This post was updated on January 30, 2023
Olympic Deck Stain Reviews 2023
OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM Semi-Transparent Stain by OLYMPIC provides a beautiful, subtle color that allows wood’s natural grain and texture to show through. The superior hybrid resin technology penetrates deep into your wood to strengthen, protect, and condition wood fibers, ensuring the Natural Beauty of your wood lasts.
Note: Olympic has changed formulas to the newer water-based Olympic Maximum Stain + Sealant
OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM Stain Rating (1-10)
Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 7
– The Olympic Maximum in the Cedar Naturaltone is a mix of golden caramel tones. The grain of the treated pine deck had a nice overall color. The knots of the wood were a little light but that can be normal for a deep penetrating oil-based stain.
Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 4
– Overall the Olympic stain had lost close to 50% of its color at the two-year mark in the areas where there was full sun. The shaded areas and vertical railings did much better.
Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8
– Close to 80% of the stain was still intact on the horizontal surfaces. It seems that the second winter really did some damage as the stain had worn away from the freeze/thaw effect.
Cost Per Square Foot: 8
– OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM costs $36.99 a gallon and covers about 150 feet per gallon in our field test. This translates to a cost of $.25 a foot. Coverage per gallon was considerably less than the manufacturer’s claim of 200+ feet.
Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 8
– The OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM contains linseed oil which is a known “feeder” for mold growth. There was a considerable amount of mold growing in the stain, especially in the shaded areas. Hard to tell if the added mildewcide had any effect.
Ease of Application: 8
– Easy to apply. The Maximum stain is not too thick in viscosity. Spreads very nice with a roller or stain pad. Application with a pump-up sprayer was efficient and did not cause any clogging. We did need to back wipe some drips on the verticals but this is normal for most stains. No overlapping or puddling was apparent.
Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8
– The OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM lightens in color instead of darkening. This makes reapplication easier.
Difficulty of Reapplication: 8
– A good deck cleaner and wood brightener would be more than efficient for reapplication. This would remove the mold and dirt. No need to use a stain stripper but if needed, a deck stain stripper would not have any problems with breaking down the bond between the stain and the wood.
Overall Score OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM Stain at 2 Year Period: 7.38
– Overall the OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM is a pretty average wood stain. Good for about 12-18 months in our opinion. If you are limited to what is available at your local stores the Olympic would be a decent choice. Better wood stains are found on the Internet or specialty stores such as lumber yards and paint stores.
Important Note: OLYMPIC® MAXIMUM states a 5 years warranty for decks. 5 years is absolutely impossible on a horizontal deck surface. At best you will get 2-3 years with some of the better deck stains. Olympic lasts closer to 12-18 months on a deck floor. Warranties that claim ridiculous amounts of 5, 6, 7 years are flat out lying to you and or limited in such a way that you will not get anything in reimbursement.
Olympic Deck Stain Photos
Where To Buy: Lowes
Cost: $44 per Gallon, $219.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid – Oil-Based
Available Colors: Transparent Natural, Transparent Cedar, Clove Brown, Slate Gray
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 1 Coat
Coverage Per Gallon: 200-250 sq. ft
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller – Back brush as needed.
Dry Time: 4-12 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in All 50 States
More Info: Product Data
Test Deck Stats:
Deck Wood Type: ACQ Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 400
UV Exposure: 50% Sun 50% Shade
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: Cedar Naturaltone
*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take into consideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.
Deck Stain Help & Questions
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
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.
I bought the Olympic stain that says it lasts 10 years on decks or 25 years on fences to stain my 1 year old pine fence last summer. By this spring 90 percent of the stain is completely gone leaving bare and now grey wood behind. Olympic customer service won’t respond to me and the Hardware store I bought it from says ‘that’s normal’ and fully expected in spite of my holding the can in front of his face saying it has a 25 year fence life in it. Off to another brand I guess.
Awful. Stained a deck last summer. It is time, work and money. I bought the cream colored stain. It has been black from paws prints since. Rain and/or hose does not remove paw prints. Have to power wash! Looks great until it rains then muddy paw prints that WON’T wash if 🤬 Never again!
Been using Olympic deck products for nearly 25 yrs. and been rather satisfied. Applied one coat of #716 Cedar Naturaltone 6 yr protection May 2017. Was horrified April 2018 to find it peeling off down to bare wood in many places. First time using semi-transp., Lowes rep. suggested for older deck wood.
Very disappointed, plan to made our local Lowes aware – if they don’t already know (will show photos} and never plan to use Olympic products again. We’re in PA and from what I’ve gathered, cannot obtain this as an oil-based product.
Sad thing is even if Olympic monitors these postings and takes corrective action with their product(s), it’ll be too late for those of us what put out trust, sweat and sore bodies into applying their product(s).
Progress in reverse but a happy environment right!!
Suggestion to Olympic — listen to your customers and do something to regain our trust!!!!!
Another sad thing — most of us believe you don’t give a rats about it!!!!!!!
Same thing happened to our deck using the same product and purchased at Lowes. Only the areas that look decent is in shade. Areas that were in the sun, have faded and peeled. A friend of mine used the same product and the deck looked terrible the following year. The deck was in full sun.
What State are you in? Many have outlawed oil based stain. Sell only latex based. Which will always peel. West Virginia still allows oil based.
All states can sell oil-based stains as long as they are VOC compliant for their state.
Valerie you are correct! The old oil base Olympic Maximum stain was called toner. The new water base or water clean up is called transparent. The label looks the same other than the toner vs transparent. If you put the transparent (waster base) over the old (oil base) it will peel.
I’m in Virginia and you can not buy the oil base stain anymore. I just made a 1.5 hr trip to NC. to get the same kind I have been using for years.
PA no longer allows oil based. It is latex based and will always peel especially if applied over oil based. West Virginia still allows oil based. I drive there to get mine. Just bought some 1 week ago. 2019
That is not true. They changed VOC laws but you can still use VOC complaint stains that are oil-based there. Armstrong Clark and TWP 1500 series are allowed to be used in PA and are oil-based.
Wow, that is good to know. My local Ace and Stanford tell me no more oil based in PA. You cannot buy Olympic oil based in PA. That is what I always used, so I go to West Virginia to purchase it. Olympic only sells latex water based in PA.
I had a wood stain applied to my deck last June (2022) & it has peeled off most of the deck. I am disappointed that it didn’t even last a year! What is my recourse? I need to have more stain applied again this summer & I hesitate to use this product again. Thanks for your time.
You have to fully remove it and use a different brand that does not peel. Post some pics for prep advice.
I had a minor issue with the Olympic Stain and contacted their customer service department. I spoke with Narmin with respect to my issue and she was so helpful, courteous and professional…she is an example of how a customer service representative should handle a customer concern….Narmin rectified my issue in a prompt manner….I would recommend Olympic stain to anyone who is considering a deck staining project…you can buy this product with confidence, they truly back up and support their product Fredrick
we have Behr transparent stain on our deck and want to use Olympic Maximum Solid Color paint. Do we have to totally scrape all the old stain off or can we just sand and get the loose stuff off and paint over it?
Pressure wash and sand to remove the loose paint and then you can use a solid color deck stain. Never a paint on a deck. There are better brands of solid color stains than Olympic: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/what-are-the-best-solid-color-deck-stains/
We bought a seven-year-old home 2 years ago with a large covered wrap around porch. A 5-gallon bucket of Olympic Maximum Stain & Sealer tinted semi-transparent that appears to match that color was in the garage. Pail says it is an acrylic/oil formula. Only portions of the railings are showing considerable wear after cleaning. What can we use to maintain and protect it? Will we need to sand everything and start over to get a consistent color or can we “spot treat” it? If so, with what? When we do reseal the entire deck, what type of product should we use and should we sand it? Thank you so much. Info I’m researching is vague.
You will have to remove it all and start over. For help with removal, post some pictures.
I used the middle grade clear Oympic stain on my deck. It must have been a bit too cold outside. It didn’t really soak in but dried to a powder. How should I prepare the wood surface to try again when the weather is warmer?
You should remove it and use a better stain brand. Post pictures for product help.
For years I used the Olympic oil based stain on my cabin and deck and was very happy with the results then I couldn’t find it any more so I was forced to buy the same Olympic stain but water based which I was never pleased with. I found the Olympic oil stain again. Can I apply the oil stain again even though the last stain job (2years ago) was the water base type?
Not without a full removal of the water-based version.
I had a can of olympic maximum clear stain about 7/8 full. I bought it last year to finish the deck and I hammered it shut at the end of the project. This year when I opened the can it appeared like it separated. I tried to stir it but it would not mix. What can be done with it?
It has gone bad. You cannot fix it.
I had transparent sealer put on new cedar deck. The result was that it came out splotchy. Looks like places on the deck are wet. Can you advise.
You cannot stain new wood right away so you will probably have to remove all and then let the wood weather and then prep: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
On a old sanded pine deck how many square per gal
Check with Olympic as we do not use their products anymore.
Bought a can of Olympic semi transparent stain in 2018. Applied it to NEW decking end of August 2018, was pleased with it. In May 2019, decided to wash it down and give it another coat. Come March 2020, about 25% of the deck 2×6 were bare!!, no stain at all. I called Olympic, the lady there started blaming me for all the procedure, one being giving it more than one coat. I tried to point out that the very first “single” application of the stain, had not penetrated the wood at all, in fact the wood looked almost new again….lol. I ended up hanging up on the rep, as I could see it was going now where. Don’t buy Olympic semi transparent stain, I have never had a stain look like this in all the years of using stains on decks, total waste of time and money.
Can we apply the stain over fresh installed treated wood?
No, you have to weather the wood: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
Is I ok to use on an outside table
It is probably okay.
I have two decks and used both the Olympic Elite and Olympic Maximum. Everything was great until the next summer when both stains began peeling and continued to peel. I’m so disappointed in these products.- I will never use them again. The good news is that my little power washer should remove the rest of the flaking stain.
We purchased a 5 gal bucket of this product and had it tinted to the Driftwood shade, which involved mechanical shaking. Came right home and I applied one coat with a roller on a section of our new deck. The temp was between 65 and 55 degrees, it hadn’t rained in 5 days. I knew it was going to rain today (the next day), but the instructions didn’t mention a problem after 12 hours. It was at least 16 hours later that it started to rain and within 1 hour, the stain had almost totally “lifted” off the wood. It now is about 90% gone. What happened? It only took me about 45 mins to apply it, so I admit that I didn’t stir it again. It looked great and my dog ran across it just as I was finishing and nothing came off on her feet. What did I do wrong?
Did you let the new wood season and did you prep it? https://www.deckstainhelp.com/staining-a-new-deck/
It was installed several weeks ago … did not prep it. What is involved with that?
Just read your article on the link … just shoot me now! I guess I have to wait until Spring. Thinks for the fast response.
Coverage was better than Farrell Calhoun brand that take 5 gallons to cover as well as 3.5 gallons on Olympic Maximum Stain
My first quote looks shiny. It rained 7 hours after I applied it. What can I do before I do the second coat?
Nothing you can do about the shine. We would suggest not adding more.
Did a new cedar deck last year & applied two coats of this deck sealer/stain. Here in South Texas this six year guarantee paint did not last a full year. It darkened losing its its new finish in a few months, lost its waterproofing ability causing the grain to rise and scuffed through to bare wood with only two people using the deck. Do not recommend this paint.
I bought Olympic Maximum stain & sealant in one in Canyon Brown and then noticed 2 of the gallons said toner and 3 of the gallons said transparent but they both are Canyon Brown. What I put on 3 years ago said toner and I want to match.Could you tell me the difference. I get different answers from Home Depot.
Sorry but no idea what the difference is if any. Best to call them directly.
The toner is oil base and the transparent is water base. I called PPG phone number for this info. The water base transparent is what people are having trouble with peeling. I have been using the toner oil base Olympic maximum for 18 years and its great. Do not mix the two.
So I just did the deck with Olympic Maxium 3 year protection it’s the clear waterproofing sealant. Had it tinted a med brown. This sealant is very very watery, never used a sealant this thin. It’s oil base or solvent base. There’s a photo of a redwood stained deck on the 5 gal. Steel can. The lid is steel too. Seems this was 90 % paint thinner. Anyone us this sealant?
Doesn’t say stain on the can anywhere…
How long does it take before we can use the deck after a application?
Is it advisable to put a clear coating over your Olympic maximum water base stain? If so, what product should I use?
You cannot add a sealer or coating over top of a deck stain.
I used Olympic Maximum, Stain & Sealant in One, 6 Year Protection product on my deck in May 2017. The vertical portions of the deck are fine but the horizontal boards are all peeling and will soon be bare. I will need to redo my deck this summer. Very, very disappointed in this product.
Can I apply a clear coat on top of my solid colour deck stain to make more scratches resistant?
No. You cannot top coat a deck stain.
I applied the 10 year Olympic all in one stain/ sealer (fyi, I followed the directions to the tee). It was applied 2 years ago. I had to reapply it last year due to fading and stripping. This year, I have to replace 4 boards on the floor part and 2 boards on my railing. It didn’t protect it one single bit. I am approaching this a different way this year. I am not buying the all in one false advertising. Very disappointed. Lowes should take it off their shelves.
I had them apply semitransparent natural cedar. It’s orange! Especially on the replacement boards that are kiln dried. Big mistake. Should have tested instead of going by the flyer. Now what?
Sand off and start over is the best way to fix.
My farmers porch looks awful! I applied this early last fall according to the manufacturer instructions! It has major wear spots everywhere! How do I remove this? What a nightmare!
We bought this stain last summer for our deck. It has been 9 months and the stain is already coming off in areas all over the deck. Counting rails and stairs invested nearly $300 and could not make it one year. Would not recommend
I agree this stuff is awful! Applied last fall and my porch looks like crap!
How many coats of Olimpic Maximum solid should be applied to a deck that is 23 years old?
Maximum 6 year stain “melted” off the deck in the 1st winter. What a waste of time and money.
Forget asking Lowes for a refund, instead take unused remaining paint and drop it on Lowes floor and say don’t worry it doesn’t stick to anything but cloth
This is soo good
Is it ever a good idea to put on a second coat after a 72 hour drying time? Would this provide MORE protection from snow during the winter months? Do you ever recommend this?
More stain is not better and could lead to product failure with this stain type.
Why does it peel off like paint after 2 applications the third year. Real disappointed
I had my new deck stained last June (2016) and within a few months it began peeling. After a year, it is chipping and peeling and now I have to hire someone to re-stain the whole deck. I have stained many decks over the years and this stain is the worst I’ve ever used. I paid over $1000 last year to have the deck done and now I’m going to have to pay another $1000 (according to estimate received yesterday) to have the deck redone. After this experience, I will never use Olympic products and have told my family, friends and neighbors how bad this product.
You won’t have those problems if you use Olympic oil based stain.. This Maximun has sealant but is water based. We went through same problem until we used an oil based stain, and they are semi transparent and come in different shades.
Problem is they don’t sell oil base version in a lot of states. I’m in Va. and have to drive to Nc.
Have to agree! worst stain i ever used. Exactly the same thing happened to me.Will never use it again! Also dealing with their head office is just as bad. Take this piece of garbage off the market, why sell something that’s this bad. Will also NOT shop at Lowes again.
The bad thing is, Olympic maximum was a great product for the last 20 plus years. The formula changed and now its junk! Now people that used it in the past are buying it and having the same problem you are having. It has the exact same Label and looks the same. You can thank the EPA for this one!
Will never use this product again!! Did everything correctly to prep the deck then applied the stain. It peeled after first year. Waited for a month to speak to the regional sales person. Never was called. What ever happened to customer service?
Honesty what ever I received must have been from a Monday or Friday batch. After application it gave the wood a gloss finish and before the experts start, everything was done to specs. Pressure wash, olympic deck wash, rolled, wiped . Yep I called the helpline they told me to use pine sol. But insisted it was something I had done. Yea I want to make a 7000 dollar deck look like cheap. Enfed up having to sand whole deck From now on. I will go to home depot instead of Lowe’s
What product can I use over Olympic Linseed Oil Solid Stain?
Solid stain or semi-trans?
Look at the Deck Revive by Gulf synthetics.
This stuff is horrible garbage. That’s being nice. My deck is just 4 years old, and ready for it’s third round of stain as the last two rounds of Olympic look like caca. I paint cars so I know how to read directions and do the prep work and it still failed.
Can this be applied over a previously painted deck?
No. You cannot apply a semi-transparent product over a paint or solid stain.
can a “solid” stain be applied over paint. It seems like I have to go with an oil based or acrylic paint.
No. Only a paint over a paint.
OK, Thanks for the help.
Just applied two coats of Rescue It to my well worn, but clean, concrete pool deck. The first coat was done and dry and then it rained about 48 hours later. I didn’t have time to put the second coat on after the first 6 hours so I waited two days (I was giving it plenty of time to dry). Then I had a good window of 36 hours or so, it was completely dry, and I applied the second coat. It’s now been 24 hours since applying the second coat (no rain until 9:00 pm tonight) but it’s still a little tacky. What’s going on? This stuff is $100 a bucket, and it took 3 buckets to do the job!
It is not curing correctly. Might want to contact them.
Prep with Restore a Deck kits and pressure washing. Try the TWP in Honeytone color or Armstrong Clark in Amber.
Applied 2 yers ago to log home. Got many BLISTERS on South side. Scraped and sanded the blisters this year and used their new 10 YEAR formula. Was careful not to apply when sunny..STILL got blisters
I followed the direction to a T. Looked awesome at first but when I rinsed it with water a couple days later, it had white spots in some of the knots and lighter white spots scattered randomly once it dried. Not impressed. Not sure what to do now. That was a lot of work.
Should have let it cure, why rinse with water 48 hours after apply?? Makes no sense
Very happy with this product my deck looks like new redwood tone natural stain just beautiful
I have always used the Cedar Naturaltone Stain for my deck. Today the Lowes that I use was out of the (green can) 4 year Cedar naturalton—so I purchased the 6 year Cedar Naturaltone stain. It was so thick that it would not go through my sprayer. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
Not every stain can go through certain sprayers cause of the thickness
Used Olympic Transparent Cedar and still have to restrain every year. Will not hold up and having mold problems as well! After all these years I'm finally going to change brands. Too much invested in all the decks I have to just let them deterreiate.
Purchased product, Olympia Maximum Stain Sealer in one for decks. This was purchased October 2014 and was applied in November 2014 and today June 9, 2016 my deck looks as if it has never been stained at all and has cracked in several places. Applied to another deck and it also has done the same thing. Very dissatisfied with this product and feel the company should look into this situation since the 4 yr product does not do the job as advertised. The contractor who
stained both decks can verify that the decks were in great condition when applied and also he cleaned the decks very
well and followed all instructions as to how to stain.
I used olympic one time on deck floor and will never use again.Stain actually peeled off deck in one season.Still have one gallon and will not use it on anything.
I have to agree 100%. This product is the worse ever. I applied it to a cedar wood deck floor. Peeling in less than 1 year. I done all the proper deck prep work by the book, I know what I'm going. Maybe this product was developed for use in the south. Not ment for true winter conditions. If you live above the mason dixon line I wouldn't use it. Went over the issue with local retailer. he didn't want to hear it. Manufacturer never gave a response. Save your money and look elsewhere.
Cleaned and prepared surface like can stated. This year the stain is peeling in several spots. Can you tell me what is causing this? I choose Olympic stain due to reviews, not what I thought it would be.
Stain did not soak into the wood resulting in a film on top of the surface.
You probably applied too much stain and what didn’t soak in sat on top
Put stain on old deck. Cleaned and prepared surface like can said six months later deck turning black!!! I am very dissatisfied with this product would not buy again. Called customer service and all they could say is that it looked like mold it was not mold tried to remove with bleach no luck. Olympic does not stand behind product would suggest buying another brand Olympic is garbage.
Two coats on a deck and dock and after 72 hours, the solid Olympic Maximum is still tacky. It is dry but feels tacky. How long before it is fully cured.
I had no.problem with Olympic deck stains. It dried in little over a day and turned out nice. I will buy it again for sure.