My deck stain report: One year later

Disclosure: I purchased One Time deck stain for my own use, and I am writing about my experiences with it. I have not been compensated for this post. This post contains affiliate links. Read full Disclosure Policy.

Last year, I refinished our deck (again.) I detailed the entire process in this post, as I was really dissatisfied with the stain I’d chosen the last time I stained the deck in 2013.  It looked good when I originally stained it, but nine months later, it looked like this: 

bad deck stain

Who wants to go through prepping a deck for refinishing (which often takes more time than the actual time spent staining) only to have it look like this nine months later? I spent a lot of time researching which product to use the next time I refinished the deck. 

one time chestnut

This time around, I had high hopes for One Time wood stain. This product is more expensive than the usual home-center brands of deck stains — expect to pay around $89 per gallon. However, it’s supposed to last 7 years, and it can be recoated over itself, so I won’t have to go through stripping and sanding this deck again in the future.

It took about 1 1/2 gallons to stain our 12′ x 18′ deck’s floor surface, stairs and rails. I was really thrilled with how the deck turned out. I took this photo in August 2015 after finishing the deck:

decks done

Since that time, I’ve had curious readers writing to ask how the deck currently looks, as deck-staining season is upon us again. Am I happy with how it weathered over the past year? You bet. Here’s the deck today in July, 2016:


There’s been no peeling or chipping at all. Unlike other products currently on the market, the One Time goes on like a traditional wood stain — it soaks in, and it doesn’t make a film on top of the wood that can crack or peel later. The stain has kept its color well since last summer too.


The water still beads on the surface too — nice to see, especially considering the age (12 years ) of our deck. The One Time documentation states that the product will continue protecting wood for seven years, even after water stops beading on it, but as for now, it’s still beading.

You may remember that I also stained our children’s wood climber shortly after refinishing our deck. This climber is around 20 years old and had never been stained previously. As the wood as very dry, it sucked the stain up like a sponge:

climber floor

It came out so much darker than the deck that I expected the color to fade somewhat. The above photo is from 2015 — here’s the climber’s color today in July 2016:


The color has lightened a little bit, but not much. As part of last year’s climber makeover, I removed the climber’s plastic walls and installed treated pine deck spindles. As this wood was new (and very wet) in 2015, I let the spindles weather for an entire season before staining it. This week, I finished staining the spindles:



Because One Time says you can stain right over surfaces previously stained with One Time product, I didn’t worry too much about dripping stain on the previously-stained areas of the climber — I just brushed any excess back into the wood. 



Again, I’m really happy with both the color and water-protection retention over the past year with One Time. While it does cost much more than the $20-per-gallon brands, I continue to be thrilled with how our deck looks one year later.

The kids love their climber too, but don’t ask them why it’s full of sticks at the moment… I did, and apparently, the sticks are part of some secret mission. They’re being stored here “for later..!” 

One Time is not the easiest product to find in stores — you can order it online or find it at a specialty retailer. Some Ace Hardware locations carry it or can order it. I special-ordered mine at the Ace Hardware in McHenry, Illinois last summer and paid $89/gallon.

Disclosure: I purchased One Time deck stain for my own use, and I am writing about my experiences with it. I have not been compensated for this post. This post contains affiliate links. Read full Disclosure Policy.


  1. Nanda says

    Fascinating and useful write up. I am going to use it. We live in Western Canada with harsher winters but the review was convincing. The conatainer here is green and does not say Bonds…just One Time. Hope its the same product

    • says

      Nanda, I’m in Chicagoland, so we have some tough winters too (though my friend in Winnipeg’s winters take the cake… seems she’s snowbound six months of the year! :)

      I just went to the One Time website, and they have a store locator number for both the USA and Canada:

      I also see that they have changed the bottle on the website, and it does now just say “One Time” so they may have had a slight name change. I will update my review. Thanks!

  2. Cassie says

    2 questions for you, Jill. Is your deck cedar or pressure treated wood? My husband asked which direction your deck faces?

    We get sun on ours almost 100% of the day and the back of our house faces north so we get the worst of the worst of winter too.

  3. Mimi O says

    What color did you stain the spindles?

    What about the “skirt” that goes around the outside of the deck where the spindles attach – are the the deck floor borads color or spindle color?

    Looks great!

    Thank you

    • says

      You’re welcome. I hope it helps you — I really have been very happy with the performance/endurance of the product so far. :) Winter #2 for our deck ad climber is right around the corner, so I’ll have to update in the spring of 2017.

  4. Don says

    I wonder how this product will stand the test of time here in Tucson Arizona. Im about to build a pergola and Im concerned about premature graying of the wood UV rays. I noticed they did not have a redwood product (color) so Im not sure what to use?

    • says

      You’re welcome! I need to do a 2-year post soon. (Spoiler alert: Deck still looks great! The color has lightened just a touch over the past year. The kids’ climber is still a deep, rich brown and hasn’t visibly changed at all over the past year.)

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