This post was updated on January 18, 2023
Valspar stain is sold at Lowe’s in a variety of colors at a reasonable price. It’s an acrylic, water-based deck stain that’s basically thin paint. Valspar One-Coat Semi-Transparent Stain & Sealer promises to make quick work of your deck project, but both our testing and customer reviews have found that the product fails to deliver on its promises. Even on Valspar’s website, the average consumer ratings are around 2.9 out of 5, and our results produced even worse scores. If you’ve used this Valspar deck stain yourself, please post a comment below to add your review.
What the Manufacturer Has to Say
Valspar markets its One-Coat Semi-Transparent Stain & Sealer as a high-quality product that will protect your deck from all types of weather for six years. The manufacturer claims that this deck paint dries thoroughly in four hours, offers fade-resistant UV defense with just one coat, and resists mold and mildew. This product can be purchased in dozens of Valspar stain colors and cleans up easily with soap and water.
What Our Experts Found: Valspar Wood Deck Stain and Sealer Scores (1-10)
Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 4
We used a cedar color with the Valspar stain and sealer, applied with an exterior stain pad. The result was very splotchy stain coverage that did not look good: The Valspar deck stain did not penetrate well and formed a film on top of the wood. It also looked more opaque than we expected, so it is not an actual semi-transparent stain.
Prevention of UV Graying at 2-Year Mark: 6
At the 2-year test mark, Valspar One-Coat Semi-Transparent Stain & Sealer lost about 50% of its color. We noticed some peeling, fading, and graying on well-trafficked areas.
Wear/Tear and Peeling: 4
This Valspar stain did show signs of fading and slight peeling. Most of the fading and wear were on the horizontal surfaces, like the tops of the handrails and deck flooring. There were nearly bare areas with no stain left on the high-traffic sections of the deck.
Cost per Square Foot: 6
It took 4 gallons of this Valspar deck stain to coat the entire 400-square-foot deck. The manufacturer claims that the product will cover 250-350 square feet per gallon, but in our experience, it was closer to 100-150 square feet per gallon.
Prevention of Mold/Mildew/Algae: 7
Valspar semi-transparent stain provided an average mildew-resistant coating and did an OK job preventing fungal growth.
Ease of Application: 6
Despite its marketing, this Valspar deck stain was not easy to apply. We did a one-coat application using a stain pad and did not get great coverage. The stain turned out blotchy when it dried, and we needed 4 gallons to adequately cover 400 square feet.
Color-Shifting (Darkening) After 2 Years: 7
At the 2-year mark, we noticed darkening due to mildew, but the Valspar stain did lighten up on 90% of the deck.
Difficulty of Reapplication: 6
We had to strip the Valspar deck stain off due to bare wood and graying in high-traffic areas and lightening of the stain in other areas to ensure even coverage for the new coating.
Overall Score at 2-Year Mark: 5.625
Valspar One-Coat Semi-Transparent Stain & Sealer did not score very well overall. This wood deck stain and sealer did hold up fairly well except in high-traffic areas, and its mildew protection was decent, but we weren’t satisfied with the coverage or the blotchy application and appearance. We would not use this product again.
Valspar Deck Stain Photos
About Our Test Deck
- Wood Type: Pine
- Square Footage: 400
- UV Exposure: Full sun
- How Many Years Tested: 2
- Stain Color Used: Cedar
About This Valspar Deck Stain
- Where to Buy: Lowe’s
- Cost: $39.99 per gallon
- Stain Type: Semi-transparent and water-based
- Application Temperature: 45-95 °F
- Coats Required: 1-2 coats
- Coverage per Gallon: 150-200 sq. ft.
- Application Tools: Sprayer, pad, brush, roller; back-brush as needed
- Dry Time: 24 hours
- Cleanup: Water
- VOC Compliance: 250-compliant
- Manufacturer: Valspar
Frequently Asked Questions About Valspar Semi-Transparent Stain
Is Valspar Exterior Stain and Sealer Oil- or Water-Based?
This Valspar deck paint is a water-based acrylic stain.
How Long Does it Take for Valspar One-Coat Stain and Sealer to Dry?
It takes 24 hours for this product to cure fully. It becomes water-resistant after 4 hours, and you can apply a second coat after 2 hours.
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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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.