Valspar Deck Stain Review: One-Coat Semi-Transparent Stain & Sealer  2.2/5 (74)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

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 Wood and Deck Stain Review

Valspar Wood and Deck Stain Review

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: $49.99 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.

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

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
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.

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Carlton
Carlton
20 hours ago

I purchased this Valspar deck paint and after a few days it rained and the paint came off. This is the worst paint I have ever used. Will not purchase Valspar paints again. I knew the interior paint was bad, but I thought the exterior might be better. The deck has to done over. Don’t waste your money.

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Larry
Larry
10 months ago

Valspar one coat solid stain sealer is a terrible product doesn’t come close to mfg prediction of durability after two years peeling in all traffic areas on deck on horizontal services worked okay on fence but it was purchased to work on deck I would not recommend to anyone or use this product again. The biggest problem are the people who sell it know nothing about it and recommend it to customers

Glory Arbogast
Glory Arbogast
1 year ago

We bought Valspar stain to put on both our decks and within the year it had peeled looking awful. This is the worse stuff We have ever used wasted so much money. Please do not buy.

Tammy
Tammy
2 years ago

After the first year this stain peeled terribly, now it’s just a mess, I paid $150 for a 5 gallon bucket, what a waste of money, never will I buy another valspar product !!!!!

Linda Rossio
Linda Rossio
2 years ago

This is the worst stain i have ever used. It took my awhile to finally get it to look decent. Then i put the sealer coat on and it started to peel in spots. Total waste of time and money

Paul Eastman
Paul Eastman
2 years ago

This product (Valspar solid stain) went on nicely and covered well. But after the winter and spring came, the solid stain started to peel off and come off in large pieces. It didn’t even last a year! Now our new deck looks awful and we have to figure out how to get the rest of the stain off. This product is not a good product to use on new decks that was prep for the stain. Especially areas of the deck that has no roof.

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Jane raynor
Jane raynor
3 years ago

This was the worst product I’ve ever used I applied it to my $5000 cedar deck that was brand new and they proceeded to immediately turn moldy fade and at one year it’s peeling off and I have no idea how to get it off to apply a decent staying cost me $150 for the 5 gallon thing was the worst product I’ve ever purchased

Dave Matthias
Dave Matthias
3 years ago

We used Valspar Acrylic deck sealer on a new cedar deck. Very disappointed with the results as within a couple weeks the product is failing, leaving patching of untreated wood. The rep from Valspar was no help and took a month just to respond, offering only to allow more product. This product clearly states to use only one coat. We will have to completely sand the huge deck off,power wash and apply a different product….certainly not Valspar!!

Jane raynor
Jane raynor
3 years ago
Reply to  Dave Matthias

Yes the same thing happened to me and I was hoping I could find a product to strip it off with instead of the cost to have it sanded so I have two large Dacks

Linda Marchio
Linda Marchio
3 years ago

I stained my decks Oct. of 2019, for about a month, it looked good, then when it rained white milky spots appeared, and do not got away. i tried washing them off, but the water I was using spotted also. So, two months ago I noticed the railings were sctatched, like a fingernail scratched them, which I know hasn’t happened, then it started on the steps,ones that I used and ones I don’t use. I thought Olympic stain was awful, but, Valsparis the worst. i bought 6 gals, which I had left my deck alone. It is a mess!!!

Tom Barton
Tom Barton
3 years ago

Applied on Sunday. Rained on Tuesday. Now have white spots on about 1/3rd of the deck. Not real happy with the results.

Dianne
Dianne
3 years ago

Same here. I spent a tremendous amount of time prepping the war they recommended and then staining my deck (600 sq. Ft.). I used nearly 4 gallons, which is way more than Valspar estimates. It looked great throughout the rest of last summer, so you can imagine my disappointment and frustration when spring came and much of the stain was gone. When I think of all of the time I put into this project, it angers me that I have to do it all over again less than one year later.

Shannon Bartlett
Shannon Bartlett
3 years ago

I followed the instructions to a tee on the solid bald par stain. Spent hours restraining my pool deck. Imagine my dismay when I went out a few days later to find spots where it literally just wiped away. Has anyone else had this problem? It was previously stained deck but I followed and cleaned like told to do. I am sick to my stomach as the only fix is to rip the deck down and build new.

Shannon Bartlett
Shannon Bartlett
3 years ago

Ugh I am so mad! They need to pull this product from shelves it’s useless. Is there anyway to remove it that’s not going to mess my pool water up? Or will it be best to wait until fall when we cover the pool?

Vickey
Vickey
11 months ago

So there’s nothing a person could buy to go over the vaslpar far to make it look halfway decent?

Tami Christman
Tami Christman
2 months ago

My brand new house, my brand new deck my husband and I built… ruined!!! I am a professional painter, so I do know how to apply it! I called for help…well you can sand it and re apply… really??? I have always fully trusted Valspar products!! Our entire deck is now ruined, and looks like💩it’s embarrassing to family look at it!!!

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Gary
Gary
7 months ago

Just used this. It took roughly 12 gallons to cover approximately 1000 sq ft. The stain was very thick so I could not use a stain sprayer. It dries splotchy. I found if I went back over it while still a little wet it had a better result. I used thick nap rollers on the vertical boards. I have always been a fan of Valspar paint but now not if they’re stain. I will not use it again. It took about 11 hours to do those 1000 sq ft. It was a time robber too. The color was darker and more red than the label. Hopefully it holds up better on our fence than some of the prior comments.

mmd
mmd
7 months ago

I had my porch floor sanded down to the bare wood and re-stained with Valspar semi transparent stain. My floor guy kept commenting on how difficult it was to apply. After the first coat it was streaky and blotchy all over so we thought a second coat might take care of it. We were wrong. Still awful and the only solution he suggested was to re-sand and start over with a higher quality stain. This stain was recommended by Lowes. I will stick with my original choice of Cabot. Awful product.

Vickey
Vickey
11 months ago

I noticed that other people had trouble with Valspar I spent a lot of money I had to buy a 5 gallon bucket, and 2 1 gallon to finish my decks only for them to peel so I am now speaking with someone to have them replaced. I just hope that I am able to paint with my Disability’s now. Very in happy. I hate that they only lasted one summer.

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Judy Forshee
Judy Forshee
1 year ago

We used Valspar on our deck and are very unhappy with the product. It wore ok on the uprights but the floor and top rail didn’t last two years. Chipped molded and peeled. Don’t buy

Sana
Sana
1 year ago

The Valspar is supposed to be rain-ready in 4 hours. However, after 24 hours of drying, with water spilled, now have watermarks on the deck. Not real happy with the results.

Vickey
Vickey
11 months ago
Reply to  Sana

Same they now look the worst I’ve ever seen anything look very upset

Tammy Jefferson
Tammy Jefferson
2 years ago

I hate I didnt find your site about Valspar before but I applied Valspar Semi Transparent stain Summer 2020. Color is very orange and I would like to apply dark brown stain this year. Will it be necessary to strip if applying a solid stain over the semi transparent? Thank you

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Linda Rossio
Linda Rossio
2 years ago

This is the worse stuff i have ever used. after i finally got it to look half decent. Then i added the sealer coat and it peeled in spots.
It was a waste of time and money

MDS
MDS
2 years ago

Valspar clear deck sealant is a disaster. It looked great for about a month but finally ruined our new cedar deck. Now, the deck is covered in mold and mildew – not just the floor boards but the railings, posts and expensively milled pickets. Although this Valspar product is defective, I doubt the consumer has any recourse but to sand the damage and repaint with a decent product. Of course, I bought the valspar at Lowe’s before learning they are the worst home / hardware store in the state, bar none.

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Bobbi Ambruster
Bobbi Ambruster
2 years ago

I applied a coat of clear Valspar sealant over Thompson’s stain seal it and after it rained it has a little white dots all over it. The dots are smooth. What can I do to fix this?

Jay
Jay
2 years ago

I just applied Valspar Semi-Transparent to a 4 month old pressure treated pine deck (previously un-stained). I’m already seeing water spots and very unhappy with the finish appearance (very uneven and showing brush marks). Reading the reviews here, it seems peeling is inevitable. Is the Restore-A-Deck Stripper a good option to start over? Also, would there be any issues with waiting until next spring, or will that make the stripping process more difficult?
Thank you

Jay
Jay
2 years ago

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Paul
Paul
2 years ago

This stain does not hold up if area is not covered. We applied this to our deck and after one winter it was coming off completely in areas. I would not recommend

Julie Britt
Julie Britt
2 years ago

We purchased the color (moonless) for our deck. Semi transparent stain and sealer. We wanted something different, but still beautiful. This color is amazing and I love it even more after applying it. It’s a beautiful blue and really shows wood grain nicely. I am pleased with the color and even after we applied and it got a little rain on it it still looked amazing. Even areas where we replaced some wood with newer boards the coverage was almost perfect. Couldn’t re really tell where the older and newer boards meant. The best part was we always check the mistint area of Lowe’s to see if any paints or stains have been returned or didn’t meet color wanted by purchaser and we got lucky. We were able to purchase a 5 gallon container for 37 dollars which was a 173.00 originally. We are over the moon how our deck is looking and if your looking for something different and not the same old brown, red, or plain try this color. The more you apply the darker the color just like any other stain. Thank you Valspar for thinking outside of the box and not just carrying the same old cookie cutter colors.

Jackie
Jackie
1 year ago
Reply to  Julie Britt

Julie Britt, do you have any pictures of the stain Moonless that you put on your deck? I see you loved it. Is that still the case 1 year later?

Joe Ross
Joe Ross
2 years ago

Worst product ever
Peeled off 1 month after applying.
This product is not a stain in any form It is a paint and I would nit recommend using it
It ruined my new deck and I am now power washing to strip it away. Horrible ble.

Graham
Graham
2 years ago

Can valspar one coat exterior stain and sealer be thinned with water or other thinners

Julie
Julie
3 years ago

Valspar Semi-transparent deck stain has got to be the absolute worst product on the market. So disappointed. Our double-decker deck was a job x1000 and now (literally days later) there are scratches simply from my dogs going in and out. Waste of money.

David
David
3 years ago

Can you pressure wash Valspar semi transparent water based deck stain after two years?

Bill Bihler
Bill Bihler
3 years ago

Used the Valspar deck stain according to directions in summer or 2019. Used their deck cleaner before hand & let throughly dry. By Spring of 2020, the stain was peeling/fading. By Spring 2021, the deck is pitiful. I guess it will need to be stripped down to bare wood & start all over again. I DO NOT recommend this product.

Robert Davis
Robert Davis
3 years ago

Valspar one coat exterior sealant is not worth buying. First of all, it’s yellow and will leave a yellowish looking tiny. Then when I put the furniture back on the porch it was wet with dew and the rocking chair slide halfway across the porch. Guess it’s my bad experience. I would not recommend this product. Guess I stuck will an extra Gallo.

greg
greg
3 years ago

First. You don’t know if a person cleaned their deck or fence first(press wash). You don’t know if they allowed the wood to fully dry out. All of this determines the longevity of the stain.

mary elias
mary elias
3 years ago

what is the best deck stain for composite decking

dahi
dahi
3 years ago

Hi,
I am planning to stain my deck. It is DIY project. Old stain is peeling off. I want to stripp off old paints as much as possible. I may have to sand it. Then I want to clean with wood brighter Is it ok if I leave my deck as it is after I prep it and stain it next spring ?.
Does cold weather and snow going to affect the wood during winter ? I live in Pennsylvania.

Thanks.

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Pam Schneider
Pam Schneider
3 years ago

After reading reviews on Valspar Wood Semi-Translucent Desk Stain – unfortunately I have already purchased the product and begin using it but have only completed about 1/4 of the project – suffice it to say that I will not be continuing the use of this product! So from the posts I have read I will need to purchase a deck stripper (Defy Stain Stripper) product to remove as much of the stain that I can, sand off the rest, power wash and then brighten the wood? Just want to be sure that I am doing this in the correct order. This is a cedar deck approximately 4 years old – previously had only used clear Thompson product to protect the deck. This is the first time staining. Had already power washed and sanded lightly to apply the Valspar stain but had not used a brightener. Please advise and thank you!

Last question – is Restore-A-Deck Semi Transparent Wood stain the way to go when I begin the staining process again?

John
John
3 years ago

Used Valspar semi transparent one coat exterior stain and sealer. When it rains water beads on deck, but doesn’t dry for a long period of time even in the hot sun. Do we need a sealer in addition

Sandy
Sandy
3 years ago

We used the Valspar clear sealer and now our deck is so slippery we cannot walk on it. Help! What can i do to make it less slippery?

Sandy
Sandy
3 years ago

Before I go that route, is there nothing else I can do.? Why did this happen? How can I be sure it won’t happen again?

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