We stained our deck / porch / stairs last October / November using a semi-transparent oil-based stain (from Behr), and the stain has already come mostly off in high traffic areas. We worked pretty hard at doing a thorough prep - applying a liquid cleaning agent, scrubbing everything really good, and letting it dry according to stain manufacturer instructions. Now I want to go back and touch up while making sure not to repeat whatever mistake(s) that led to the poor longevity of the last application.

My guesses at the causes of the issue are:

  1. It was cold when we did it, at or just below the bottom range of the application temperature recommended by the stain manufacturer
  2. We did not wait a particularly long time before walking on the stain (probably did the next day)
  3. Possibly it had rained ~ 30 hrs before (and/or after) applying the stain (i dont well recall now)

Is there anything else I might be missing that I should do to help the stain last longer? Are these indeed likely causes or should i instead be more strongly considering using a different type of stain?


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  • 1
    The wood is wet and will not absorb the stain
    – Traveler
    Aug 12, 2023 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


The black is mildew. It is a living organism. it will continue to deteriorate the wood and eat at the stain until it is killed. 50/50 bleach and water scrubbed diligently usually works.

Then let the wood dry for at least 48 hrs. before staining again. However remember the stain will wear off with use and from the sun's rays again.

  • thank you! we will scrub and allow the wood to dry longer before applying the stain again
    – aknodt
    Aug 21, 2023 at 11:30

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