Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.
SuperDeck Stain Pros and Cons
SuperDeck, which has replaced the DeckScapes product line, is a Sherwin Williams deck stain sold in a waterborne and oil-based formula. I typically stain two to three decks per year and use this product for most of them. I have only used the waterborne version in the solid and semi-transparent finish, so I can't comment on the oil-based stain, or the other finishes, in my review.
Waterborne Solid and Semi-transparent Stain
- Durability. The solid finish on my deck lasted four years before the material began lifting, mostly in the foot traffic areas. Thorough power washing and sanding makes a big difference in durability with any product. After power washing, I allow the wood to dry at least three days before sanding and staining.
- Coverage. The consistency is water-thin, but covers well, spreading easily over spindles and deck boards without having to dip the brush and roller excessively. Most colors cover well in two coats, while still allowing the natural grain in the wood to show through.
- Self-priming. No need for a separate sealer. This product seals and blocks discoloration from knots with the second coat.
- Less mildew with waterborne stain. Oil-based stain tends to feed and grow mildew on the surface, which is one of the reasons I avoid it.
- Sprays well. I spray deck railings and spindles with an airless sprayer and SuperDeck sprays nicely without any issues.
- Surface cleaning. Newly stained deck boards look smooth and slightly glossy at first, but the luster gradually fades into a chalky finish, making it harder to clean accumulated dirt from the surface. This can be avoided though with monthly deck cleaning.
- Cost. At full price, the solid waterborne stain, as of 2017, is $52 per gallon. Sherwin Williams runs a 30% off sale several times per year though, starting in spring, but buying material for a large deck will be pricey without a discount.
- Lousy deck stripper. If you stain your peeling deck with any of their transparent finishes, the peeling stain needs to be completely removed from the surface first. The SuperDeck Stain and Sealer Remover is sold as part of their deck care system. In my experience, the stripper didn't work well. I attempted to remove peeling stain from part of a deck and had to buy a different stripper to get the job done.
- No water repellency. Water won't bead up on the surface like oil-based stain does.
- Color inconsistencies. When I stained my own deck, the actual color was way off from the sample in the color book. There are no sample jars available for this product, as far as I know.
Is SuperDeck Waterborne Stain Worth the Money?
SuperDeck certainly isn't the greatest deck stain on the market, but the waterborne stain has lasted where I have used the product, including my own deck and for my painting business.
Most decks need to be re-stained every two to five years, depending on the product and whether the deck is exposed to direct sun a lot. Solid stain lasts longer, whereas the more transparent finishes will fade and peel sooner. The solid option in this product lasts the longest, but keep in mind, if you later decide to re-stain with a transparent finish, you will be faced with the task of chemical stripping.
This stain was originally an exclusive product of the DuckBack company, which was bought by Sherwin Williams, who enhanced the formula. Some people believe the original DuckBack stain was better quality, but I have only used the product after the merger with Sherwin Williams, so I can't comment on that. The quality is the same, if not better, than the defunct DeckScapes product line that it replaced.
At $52 per gallon, I wouldn't pay full price for this product, but you can save a lot of money by stocking up in the spring when Sherwin Williams has their big sale at 30% to 40% off.
In terms of colors, there are attractive options available, but I have found the color consistency to be way off when I used the color Woodbriar (SW 3035). Popular colors I have used include Pepperidge (SW 3017), Desert Wood (SW 3030) and Cedar (SW 3034).
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: My deck was previously stained with what I believe to be Olympic Solid Stain. I've cleaned and scraped any loose stain from the flaking boards and deck rail, and I'd like to know if I can apply SuperDeck now, or if must I strip the wood?
Answer: If it's only peeling a little in a few spots and you're using Super Deck solid, you can stain over it as long as power washing and sanding, and nothing have removed the peeling areas is loose. If it's peeling badly all over, or if you're using a stain finish other than solid, you'll need to strip the deck completely and start from scratch.
Question: We are looking at the Superdeck Stain product for our new deck. Gray floor with white spindles. After staining, will I need a sealer? Do you recommend oil-based?
Answer: If your deck wood is brand new, you'll want to wait one year before staining it. I believe there's a sealer available for this stain, but I always use the solid, or semi-solid finish, and those don't need to be sealed. I don't recommend oil-based stain. It tends to grow mildew whereas the waterborne doesn't, at least in my experience.
Question: My cedar sided house was due to be re-stained. The contractor bid Woodscapes stain but used Super Deck without informing me. Is one brand better or worse for siding?
Answer: There have been cases of the store recommending Super Deck stain in place of Woodscapes in situations when Super Deck is on sale at a good price, or when Woodscapes is unavailable. Super Deck is a good product that I use when I stain decks, but it's a deck stain. The solid stain finish of Super Deck (waterborne) is slightly glossy with two coats, whereas Woodscapes is totally flat and dull. So that would be the main difference of how it will look on your siding. In terms of durability, Super Deck would probably be fine on your siding, but if it was me, I wouldn't personally have switched products on my customer like that, it's unprofessional. Siding stain goes on siding and deck stain for decks. Woodscapes is the only product I'd use on cedar. It's a great product.
Question: Do I need to use the stain and sealer remover on an old deck that has been stained if I'm going to paint it with the Super Deck solid color stain?
Answer: If the old stain is peeling from the surface everywhere, yes. Power wash and remove everything with either the Stain and Sealer Remover, or a random orbital sander. If the old stain is in good condition, no need for chemical removers. If there are only a few areas with peeling stain, you can smooth them out with a sander before staining. Solid stain covers nicely.
Question: Should you apply one coat or two of the semi-solid stain?
Answer: You should apply two coats of the semi-solid stain. I always apply two coats of SuperDeck stain.
Question: We used SuperDeck on our deck, and now it's peeling. We need to remove the stain and start over. What do you recommend we use to remove the stain?
Answer: Sherwin Williams sells a stain and sealer remover for this product. I've used it with success, but it's a time-consuming process.
Question: Can SuperDeck Waterborne Solid Stain be applied over a cleaned, painted deck?
Answer: Yes, but only if the existing paint finish is in good condition with no peeling. If the paint chips when power washing, the paint should be completely stripped off the deck first before applying SuperDeck.
Question: I have the super deck finish on my 3 year old deck and it is peeling. What can I use to strip it?
Answer: There's actually a deck stain stripper by Super Deck. I believe it's called Stain and Sealer Remover.
Question: Can you provide me with the color codes for the first picture?
Answer: The deck in the picture was a deck I stained many years ago so I don't recall the definite stain color, but I believe the color might be Khaki Shade (SW 7533) from Sherwin Williams.
Question: Will two coats of the semi-solid Superdeck stain still allow some of the woodgrain to show through?
Answer: Yes, you'll see the wood grain a little more with the semi-solid finish.
© 2017 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on June 23, 2020:
If the wood is brand new I would hold off for a while before staining. New lumber needs some time to dry out. Either stain finish will need re-staining every 2 to 3 years to maintain it. The solid finish is thicker and protects the wood more. Less of the wood grain shows through the solid stain compared to the semi-solid.
Jennifer B. on June 23, 2020:
Question: I have a new deck and was going to use SW Super Deck solid - finally picked a color, cottonwood. The reason I was going to solid is because there are power wash stop marks and I wanted to be sure those were covered. I am now considering semi-solid because I read semi soaks into the wood better and SW solid peels easily. Any suggestion?
Matt G. (author) from United States on August 16, 2018:
The Super Deck brightener worked fine for me, but their stain and sealer remover did not. I used a product from Menards. I think it was the Jomax brand, but I'm not sure, it was a while back. Stripping off deck stain is very time consuming and messy.
Eric on August 16, 2018:
Which deck stain remover and brightener product did you end up having success with instead? I am having some trouble with the superdeck product and would hope there is a quicker solution to removing the stain.