb
5 years ago
Reply to  Barb

Previously stained and clear finish, all water based. Sun worn, some peeling. Looking to see some wood grain at finish.

152
0
Questions or leave a review, please comment!x