The heavier the tint, the more pigment it has, so the longer the sealant will last.
Clear sealants, whether oil-based or water-based, last no more than 1 year on horizontal surfaces and 2-3 years on vertical surfaces, depending upon exposure. This is an excellent choice for owners of cedar or redwood decks, allowing the full-bodied natural color of the wood to show through, while adding a richly burnished, translucent tone.
Owners of pressure-treated wood decks (like most 3-story porches), want to minimize maintenance while enhancing appearance. They use a tinted toner, like Olympic’s Maximum line of sealants, that need not be stripped when resealed. The toners and semi-transparents are warrantied to last between 2-5 years, 2-3 on horizontal surfaces directly exposed to the elements, and 3-6 on vertical surfaces like railings or posts … tho often less if the surface has worn considerably or been left unsealed for too long. Typical maintenance dictates that flat decking be powerwashed and resealed 2-3 years, and that every 3-6 years the vertical surfaces be done.
Semi-solid sealants can last up to 5 years, and solid (opaque) sealants last even longer, but stripping or sanding is required between applications, adding cost in the long term.