This post was updated on January 16, 2024
Why Multi-year Deck Stain Warranties are BS
You should always be wary of companies who make wood stains and claim they will last for years on end. Often this is an exaggeration just to dupe customers into buying their brand.
Wooden decks look great and keeping them looking great is no easy feat. If you own one then you know how high maintenance they can be. You can choose to neglect your decking but you will see how quickly they deteriorate. Companies who offer warranties of up to eight years, however, are complicating things.
The problem with these warranties.
In all honesty, the issue is not that they are offering huge warranties. The problem is that when you cast your attention to the small print, you will be met with a myriad of complicated loopholes and clauses with the purpose to void that warranty – and we think that’s wrong.
If a deck stain existed that lasted as long as these brands claim, I promise you that every handyman, contractor, and painter across the globe would be using it but of course it doesn’t. So how are they getting away with offering these ludicrous warranties?
‘Correctly prepared surface.’
One of the oldest tricks in the book is companies that start their caveats with this.
‘The warranty only stands if the stain is applied to a properly prepared surface.’
Of course, a properly prepared surface is subjective so who decides what that actually is? Well, rest assured it isn’t you. If you decide to file a complaint then it is up to the company to send someone out to inspect your wooden decking. This is a drawn-out process that can take as long as the company deems fit and even if a representative does eventually visit – they will almost inevitably find some issue to void your warranty.
‘Fading of color.’
Another underhand trick that is often employed by companies is this; they will say that if fading occurs during the five year period then the stain is not covered.
Fading and greying of the wood is arguably the most natural thing that happens to a stained deck. It happens mostly because of sun damage which quite simply can not be avoided with an outside deck! Something is not right here.
Furthermore, they go on to say that if there is ‘too much footfall’ on the decking then it is not covered. Once again, who is the omnipresent representative that decides what ‘too much footfall’ is?
What can we do?
The crux of this article is that companies that advertise unrealistic warranties are being somewhat deceptive. They lure you in with impossible warranty claims and then use everything in their power to make the warranty void from the moment you leave the store.
There is not much that we can do apart from boycotting them and switching to companies with a proven history of integrity and reasonable warranties.
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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.