Top 5 Deck Stains

Below are the top 5 deck stains we tested. Keep in mind, there are many factors that will determine the lifespan of any stain including temperature, humidity, wear and tear, exposure to the sun, shade, elevation, as well as other factors. The results you get may be different.

Best Semi 1 DEFY Extreme Wood Stain Review
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DEFY Extreme Wood Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: DEFY Extreme Wood Stain is a synthetic-resin, semi-transparent wood stain formulated using state-of-the-art nano-technology to create a level of durability that simply has not been available in a wood stain finish in the ...
8.7
DEFY Extreme Wood Stain Review
We find that the Defy Extreme Wood Stain to be the best performing water-based deck stain on the market. The zinc oxide nano-particles do double duty in preventing UV fading and preventing mold or mildew growth. The Defy Extreme penetrates into the wood grain extremely well for a water-based stain, resulting in a non-filming coating that is not prone to peeling or wear from traffic. Utilizing nano-technology, Defy Extreme is one of the best stains on the market when it comes to preventing UV graying. (This product, performed the best and was the top rated stain/best stain ranking.) Product was easy to work with, penetrates well and looks great. 14 month exterior exposure testing showed very little color loss.  Overall great product. Note: Product label design has changed since test was initially conducted.
Ease of Application
9
Ease of Penetration
9
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
8
Initial Appearance
8
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
9
Resistance to Peeling
9
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
9
Darkening
7
Ease of Cleanup
9
Eco-Friendliness
10
PROS:
  • Longest lasting deck stain
  • Water-based
  • Low Odor
  • Easy to maintain
  • Doesn't darken or peel
CONS:
  • More expensive
  • Wood must be cleaned & brightened first
Best Solid 2 DEFY Extreme Solid Color Wood Stain Review
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DEFY Extreme Solid Color Wood Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: DEFY Extreme Solid Color Wood Stain is an extremely durable synthetic-resin, opaque wood finish that helps protect against the damaging effects of water, fungi, and UV radiation on exterior wood surfaces. This V.O.C. ...
8.6
DEFY Extreme Wood Stain Review
DEFY Extreme Solid Color Wood Stain was released in the spring of 2019, but has been in testing for the last 5 years. The results are pretty impressive. This product has outstanding resistance to peeling as well as color fade. Where most solid or opaque wood stains are just thinned down paint, this product is a premium grade wood stain that hides extremely well. Additionally, it applies very smooth. We don't recommend applying most solid color stains on horizontal surfaces due to peeling issues, but this product can be used on both vertical and horizontal applications and will be resistant to peeling even on surfaces that get foot traffic. It only comes in 4 base strengths, and can be tinted to any color you like, but the only place you can get it is at Do it Best hardware stores.
Ease of Application
9
Ease of Penetration
6
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
9
Initial Appearance
8.5
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
10
Resistance to Peeling
8
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
8.5
Darkening
10
Ease of Cleanup
8
Eco-Friendliness
9
PROS:
  • Hides extremely well
  • Easy to apply
  • Lasts at least 5 years
  • Can be tinted to any color
  • Requires little prep
CONS:
  • Only available in-store (Do it Best hardware stores nationwide)
  • No pre-packaged colors available to buy online
  • More expensive than semi-transparent stains
Best value 3 #1 Deck Stain Review
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#1 Deck Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is an advanced, water-based, semi-transparent stain formulation designed to penetrate deep into wood pores for maximum protection and longevity. #1 Deck protects wood from harmful UV rays and ...
8.4
#1 Deck Stain Review
Easy to apply, easy clean up and the color of the stain looks excellent. *Weathering Testing: In-Process
Ease of Application
8
Ease of Penetration
8
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
9
Initial Appearance
8
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
8
Resistance to Peeling
8.5
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
8.5
Darkening
7.5
Ease of Cleanup
9
Eco-Friendliness
9.5
PROS:
  • Easy to apply
  • Moderately priced
  • Water-based, low odor
  • Can be applied to damp wood
  • Excellent penetration
  • Easy-pour container
CONS:
  • Only available in 4 colors
  • Not available in stores, online only
4 Restore-A-Deck Stain Review
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Restore-A-Deck Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain is an advanced, water-based, semi-transparent stain formulation designed to penetrate deep into wood pores for maximum protection and longevity. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain protects wood from harmful ...
8.3
Restore-A-Deck Stain Review
Easy to apply, easy clean up and the color of the stain looks fantastic . *Weathering Testing: In-Process
Ease of Application
8
Ease of Penetration
7.5
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
9
Initial Appearance
8
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
7.5
Resistance to Peeling
8.5
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
8
Darkening
7
Ease of Cleanup
9.5
Eco-Friendliness
9.5
PROS:
  • Easy application
  • Great penetration
  • Natural looking colors
  • Can be applied to damp wood
  • Eco-friendly
CONS:
  • Limited color selection
  • Only available online
5 Sikkens WB Stain Review
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Sikkens WB Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: Sikkens WB is a one-coat, waterborne translucent exterior wood finish for use on a variety of wood surfaces. The hybrid formula is designed to give the advantages of both an alkyd and acrylic. CETOL Waterborne SRD contains ...
7.3
Sikkens Cetol WB Review
The 14 month weathering test results were fairly good however, of note, was some darkening of the stain as well as a significant amount of splitting in the wood.  Some of the splitting could simply be that the board used was less than perfect but it appears as though the product did a less than acceptable job of protecting the substrate against water penetration.
Ease of Application
8
Ease of Penetration
8
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
7.5
Initial Appearance
8
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
7
Resistance to Peeling
7
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
7
Darkening
5
Ease of Cleanup
8
Eco-Friendliness
7
PROS:
  • Color held up during 14 month test
  • Eco-friendly
  • No visible mold growth
CONS:
  • Some darkening
  • Significant wood splits
  • Didn't protect well against water penetration

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