Sikkens Cetol SRD Semi-Transparent Stain not only excels in simulated durability testing, but also earns praise from professionals who stain houses, decks and other exterior surfaces for a living. No semi-transparent stain will ever last as long as a solid stain or paint, ConsumerReports.org says, but semi-transparent stains such as Sikkens Cetol SRD do have one big advantage: Unlike solid stains and paints, which form a water-tight film on top of wood, experts say semi-transparent stains penetrate the wood itself, so they won't flake or peel the way paint or solid stain can after being exposed to the elements. This makes semi-transparent stains the experts' choice for horizontal surfaces like decks -- which suffer harsher abuse from the sun and moisture than do vertical surfaces such as siding -- and for rough surfaces such as cedar shakes. Like the top-recommended exterior paint, Sherwin-Williams Duration (*Est. $55 per gallon), Sikkens Cetol SRD Semi-Transparent Stain is also one of the most expensive exterior finishes you can buy, but the pros say it's worth it. If you want a more opaque stain for a vertical surface such as siding, reviews recommend Sikkens Rubbol Siding Finish (*Est. $40 per gallon).
We found the best review of Sikkens Cetol SRD Semi-Transparent Stain at ConsumerReports.org which tests and ranks 14 exterior stains. Tim Carter, who writes the syndicated column AskTheBuilder.com, cites Sikkens Cetol as a top-five finisher in a college laboratory's exterior stain test. Professional contractors who post at DIYChatroom.com and PaintTalk.com also recommend Sikkens stains, including the Cetol SRD Semi-Transparent formula. The U.S. Forest Service recommends penetrating, oil-based wood stains (such as Sikkens Cetol SRD, although no brands are mentioned) for rough wood surfaces.
Sikkens Cetol SRD Semi-Transparent Stain is included in this publication's most recent evaluation of exterior paints. Detailed exterior stain ratings are available only to subscribers.
Review: Paints and Stains, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 2010
2. DIY Chatroom
Professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers who post on this forum often recommend Sikkens stains, including Sikkens Cetol SRD. In this thread, users discuss both Sikkens' semi-transparent Cetol and solid Rubbol stains.
Review: Fence Stain -- Acrylic or Oil Based?, Contributors to DIYChatroom.com
Here is another forum, frequented by professional house painters, where users recommend Sikkens stains. In response to the original poster's query about using Cabot stains on a deck, four painting contractors and a paint store owner recommend Sikkens stains instead, and two specifically recommend Sikkens' semi-transparent/SRD variety.
Review: Cabot Stain Question, Contributors to PaintTalk.com
In this syndicated column, professional builder Tim Carter reports that Sikkens Cetol was one of the top five finishers in a 2000 college laboratory test of 30 wood sealants.
Review: Independent Deck Finish Results, Tim Carter
5. U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service has been testing exterior wood finishes for decades. This article is quite dated, but the advice it gives is still sound: If you need to protect a rough wood surface from the elements, use a penetrating wood finish.
Review: Paint, Stain, Varnish, or Preservative? It's Your Choice, Mark Knaebe, December 1995