Monday, January 28, 2013

Olympic Wood Protector Deck, Fence, & Siding Stain Proves Its Worth On Fences, Not Decks.

The Good: Good colors, Does not fade, Permeates wood well, Cleans up easily, Easy to apply
The Bad: Chips in high-traffic areas, Requires multiple coats
The Basics: While not as durable on high traffic decks, this stain goes above and beyond its specifications on fences, making it an affordable, easy to use wood protection option.

As I continue to stretch out into reviews outside the media I usually review, I was excited to review Olympic's Premium Interior Latex Satin paint (reviewed here!). As I moved from indoors to outdoors with Olympic's Wood Protector Deck, Fence & Siding stain, my reviews became less enthusiastic. That's not to say that the Deck, Fence & Siding stain was not a good product, just that it was underwhelming; it could have been so much better than it was.

I've been using the Deck, Fence & Siding stain from Olympic for four years now. I've used it on both my deck and my fence, with (unfortunately) dramatically different results. Let's start with the general. Olympic Wood Protection stain is available in gallons for a price in the $25.00 range. Like a lot of Olympic products, there are any number of colors that can be mixed for this product - the Lowe's I shop at has a color palate of at least fifty colors that this can be tinted with. I've used three over the past years, all in the brown-red range. Cans of this stain separate after a few days requiring vigorous stirring to remix it.

Like most stains, it is imperative that your surface is clean and dry before working with this product. Usually, I wash my deck off the morning before the day I stain and I wait until the next afternoon before beginning staining. The directions make it clear that the surface temperature must be between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and so this is a good late-spring, early summer or early autumn project.

Regardless of when the stain is bought, I highly recommend stirring it up for good measure before using it. This stain is rather fluid and works very well when applied with a roller from a paint pan. For touch up work, I've used foam brushes, and I've found a marked quality difference in trying to apply this with a bristle brush as opposed to foam products. Foam rollers and brushes make applying this lightyears easier.

From a foam roller, this stain is remarkably easy to apply. It coats well in two or three passes (forward/back, forward/back, forward/back with a roller) without bubbling up. I've used a number of stains before and with Olympic wood protection, I found there was a minimal amount of bubbling. That's important as it lets the user know that it is permeating the wood as opposed to sitting on top of it.

Every time I have used this product, I have had to do two coats, not so much for color saturation, but for protection. The first coat adequately covers and colors a wood surface, but on a deck I've found that does not last long enough. I live in the Northeast and there is a lot of rain and snow that hits my deck. As a result, it's very easy for me to monitor how long the deck sealing lasts. With one coat, a solid week of rain will wash away the surface protection. That means after a week of rain, water will no longer bead up on the surface of the deck, instead it will permeate the wood and soak in some.

With two coats, the protection lasts longer, about a year. After a tough winter, even this deck stain cannot be expected to hold up through repeated snow shovelings, but for the most part it does. In fact, after a year, the only places this deck stain chipped off were places in the high traffic zones that I know suffered beneath my snow shovel, like right in front of my front door and the deck's stairs.

Even on those portions where the deck is stripped back down to the wood, the stain is offering some protection. I get minimal beading when I drop water on those exposed parts and that means that something is still in there working. Basically, every year I plan to reseal the deck, just to be on the safe side. My deck suffers with a lot of snow in the winter and a lot of run-off in the other seasons. This makes me feel less bad about things like the deck, fence & siding stain lasting essentially only one year. However, even with all of the wear on the deck, this product continues to work well enough that resealing the deck does not need to be the first project of the spring. That's a good thing.

Which brings me to one of the other functions of this stain. This is a fence stain. The reason I cut Olympic Wood Protector deck, fence & siding stain so much slack for the way it works on my high-traffic deck is because of how it works on my fence. I've stained my fence using this product once. It took me 6 gallons of stain to do all around my yard twice (that's 26 8x5 ft. fence lengths, front and back) and after three years, there is not a single chip, crack or show of wear the entire length of the fence. This stain did exactly what it promised and lacking the traffic of constant people moving on it, heavy water flow and blades from snow shovels, this product illustrates that it can continue to hold up.

Water still beads up on my fence after three years. That's coverage! Painting the fence was fairly easy with the roller, mostly just time consuming with the up-down motion to get adequate coverage. Because this is thinner than some of the paints I work with, I had to pay a bit more attention to what I was doing. The stain, because it is tinted, offered great color contrast with the natural wood while I was out staining in the sun, so it is very easy to see where you have stained and when you miss a spot.

As with applying to the deck, there was minimal bubbling with this stain, so it went on smooth, with the first coat getting sucked right into the wood and the second providing a more uniform color. My fence was older and more worn than the deck and I had to replace several sections. With the stain, it all looks the same age - because I did two coats - and it all looks new. I feel confident based on its performance the last three years, that this coverage will last and the fence will continue to look great.

This deck, fence & siding stain has a 5 year warranty on decks, 15 year warranty on siding and fences. Olympic is a well-established company that is likely to be around in 5 and 15 years, so that ought to increase consumer confidence in buying this product. I purchased mine at Lowe's and I've a feeling they will endure, meaning that the warranty may be executed by simply saving your receipt, the stain can's label, and (I recommend) the color sticker from the top of the can so the exact replacement may be made.

Beyond that, this deck, fence & siding stain is very easy to clean up. If you accidentally get any on vinyl siding (if your house is so sided), it wipes off easily so long as you clean it off immediately with a wet rag. This is an acrylic latex formula, which means once it dries, it is waterproof. The key to cleaning up brushes and rollers is to simply wash them out before they dry. So long as you do that, this product cleans out quite well and your brushes and rollers are reusable. I had less than stellar results getting the stains out of denim, so be sure to wear painting clothes for the project!

I've not noticed a significant odor with this product, but that might also be because I use it exclusively outside and I live in a fairly windy area.

Would it be nice if this were an invincible sealant that never wore off? Sure. Is it one of the better deck, fence and siding stains on the market? It sure seemed to me to be. I've been using it for years and it gives consistent, quality results.

For other paint, stain, and similar supplies, please check out my reviews of:
Olympic Interior Satin Paint
Olympic Premium Ceiling Paint
DAP Weldwood Contact Cement


For other Home and Garden product reviews, please visit my Home And Garden Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013, 2010, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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