Olympic Waterguard vs Thompson Water Seal, Which Is the Best?

Wood is a popular building material, but there is always one primary issue. It is an organic material and thus will always rot, either sooner or later. Fortunately, technology and the modern world have discovered a convenient and elegant solution to this natural problem. So, let’s compare two primary products that preserve the wood and enhance its longevity: Olympic Waterguard vs Thompson Water Seal.

Olympic Waterguard and Thompson Water Seal are popular wood sealers. They both feature UV rays blockers and keep the wood from fading or discoloring. In addition, they form a clear, water-resistant finish that keeps rotting away. Even better, they keep the wood refreshed and looking good for a long, long time.

That said, it would be best to compare and contrast these clear protective decking coats. So, please check out this article for a detailed account of their features, differences, similarities, and uses.

There is so much to say about these two products. But first, let us examine each formula to appreciate its unique properties. This way, we will appreciate their similarities and differences even better.

Olympic Waterguard

Olympic WaterGaurd. See the Olympic Waterguard vs Thompson Water Seal discussion belowOlympic Waterguard is an excellent product from the Olympic company. It is primarily a deck stain that works best for wooden decks. Even better, you can use it for exterior projects comfortably without worrying about damaging elements.

From its name, Waterguard protects lumber from moisture damage. It is a clear, film-forming finish that repels water from the environment. Therefore, the wood stays free from excess moisture.

This product has various components such as linseed oil, paraffin, and various solvents. Also, the manufacturer has a special ingredient considered to be a trade secret that keeps them ahead of the deck stain game.

Unfortunately, Waterguard delivers an almost impossible-to-invoke warranty. You are unlikely to benefit from the product’s satisfaction guarantee when the inspector uncovers any inconsistencies in the surface preparation stage. Even worse, the project failure burden is yours if there is ‘too much footfall’ on the deck.

Therefore, it is prudent to adhere strictly to the manufacturer’s instructions. For instance, Olympic requires you to prepare the surface well by a thorough clean-up session. You can also consider an Olympic-brand cleanser. This way, you remove all traces of previous sealers and finishes.

In addition, you are better off reapplying the sealer every year. Otherwise, the deck will weather and become vulnerable to sun and water damage. Luckily, Waterseal’s application procedure is an easy one. Thus, an annual maintenance schedule is not overwhelming.

Please note that Olympic Waterguard only requires one coat to deliver a satisfactory finish. Hence, it would be best to test the product on an inconspicuous area before handling the entire deck.

You can also use the sealer on pressure-treated wood decks. However, it is wise to ensure that the wood is dry before application. The trapped moisture can compromise the resulting finish.

On top of that, consider back brushing the sealer on the deck’s surface. Work the finish into the lumber using multiple roller or brush passes. This way, you are sure of excellent formula penetration.

Remember to apply Olympic Waterguard at the recommended temperatures to deliver a perfect finish. So, you can consider a 50 to 90 degrees F Fahrenheit temperature range. But if you are in an area with low temperatures, a minimum of 35 degrees Fahrenheit can still deliver a desirable finish.

Mostly, one gallon of the product is enough to deliver full coverage for about 250 to 350 square feet. However, highly porous lumber like ash, cedar, chestnut, oak, and elm may absorb more formula.

On the other hand, closed-grain and less porous wood such as rosewood, yellow poplar, Marple, cherry, and birch will soak in less formula. Thus, it would be best to assess your wood before making a purchase.

Thompson’s Water Seal

Image of thompson's waterseal. See the Olympic Waterguard vs Thompson Water Seal discussion belowThompson’s Water seal gets its name from Edward Addison Thompson, a polymer chemist. Interestingly, it was useful in the construction industries in the 1920s as it protected concrete from weathering.

It wasn’t until 1982 that the company expanded to clear decking sealants. Also, the manufacturer embraced the name Waterseal for this wide range of products, which is still the name to date.

The product line included exterior stain, cleansers, penetrating oil, and rattle-can products useful for small projects. Therefore, its market expanded, and it now included woodworking projects.

Thompson describes most of their products as oil-based products. However, there is no trace of any oil ingredients as the main ingredients in the formula are paraffin and denatured alcohol. 

Also, the company claims that the formula soaks into the wood to form a water-resistant barrier. Well, this aspect would indicate the presence of drying oils such as tung oil or linseed oil.

On top of that, the Water Seal line has clear and semi-transparent formulas. Even better, you will find tinted sealer and stain combinations. Thus, you can get the most suitable product for your work.

The manufacturer recommends two coats of Thompson’s Water Seal formula. This way, you’ll deliver a durable finish. However, you will not get a warranty if anything goes wrong. So, please follow the product’s instructions to the latter.

In addition, it would be best to wait for about one hour for the base coat to dry before applying the second one.

That said, let us compare and contrast these two products.


Although these products are from different manufacturers, they have a ton of similarities. For instance, they are suitable for exterior wood projects and sometimes make unverified claims about their efficacy.

The products dry very quickly and allow you to complete your work within a short duration. Also, they are easy to clean up. Thus, you will not have much trouble removing accidental spills.

Here is a summary of the similarities:

  • Use

Both Olympic Waterguard and Thompson’s Water Seal are popular wood finishes. They protect the lumber from elements. Therefore, they are suitable for exterior woodworking applications.

  • UV Blocking Capabilities

The products have UV blockers that keep the wood safe from damaging UV rays. However, they do not keep the surface from weathering and fading. Therefore, it would be best to limit the wood’s sunlight exposure.

  • Mildew-Resistance

Thompson’s Water Seal and Olympic Waterguard boast superior protection from mold and mildew. In addition, you do not have to panic anytime you see some mold or mildew signs on the surrounding surface. So. you can expect the finish to stay intact for a long duration. 

  • Ease of Clean Up

These formulas are easy to clean and maintain as soap and water will give you a pretty clean surface. In addition, you do not need additional cleaning equipment as rollers and brushes are enough to remove stubborn stains.

  • Dry Time

The sealers only need one hour to dry to the touch. Hence, you will complete your project within a short duration. Also, 

  • Differences

Olympic Waterguard and Thompson’s Water Seal differ significantly. You will observe the contrast in the needed number of coats, color availability, satisfaction guarantee, and application time.

  • Number of Coats

Thompson’s Water Seal needs two coats to deliver a consistent and uniform finish. More so, the second coat covers the imperfections in the first layer. On the other hand, Olympic Waterguard only needs one layer to achieve a satisfactory result.

  • Application Time

Thompson’s Water Seal needs more application time because you need a second coat to deliver a successful project. In contrast, Olympic Waterguard only needs one layer, and thus it takes less time to apply.

  • Warranty

Olympic water guard has a customer satisfaction guarantee, which comes to your aid after delivering a failed product. However, the company’s inspectors need to verify that you followed the manufacturer’s instructions before approving your request.

Conversely, Thompson’s Water Seal does not give customers a warranty. Therefore, you will bear the loss alone if you do not get a suitable outcome.

  • Color

The Thompson’s Water Seal comes in multiple shades. For example, you will get clear and tinted stains and sealers. On the other hand, Olympic Waterguard only has one color, a clear coat.

NB:  Please remember that the primary distinguishing attribute of these products is the coats you need to deliver a perfect result. More so, this aspect increases or reduces the application time. For example, you need more time to apply Thompson’s Waterseal, which needs two coats to offer a durable result.

That said, it is one thing to get the most suitable product and another to get the most suitable finish. Therefore, it would be best to learn the best way to apply these sealers. So, how do we seal wood using Thompson’s Waterseal or Olympic Waterguard?

The sealing job has two primary parts: cleaning the wood and applying the formula.

  • Cleaning the Wood

Please give the wood a good sweeping and remove any gunk and debris. You can use putty knives and screwdrivers for a thorough job. Also, it would be best to include a wood cleaner for stubborn stains or mold and mildew.

On top of that, remember to protect nearby plants and shrubs with plastic sheets before you start the job. In addition, a cloudy day would be a perfect time to engage in the application. Therefore, the sun will not dry the cleaner too quickly.

  • Applying the Sealer

It would be best to follow the manufacturers’ instructions during the application stage. This way, you are sure of delivering a professional finish. Even better, you can hire an expert to help out if you are a newbie.

Fortunately, there are multiple applicators to use for your project. For instance, you can use a paintbrush, paint roller, paint pad, or garden sprayer. However, it would be best to cover surrounding areas when spraying the formula.

In addition, please wipe any excess product with a cloth or your applicator. Otherwise, you’ll deliver ugly paint streaks. Worse still, you may deliver an inconsistent and bumpy surface that may be hard to recoat.

Lastly, allow the paint to dry well before adding another coat. Also, please confirm with the product label whether the finish needs one or two coats. This way, you’ll plan your time and resources better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are som e of the most asked questions regarding the subject;

  • Can I Spray Olympic Waterguard?

Yes. It is possible to spray Olympic Waterguard. However, it would be prudent to back-roll or back-brush the surface to deliver a more even finish. Therefore, have a roller or brush on the side to help out after spraying.

Also, please avoid thinning the formula or mixing it with other paints, coating, or stain products. Otherwise, you may end up with a failed product. So, please stick to the manufacturer’s instructions and enjoy your desired finish.

  • Is Thompson’s Water Seal Sprayable?

Thompson’s Water Seal formula is sprayable. You can use a pump sprayer or a garden sprayer with a hose. This way, you’ll deliver a much better and consistent finish. Also, you will save time and complete the work faster.

On top of that, the product manufacturer encourages users to apply the product with a plastic sprayer and a brass wand.

  • Why Is My Thompson Water Seal Sticky?

Thompson Water Seal is usually sticky if you have high moisture content in the environment. This situation hinders drying, causing the freshly sealed surface to remain tacky even after 24 hours of drying.

  • Does Thompson Water Seal go bad?

Believe it or not, the formula can remain good for about a year, whether you open the can or not. Better still, you can store a tightly sealed formula indefinitely without worrying about temperature levels.


Lumber is susceptible to a couple of elements, such as ultraviolet rays and moisture. Hence, it is prudent to consider wood sealers and clear coats to enhance the material’s life. In addition, these products will keep the wood from weathering and fading over time. But which is the best formula to use? Let’s engage in a debate to find out: 

Olympic Waterguard vs Thompson Water Seal

Both products pride themselves on providing superior protection to the wood. They are UV rays-resistant and preserve the wood from premature fading. Also, the formulas offer a waterproof finish and keep the wood safe from rotting.

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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