Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review

Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review

Is finally out…our Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain Review – in the July 2012 issue of American Painting Contractor magazine. Please check it out. We put almost a year of observation into this product prior to submitting the review for publication, and since the review was published, we have continued to observe favorable results from the 636/637 product combination that we reviewed.

More: Arborcoat Testing

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About the Author

About the Author: Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you! Scott's Google Profile .

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  1. Rebecca says:

    May 16 2014
    I’m not one for choosing to give a bad review on a product but on this one, the Arborcoat stain, in fairness to anyone considering it I must say
    “don’t.” I want to save anyone from the same grief we are experiencing.
    The stain did not hold up. Whether it’s our northeast cold winters I have no idea. The stain peeled badly and the entire area where the rain
    falls off the roof of our house onto our deck it has totally removed.
    My husband is presently on the deck trying as best he can to remove the peeling stain which is a huge mess. I personally chose
    the Aborcoat as it came recommended to me as being ” the best”
    product to use. I was willing to pay the price, wanting our new deck
    too look great since it’s facing the street in front of our house. I can see the stain is not easy to remove and will need to seek advice from
    a Benjamin Moore rep. to finish the removal so it can be stained
    with something else. I would hate to see someone else going
    through the same process we are, expensive and tedious.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Rebecca, thank you for the honest assessment of the product. I am sure others will gain from your unfortunate experience. We have been hearing many such stories, regrettably.

    • Michael says:

      Unfortunately the Arborcoat with a clear topcoat has failed spectacularly on a massive deck complex here in Northern California. My crew and I are now in the midst of a major salvage operation. In all my years applying exterior finishes, I have never experienced any thing like this. It would be nice if the finish simply peeled off and we could be on our way after a cleaning, a wash, and a re coat. However the strips of finish wrap themselves around any and all of the high end plantings and stonework, as well as launch themselves into the lagoon necessitating wetsuits and kayaks with pool skimmers and now pre-placed filter cloth. In the ares of the deck that were not exposed to sunlight or moisture, the finish is ironclad, and simply will not come off without a stripper. I’m not a big fan of spot stripping and brightening a massive deck. Basically as you can guess I’m not a big fan of this finishing system, which my partner actually begged me not to use ( dude…clear coat on decks over transparent? Are you nuts? It’s gonna peel!!)

      At this point After twenty years of using primarily Benjamin Moore products, I’m switching to Sherwin Williams. I can’t see myself trusting any exterior product that BM recommends after this.

  2. Denise says:

    I would NEVER use this product again..nor would I recommend it to anyone! The product is not made for deck surfaces in the winter in Chicago. This product has cost us thousands of dollars in trying to fix it . It peeled the very first winter and because of vegetation and pets, it has been difficult to use a stripper strong enough to get rid of it. I am very disappointed with the performance of it and the lack of information and help we received from BM

  3. Ziggy says:

    Im using arborcoat solid stain on a house with clap boards. I finished applying the 1st application and I have shiners everywhere. Not lap marks. I don’t really know if it is just surfactant leaching. Talk to Ben moore and they were very insulting towards me. Wouldn’t even send a rep out to the job site. B.S.!!!!!!!! Back in 05 used storm stain on the same house. Looked great. Whats up with Ben Moore? I’ve given them plenty of $$$$$ in the last 10 years. Their products seem to be declining in performance.

    • Scott Burt says:

      I’ve heard alot of situations like that, Matt. There seems to be quite a bit of regional variability in people’s experience with Arborcoat and Benjamin Moore service. The Arborcoat that I have put on has continued to perform well with minimal maintenance. But I have certainly heard from plenty of people who have had awful experiences with it. It is unfortunate when customers spend top dollar and end up dissatisfied with the product and the service. Hopefully BM and the other mfr’s won’t lose sight of that as product prices continue to increase.

  4. John says:

    I do not recommend this product on any custom log home. Especially if there is chinking present. It will tint the chinking a different color which is unsightly. Basically, it is not a true clear coat. I will not recommend the product in my business again as it has caused a very big problem turning the logs on a gray log home green and yellow.

  5. hunter says:

    hi scott: i just saw this product at my local hardware store the other day and picked up a small can for testing – your explanation of the 2-step process is great as that’s not as evident in the store.

    i need to coat a redwood fence in northern california: one side is brand new con-heart with SS screws and another is a 3 year old con-common with galvanized nails that’s beginning to show a bit of age (and the nails have “weeped”)

    by habit, i’d very much prefer a transparent penetrating oil finish, but much of what’s out there is either “clear” or a reddish tone (and the clear accentuates the red in the redwood). i’d very much prefer a transparent charcoal-tone which is what caught my eye about the arborcoat. while many semi-opaque brands have dark tones, the arborcoat has a transparent “silver gray”. my hope is that the gray will better coordinate the two woods (one new and red and the other older and graying).

    from reading the article, you seem to be a fan — which is encouraging. a few questions:

    1: any general thoughts on the above plan? (staining the new and old fence together)?
    2: would either of these products be sprayable via a pump sprayer? I have a larger compressor and could get a HVLP gun if this is definitely the way to go
    3: i’m going for protection more than anything (to retain the integrity of the wood). should i coat both sides? (the backside faces areas that aesthetics don’t matter). could i stain the face side and clear-coat the two sides?
    4: what sort of prep could/should be done on the old fence? anything to do to the new one?
    5: you generally don’t seem to favor film-coatings. this seems to be an exception, no?

    thanks for your insight.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Hunter,

      I think you should do some experimenting. There is an article here on the site called “Arborcoat on Weathered Wood” that demonstrates an interesting characteristic that Arborcoat showed us in testing. Seemed to be able to refresh the wood nicely, instead of turning it a cloudy or muddy tone. I would definitely coat as many sides and edges as you can for protection, and hvlp is a very efficient delivery method. Pump spray is possible but messy. Ideally, for prep, if you could pressure wash the old and new sections that would get them clean and happy to receive the new stain. You are correct, I dont like film forming clears on high exposure exterior items. This is different, the clear is more of a sealer on top of stain, in my opinion, than a film. Do some experimenting and keep me posted!

  6. We had great results with Arborcoat.

    We power sanded the top coats off to the bare wood. Two years later the transparent finish still looks fresh.

    Perhaps Arborcoat works better with vertical surfaces and not so with decks.

    You may view the project on the exterior portfolio page of our website;

    http://paint-estimate.com

    Sharon, owner, lead painter, estimator

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