Just a note on the #1 rating given to Behr Deck and Fence stain. I didn't see the date of the testing and that may explain what is currently happening with this product, at least in Illinois. I stained my deck two years ago with Behr Solid Color Deck Stain. The deck was built about 18 months before I stained it (I wanted to let it weather a bit) and is a 100% cedar deck. Although I didn't really believe that Behr's product would last 5 years, as billed, I was hoping for 2. To my surprise, after about 9 months. the stain on all horizontal surfaces began peeling off. After a rain, I could see it bubbling and I could scrape the produt off with my shoe.
After talking to someone at the place of purchase, he suggested calling Behr, as he had heard of very similar problems from other customers. I called Behr, explained the problem and they sent me a check for Behr stripper, cleaner and stain to redo my deck. I followed the intructions exactly and made sure the weather was just right and no rain in the forecast.
Well, 9 months later the exact same problem showed up. So I contacted Behr again and almost without asking any questions, they asked me to get two estimates to have the deck redone. In other words, (IMO) they know they have a problem with the product. Interestingly enough, when I contacted the first contractor and when I explained my problem with the deck (without mentioning Behr or the fact that Behr was willing to pay) the first question they asked was "Is it a Behr stain?" Apparently, they are re-doing decks all over the area that have experienced the same failure. There explanation is that Illinois EPA changed the allowable chemicals for deck related products three years ago and Behr was caught by surprise and had to rush to market with an inferior product.
Anyway....although I like their paint, until they fix the problem with their stain, it should not be used, let alone given a #1 rating.
With all due respect, the problem you had was NOT caused by the failure of the Behr stain, though the people at CR should NOT have recommended a stain for a deck that forms a paint film, as the Behr stain you applied does, and did in your case. The USDA Forest Products Laboratory has only one blanket prohibition when it comes to finishing any wood deck, 'Never apply a film-forming finish to any wood deck'. Evidently CR does not know that.
If you read the thread about Wood Surface Chemistry you will learn why no stain would last after you made the mistake of allowing ("I wanted it to weather a bit")that wood deck surface to 'weather'. That exposure to sunlight for 1 1/2 years Before applying the Behr stain GUARANTEED the RESULT you experienced. If you had NOT allowed the new cedar to weather the coating would have lasted much longer. By allowing the cedar to be exposed to sunlight for so long before you coated it, the wood surface was eroding on the day you applied the Behr coating. The solids (pigments) in the stain adhered to the surface wood fibers that were departing due to the surface degradation caused by your 1 1/2 years of sunlight exposure (aka 'weathering'). When those wood surface fibers departed your deck, so did your stain which was attached to them. For proof, look at the back side of the peeling paint chips from your deck you will see the wood fibers attached to the paint (same-same solid stain), the stain was doing what it should, it was adhering to the wood fibers on the deck surface. Unfortunately those fibers were departing thanks to your 1 1/2 years of 'weathering'.
If you doubt this information is true see the documents I referenced in the thread on wood surface chemistry created by the Forest Products Laboratory, a U.S. government research institution that has existed for over a century. You can also contact the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association (www.WRCLA.org) (800) 266 1910, and they will explain the same thing.
To anyone reading this who intends to build a new deck, or resurface an existing deck you should have the new wood decking coated with the deck stain on all surfaces, front, back and end grain BEFORE fastening them down on the deck. That will make the decking perform better, and the deck coating to last as long as possible. This applies to any and all wood decking no exceptions. This person was dissatisfied because she did the opposite, she allowed the wood to weather for an extended period of time before applying the coating, which guaranteed its prompt failure, regardless of what deck coating she chose to apply. New wood should not be exposed to sunlight before applying coatings, especially opaque coatings like semi-solid, solid stains and paint, all of which will form paint film. Such coatings should never be applied to wood decks.
SEE MY NEXT POST ON THIS THREAD FOR HOW TO RE-Finish a wood deck that IS "Weathered".
How To Refinish a Weathered wood deck . . .
Wood decks are Best Cleaned in COOL WEATHER, not Mid summer sun. Wood experinces stress from wetting and drying quickly on the surface. This CAUSES Checking, Splitting, Cupping, Grain Raise etc. The deck dries more slowly in cool weather so best do it in early spring, or late fall.
By now, if you read the previous post, or the thread on Wood Surface Chemistry, you realize that exposing bare wood to sunlight quickly makes the wood surface erode. That is a normal consequence of properly finishing ANY wood deck, because all deck coatings MUST NOT BE Paint or Solid Stains. Such opaque finishes DO resist sunlight better and last decades on vertical surfaces, when properly applied to unweathered wood, but Decks must never be coated with film forming finishes according to the scientists of the USDA Forest Products Laboratory (www.FPL.FS.FED.US). Paint and solid stain, and any pigmented coating applied over and over again that will build up pigments and form a film must be avoided, they can and have caused decay in decks which are designed to dry between rain storms.
To remove the eroding surface before refinishing one can sand the wood with medium sandpaper, but doing this should only be done for a severely degraded deck surface that has splintered severely, or a deck with peeling paint films on it, otherwise it is not necessary. Remember that beacause proper deck stains are not opaque the sun will continue to cause wood surface erosion, and coating losswill occur even when done properly, so annual deck cleaning and recoating is needed for many decks.
Avoid using pressure washers because they often turn a smooth deck into a torn, rough, stringy mess that WILL require sanding or even replacement if done improperly. Besides cleaning a wood deck does not require such machines, despite the people trying to convince you otherwise.
When describing deck cleaning, and wood cleaning the scientists I know used the phrase, " Less is More". Less harsh cleaners, less concentrated chemicals like sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach), less High Pressure washer use, The now retired scientist from the FPL used 'Tide with bleach' laundry detergent to clean his PT wood deck. He also recommended using 'Oxi-Clean' rather than chlorine bleach if a mildew or mold problem was apparant. (active ingredient in Oxi-Clean is Sodium Percarbonate which, when mixed with water, forms mostly hydrogen peroxide, which is less damaging to the wood, and kills mildew quite effectively). You may also use commercial mixtures, just dilute them as much as possible that will still get the job done.
HOW TO: Wash the deck with a soft broom or brush to apply the Oxiclean solution, or laundry detergent, or commercial cleaner mixture. If Chlorine bleach is used, dilute it 4 or 5 parts water to 1 of bleach. Let this remain wet on the deck (best do it on an overcast day so it will not dry) for about 15 minutes. If the mildew is visible it should turn color when the cleanning solution has killed (kinda like leaves in the fall)the mold-mildew. Then bush the surface a second time to release the now dead mildew from the wood, then rinse with a garden hose. IF the deck has stains after the cleaning is complete they can be removed with a wood brightener called Oxalic Acid (NOTE: Oxalic acid is a Poison, and when mixed in water is a clear solution, so DO NOT Use near pets or children). If the stain is left from mildew the solution will make it disappear on contact, for iron stain or tree droppings, bird droppings etc. it may require a bit of scrubbing. Then rinse well. (wood brighteners are NOT cleaners, they remove stains and even the grey weathered wood) Cleaners are NOT stain removers, they remove dirt and kill and help remove mold. Use the correct solution for what needs to be done.
Once the wood is dry it may be recoated with a deck finish designed for a wood deck. To improve the longevity, you may wish to 'scuff sand' the surface. This is done by sanding with the grain of each board by hand with a sand pad on the end of a long handle (like those commonly used for sanding drywall joints). Use 60 to 80 grit paper. Rinse any dust off, and when dry apply one coat of deck finish according to the manufacturers instruction.
Solutions of cleaners and chemicals should not cause mold to change color (the indicator the mold is dead) sooner than 10 minutes after application. If that happens the cleaning solution is TOO CONCENTRATED and will do damage to the wood. Dilute as needed.
Scuff sanding rubs off any partially detached wood surface fibers that are about to depart anyway, this allows the new coating to be applied to a more secure less damaged wood surface, and thus last longer on the wood.
I learned all of this from scientist paid with our federal tax dollars, through my participation at the USDA's Forest Products Laboratory on a committee I was invited by them to join a decade ago. It is reliable in its source, and has been used successfully many times. It is based on science, not mere pseudo-expert opinion. Use it well.
We too are very dissatisfied with initial results of Behr solid color Deck, Fence & Siding Wood Stain, acrylic latex. Our deck was built nearly 20 years ago and has had several finishes, eventually evolving to a solid color stain for maximum protection and mildew resistance in Houston's heat and humidity.
Within a month of the most recent application (July 2011) by a professional painter and after a power wash, indelible stains from wet leaves and wet acorn filling have appeared. I have photos to document these stains. This is actually the second application of this product, the first being a year ago with even worse results. But we feld we had to try a second because the color was the only one that coordinated with the house paint.
CR's rating of this product should be revisitied.
Many people make the same mistaken assumption that you have. A solid color opaque stain is not capable of 'maximum protection' on either a weathered surface, or a deck. The reason's are, First that weathered decks are not restored by power washing, and retain the eroding surface that will absolutely and positively cause your solid coating to crack and peel, and second because such coatings trap moisture in wood decks and cause them to decay so commonly the scientists at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory warn they should never be applied to any wood deck. If you read the post before this one, you will learn the proper way to refinish your deck.
Incidentally, 'tradesmen' who use Power Washers for wood decks and sidings often, make that usually, do more harm than good. They love the power washer machines mainly because they get the homeownaers check into their pocket, and them in their pick-up truck departing the scene faster than any other tool at their disposal.
High Pressure water jets erode the softer, less dense, portion of the wood grain on every piece of wood, the 'Earlywood, or Springwood, that is less dense than the Latewood-Summerwood part of the wood grain which is denser. If the only damage they do to your deck is this 'raised grain', you are indeed fortunate because many such 'contractors' do far more damage and actually tear the wood surface apart with the high pressure water jet. I have seen decks ruined that were brand new, and decks replaced because of the common misuse of these machines. I warn everyone to beware the power washer contractor, they seldom pay for the damage they cause. Also, they all say that they won't be the problem due to all their knowledge and experience, and using this nozzle or that, and not getting too close to the wood. They ALL say the same things. Don't be too quick to buy it.
I am refinishing a redwood hot tub that is 13 years old. I am changing the color from rust to grey. What brand and product do you suggest I use? This is a vertical surface so doesn't have as many issues as a deck from what I have read. I was going to use a solid coilor opaque stain which I realize you don't recommend for decks. Since I am changing the color radically.....plus the rust color is not consistent as the hot tub had been installed into a deck so the lower half is the original and different rust color than the top half that has a solid coilor opaque stain finish.
I don't have any mold issues. I have sanded and filled it numerous cracks.
Should I wait until the Fall to refinish as our weather is very hot although not humid in Boise, Idaho?
ANY coating you apply will need constant recoating because the surface you intend to apply them to is already eroding. If you accept that, wash the fence with a solution of powered laundry detergent or some Oxi-Clean, and a soft brush (push broom) then rinse and when dry apply to the dry surface.
WARNING: A solid stain is Paint, it will form a Paint Film, hence it is paint. After a year of weathering as you mentioned, the paint should take about 2 -3 years max before it begins to Crack & Peel based on the testing done at the USDA Forest Products Lab 20-30 years ago with our tax dollars.
Read the thread about CR Subscribers unhappy with BEHR, it relates to your question.
I called Behr tech support. They say they are selling a lot of their products to a lot of people who are happy with the performance. I asked them if they were aware of the negative comments many are posting here and on other sites. They claimed not to know.
I consulted the websites suggested by our frequently posting local "expert" Edward_Burke. Things aren't as clear cut as he says. Notice that he blathers on then refers to the home page of the site hosting his recommended reference as opposed to a direct link to whatever it is he is referring to.
The US Forest Products Laboratory for instance, hosts Finishing of Wood at this link http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr190/chapter_16.pdf In it, we are told, "manufacturers do not generally recommend" solid-color stains "for horizontal wood surfces such as decks".
What are we supposed to think about a product actually recommended by a manufacturer such as Behr which was tested and pronounced to be a "Best Buy" by CU? This USFPL publication states: "Unless specially formulated for use on decks, solid-color stains should not be used on decks...", but, duh, Behr stain FOR DECKS, one might presume, has been specially formulated for use on DECKS. The CU ratings of all the products tested boil down to solid stains performed best, followed by semitransparent stains.
My deck is made of Western Red Cedar. So I turned to the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association's website, i.e. their Guide to Finishing, http://www.wrcla.org/pdf/WRCLA_Guide_to_Finishing.pdf which states "Film-forming finishes are normally not recommended for use on Western Red Cedar decks because they can fail... and be very difficult to refinish". My deck is already coated many times with solid color, film forming decking stain, the last two times with Cabot. In that case, the WRCLA states: "Western Red Cedar that has been finished with paints or solid-color stains is best refinished with the same type of finish originally applied", i.e. latex solid-color over latex solid-color.
My feeling is if we move we aren't going to have a deck unless it has a roof over it, and if I can convince my wife, this deck is going to be replaced with a concrete or tile patio. Exposing a horizontal wood surface to the weather is too much work. What's it for?
Mr. Lewis, if you read the 'reviews' under the Behr deck and fence stain you will discover a generally unhappy lot. I spent ten years on The Joint Forest Products Coatings Committee of the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, and the advice to NOT apply any film-forming finish to any wood deck came from the senior scientist then in charge of this area of study. He is a good friend and now retired. If you acquire the reference documents listed at the end of the WRCLA's 'Guide to Finishing' you will find I chaired a few of the papers while at the FPL http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/products/publications/specific_pub.php?posting_id=17580&header_id=p I was also a significant contributor to that excellent, but still not perfect publication. Please feel free to call the WRCLA tech advice toll free number, and ask them about me and whether you can trust my advice on coatings, and cedar. Please do not take my word for it, make the call.
It may interest you to know that I have only the highest respect and admiration for the work done by the Forest Products Lab over its now 103 + year history. One of the reasons I post here so prolifically is that the papers with the advice they produce are hard to find, are not always easy to read, and when published for use by all of us are published in obscure publications that most of us never see, like the Forest Products Journal, or Coatings Tech magazine. Thank you for questioning the veracity of my statements, more people should do that on things they read on the internet, it is a wise course of action. I wish you well.
Having met face to face some CR staffers, and even written to CR over the years they never have taken My Suggestion to seek out the USDA Forest Products Lab and learn the subject vital to wood coatings success called, "Wood Surface Chemistry". The CR Ratings for exterior coatings are valueless if you do not know the effect of sunlight and harsh chemicals on all wood surfaces. if you read my postings they explain it all in detail.
As for the coatings manufacturers advice on the cans, they told us all for decades to 'Let The Wood Weather' for months before applying stains and paints. Sunlight makes wood surfaces erode. No exceptions. Anything you apply to such a surface eventually peels. Proof: See paper titled, " Don't Get (SUN) Burned " author R. Sam Williams, Ph.D. published by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory (www.FPL.FS.FED.US) which is an excellent use of our tax money for over a hundred years.
Sadly, advice received by calling manufacturers, 'tech lines' tends to find favorable anything they sell regardless of how those who buy the products actually fare. This, of course, is why we come to Consumer Reports, and retain a healthy skepticism of anything coming from those trying to profit from the products.
The following should be read by you, Mr. Lewis and the Behr tech line people regarding the appropriate use of film-forming finishes on wood decks."Film-forming finishes cover a wide range of finishes from waterborne, latex-based semi-transparent stains to paints and include both oil-based and latex solid-color stains (also called opaque or full bodied stains). Almost all of these products are unsuitable for use on wood decks.
On structures fully exposed to the weather, such as decks, paints tend to trap moisture and can actually increase the decay hazard. The paint seal breaks at the joints between different pieces of wood (Figure 43). These cracks permit entrance of water, which becomes trapped by the paint film. The trapped moisture leads to decay of untreated wood, and the paint will peel at these joints. Proper pressure treatment can eliminate the risk of decay. However, it is best to avoid the use of film-forming finishes on lumber that is fully exposed to the weather, even if the lumber has been pressure treated." Williams, R.S., Knaebe, M.T., and Feist, W.C., Finishes forExterior Wood, Forest Products Society, pp. 68 & 69 (1996).
I think you will see it supports my advice to avoid applying a film-forming finish that can trap moisture on any wood deck.
This advice has been repeated in many papers, beyond this book authored by Sam Williams, Ph.D. supervisory Research Chemist; Mark Kanabe, Research Chemist, and Bill Feist Research Chemist U.S.D.A., Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory - Madison, Wisconsin
here is additional support for my advice: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/products/publications/specific_pub.php?posting_id=1025&header_id=pA
The relevant paragraph reads : penetrating finish applied to wood decks provides better overall performance and is easier to reapply than a film-forming finish (e.g., paint, solid-color stain). In addition to the continuous shrinking and swelling of the wood caused by changes in the moisture content, film-forming finishes are subjected to excessive wear, especially in high-traffic areas. For these reasons, penetrating finishes, NOT FILM FORMING FINISHES Should Be Used On Wood Decks.
It is why in my humble opinion so many CR subscribers were not pleased with the fence & deck product, and again why I am very skeptical about an extra thick paint film that can obviously trap moisture being used as a deck paint coating.
It sounds like there are a couple of knowledgeble people here.
I just moved into a house which has a 40 x 15 foot deck made of pressure treated wood and was painted with Behr solid color (gray) Deck, Fence and Siding Wood Stain. The can from 2010 says that the base is acrylic latex.
It was cracking and peeling and I had someone do a light power wash on it since they were doing my siding at the same time.
Ideally, I'd like to really 100% of the gray and re-stain/re-paint the deck with a darker cedar color stain or one of the deck "paints" . One company looked at the decked and recommeded the Flood brand of solid stain, and not to use the Behr Deckover brand.
All of these products say to remove the older stain/paintm, but this will be a major pain in the you know what for 600 sq ft plus 7 steps. I tried to power wash it myself a 2nd time and it took some more off, but I still have 80% covered with the gray paint. I tried Behr wood stain and paint strippe and it didn't remove anywhere near enough that woud convince me to buy about 6 more bottles of it, spend countess hours on it and still have a good amount of gray on it. I've asked a couple of people that repair decks and they said that power sanding would be hard and you have to be careful about breathing the dust in. If it will work, the power sander seems like the only real option if it would get all of the gray off and then I can use a stain to color the deck. I'd rather restain than repaint, even if it's every year!
The bottom line is, will any chemical remove 100% of this latex or will it just be better off to find someone who will sand it all down, or sand it myself if I cannot find someone to do the work?
A couple of people said that the only thing I can do, if I couldn't get all of the paint off, was to used a solid stain (which should really just be called paint), but all of the solid stain instuctions say to remove all of the current layer of stain/paint and this is the real problem right now. if I could remove the paint, why would I put the same trouble back on and not use a stain?
If I had to use a paint/deck over product, what may be the best one to try in a color that may over the current gray areas without showing through?
i appreciate any honest help and advice I can get. It's obvious that you cannot get straight answers from any stain/paint mfr with an older/half painted deck.
One other thing, I'm not even going to mess with the railings as I think I'm going to just replace them with the prebuilt white plastic ones with a possible cedar color top sections. At least I won't have to deal with them down the like.
Chemically stripping latex (acrylic) paint film off a wood surface is not easy. The good news is the sun damaged surface the paint was obviously applied to, in your case, is removing it gradually anyway. Be careful not to power wash too intensely as it will raise the grain severely, and require sanding to restore the smooth surface. Is the deck made of 2 X lumber or the thin 5/4 X lumber. The 2 inch is probably worth the effort to refinish, the 5/4 decking not so much.
Incidentally, the Forest Prodcts Laboratory Senior Research Chemist who retied has a CCA pressure treated deck on his own home. Twice each year he cleans it with some Oxi-Clen or Tide with Bleach powdered laundry detergent using a soft broom and a garden hose. He used to apply a clear water repellent preservative with a garden sprayer afterward, but the government has eliminated that product from consideration, nobody makes it any longer. That was to impart mildew resistance to the CCA treated southern pine decking because it otherwise has no mildew resistance otherwise.
There was no finish ever applied the wood simply weathered to grey, and that would be my option if I owned your deck.
Thanks. It seems the only thing that may work (if I can find someone willing to do the work and not charge a ton of money!) is to resand the deck, but this will grind into the nail heads and if it removes too much, then I'll have to replace those, or use a screw next to the headless nails.
Chemical removal of the current gray paint which is still on 80+% of the deck doesn't seem to work enough to warrant trying to use it on the entire area without spending a 100 hrs on it and probably still needing to sand it.
I'll call a few people with sanders and see if they can remove it all. The only other option is to use a solid stain (Flood brand was recommended to me) or the new Behr Deckover which seems better since it "says" that it will fill in the cracks up to 1/4". Even if it doesn't fill in 1/4", it may be better than the Flood.
Do you know of any results with these two products, or one that may be better?
I'll buy them both and try them on an old board that I'll be replacing and see which one is better.
They all claim that theirs is the best and how it will work, if you can get down to the original surface, but this is not realtically going to happen.