Comparison for the Top Deck Stains.
You would think that the most expensive deck stains (some reaching $60+ per gallon) would be the longest lasting, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition, some stain manufactures have 3-5 year warranty claims. In reality, this is just a marketing gimmick. No Stain will last 3-5 years on a horizontal surface. The idea is that they’ll sell more product because they have a warranty, and those increased sales will outweigh any warranty claims they have when their product fails to last. 20 years ago, oil based stains were the best choice. With the VOC laws changing in the last 10-15 years, all oil-based stain manufactures have had to change their formulas. Additionally, water-based stain technology has drastically improved so that now, many water-based stains outlast their oil based counterparts.
Using a wood cleaners & wood brighteners open up the pores of the wood so that maximum stain absorption can occur. This is what makes deck stain last. The deeper they soak in, the stronger their bond is with the wood. Now this is assuming that the wood stain is made with high quality resins that will actually soak in and bond in the first place. Using a cheap, poor quality deck stain that just lays on the surface isn’t going to do you much good, no matter how well you prep the surface. Back in 2015-2016, we tested 30 different deck stains to see how well they preformed. To document our testing, we installed cameras over each board, and had it take 1 photo per day for a year. Here’s a list of the top performing products. Click on each product to view the time-lapse video results for each stain.