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How To Use and Apply Behr Deck Stain: A Complete Review & Users Guide

Staining a deck is one of the most satisfying DIY projects, and it’s not hard to do if you’re willing to put in the time. The key is picking the right product – because there are many types of stains out there!

Behr Semi Transparent Deck Stain has been around for decades and homeowners love it because of its’ reasonable price, great look, and easy application. It also offers great water proofing and wood protection without being too slippery when wet.

Behr Deck Stain - Semi Transparent

In this post, I’m going to give my honest review of Behr Deck Stain (most notably their semi-transparent version), how to properly apply the stain, and finally, answer some common questions about Behr Deck Stain.

My Experience With Behr Semi Transparent Deck Stain

Behr has had a line of deck stains for as long as I can remember and I’ve been painting for over 20 years now.

Back in 2010 is when I really started appreciating Behr products, how easy they were to find, and their great pricing. I actually tried out their first version of vinyl safe paint, and it ruined my siding. Behr completely covered the cost of re-siding my home and won me over with how they handled issues.

How To Use and Apply Behr Deck Stain: A Complete Review & Users Guide 1
Some readers wonder if I really go out and paint (or in this case, pressure wash), Yes I Do!

Since then, I have used their interior paints, exterior paints, and deck stains on probably 50% of my painting projects.

I have used their deck stain on probably an average of 10 decks a year for the past 10 years. Not to mention, I am in the middle of a deck where I am using Behr Semi-Transparent deck stain right now.

During this time, I have not had one single call back on my decks.

My deck process is pretty basic. I power wash them clean, wait for them to dry out properly, and then apply 1 coat of Behr Deck Stain to all surfaces.

Occassionally I will apply two coats to horizontal boards on my decks. This is only if the first coat feels like it sucked up the stain and is still thirsty (could use more stain to properly seal the wood).

How Does Behr Deck Stain Look?

Ryan Staining A Deck Rail

I am also really happy with the look of Behr Deck Stains as well. The look is something that is hard to describe, but some stains look dry and dull, but Behr has a really nice rich finish to it that I really like.

How Well Does Behr Deck Stain Wear?

How a stain wears is also really important. I tell my clients to expect Behr to last them 3-5 years here in Minnesota. We have rather harsh weather and I consider 3-5 years a success on a deck.

But deck stains tend to wear out differently. I want a deck stain that wears evenly, basically it should fade out over time. This way, when I apply a new coat years down the road, it looks even when freshly stained.

Many deck stains will start to peel or wear very unevenly. Peeling means that it never absorbed into the wood and when you apply your new stain, it will look blotchy and uneven.

Differnt Deck Stain Options From Behr

Behr Deck Stain offers an amazing selection of stains in various colors and finishes. We’ll take a look at Behr’s lineup of products below, along with their features and specs to help you find the best stain for your deck!

Behr Deck Over

Behr Deck Over is a solid deck stain that goes on incredibly thick and is only meant for covering up decks where the wood is in terrible shape.

Deck over will completely hide the wood grain along with imperfecitons on your deck such as cracks, splinters, knots, and gaps.

I only recommend Deck Over in situations where the deck is on it’s last leg and an owner is trying to get a few more years out of their deck.

NOTE: I used Deck Over on my deck at my own home. I have 7 kids and 3 pets. I need to re-stain or replace my deck this year, but I got a solid 5 year life out of Deck Over on my deck.

Behr Solid Deck Stain

Behr Solid Deck Stain goes on a lot like paint. It will completely hide the old color of your deck, but still show the wood graining.

Solid deck stains can look really nice and typically last longer than semi-transparent and toner stains.

I recommend using solid deck stain when your old stain is blotchy and uneven, but the wood is still in good shape.

Behr Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

Behr Seme Transparent Deck Stain is probably their most popular option. You get a significant amount of color, while still allowing the character of the wood to show through.

Most deck staining projects I do are with sem transparent stain. If done right, you can keep a deck in great shape using semi-transparent stain for many years.

Behr Toner Deck Stain

In my opinion, Behr Toner Deck Stains look the best. But, they offer the least amount of protection and shortest lifespan.

Toners are great to enhance the natural beauty of your wood deck. I often recommend toners on new decks and decks that have only had toners previously applied.

When Should You Re-Stain Your Deck

Deck in Need Of Staining
This deck was over due for re-staining by at least a year or two.

Re-staining your deck before your deck boards become damaged is important to getting a long life out of your deck.

What you want look for when determining if it is time to re-stain your deck is if the previous stain has faded significantly and if your deck is looking dry.

Most of the time, it is painfully obvious that a deck needs to be re-stained as most people typically wait about 1-3 years too long before restaining.

However, a simple test you can perform (though not a perfect test) on your deck is to spray it with a hose and watch if the water beads up, or absorbs into the wood. If it beads up, your wood is still well protected. If it absorbs into the wood, your deck is taking in water and will slowly start to deteriorate.

How To Apply Behr Deck Stain

I am going to quickly share my process for staining decks. Honestly, it’s nothing too special, but maybe it will give you an idea or help you save a bit of time.

For more info on deck staining, check out my post How To Stain A Deck.

Clear The Deck Of Furniture, Grills and Other Items

This step is obvious. Get everything off the deck. Don’t go around chairs or tables if possible, they will leave marks on your deck.

Clean The Deck

The ideal way to clean a deck is with a pressure washer. I just picked up a new Ryobi 2900 PSI, 2.3 gallon per minute pressure washer at Home Depot.

Pressure washers are great to have around to clean your driveway, siding, playsets, and cars. Ryobi’s pressure washers are reasonably priced, have a great warranty, and are pretty nice reliable machines.

I’ll be post my review of my new Ryobi here shorty, so check back soon if you want to read my thoughts on it.

If you don’t have a pressure washer and don’t plan on buying one, you can wash your deck with a scrub brush and Behr Wood Cleaner. Make sure to scrub your deck good and rinse thoroughly when done. This is not my favorite method, but it does work.

Apply Your Behr Deck Stain

Lastly, it’s time to apply your deck stain.

I like to start on the exterior side of the railings whenever staining a deck. I go up on a telescoping folding ladder and stain just the back sides of all the railings.

Staining A Deck
Setting up my Werner ladder and staining the back sides of the rails.

Next, I go up on the deck and finish staining the other 3 sides of the railing while standing on the deck.

After the rails are done, I go back and stain all of the hand rails. Hand rails are a part of the deck that I will sometimes 2 coat if they look like a second coat might be necessary.

Lastly, I finish by staining all of the floor boards. I usually sit down on my butt, put on some music, and brush out the floor boards with a thick 4″ deck staining brush.

If you want to save your back, deck brushes are built to allow you to un-screw the handle and screw in a standard pole (like the pole from a typical broom). This can allow you to stand up while staining the floor boards and not end up quite as stiff and sore. Angled deck stain brushes are perfect for this.

Staining Your Deck With A Brush

Behr Deck Stain and Brush
I typically only use a brush when staining decks. This deck took me about 10 hours to stain.

I always apply my deck stains with a thick 4″ deck brush. Deck brushes are made to hold a lot of stain, allow you to apply stain quickly, and allow for the most control (and best finish in my opinion).

Staining Your Deck With A Roller or Pad

There are many deck staining pads and rollers out there that claim they will speed up your deck staining job. But here is my opinion, rollers and pads are only good for deck floors, they are terrible for spindles and rails.

They typically don’t apply the stain as smooth as a brush and they will only save you a small fraction of time over a brush on the deck floor, which is already the easiest part of staining a deck.

Staining Your Deck With A Sprayer

Decks stain can absolutely be sprayed, but there are two big problems. First, spraying deck stain outside is just asking to get stain all over your siding, sidewalk, car, or something else. It requires a lot of prep.

I personally only recommend spraying stain on fences, then back brushing the stain into the fence. Fences are slow and tedios, but they are typically away from siding and other areas where over-spray could be a problem.

Behr Deck Stain Colors

Behr Deck Stain FAQ

How To Remove Behr Deck Stain

Removing deck stain is not an easy task. Power washing and sanding are great ways to remove existing deck stain. Behr also makes a chemical stain stripper called Behr Wood Stain and Finish Stripper.

Personally, I like to power wash, then sand the deck with a random orbital sander and finish using Wood Stain and Finish Stripper if needed.

How Long Does Behr Deck Stain Take To Dry

From my experience, Behr Deck Stain is typically dry to the touch in about 30 minutes. It typically needs 1-2 two hours before you can re-coat and 72 hours before full traffic on your deck may resume.

How Long Before Behr Deck Stain Is Water Proof

Behr Deck Stain is water proof within 1-2 hours in normal conditions. High humidity and overcast may cause full waterproofing to take longer.

How Long Before I Can Walk On My Stained Deck

Stained decks should be given at least 48 hours before walking on them and 72 hours for full usage.

Alternatives To Behr Deck Stain

If you’re not sold on Behr Deck Stain, don’t have a Home Depot nearby, or want to compare some alternatives, here are some other deck stains that I use regularly.

Sherwin Williams Super Deck

Super Deck is another great product for those who have a deck that they want to protect and beautify.

Super Deck offers fantastic defense against weathering, while allowing natural character of the wood grain to show through. It can also be applied to damp wood, so most jobs using SuperDeck can be finished in a single day.

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat

Benjamin Moore Arboarcoat Deck Stain provides great protection against mildew, blistering, peeling, stains and scuffs. It also offers mildew protection and UV protection so your deck looks great season after season.

Cabot Deck Stain

Cabot Deck Stain is another massively popular deck stain that has been around for over 100 years. Cabot is fantastic and I’ve used it on many decks over the last 20 years and have no problem using it on my clients decks.

Final Thoughts on Behr Deck Stain

Deck Stain and Brush

With all of the options out there for deck stain, it can be tough to decide which one is right. I’ve given you my take on Behr Deck Stain and how I think this product stacks up against other popular brands in the industry.

If you’re looking for a deck stain that is easy to apply, looks great and lasts a long time- Behr Deck Stain may be the perfect choice. The company has been in business since 1947 and their products are exclusively available at Home Depot nationwide.

If you have a question about your project or want more information before making your decision, leave a comment below! I make sure to answer every comment.

Andrew R

Friday 28th of January 2022

Hello Thanks for the details on this deck product. I have a small pergola that I'm building and want apply a stain that allows a lot of the wood grain show through and still provide some protection. I love in San Diego where it is hot and dry, but our weather is pretty mild. Out off all the stains you listed, and not considering cost (small pergola will be less expensive to stain), do you still recommend Behr?


Friday 28th of January 2022

Yes. Even removing cost from the equation, I would still choose Behr. Best of luck!


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

I Stained my new but dry seasoned deck with this crap in May I did several coats because it just kept sucking the stuff up. I following all the recommended steps from testing for absobancy to cleaning with their deck cleaner. it looked great for a month and then the water stopped beading and it began to fade. 3 months later it was starting to grow mildew under the "sealent"and I got stuck having to redo everything with a solid stain. when I replaced the old one just to have wood look. I find it annoying when contractors who are not around to see the long term results recommend a product.


Thursday 2nd of September 2021

Hi K,

First, thanks for commenting and reading the post. Your comment assumes that contractors don't get to see the long-term results of their work. On the contrary, I see my work and care about how long it lasts more than most homeowners (as do most contractors). I offer warranties ranging from 3-5 years on all of my work. If something goes wrong, It literally costs me my income and I would be out there fixing the deck at no cost to the homeowner. So the products I use are vastly important to me and my business. When used Correctly, this stain is wonderful and will provide a long-lasting life. Sorry to assume this, but if you have mildew growing under the finish and you're experiencing fading already, I can almost guarantee the issue is in your prep work and not the product. I would recommend calling Behr and talking to them on the phone, their warranty department is incredible and at the very least, they will help you identify the issue. Good Luck.

Steve O

Tuesday 17th of August 2021

Great info, thanks!!


Thursday 12th of August 2021

I just had my deck restained with a Behr solid color stain. The deck consists of both very new and very old boards. How do I maintain/clean the deck going forward if I don’t want to pressure wash it?


Saturday 14th of August 2021

Hi Clair,

There are a couple of different ways you can clean your deck without damaging the finish. First, a garden hose and a push broom work great. I have 7 kids and my deck is always a muddy mess, I use this method quite often. Second, electric power washers have drastically less pressure than gas pressure washers. A cheap $100 pressure washer will make quick work of cleaning your deck without damaging it. I have one I use on my whole house and vehicles without any damage.


Thursday 12th of August 2021

Oil vs. Latex stain. Which is better?


Saturday 14th of August 2021

The age-old question! I can only say what I prefer. I prefer water. Water-based finishes are better for the environment and for me and that wins the argument for me.