Back in 2015, I heavily researched which product to use on our backyard deck, which is made of pressure-treated pine. I selected One Time wood stain, a penetrating outdoor deck stain that is supposed to last seven years. Unlike other stains, its color and finish penetrates the wood via a UV activation process from the sun.
My 2015 refinishing process (stripping, power-washing, orbital sanding, and staining) is detailed in this 2015 post. I was really happy with the way the deck turned out — it looked better than it had in years!
In 2016, I posted a one-year update showing how the stain had weathered over the first year. There honestly wasn’t much color change at all.
In 2017, I posted a two-year-update, showing minimal fading and wear on the stain. We’ve never stained our deck swing and have no plans to, so it’s a good benchmark to compare natural wood to the color of our deck.
It’s June 2018, which means it’s time for another deck stain update! Guess who immediately ran into the picture when he saw me snapping photos?
As you can see, the deck’s color has lightened somewhat over the 2017 photos. It’s most noticeable in the areas where the wood’s grain is very heavy or where the wood has knots.
I’ve been getting quite a bit of email from people waiting for this year’s deck stain update (who are undoubtedly also waiting to refinish their own decks!) so I tried to focus on some of the most heavily-worn areas of the deck for these photos. The deck’s color is still good, but where the wood shows its age (knots, raised grain areas) the stain has faded somewhat.
The color difference is becoming more noticeable too between the now-almost-14-year-old deck wood and the piece of new lumber that I replaced on the railing in 2015. This piece of rail was never stained with any other product other than One Time, and it’s kept its color very well.
This difference leads me to believe that if I had use the One Time stain the first time I finished our deck, it may have performed better than on old wood, even though I stripped, power-washed, and sanded the deck thoroughly with a rented commercial sander. I worked extensively on the wood in 2015 to get it in the best possible condition prior to staining.
The deck’s appearance in photos changes a lot in sun and shade too. Even though I took all of these photos over about a 15-minute timespan, look at the color difference depending on whether the sun was behind a cloud or not!
I had previously made some shelves for our grill out of new deck lumber and stained them with One Time too. For this photo, I took those grill shelves and placed them on top of our deck.
You can really see the difference between the stain on new wood versus old here, as I made these shelves with new deck lumber and they remain outside all year round too.
You may remember that I also stained my kids’ climber with the same One Time deck stain back in 2015. This climber is more than 20 years old (it was given to us by friends whose children outgrew it) and it had never been stained until I used the One Time on it in 2015.
The great condition of the kids’ climber now in 2018 again makes me think that if One Time is used on brand-new wood, it weathers a lot longer and better than on older wood. The climber is exposed to the same Western sun exposure that our deck is.
Here are some more current photos of the climber:
Would I use One Time deck stain again? Yes — I am still quite happy with the condition of the deck, even though this is the first year I’ve noticed a significant color change from fading. One of the biggest pluses of One Time, to me, is that you can re-coat right over existing One Time stain without having to strip the stain off, which is what I plan to do whenever I decide it needs to be refinished again.
I still have a half-gallon of One Time stain left from refinishing the deck in 2015, so for this post, I decided to re-coat one of the deck railings that was showing the most wear since 2015. I’ve never re-coated any part of the deck since its original staining, so I figured this would be a good spot to experiment and see what it looks like after re-staining. This board is the worst-looking on the entire deck.
In re-coating this, I was a little surprised to see how dark the stain initially went on. It does dry lighter than it goes on, so I will post another image in a few days of what the recoated, dry railing looks like.
I had poured some stain into a cup to stain this part of the railing, and I had a little left over that I didn’t want to toss out or pour back into the jug. So, I also re-stained the stair rail. Here’s a “before” photo:
The rail still has good color from the 2015 staining, but this one piece was the right size to use up the stain I had left over! So, I recoated it too.
I was curious to see how easily One Time recoats over itself. So far, so good.
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 and paid $89/gallon.
If this post is your first introduction to the series, I’m located in the suburbs of Chicago, and the deck faces the west. It receives hot Midwest sunshine in the summer and is covered with snow in the winter. You’re also welcome to go back to reading the other posts in this series:
- My quest to find a great deck stain (2015)
- A shepherd’s hook ruined my deck! (2015)
- My kids’ wood climber makeover (2015)
- My deck stain report: One year later (2016)
- My deck stain report: Two years later (2017)
- My deck stain report: Three years later (2018)
- My deck stain report: Four years later (2019) – the year I finally recoated.
Good luck to everyone tackling their decks and outdoor wood surfaces!