Yawn.....Wood deck treatments?

1st time visitor, so ease up on me for asking this question for what I bet is the 3 bazillionth time:
Subject: a somewhat large, pressure-treated deck (16x32'). I usually pressure wash it annually as it gets blasted by the sun for the majority of the day. Mildew & the like doesn't seem to be an issue, but it gets quite "gray" by Fall. Over the years I've only used two products to seal it: Thompsons & CWF. Neither seem to hinder it from graying up and from what I've read, the only way to really retard this is to "stain" it and I don't want to. Thompson's is apparently not highly thought of these days but it is the least expensive of these types of treatments and since I do the drill every Spring, is it really worth incurring the additonal expense of another product? I also do not want to use anything that requires "roll or brush" applications because I have better things to do with my time. (I'd rather spray something) Right now, I am being referred to a couple products that are new to me: Behr "Weatherproofing Wood Finish" and Olympic "Clear Wood Preservative/ Water Guard Wood Clear". I'm not sure of the pricing on the Olympic stuff yet, but the Behr product is about $ 80-90 for five gallons. (I will need about 10 gal. for the job) Thompson's is alot less.
Sorry for the darn "book", but I'd be appreciative of any advice
Thanks
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wrote:

<snip>
CWF is much better than Thompson's. But really, anything is better than Thompsons. Blocking the UV rays is what you need, and neither of these products will last a long time. However, a good decking stain will outlast a clear finish by 3 or 4 times. A stain or paint is just much better at blocking out UV rays. Since you said you did not mind yearly applications and do not want to stain the deck, go with the CWF. I use CWF on my redwood deck furniture, but I use Cabot's Decking Stain ($30/gal) on the deck. I found that a brush is better than spraying, but I know that's not what you wanted to hear.
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I get the impression that you don't want to invest the time or money to do the job the right way. If you change your mind here's the approach.
1. Wash the deck. (never use a pressure washer on soft wood!!) Use Jomax, bleach and water in a garden spray. Use a long handled car wash brush. Rinse with plenty of water. Follow up with a deck brightener if you want to remove the grey.
2. Wait 5 days for the deck to dry.
3. Apply a thin coat of stain. Use a natural brisstle brush. (not a sprayer!!). Apply on cool/shady surfaces and spread it thin.
4. Repeat 1-3 every 2-3 years.
You'll get much better protection using a lightly pigmented stain. (Olympic Natural, Cabot Clear Solutions, Sikkens SDR, Benwood, etc). Thompson's is total garbage. Behr is close.

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I used top rated by Consumer Reports Cabot solid stain. Don't like it at all. I guess what works well on their panels does not equate well to a deck.

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Decks seem to need recoating every 2 years even if you double coat
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I did the same. On the vertical surfaces it is not so bad, but the horizontal surfaces peeled away in a year. You'll never see a Cabot can in this house. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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wrote:

I have used Cabot's Decking stain and have not seen any peeling at all. Cabot's lasts 5X longer than Thompson's. After 3 or 4 years it needs to be reapplied, but I have not recoated under the deck at all. If you don't use Cabot stain, then what do you use?
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