Keeping wood decks in your house, garden, yard, or nearby territory in the best possible condition requires regular wood surface treatment that will help them serve you for as long as possible.
To keep decks smooth, shiny, and fresh-looking, and to protect them from liquids, UV rays, and extreme temperatures, it is important to regularly use a permanent deck stain and deck sealant.
This will liven up your deck and form unbeatable protection of the lumber from a harmful environment. To find the best deck stain for pressure treated wood and identify the top-level product, let’s look through the products that reached the top positions in popularity this year.
- 1 Top 7 Best Deck Sealers and Stains for Pressure Treated Wood
- 1.1 1. Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood: Top Pick
- 1.2 2. Thompson Waterseal Clear Waterproof Wood Protector – Runner Up
- 1.3 3. Cabot Australian Timber Oil: Easy to Use Oil Based Deck Stain
- 1.4 4. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Water Based Deck Stain
- 1.5 5. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain: Water Based Deck Stain
- 1.6 6. KILZ L832211 Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain, Semi-Transparent: Long Lasting Redwood Deck Stain
- 1.7 7. Seal-Once Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer: Universal Outdoor Wood Sealer
- 2 Tips for Choosing the Best Deck Stains and Sealers for Pressure Treated Wood
- 3 The Most Important Questions About the Deck Stain Features and Application
- 4 Choosing the Best Deck Sealer and Stain for Pressure Treated Wood
Top 7 Best Deck Sealers and Stains for Pressure Treated Wood
- Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood – Top pick
- Thompson Waterseal Clear Waterproof Wood Protector – Runner up
- Cabot Australian Timber Oil – Budget pick
- Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Water Based Deck Stain
- DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
- KILZ L832211 Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain, Semi-Transparent
- Seal-Once Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer
Many people associate deck sealer with a similar item – deck stain, thinking these two products are the same, but in fact, they produce different effects. Both of them have the same aim: to protect the wood, especially exterior wood, from various elements that might harm the surface.
Deck Sealer is a clear or transparent finish that coats the surface and protects it from moisture. Deck stain penetrates deeply inside the lumber, changing its color and protecting it from extra liquid absorption and ultraviolet rays.
To find the best product for your exterior wood protection without reading lots of deck sealers and deck stain reviews, let’s observe the most reputable products.
1. Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood: Top Pick
- Size: 5 Gallon
- Color: Natural Cedar
- Easy maintenance: no sanding or stripping required for re-application
- How to use: apply to a wooden surface with a spray, roller or brush
- Drying time: аllow 48 to 72 hours
Ready Seal successfully takes over the US market of deck stains and sealers, producing professional products that homeowners choose to improve their household themselves. The manufacturer effectively combines stain and sealer features in one product, saving time and costs required for wood treatment without any quality losses.
The combination of two products in Ready Seal allows saving the wood from any extra liquid, harmful UV rays, and other possible outer damage. You can apply this product directly on the surface without adding primer. It has a rich color palette to help you find the perfect color for your type of wood.
Stain demonstrates the most intensive, dark color when it has been just applied, but when it dries out, you will see the right color it will have, which takes about 14 days.
To smoothly apply the stain, you can use any available tools – either you have a painting brush, roller, or sprayer. It is as well not necessary to do back brushing to receive the best result.
This product doesn’t leave any streaks, laps, or runs on the wooden surface. You can apply it in any temperature range – it will blend itself into the body in any condition.
- Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer
No thinning or dilating is required before spraying, but keep in mind that it cannot be applied to painted or newly stained wooden surfaces. This is the best deck sealer for pressure treated wood to effectively protect your house siding, furniture, and all types of surfaces.
- Easy to apply;
- No primer required;
- Has different color options.
- Shows the final color in 14 days.
2. Thompson Waterseal Clear Waterproof Wood Protector – Runner Up
- Color: Woodland Cedar
- Brand: Thompson’s Water Seal
- Surface Recommendation: Freshly Cleaned Damp or Dry Wood
- Resistant: Fade сolor, UV damage
- Water protection: рrevents water damage
Thompson’s WaterSeal products were first manufactured in the early 1920s by chemist Edward Addis Thompson, which elaborated an innovative formula for buildings’ protection from exterior water damage. Thompson’s Company is a known leader in developing innovations that meet the most recent industry trends.
- Thompson Waterseal Clear Waterproof Wood Protector
This is the clear top rated deck sealer that will demonstrate your lumber’s original color and prevent any outer effects, such as color fading, graying, and darkening. Thompsom’s WaterSeal Wood Protector will prolong the life of your wood surfaces and how they look. Its unique formula perfectly protects wood from any extra liquid and various damages, keeping the real wood color last as long as possible. This coating resists mildew and creates a shield against negative UV impact. It is an environment-friendly VOC transparent protector that is excellent support in VOC restricted areas.
- VOC clear sealer;
- Protects from UV-rays and water;
- Clear sealer that demonstrated the original wood color.
- It can’t be applied with a sprayer.
3. Cabot Australian Timber Oil: Easy to Use Oil Based Deck Stain
- Size: Quart
- Color: Honey Teak
- Finish: Flat
- Suitable for: decks, siding, railings, and outdoor furniture
- Reservation: Not Intended for interior surfaces
Cabot takes one of the leading positions in the wood care industry. Samuel Cabot founded this company in 1877. Samuel succeeded in making Cabot the market leader thanks to the wide range of high-quality wood and interior stains, finishes, and nearly all other items developed to prepare or treat wood surfaces.
Cabot developed their Australian timber oil mixing of various natural oils that can protect tallowwood, merbau, and cambara from Australian weather that can be extreme potentially dangerous.
This stain is a good option for various types of wood decks: it is possible to apply it on house siding, railings, decks, or any other groups of wood decks used both inside and outside the house. Choose it if you need a durable oil based deck stain that can be applied to various types of surfaces.
Having linseed oil in its formula allows Australian oil to infiltrate deep into the limber. This special formula includes long-oil alkyds responsible for its exceptional durability and tung oil from South Africa – a natural protector from the liquid responsible for deepening the initial lumber shade.
- Honey Teak – 1 quart, Australian Timber Oil Water Reducible, Translucent
UV resistance is guaranteed by translucent iron oxide pigments included in the active formula of the product. It is hard to predict what your house porch, hull, and furniture will look like in the end because it can be different from the different colors of the wood before the treatment and its porosity and even the age.
- Oil-based stain;
- Extra durable and resistant to water and UV-rays.
- Impossible to predict the final color.
4. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Water Based Deck Stain
- Size: 1 Gallon
- Color: Cedar
- Finish: Flat
- Material: Water based
- Coverage: 100 sq ft
SaverSystems produces products for home coating and surface protection. This US-based company started its way in the mid-1980s. Since then, it has successfully developed innovative solutions for different surfaces, such as Mansory, concrete, and furniture, design objects, and chimneys.
This product will become a perfect assistant for those who need a semi-transparent deck stain. Its main visual effect helps the wood to demonstrate its original, natural color without additional coloring.
This is a perfect finish stain with a matte effect that can be applied on damp wood, and it shows its best effect after cleaning and brightening the surface. Its innovative formula protects surfaces from fading, peeling, and graying.
- Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks, Fences, & Siding – 1 Gallon
In case there are any potential damages, it prevents all effects that occur when exposing outer elements. It is perfect for cedar, pine, redwood, fir, and the majority of other softwoods. For hardwood treatment, it is better to use more frequent maintenance coating. This is an excellent environment-friendly product: it contains only 50 g/L VOC, and you can clean it easily with warm water and soap.
- It combines sealer and deck stain;
- Wood protection from fading;
- Easy to clean.
- It is not a perfect option for hardwood treatment.
5. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain: Water Based Deck Stain
- Size: 5 Gallon
- Color: Cedar Tone
- Finish: Matte
- Easy to maintain: When it’s time to do a maintenance coat, there’s no need to sand or strip the surface again
DEFY wood stain plays a leading role in SaverSystem product groups. Developing top-quality waterproofing systems for three decades, they created an effective and client-friendly water-based stain, perfect for home use, either for interior surfaces or in the yard.
DEFY stain is a good example of a product that produces no harm to the environment and, at the same time, is applicable to a great variety of surfaces, such as siding, fences, playsets, outdoor furniture, arbor, and much more. It gives the wood grain a perfect semi-transparent matte finish.
This stain was manufactured with the zinc nano-practice technology – small zinc particles reflect UV-rays, effectively protecting the surface from graying or color loss.
This product has been created of the top quality materials that provide you with the most extended duration and protection from fading and darkening.
- DEFY Extreme 5 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
Maintaining the stain can be done correctly even if you have no experience: start with brightening the surface with a special brightener, after which you can apply only one layer of the wood stain. DEFY has elaborated on a wide variety of different product colors to choose the perfect product for your type of lumber.
- Easy to apply;
- Creates a semi-transparent matte finish;
- Goes it different colors;
- Easy to maintain.
- Can’t be shipped to California.
6. KILZ L832211 Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain, Semi-Transparent: Long Lasting Redwood Deck Stain
- Color: Cedar
- Surface Recommendation: Wood
- Material: Acrylic Based
- Size: 1 Gallon
- Coverage: 250-500 sq. ft.
KILZ was developed by Melvin Caldwell, who started his business in 1954, while the KILZ brand appeared in 1974. The company received the Paint Brand of the Year award in 2015, according to Harris Poll EquiTrend Rankings.
KILZ stain provides perfect, long-lasting protection supported by their official warranty: it offers a 3-years warranty for decks and a 5-years for fences and house siding. It perfectly suits those who require the best stain for treated lumber with mildew and water protection features. A 100% Acrylic formula of this innovative protector will help you protect all surfaces from precipitation and sun impact.
- Waterproofing wood stain
Use this protector only on a surface that has been previously prepared for staining, or try it on the wood that is fresh or mildly weathered. Before coating, leave the primer-covered wood for 24 hours to let it dry out. To cover your surfaces with this stain, use a painting brush, a professional pump sprayer, or a pad applicator.
- From 3 to 5 years warranty;
- 100% acrylic formula;
- Mildew resistant.
- Works only with the properly prepared surfaces;
- Has one color option.
7. Seal-Once Marine Penetrating Wood Sealer: Universal Outdoor Wood Sealer
- Size: 1 Gallon
- Color: Clear
- Compatible Material: Wood
- Safety: Non-toxic; will not harm pets, plants, people or marine life
- Recommended Applications: Decks, Docks, Railings, Piers,. Retaining walls, Outdoor furniture
Seal-Once produces high-quality products, both environment-friendly and caring about pets, birds, and plants. This brand has a long history of elaborating and creating a series of wood treatments. It has developed a series of professional wood treatment products with extremely low VOCs and low to no odor that is non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-ozone damaging.
This is one of the most useful outdoor wood sealers you can easily apply near and even over fresh and saltwater without harming its quality. It is safe for people, animals, marine life, and plants. This is a waterproof sealant for pressure treated wood used for any exterior wood surfaces, such as house siding, furniture, pillars, or even dock surfaces.
- SEAL-ONCE MARINE – 1 Gallon Penetrating Wood Sealer, Waterproofer & Stain. Water
Although it is made with a water-based formula, this stain has all the significant qualities typical for an oil-based product. It is made with innovative nanotechnology, getting deeper inside the lumber and coating the fibers at the cellular level. This sealer can effectively protect your wood for a decade and is easy to clean, using soap and warm water.
- Eco-friendly and safe for people, plants, and animals;
- Can be applied close to our over fresh and saltwater;
- Easy to clean up;
- Coats fibers on the cellular level.
- Has to be applied in the shade or out of the direct sunlight.
Tips for Choosing the Best Deck Stains and Sealers for Pressure Treated Wood
Finding the best deck sealer for pressure treated wood is never easy: this process starts with going through the multiple deck sealant reviews, studying all basic features, and seeing whether the product meets your requirements. To find your perfect match, check all of the main types of stains and sealers and how they differ.
How to seal pressure treated wood deck
To seal the deck, start with the right preparation of the surface for coating. Start with checking up the moisture content in the wood surface, as bare wood has to be dry to prevent coating failure due to adhesion loss. If possible, use a moisture meter: usually, outdoor surfaces have to contain no more than 15-20% moisture, and interior surfaces can have only 12-15% moisture before sealing.
To prepare bare wood for staining and transparent finishing, the best option is to put a professional primer on the knots. One of the best products for the effective preparation of a shellac-based primer. They do have an odor, but it will disappear shortly after the application. Using a primer, you save your wood from the possible knots and bleeding through the finish layer.
No need to use primer when staining bare wood – in case there are any knots, the stain will effectively saturate all of them. The nest treatment includes removing all oozing sap, and it is essential for those who work with pine, fir, or similar wood types. Just after removing the sap, the surface is ready to apply for applying an appropriate primer or sealer in the areas affected by sap.
The last stage of wood treatment is filling all holes and cracks in case they are present on the surface and move on to the sanding process. Cracks can be easily removed with professional wood filler. To lower the crack shrinking, use wood filler of the highest grade. Sand in the grain direction because doing it across the grain will result in multiple scratches that can unevenly absorb stain and polyurethane.
When starting to seal the deck, use a clean brush, moving it evenly and quickly in the wood grain direction. Check all surfaces for being correctly covered with special attention to the end grains. The unsealed end grain will absorb stain and finishes for wood decks deeper than the rest.
The sealer has to completely dry within the period mentioned on the product packing – it usually takes from 1 to 2 hours. Then gently sand the surface with sandpaper. Keep in mind that very porous types of wood surfaces might require several coats of sealer.
How to choose the best deck sealer for pressure treated wood
To find the deck sealer that will meet all your requirements and will be both durable, protective, and easy to apply, it is essential to study its characteristics and features, as they differ from one product to another. Focus on the main criteria for the deck sealer choosing.
Types of wood
Choosing the best fence sealer depends a lot on the type of wood you want to coat. There are different products suitable for hard and softwood, and it is all well important to find better options for highly porous wooden surfaces to apply fewer layers for the best result. Different types of wood protectors have other drying times, so it is important to choose an appropriate product to shorten the time required for the product to penetrate the timber.
Type of sealers and stains
The proper selection and application of exterior stain for wood strongly depend on the type of chosen product, its application, drying, and other features. There are oil and water-based sealers and stains, and while the first ones can offer more secure wood protection provided by specific oil types, the second ones are usually non-flammable and demonstrate all the features of oil-based ones.
In case you want to keep the original color of your surface, it is important to choose a clear sealer or stain. There are also semi-transparent and transparent product types that can create a particular color, making the timber darker or lighter.
Ease of application
To make it easier to work with the deck stain and sealer, try to choose products easily applied with either a pad, brush, or sprayer. There are a lot of sealers and stains that have no or extremely low odor and can be removed in case you have made a mistake to help you work with the product as comfortably as possible.
And for sure, don’t forget about the products’ durability: the high-quality stain and sealers will last for at least 2-3 years, and the best products will give you the warranty for 3, 5, or even 10 years.
The Most Important Questions About the Deck Stain Features and Application
It is important to answer the key questions about the product by getting ready to choose and apply the deck stain and sealer. Here are some of the most popular questions about deck stains.
What is the most suitable temperature for applying a deck stain?
Applying the deck stain, choose the temperature gap between 45 and 95 F, where the optimal choice for the majority of products to be applied is 70F. Avoid humidity or extraordinary cold and hot weather; the stain drying is complicated in moist conditions.
How many coats should be applied to stain a deck?
The general rules for wood coating recommend applying as many stain layers as the wood can absorb. For most surfaces, this will take 2 coats, but too dense hardwoods might take only 1 coat of wood sealer or stain.
Can pressure treated wood be stained?
This type of wood has contained a serious amount of moisture and thus needs several weeks to dry. It is ineffective to stain fresh pressure treated wood. Therefore, it will not absorb both water-based or oil-based stains.
Choosing the Best Deck Sealer and Stain for Pressure Treated Wood
To find a perfect deck sealer and stain for protecting your wood surfaces from water, snow, UV rays, and any outer products, it is crucial to study the main product features. Not all deck sealers and stains are the same, so it is important to find high-quality items for its treatment to save your wood surfaces from harmful outer impacts.
Comparing deck stains, pay attention to whether it is suitable for your particular case, how it can be applied, and whether it has a protection warranty. I prefer using environmental-friendly and water-based sealers and stains products that work for all surface types. What is your perfect deck stain type? Share your experience in the comments.