Worst 5 Deck Stains

Below are the worst 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.

1 SuperDeck Oil Stain Review
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SuperDeck Oil Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: SuperDeck Oil penetrating oil-based formula that protects the beauty of the wood with a rich semi-transparent stain that allows wood grain texture to show through. SuperDeck Oil-Based Semi-Transparent Stain repels water to ...
3.6
SuperDeck Oil Stain Review
Product was very streaky and was harder to apply than other stains. The stain didn’t look great after applying but wasn’t terrible either. 14 month weathering test showed significant color loss, mildew growth and darkening. This was one of the worst stains we tested.
Ease of Application
5
Ease of Penetration
5
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
3
Initial Appearance
6
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
2.5
Resistance to Peeling
6.5
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
1
Darkening
2
Ease of Cleanup
2.5
Eco-Friendliness
2
PROS:
  • None
CONS:
  • Very streaky
  • Hard to apply
  • Initial application didn't look great
  • Significant color loss
  • Significant mold and mildew growth
  • Significant darkening
  • Not eco-friendly
2 Messmer’s UV Plus Stain Review
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Messmer’s UV Plus Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: Messmer’s UV Plus is a premium deck stain and natural wood finish which protects and beautifies exterior wood decks, siding, fences, log homes, and other wood projects. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaL96Yxk_J4
3.7
Messmer's UV Plus Stain Review
Product has strong odor but penetrates well when applying. Overall, on initial application, the stain looks pretty nice.  Unfortunately, the 14 month weathering test on this product was not good.  Boards showed significant color loss, graying and mildew growth.  Overall, the performance of this product was at the lower end for all of the products we tested.
Ease of Application
6
Ease of Penetration
8
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
2
Initial Appearance
7
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
2
Resistance to Peeling
2
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
2
Darkening
1
Ease of Cleanup
3
Eco-Friendliness
4
PROS:
  • Initial application looks good
  • Penetrates well
CONS:
  • Strong odor
  • Significant color loss
  • Graying
  • Mildew growth
3 Penofin Ultra Premium Stain Review
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Penofin Ultra Premium Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: Penofin Ultra Premium Red Label wood stain was created to meet the demand for an exterior wood finish that outperforms all other transparent wood stains. The highly-penetrating Brazilian Rosewood Oil base, from sustainably ...
3.7
Penofin Ultra Premium Stain Review
Transparent On application, Cedar does a nice job of highlighting the natural wood look. Wasn’t the best product for applying and penetration. (*Instructions stress wiping the stain after applying to reduce sticky finish. Even though the finish looks OK, who really wants to wipe their entire deck after staining?) Performed terribly in exterior weathering test, losing all color and turning black with mildew within 14 months.
Ease of Application
6
Ease of Penetration
5
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
5
Initial Appearance
7
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
0.5
Resistance to Peeling
7
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
0.5
Darkening
0.5
Ease of Cleanup
3
Eco-Friendliness
2
PROS:
  • Highlights natural wood look
  • Finish looks ok
CONS:
  • Have to wipe whole deck after applying
  • Lost all color in less than 14 months
  • Turned black in less than a year
4 Penofin Oil Stain Blue Label Review
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Penofin Oil Stain Blue Label Review

Penofin Oil Stain exterior wood finishing products on your wood projects to beautify and protect against fading, discoloration, mold and mildew. Penofin transparent exterior finishes were formulated to enhance and protect the natural beauty of ...
4
Penofin Oil Stain Review
Penofin Blue has a small odor. This product is easy to apply and absorbs well into the wood. The initial appearance looks pretty good, but not great. The instructions stress wiping the stain after applying to reduce sticky finish. Even though the finish looks OK, who really wants to wipe their entire deck after staining? 14 month weathering results were the worst of anything we tested.  Severe failure, graying, color loss and mildew growth were all terrible.
Ease of Application
8
Ease of Penetration
8
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
4
Initial Appearance
7
Resistance to Graying (After 1 Year)
0.5
Resistance to Peeling
7
Resistance to Mold & Mildew
0.5
Darkening
0.5
Ease of Cleanup
2
Eco-Friendliness
2
PROS:
  • Easy to apply
  • Penetrates well
  • Initial application looks good
CONS:
  • Required to wipe stain
  • Complete failure well before 14 months
  • Extreme darkening
  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Slight odor
  • Not eco-friendly
5 Ready Seal Stain Review
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Ready Seal Stain Review

Manufacturer Description: ReadySeal wood stain and sealer contains all the essential elements of a quality coating for exterior wood projects. Ease of application was in mind throughout the formulation of ReadySeal to ensure all consumers a ...
4.4
Ready Seal Stain Review
Stain looked good after initial application. Ready Seal has good penetration and applies easily. The product has a very strong odor, would not recommend if the user is sensitive to smells. After 14 months of weathering the product has completely weathered away. The test board has darkened significantly and small black spots of what appear to be mold have shown up. Bottom line: although this was one of the cheaper stains on the market, unless you want to redo your deck every year, stay away from Ready Seal.
Ease of Application (Difficult = 0, Easy = 10)
8
Penetration (Didn't Penetrate = 0, Excellent = 10)
8
Odor (Strong Odor=0, No Odor=10)
3
Initial Appearance (Terrible = 0, Great = 10)
8
Resistance to Graying 1 Year (Gray = 0, No Graying = 10)
1
Resistance to Peeling (Peeled = 0, No Peeling = 10)
8
Resistance to Mold (Mold = 0, No mold = 10)
2
Resistance to Darkening (Dark=0, No Darkening=10)
1
Ease of Cleanup (Hard = 0, Easy = 10)
3
Eco-Friendy (Not at all = 0, Very Friendly = 10)
2
PROS:
  • Looks good initially
  • Penetrated the wood easily
  • One of the more inexpensive stains (Under $35)
  • No lap marks
CONS:
  • Doesn't last more than a year
  • Strong odor
  • Mold growth present
  • Boards turned very dark

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