Penofin Blue Label Wood Deck Stain Review 3.3/5 (10)

by Deck Stain Help
Penofin Blue Label Stain Review

Penofin Blue Label Stain Review

Update 2019 on Penofin Blue Label

Penofin continues to have issues with darkening or turning black on a vast majority of wood decks and exterior wood.

Penofin (PENetrating Oil FINish) Blue Label preserves and protects exterior wood. Using trans-oxide pigments, Penofin Blue label retains the wood’s natural colors while penetrating deep into the wood fibers. Use Penofin Blue Label on fences, decks, and unfinished exterior wood siding.

Note: For this test, we used the Penofin Blue label on a vertical fence in Texas.

Penofin Blue Label Wood Deck Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 9

– Penofin stains always present some of the most natural looking wood. The Cedar color used highlighted the grain without adding too much orange or yellow tones. Penetration into the fence was excellent.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 7

– After 22 months we evaluated the Penofin Blue Label on the fence. Color retention was decent as the Blue Label had only lost about 30% of its original Cedar color.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

– Excellent penetration into the wood means very little peeling. The Penofin Blue Label deserves a high score for this. A very small amount of wearing was only visible on the horizontal parts (cross beams) of the fence.

Penofin Blue Label

Penofin Blue Label

Cost Per Square Foot: 8

– Penofin Blue Label costs about $35 a gallon. Less expensive then the Penofin Red Label but the Blue Label (550 version) does require 2 coats of stain. We used 5 gallons of the Blue Label for our 600 feet (square) of fencing for the two coats.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 8

– The Penofin Blue Label does a decent job with mold prevention. The only noticeable mold was at the bottom of the fence where the wood faces north. In this area, there was mold and green algae growing.

Ease of Application: 8

– The Penofin Blue Label is “thin” and applies easily with our pump up sprayer. We tarped all the grass along the bottom of the fence and sprayed the stain up and down. Very little need to back wipe as the Blue Label absorbed into the wood quickly. First coat absorbed to the point where the stain color was very light. The second coat of stain really gave the enhanced look we wanted and evened out the appearance. Second coat applied twice as far as the first coat.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 6

– Penofin Blue Label did darken in sunny areas. This seems to be normal for Penofin as the stain itself darkens. The Blue Label does better than the Red Label Penofin version. We suspect that higher usage of trans-oxides means the probability of the stain darkening in color increases.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 7

– A quality wood deck cleaner should be able to revive the wood color. A stain stripper should be used if the Penofin has darkened considerably. For our test fence, we felt a good cleaning would be enough for reapplication without the need for stripping.

Overall Score Penofin Blue Label Wood Deck Stain at 2 Year Period: 7.75

– Penofin Blue Label is a decent wood stain. We really like the colors that Penofin makes and the way the stain absorbs into the wood. In general, the better a stain absorbs, the better it works. What we do not like about the Penofin Blue Label was the average UV resistance and the darkening that can happen after 2 years of sun exposure. Penofin Wood Stains have a strong odor as well that can take 2-3 days to dissipate.

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Select Stores or Online
Cost: $39.99 per Gallon, $194.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent – Rosewood Oil-Based
Available Colors: Clear, Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Sable, Chestnut, Sierra, Redwood, Mendocino Mist, Pacific Pearl Mist, Nantucket Mist
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 2 Coats. Let dry for 3 hours between coats.
Coverage Per Gallon: 200-300 sq. ft
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 3-12 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 550 Compliant in 33 States as tested. Blue Label is available in a 250 VOC formula as well.
Manufacturer: Penofin

Test Deck Stats:

Fence Wood Type: Pine Treated Fence
Fence Square Footage: 600
UV Exposure: Full Sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used:

*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.

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We are so glad to find this website with such professional advice. Unfortunately, we discovered this site after we applied a first coat of Penofin Red label to a newly installed 600 sq ft cedar deck. So, we made at least two mistakes: we did not weather the cedar and we applied a questionable product.

Our question is, can we wait one year, then strip, pressure wash and brighten the cedar deck and then apply perhaps a water-based stain such as Restore A Deck? Can we use the RAD product to strip the Penofin?
Any advice is very appreciated.
Thank you.


I have a mahogany deck will this work


Can you just use one coat with blue label?

Gene Wolf
Gene Wolf

Are there any cancer causing products in this stain?


Hi couldn’t rate in regards to uv graying, color darkening or mold mildew as just applied. It was a pleasure to apply and very easy to use. Ours after testing 13 small samples we opted for the clear. The deck turned out exactly as desired. Looking forward to fall application as it is easy to work with.
Orland Park Il May 10 2017
Conditions partly cloudy, low humidity, temps 60’s, slight breeze. deck previously stripped and brightened. Two full days of dry time. Application via 3 and 4 inch brush. wiped with lint free cloth.

Al Marcus
Al Marcus

penafin deck paint is garbage. All black my cedardeck


I live in Maine by a lake under pines, there is not much sun. I am siding my house with white cedar. This Blue Penefin looks like the best choice. How does it last in a cold climate? Do I need to be concerned about mildew given the lack of sun?


I have a part of my cedar fence that needs to be stained and I'm out of the lighter colored red label Penofins but have some darker colored Penofins left over from another job. Can I mix some clear Cabots deck stain wtih this to lighten it up a bit for an obscure part of the yard?

M Von Seggern
M Von Seggern

I have cedar siding (and a couple log supports). 4 years owned and did nothing. Color is dark in the shade, grey in the sun. I like a dark brown with red, so I'm thinking the blue label (I'm in Calif) would be best for me because i like darkening instead of lightening over time. Place is huge so can only do one side at a time. Cannot sand (thin cedar). Can lightly wire brush – what is my best prep? The incense cedar logs were peeled 2 years ago and have mold, so I'd use up the Cabot problem solver I have on hand, unless advised not to.

Separate question – what prep uses the least amount of water? – water restrictions here. Wish I could just use our air compressor.




Tempted to use Penofin blue on some outdoor cedar furniture. Applied some to a sample piece, and typical softwood blotching was evident. Any thoughts? Maybe thin out some clear and use it as an exterior wood conditioner? I may or may not varnish over it, leaning to not.


I did not wipe after applying. What do I need to do to get the tackiness off?


I have a 2 week old, cedar fence, rough sawn. Live in the Pacific Northwest, so..lots of rain in the winter/fall/spring but lots of sun in the summer. Went to my local lumber store and they suggested Penofin Red Label. Per the review on this website, it sounds like Red Label has more of a reputation of darkening over the years compared to Blue Label. My questions are:
1) is Penofin a good stain/sealer for the PNW?
2) should I use Blue label or Red label?
3) is it too early to stain my fence? or should I wait?

jp bucholtz
jp bucholtz

So far I've used about 20 gallons of the blue label cedar tint on our house and a couple of larger boat interiors.
Here's my experience re fir floors. I thought penofin was a sealer so I rubbed in two coats. A year later I put my ski machine on the floor with sweat flying all over the place. No biggy I thought. It's sealed!
When later I went to clean it up, the spots wouldn't come up. They'd permanently marked the floor. I sanded with 80 grit & finished with 120 on a palm sander. They seemed to disappear. Then I Re oiled and varnished. A lot of the spots magically returned.
Is penofin a sealer? Not against sweat. The perspiration etched into the wood like it was sitting beneath the oil.

That's been my experience. Maybe they should add a 'sweat' disclaimer to the can. Had I know, I would have varnished the floors instead, also easier to clean up.