Update April 2017:
Best Deck Stain Reviews for 2017
DeckStainHelp.com is a help and review site with the goal of offering advice to homeowners with the difficult task of restoring their exterior wooden decks, docks, and wood homes. We have been using and reviewing wood and deck stains since we started working on restoring exterior wood in the early 1990s. This site was developed to help consumers research and ask questions on what would be the best deck stain, with the goal of longevity and just as important, the ease of reapplication.
Our favorite deck stains have always been the penetrating semi-transparent stains. These stain types allow the wood grain to show and if they truly soak into the wood grain, reapplying is easier down the road. The problem we have noticed in the last 5-10 years is that not all semi-transparent stains are penetrating. Many manufacturers have gone away with the true penetrating stains due to VOC laws and for profitability. Believe it or not, but deck stains in general performed better 10-20 years ago when it came to wearing and peeling than they do in 2017. There have been some major advancements though when it comes to UV protection in the past 5-10 years. Nano-particles of zinc oxides and improvements to trans-oxides have shown excellent UV resistance.
The good news is you can still find some quality deck stains in 2017 that will offer UV protection, penetrate deep into the wood grain, and highlight the natural beauty of the wood.