Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain Review 2022 2.8/5 (28)

This post was updated on May 20, 2022

Penofin Red Label Deck Stain Review

Here at DeckStainHelp.com, we are proud of the fact that we have become the Internet’s number one reference for your deck stain opinions and reviews. We thank you for your continued support. Our customers who have used Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain continue to give mixed reviews for 2022. The stain is easy to apply, but is prone to UV damage and turning black down the road. If you have used Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain, we would like to hear what you think, so feel free to leave a comment below and pictures of your completed projects if you have them.


Penofin Red Label

Penofin Red Label

Important Note: This is our 2nd Review of Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain.

See Here for First Review: Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain Review

Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label wood stain is perfect where rain, wind, snow, or high elevations are encountered. The formula in Ultra Premium Red Label wood stain is the result of extensive testing, and the use of the highest quality ingredients. Penofin wins the “Battle Of The Stains” penetration tests over all competitors and gives longer life to wood of any species. Easy to apply and simple to maintain.

Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain Ratings (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 10

The cedar color on the cedar wood is one of our favorite tints. It does not add too much “orange” as some of the other decking stains we have tested. In our opinion, Penofin stains give one of the best-finished appearances to wood once dry.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 5

The Penofin Red Label had lost about 50% of the tint. This was hard to tell as the majority of the stained had blackened in color. The areas that had not darkened (rails and other verticals) showed the most fading.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

Penofin has always had great penetration abilities. This is one of the best characteristics of their stains. Only wearing that showed was water drainage from the gutters above.

Cost Per Square Foot: 7

We used 4 gallons of stain for one coat on the newer cedar decking. The deck sq. footage was a little under 600 sq. feet.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 5

The mold was growing in the Penofin Red Label stain. On further inspection, the mold was under “or” in the stain. About 50% of the stain had mold growing even though the deck was in full sun.

Ease of Application: 6

The application is easy with Penofin. The issue is the smell during application. It has a very strong odor and the homeowner complained that it did not go away for a few weeks after we finished.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 3

Turned a dark dirty looking brown color after a couple of years.

The Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

One thing we have found as contractors are that Penofin is easily removable with a deck stain stripper. Just apply and lightly pressure wash off. All of the old dark Penofin Stain will come off without issues. Apply a brightener when done.

Overall Score Penofin Ultra Red Label Wood Stain at 2 Year Period: 6.5

Looks great and applies easily. Unfortunately, it turns a dark color from the UV radiation.  Our test results on this review were slightly lower than the first that was completed in 2008. We have found that Penofin has shown a history of the stain turning black.

Penofin Wood Stain Photo Issues

Product Information:

Help or Questions? Google Search Penofin Stain
Cost: $49.99 per Gallon, $234.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent – Rosewood Oil-Based
Available Colors: Clear, Cedar, Western Red Cedar, Sable, Chestnut, Sierra, Redwood, Bark, Hickory, Mission Brown
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 1 Coat.
Coverage Per Gallon: 200+
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 4-12 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in all States
Manufacturer: Penofin

Test Deck Stats:

Deck Wood Type: Newer Cedar Decking
Deck Square Footage: 600 Square feet
UV Exposure: Full sun. South Exposure.
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 
Cedar


*All products tested and results are from our experience as wood restoration contractors. 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.


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

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

guest
62 Comments
newest
oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
bryang
bryang
1 year ago

I would second many of the comments in the thread. I have used various Penofin finishes on Western Red Cedar and Ipe. Within six months the exposed surfaces develop black mildew. This is particularly evident on Ipe decking. The Ipe cleans up well (using Penofin cleaner) and the stain looks amazing when applied but it rapidly blackens. The Western red cedar is not as exposed as the Ipe but it also blackens with mildew. I am done with this product. Any suggestions for alternatives are welcome.

Ouzelfalls
Ouzelfalls(@ouzelfalls)
10 months ago

I started using Penofin Red Lable (Western Red Cedar) in 2017. Because another stain was used previously, I stripped the entire deck and used Penofin’s Deck Brightner product on it. Here are some before and after pictures of the 2017 project.I was pleased with the result and the deck held up for three years. My deck is surrounded by trees and it gets heavy sap/mildew buildup.

By 2020, the deck was looking very dirty and mildewed. Instead of using the Penofin cleaning and brightening products, I used 99.6% Sodium Percarbonate for cleaning and Oxylic Acid powder as the deck brightener. I then re-stained the entire deck with Penofin Red Lable Western Red Cedar.Here are some pictures for the re-staining project from 2020.

It’s 2021 and the deck is again looking shabby. It definitely needs re-staining. This time, I used “Oxyclean” as the cleaning solution and will again mix my own batches of Oxylic acid for the brightner. I am going to use up the last 5 gallons of Penofin Red Cedar on it. Though I liked the preformance of Penofin Red Lable, in 2017 to 2020, it didn’t seem to hold up as well this time from the last time I re-stained in 2020. Penofin does recommend yearly washing and re-staining every 2 years. In fairness to them, I’ve never done that which is probably why
the deck looks bad in 2021. I’ll post pictures of the 2021 re-staining project soon.

2017_Stripped_Deck_Before_Penofin_RedL.JPG
2017_Deck_After_Penofin_RedL.JPG
2020_Deck-Restain_Penofin_RedL.JPG
2020_Upper_Deck_Restain_Penofin_RedL.JPG
Charity
Charity
1 year ago

8 months ago we had a new deck installed with cedar and red label penofin was applied at the time of installation. The deck builders stained it and then installed the lumber. Now, 8 months later it’s starting to turn black in spots. I cleaned the deck and was preparing to reapply more penofin but after reading this article I want to change brands. Will I need to strip the deck down or can I choose another oil-based stain to apply over whatever is left from the penofin?

Charity
Charity
1 year ago

I live in the PNW and am sort of on a rain clock, I’ve already cleaned the deck, and will have to wait 3-5 days for the RAD stripper to ship, I did find the Defy Stripper in a nearby store, will that work for removing Penofin? Also, would you recommend I remove all of the aluminum railings before proceeding with stripper/brightener/stain? Or do you usually tape those off? (Thanks in advance, your site is incredibly helpful!)

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Hi. I just purchased a home with log style wood siding. The previous owner used Penofin Red Label on the entire house (in 2008) and it is now dark brown/black and in desperate need of refinishing. Can I use ReStore a Deck on siding and log deck rails? Will the stripper be safe for the wood and not ruin it? What stain do you recommend for horizontal wood siding so it doesn’t darken as we like as close to natural as possible? Thank you!

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Thanks for the advice! When I called Penofin to tell them I need to remove the Red Label, they recommended I use their Stain&Sealer line, which uses mineral oil. Have you reviewed this? If not, any thoughts?

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Thanks! Is it safe to get the restore a deck product on my composite decking? I have log rails and composite flooring. Thanks!

Evan
Evan
2 years ago

Redoing our deck in Minnesota twin cities with new cedar. Gets strong sun in the summer and plenty of snow in the winter. Reviews seem to indicate Penofin works well with snow, but also concerned about the mildew comments. Had mold issues with previous finish which is the reason for rework. Any advice? We’re also considering Defy.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

Sorry, replied to the wrong post.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris
Jack
Jack
3 years ago

My beautiful deck was prepped by professionals and the IPE wood looked beautiful before I applied Red Label Penofin Cedar. Within a few months it turned black. It cost me about $2,500 in total when all was said and done.

Last time I use Penofin on my Ipe deck. Looking for suggestions.

Donat O\'Brien
Donat O\'Brien
4 years ago

Do not , I mean do not use this product. I was shocked how bad it looked after it was exposed to the sun. It went a dark grey within a few months. FYI My prep was meticulous. from choosing the right sandpaper to application and ambient temperature. Never use this product on you deck.
Donat O’Brien
Ottawa Ontario

Charles Gardner
Charles Gardner
4 years ago

I used the blue label Penofin on my 350 sq Doug fir deck, applying 2-3 coats with roller brushed out. Did not do the bottoms of boards…all boards were prepped, sanded, slight routed edge etc.
Anyway that was the only time I coated the deck. This is Year 15, the deck definitely needs attention thought for a 15 year old Doug fir deck I can only give credit to Penofin. A great product with rosewood oil and of course proper preparation, great recipe for maximizing the life of most of your outdoor wood.

Sheila Stevens
Sheila Stevens
5 years ago

We stained a cedar siding tiny house with Penofin and it looked great at time of application, until the first rainy season. In a period of about 3 months the house went from beautiful to black with splotchy mold everywhere. A lot came off washing with Oxyclean and A LOT of scrubbing, but there are still black stains all over. We are looking into Iron Wood products to clean, brighten and start over with their water based stain. Any other suggestions? Possible Extreme Defy? What would you use to prep this Penofin surface before applying? Hoping to not have to sand the entire house, but will probably need to do some of the particularly smooth areas to remove the black stains. DO NOT USE PENOFIN!!!

IMG_3436.jpg
IMG_3487.jpg
Sheila Stevens
Sheila Stevens
5 years ago

Thanks for the response. Any tips for protecting windows (glass and metal trim) and metal roofing from Restore a Deck stripper and brightener? Do they need to be masked off with plastic to prevent contact? Almost all sites address decks but not houses.

Rebecca
Rebecca
3 years ago
Reply to  Sheila Stevens

Hi there.
I appreciate your feedback on the penofin especially on a tiny home. I too have used the Penofin and after only three weeks I have mold sprouting. Were you successful removing your mold? If so, what did you use?
Thank you in advance for your time,
Rebecca

Sheila Stevens
Sheila Stevens
3 years ago
Reply to  Rebecca

We were successful! We followed the advice above, stripped with Restore-a-Deck, and then applied the Defy Extreme back in May 2017. There was no new mold after one year, and we are optimistic as we enter the second rainy season since we redid everything. The penofin was messy to remove, since it was so new, but the Restore-a-Deck was really a good product and got the job done – worth the efforts. You can read all the details on our blog at https://mytinyepiphanies.wordpress.com/ (scroll to the entry from last summer). Good Luck!

Maria
Maria
5 years ago

We used this product on our brand new cedar deck two years ago. It looked amazing initially but the colour turned black by the end of the summer. We cleaned the deck the following summer & reapplied the stain but this time it went black almost immediately. How do we now strip the stain (we need a stripper that won’t kill the surrounding plants) and what stain should we use instead that will retain its colour better? We are in Canada so I don’t think we have access to Armstrong stains.

tony toubassy
tony toubassy
5 years ago

Penofin products turned my beautiful redwood deck into black ugly color.

Jake
Jake
5 years ago

I would not recommend Penofin products to anyone. After following all of the company's recommendations, the products failed to protect my deck. After contacting Penofin and following their cleaning and re-application guidelines,my deck is nearly ruined. To top things off the company won't offer any support to address any Of the issues. Don't waste your time and money with Penofin.

Chris O.
Chris O.
6 years ago

We have a new construction home in Seattle, WA with a rooftop deck and two smaller deck/porches, all cedar. The builder used Penofin Red Label, Mission Brown on all of the vertical cedar surfaces of the home itself. There have been no mold or black issues and frankly, looks great. The wood has weathered for 8 months.

However, after reading many of the reviews, I'm concerned about using the Pen Red on the decks/porches for fear of the mold and black issues. I have used Penofin Step 2 Cleaner which removed a significant amount dirt and grime.

Should I stick with the Penofin to match the rest of the home or think about switching to TWP, maybe Pecan or Cedar Tone?

James
James
6 years ago

My deck turns black every year. I live in Vancouver B.C. , Do you think TWP would work to prevent this?

Richard
Richard
6 years ago

My wife loved the light bright color of our redwood deck previously treated with Mesmer's UV Plus and didn't want it any darker. So I tried Penofin "Transparent/Clear" last time, being careful to wipe off excess as instructed. Now it's nearly black and I'm in big trouble with her! Has anyone found a chemical strip that works, or is sanding down to fresh wood the only solution? And what products would you folks recommend to try next time?
We all wish we had seen this site before our projects, right?

Richard
Richard
6 years ago

THANK YOU! I will try it in the spring, and will report back.

Evan Miller
Evan Miller
6 years ago

Product went black in exposed areas twice in a row. Complete waste of time and money. Company not responsive to complaints. Will not use again.

Elmer Cotrina
Elmer Cotrina
6 years ago

Penofin is lije a like to find an amazingly hot women, a gold digger one, it last just for one month.
I can't believe what a mistake I did to apply Penofin over my customer fences, what a mistake, it turn dark going yo black after just a month. I call Penofin customer service they told me to power washer using their cleaner and brightener.
It did not work as I expect color still dark, worse I give a year warranty for this job and even without warranty I can't leave a job that unprofessional using my business name.
I had to sanded all to do use a different product.
Do not waste your time or money, this product should be banned.

Zach Stickley
Zach Stickley
6 years ago

Well I have used the Blue labeled Penofin and can say that it has been an absolute NIGHTMARE!!! To begin, I consider myself a skilled painter and bit of a perfectionist, one who pays attention to details. My wife applied Penofin to our new cedar deck last fall, it looked great for a few weeks and by spring it looked like our deck was 30 years old and had been neglected. Thinking we did not follow the directions to a tee I assumed it was our fault. So, we spent nearly 200 man hours sanding every square inch …painful indeed!! I applied the second coat with extreme care to their recommended application methods. It looked awesome when we were done for the second time… ! month later it started to show the same signs and within weeks it looked as bad as the first application. In desperation I when to the lumber yard and they suggested calling tech support at Penofin. They were certain that I did not properly wiped the application after applying. What ever I thought… I wiped it off several times in fear of having repeat results. Penofin tech support recommend "Step 2" cleaner and "Step 3" brightener… $71 dollars later I headed home thinking this would be an easy fix (according to the tech support). It was nearly as painful as sanding!!!! In order to bring the wood back to a none black state required a LOT of elbow grease. The cleaner did work but removed 90% of the finish. Enough babbling… in a nut shell, our new cedar deck ($15,000 invested) now looks like crap! To say the least, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND PENOFIN TO MY WORST ENEMY!

Tom Foley
Tom Foley
7 years ago

You all applied it too thick. Instructions are clear in requirin rub off witin a short time of applications. I put two coats on my covered pressure treated deck. Last year I put on another coat. I expect another ten years will pass before another coat.
Tom Foley

Zach Stickley
Zach Stickley
6 years ago
Reply to  Tom Foley

Tom,
I beg to differ… I wiped multiple times to ensure all excess stain was removed and still ended up with a terrible mess! It might be that the pressure treated lumber you used prevented excess stain to be absorbed giving you favorable results. As for me and the use of Penofin on our cedar deck it was a disaster!

Tim Hanke
Tim Hanke
7 years ago

This is the worst product possible. I would highly recommend staying away from it. The US Government should gave the company officers arrested. I have been in the construction industry for 30 years and never seen anything turn black like this. I nearly ruined my own mahogony deck that cost $10,000 in materials. I restrained this deck twice after being convinced mith Penofin's customer service that I over applied this stain. Finally restatined with an Armstrong Clarke stain and got great results.

Charlie K
Charlie K
7 years ago
Reply to  Tim Hanke

What did you use to clean/strip before applying the Armstrong? Same thing happened to me…furious to say the least. After the 1st coat of penofin red label I figured I screwed something up so I cleaned and re-applied only to get the same result. Now I just want to know how to get the product out/off the cedar in order to get the beauty of the wood back. Plan on using Armstrong once clean.

Burt
Burt
7 years ago
Reply to  Tim Hanke

i have never used the red label i always used the blue with really good results…i know one thing after reading all the complaints i'll stick with the blue label…i've used it for years with great results

Trent
Trent
2 years ago
Reply to  Burt

Same here, I have had great results with the blue label, restain our deck every 6 years or so and its now 20 years old, everyone comments that they can’t believe its that old and still looks great. Never had black issues, get mold every so often but cleans right off with a little water and cleaner.

Dr bob
Dr bob
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim Hanke

This is a “penetrating oil” treatment, and not so much a traditional “stain”. It feeds the wood with oil deep within the pores, unlike stain. Therefore, any dirt from pollen, tree sap, nature etc will become absorbed into the oil and therefore the pores making it turn dark. Just like your cars motor oil… It wasn’t that color when you put it in the tranny 5 yes ago. With that being said, Penofin is a great product for folks that have exposed decks with limited dirt (trees), or for folks who wash their decks more often then anyone wants to. Its great for marine environment (boats) and better for vertical surfaces as the dirt does not lay on the surface like it would on a horizontal deck floor. Not that I can offer a solution… You either put a coating on that prevents penetration but comes off, or penetrate the wood with oil and absorb all nature into the oil. If I had a beautiful $10K hardwood deck, I would treat it like a boat and do the brightwork with ipe oil and lots of love…like a boat. Super hard woods like teak and IPE are not as porous, so they do not weather badly. In closing, Penofin works probably as advertised but us consumers or builders need to do the due diligence to realize exactly what the structure is and what it will need to face throughout the year or lifespan.

Kathy E
Kathy E
7 years ago

I've also been a victim of this terrible product. I'm relieved yet frustrated to read these comments. The Penofin Company made me to think they've never heard of such a thing (a terribly darkened deck that looked like walnut). I've spent around 20 hours on my hands and knees using their wood cleaner to pull off exactly what others have described as thick globs of fibrous goo. Almost looks like the consistency of thick moss that has been put in a blender. Our beautiful cedar 500 square foot deck that is less than 2 years old looks ruined. I will not only never use this product again, I am seriously considering legal action. The company's answer was to send me very small 1.6 pound containers of their wood cleaner and brightener. They had the nerve to tell me I shouldn't have run out so quickly when I asked for more. No way could I remove the thick gunk coming up with the dilution they recommended. Rather, I had to spend $40 on a gallon jug to finish the job. And the deck still looks awful. I will have to do it all over again to completely get it all off. I agree with the above comments. Don't ever use this product on cedar!

Kristin
Kristin
7 years ago

We have a composite deck with cedar railings. We live in Minnesota and our deck has full sun (southern exposure). Would this product hold up well for just the railings (the spindles are aluminum)? Also, we have a cedar covered porch with northern exposure–how do you think the product would hold up for that?

Zach Stickley
Zach Stickley
6 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

Absolutely not! Our deck is also in direct sunlight too and I've been sanding and stripping hundred of cedar spindles all summer as a result of using Penofin! DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT!

Al Marcus
Al Marcus
5 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

no

total waste of time

turns black useless product

Savior Boatworks
Savior Boatworks
4 years ago
Reply to  Kristin

I use cetol marine on my railings. It is less technique dependent when applying, requires less coats than a marine spar “varnish” (3-4) and can be easily repaired with some light sanding and another coat (x1) each year or two. Keeps the color well, cleans easily, and the teak shade looks correct. I’ve just finished two banisters and will complete my new addition deck railing with the same to match the original deck design. Easy, and happy. Every solution requires work. Cetol Marine Teak simply requires less

Mark
Mark
8 years ago

I used this product on a cedar deck and fence in the Seattle area. While it's true that the wood can darken, it's important to understand that it's not the Penofin that's darkening. Cedar contains tannin which is water soluble. If moisture penetrates the wood it will cause the natural tannin in the wood to be drawn to the surface, given it a dark brown or almost black color. I simply use a deck brightener containing oxalic acid to wash off the tannin stains and reveal the wood underneath. After 4 years it looks absolutely amazing, very rich in color almost like a fine hardwood floor. There is not even a hint of graying, and it looks even better than it did the first year.

Adam Coleman
Adam Coleman
3 years ago

Mark is correct, the issue is tannin bleed. Penofin is a great product and I’ve had awesome results with it on fences and decks. I believe 99% of the problems are due to incorrect preparation and application. One key is cleaning and brightening all wood (including new wood).

Todd Mathews
Todd Mathews
8 years ago

I am a general contractor in S.E. Idaho and we have used this specific product with the transparent cedar color on Redwood , Western Red Cedar, and Inland Cedar for decks and pergolas. We are seeing the same blackening being reported here. I have contacted Penofin and they claim they have heard nothing about this problem. We have only seen the blackening in all the areas where the stain is exposed to moisture (rain and snow here). In all covered areas, the stain/sealer holds up fine. As previously reported by the previous comment, the black does come up using any quality of deck brightener and is coming off in "globs of fibrous yuck" (that is a perfect description). We will not be using this product any further on any of our jobs.

janice russell
janice russell
8 years ago

We built our deck in sept. 2012, we talked to our contractor and asked what to put on our deck to finish it, our deck is 16ft. x 28ft approximately no small inexpensive project. But, we wanted the best finish for it. He told us Penofin it cost more but it was good. We should wait until the deck wood dried so, we waited until Sept of 2013 to finish it. The Penofin looked good(not great). With in approximately 3 months it had turned dark and mildewed. Our deck has no trees and is in the sun. Our deck looked like it hadn't been taken care of for years. May 20th we started the project of trying to fix our deck. Thinking we will wash it, get the mildew off it should make it look better, well much to our surprise the Penofin came off too in globs of fibrous yuck. Our project now has turned into an all out mess. No compliments on this finish but they sure wanted to know what we used. If this comment helps one person it will be worth it. Not impressed at all.

janice russell
janice russell
8 years ago

In Sept. 2012 we built a new deck, was told by our contractor that we should wait for the wood to dry. In Sept of 2013 we cleaned the deck waited for it to dry. We applied Ultra Premium Penofin Penetrating oil finish on the deck. It looked good (just good) while we were putting it on, but as it dried different story (kind of disappointing). But that isn't the worst with in months it looked terrible it was dark, and Mildewed it looked like a deck that hadn't been cared for in years. Today May 19th we started our project of trying to make it look better. Wash the deck to our surprise the Penofin also came off in a fibrous yuck. Our project of trying to make the deck look better now has ended with stripping all that worthless product off and starting over and you can bet it will not be with your product. If this comment helps one person it will be worth it. Didn't have one compliment on our deck. But had a lot of people asked what we used and why did it do that.

62
0
Questions or leave a review, please comment!x