Feb 29 2012

5-7 Year Deck Stain Warranties – Are They a Scam?

False Deck Stain Warranties

False Deck Stain Warranties

The wood deck stain industry today is huge business. Most every paint or stain company that wasn’t already involved is jumping in quick. The DIY homeowner faces a huge challenge in choosing one of literally hundreds of deck stains.

The sad truth is that most DIY homeowners will grab whichever stain promises the most years of protection. Some companies claim their deck stain will last anywhere from 5-7 years on a deck. Normally these are acrylic or silicone enhanced stains that come in solid colors. The homeowner will apply this stuff on their deck thinking they won’t have to touch it again for the claimed amount of years. Unfortunately, there is plenty of proof and complaints that this is normally not true at all. In our experience these deck stains do not last any longer than other deck stains. In most cases they will fail faster.

Worse yet, these deck stain companies that are offering 5-7 year warranties have hundreds of loops they can jump through so they are not liable for premature failure of their product. Most professional contractors will tell you there is no stain on the market today that will last that long. Even under perfect conditions and when applied to a properly prepared wood deck, no deck stain will last 5-7 years without showing some signs of wear or in most cases – complete failure.

Once a heavy pigmented acrylic or silicone enhanced deck stain does start to fail most homeowners will add another coat just worsening the problem. These stains do not adhere well to each other and the top coat will normally start to peel and flake within a year. To restore a deck in this condition, all of the old deck stain has to be removed so you can start over again with bare wood. Regrettably, removing acrylic and solid color deck stains is extremely time consuming and expensive. Some professionals won’t even tackle a job consisting of removing this type of stain because they know it’s a total nightmare and the results are never guaranteed.

The only way to completely restore a wood deck properly is to strip off any remnants of old stain and clean the deck of any dirt and mildew. The cleaning is followed by a brightening process to lighten the wood back to a lower pH level. Once the deck is back to bare wood, it is allowed to dry for a few days before a new deck stain is applied. In perfect conditions, without excessive weather, no heavy foot traffic, and using these professional type methods that facts still say no deck stain will last longer than 2-4 years, especially on the horizontal surfaces, regardless of what it says on the stain can. Any ethical contractor or stain retailer will tell you that himself.

Be wary of false claims by some deck stain companies. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. It isn’t worth the headache, heartache, time, or cost to go down that road. Maintaining a deck is an every 2-3 year project at minimum and as of yet there is no deck stain on the market that has proof of lasting any longer, even under perfect conditions.

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