Consumer Reports is running long-term tests on more than 30 deck stains and finds some offer far better protection than others.
The results in today's On Your Side.
If you don't maintain your deck with a good stain, contractor Steve Bradsell says you'll pay the consequences. Steve Bradsell, "You'll spend more in the long run to replace the boards that have gotten damaged." Up on the roof of its headquarters, Consumer Reports runs tough tests on deck stains to see how well they hold up. These stained panels stay out for years in all kinds of weather. Some are solid stains that look the most like paint. Others are semi-transparent. And these clear sealers show the most wood grain. "Clear sealers need the most maintenance. Even the best need to be reapplied every year." Compare this recently stained wood panel with one that's been outside for more than a year. Rico de Paz "You can see how this one has lost its color and cracks are starting to form." Other panels are left out in the shade to see how well they resist dirt and mildew. Again the clear sealers did the worst. Rico de Paz "This is completely covered with mildew." Bob Markovich "Semi-transparent stains do better. They generally need to be redone every two years. Solid stains last longest - most last at least three years." One by Behr was by far the longest-lasting, The Solid Color Deck, Fence & Siding Wood Stain from the Home Depot Even after three years of testing, it still looks pretty good.
If you prefer a semi-transparent stain, Consumer Reports recommends another one from Home Depot - Behr Premium Semi-Transparent Weatherproofing Wood Stain.
It costs 36 dollars a can.
I'm Martha Koloski and that's today's On Your Side."
Copyright 2012 by WKBT News8000. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.