Protecting your wood deck from the elements is a necessity if you want it to last, but finding quality protection can be a bit of a dilemma with so many decking stains on the market.
Recently, there have been some deck stains that claim to last anywhere from 5-7 years on a deck. It's slapped right on the label to catch the consumer's eye. So how true is this claim?
Digging a little bit into the actual claim you begin to get suspicious and for good reason. A quick search will lead you to information where professionals are claiming they don't use these types of deck stains. To tell the truth, most of them don't recommend using the stain and go as far as to say it's false advertising.
We found many complaints from consumers stating they had a bad experience with the 5-7 year deck stains. In most cases, the stain didn't last any longer than other stains. The failing deck stain was said to water spot, flake, crack, or peel making a mess of their decks. There are even a host of lawsuits against these companies!
So how can these deck stain companies get away with such a bogus warranty? To look into their deck stain warranty is quite revealing. Once you read past that huge "5-year warranty" that is plastered on the front of every can, you'll see it's full of limitations and stipulations.
One warranty claimed it was good only "when applied to a properly prepared surface." But there are no guidelines or written laws that state what a properly prepared surface really is. What this means is at the time of a consumer complaint or claim the stain company themselves get to make the decision as to whether a surface was prepared correctly or not.
The warranty also states that "color fading and slight natural graying of the wood may occur during the warranty period." Any professional will tell you that fading or graying of the wood is actually sun damage. So essentially they are claiming their deck stain won't protect against UV damage.
Another one stated that "areas exposed to heavy traffic or excessive weather" are excluded from the warranty. These are just a few of the obvious loopholes these companies can jump through.
The truth is, what they are claiming is actually a very limited warranty and more times than not, they won't accept liability when the deck stain fails. But because their limited warranty is on the can (in small print) they can put the "5 years" or "7-year warranty" on the front of the can as large as they like and not break any laws.
The worst part about these stains is they don't last any longer than other deck stains. But because they are normally 100% acrylic or silicone enhanced they are exceedingly difficult and expensive to remove completely so a new deck stain can be applied. Some professionals even admit walking away from deck stain stripping jobs like this because they are, in their words, "a nightmare."
When it comes to maintaining your wood deck, it's best to use a wood deck cleaner and reseal it every couple of years using a quality 2-3 year deck stain. Concerning absurd deck stain warranties, just remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.