9 Best Deck Stain and Sealer- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Image of wood with the best deck stain and sealer finssh

A homestead could be with a lot of wooden structures. The outdoor, for example, could be with many structures such as fences, patios, as well as decks. All these wooden structures demand that you look after them to last and serve you longer. You need the best deck stain and sealer, for instance, to protect your structures from mildew, the UV rays, and rain.

In our attempt to help you get the best deck staining and sealing products out there, we have reviewed and put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide of the very best products to help you with your woodworking projects. They include:

1. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer — Best Overall Natural Finish

It is the overall best deck stain and sealer, especially if you are working with cedar. An adequately maintained cedar deck can last you for several decades. 

Cedar is softwood with a reasonable weather-resistance and gets even better with the right formula. Ready Seal natural exterior wood stain and sealer is a specialist treatment formula that brings out the best of any type of cedar deck and furniture. 

Using this formula helps enhance highlight the wood grain hence bring out the best in the natural beauty of the wood.

It’s an oil-based stain with a semi-transparent finish that serves as a stain and sealer in one. Much as it’s formulated for cedar woods, you can use this product in almost all types of wood. It can penetrate deep into the wood to offer protection against fungi, mildew, rain as well as the dangerous UV rays from the sun.

When using this formula, there is no need for priming, just apply on a clean surface and allow it 14 days for the actual color to show. It’s dark when you apply it and lighten up with time.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It requires no primer and reaches its actual color in approximately 14 days.
  • You can apply with sprayer, roller, or brush.
  • This formula never leaves runs, laps, or streaks.
  • It does not need a wet-line application as it blends itself and is applicable in any temperature range
  • Diluting or thinning is not necessary


  • Doesn’t need back-brushing
  • Leaves no run, or streak
  • You can apply any temperature
  • A user-friendly formula


  • Not suitable for interior use
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2. Thompsons WaterSeal Advanced Natural Wood Protector — Best Choice For UV Resistance

If you want the best out decks, then try using natural woods. Exposure of your wooden structure to the weather and other environmental factors can result in the growth of fungi that have a significant role in the rotting. Wood rot spreads faster than you might know and can deny your deck the chance of serving you for more than a decade. Meaning, you’d incur extra costs in installing another deck.

The Thompsons WaterSeal Advanced Natural Wood Protector presents a fantastic way to reseal your deck after every few years to preserve it from rotting. It is a unique formula with high UV-resistance, which helps in the protection of your wood from discoloring and warping under scorching conditions.

It is okay to apply this formula on a dump or dry wood, and still get the much needed long-lasting finish with durable protection.

The Summary of Top Features

  • A durable coating that resists mildew, UV damage, and fading
  • It’s water-based making it easy to clean with water and soap
  • Waterproof formula
  • You can use it on decks, fences, exterior furniture
  • It comes with advanced protection against water damage


  • It gives a lasting finish
  • It’s waterproof
  • You can use it on different wood surfaces like decks, furniture, and fencing.
  • It resists mold and mildew.


  • Not suitable for interior use.
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3. Defy Extreme Wood Stain Light Walnut — The Easy to Apply Sealing Formula

Here’s another product that deserves that we consider as the best deck stain and sealer. If your deck starts to look dull and in poor shape for the weather, you must start thinking about giving it a protective finish of stain and seal. 

Deck sealing is critical if you are looking to prevent instances of wood rot and warping. Sealing and staining play a role in helping keep your deck in tip-top condition for many years, mainly if you use Defy Extreme Wood Stain. This finish comes with a light walnut color that enhances the beauty of the wood and protects it at the same time.

This formula contains zinc nanoparticle technology that protects the wood from the sun helping in the prevention of warping. Its natural matte finish is among the best features of this formula. 

Defy uses high-quality resins in the manufacturing of this stain and seal, which gives it a strong resistance to fading and flaking. Furthermore, the presence of zinc nanoparticle technology helps in the prevention of growth of molds in the wood.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It’s a water-based semi-transparent deck stain and sealer
  • It has zinc nanoparticles that help to prevent the growth of molds
  • This formula is highly durable
  • It’s easy to apply and maintain formula


  • It’s a semi-transparent wood stain.
  • It is long-lasting.
  • The formula resists fading.


  • This product is not great for indoor use.
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4. Cabot Australian Timber Oil Stain — Great for Exotic Wood Decks/Hot Weather

In case you are from Texas, Arizona, and other regions of the United States with hot and dry weather conditions, then this is your product. 

This formula gives a perfect result, mainly when used with authentic Australian woods, like Merbau, cambara as well as tallowwood. Its use is not limited to the Australian lumber as you can also use it in natural woods. The formula works just right with cedar, for example, to provide excellent protection against hot weather.

Cabot Australian Timber Oil Stain has high penetration deep into the wood pores to nourish and replenish the timber and protect it at the same time. The oil emphasizes the natural wood colors by enhancing a deeper color tone upon its application.

This formula is a product of a high-quality blend of linseed oil together with long-oil alkyds, which helps in enhancing durability. It further has the South American tung oil to provide more depth to the color of the wood. 

Furthermore, this formula comes with translucent iron oxide coloration that enhances its durability with resistance to UV rays. This formula is best for exotic woods like mahogany. Its area of coverage is an impressive one with a gallon covering up to a range of 400 to 600-square feet.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It’s a reliable translucent oil treatment for mahogany, teak, etc.
  • High levels of penetration
  • It comes with a complex translucent iron oxide pigment for UV resistance
  • The formula dries to a flat and translucent-toned finish
  • Has impressive coverage of 400-600 square feet (smooth surfaces) and 250-350 square feet ( rough surfaces)


  • Best for exotic wood decks.
  • It’s both a stain and a sealer.
  • Great for indoor usage.


  • It’s costly
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5. Thompsons Waterseal Transparent Waterproofing Stain — The Pocket-Friendly Option

We have listed another Thompsons product as our best deck stain and sealer, especially for those working on a budget. Thompson’s Water Seal waterproofing stain is perfect for anyone looking for a stain with their sealant. Unlike its previously listed “sister,” this one comes with a sealer as well.

Thompson’s brand has a reputation for producing some of the best formulas out there. This product gives you an excellent water-resistance as the Advanced formula. In fact, for this particular formula, Thompsons have included a beading technology; its waterproofing provides an impermeable barrier that resists the entrance of water into the wood.

This formula comes with a strength that allows you to seal your wooden structures after every two to three years. All these depend on the prevailing climatic and environmental conditions in your area. One layer of the coat of this formula does the work properly.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It prevents water from damaging your wood
  • Comes with advanced polymers for fade resistance
  • Has mildew and UV resistance features
  • You can apply it to a freshly cleaned damp or dry wood surface.


  • Waterproofing.
  • Resistant to mildew, mold, and UV damage.
  • It’s affordable


  • Not suitable for interior use.
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6. Rust-Oleum Coppercoat Wood Preservative- Best Antifungal Formula

Rust-Oleum does an excellent job when it comes to the reliability of the product, and this deck sealer is a testament to that. This formula is exceptional when it comes to offering protection to your wooden structures. The EPA certifies it for fulfilling the basic requirements of a deck sealer, which is keeping the wood safe from mildew, rot, and fungus. Furthermore, this formula is excellent at keeping the termites off your deck. It does not alter the color of your deck but forms a transparent green layer that goes away with time.

The Summary of Top Features

  • EPA-certified for an insecticidal preservative that prevents termite damage
  • The formula inhibits the growth of fungal organisms
  • It gives wooden structures a transparent green color that fades over time
  • Designed to protect the deck and porch floor 


  • Offers lasting protection to wood surfaces
  • You can use on multiple wood surface
  • Prevents growth of fungi


  • A user complained of washing away of the formula.
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7. Waterlox Original Sealer/ Finish — Best Classic Finish

This formula is excellent when used together with Waterlox Original High Gloss Finish. Alternatively, you can use it with Waterlox Original Satin Finish. Even so, it gives one of the best and high-quality finishing for decks on its own, making it the best deck stain and sealer with the classic touch. Once it dries, this wood sealer gives a beautiful medium-sheen with a fantastic gloss. The 70-gloss fades with time to give a 55-gloss finish.

This product offers your deck a waterproofing barrier that resists water spills, rains, etc. Besides, it has one of the best versatility you can find in the market today. It is excellent for wood furniture and fencing, among other wooden surfaces. You can use it to seal dense, oily, and exotics woods such as rosewood and teak.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It has extensive coverage of up to 500 square feet per can.
  • Comes with a medium sheen
  • It’s a Tung Oil Based finish


  • Excellent penetration into the wood
  • It’s waterproof.
  • Comes with a medium-sheen appearance
  • Offers excellent resistance to foot traffic


  • It requires multiple coats.


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8. Seal Once Marine Deck Sealer — Best Marine Option

This formula is the best deck stain and sealer for people with homes along the coastlines of the United States. It’s perfect in offering durability to wooden structures in salty and high humid regions. It will do an ideal job for structures located around the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

When you use this product for your wooden structures, you will be giving them nanoparticle technology that offers room for the breathing of the wood and preventing water from penetrating past the sealant at the same time. It further allows the wood to expand and contract without cracking or splitting.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It perfect for areas around fresh or saltwater regions
  • It’s water-based, contains low VOC
  • The formula is non-toxic and safe for humans, plants, pets, and marine creatures
  • It comes with powerful nanotechnology for deep penetration to protect the wood
  • Gives the wood a breathable barrier that stabilizes and protects the wood.


  • Best product for beach decks
  • It contains Low-VOC making it environmentally friendly
  • It works more like an oil-based formula.


  • An expensive formula
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9. Bonds One-Time Natural Wood Finish Preservative — Best Wood Sealer For Restoration

One other product that you should consider for your woodworking projects if you are looking to give a protective finish to your wooden structures. If you have stayed a little longer without maintaining your deck for say a season, or two, then you should consider using this product.  

It gives your product a new and replenished look. It is a no-drip formulation that does not overlap, chip, or crack. This formula is capable of lasting up to 2 years once you apply it to your decks.

The Summary of Top Features

  • It rejuvenates the lost color of any wood surface
  • This product does not overlap, flake, crack, or chip
  • Perfect product for DIYers and professionals


  • It’s great for any wood type
  • It does not overlap or crack.


  • It’s not suitable for interior use.
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Best Deck Stain and Sealer Buyer’s Guide

In this buyer’s guide, we have discussed some of the things that you need to consider when looking to shop for the best product to ensure that you don’t get it wrong with your woodworking projects.

Watch the video below on how to stain a deck:

Factors to Consider when Shopping for The Best Deck Stain and Sealer

The Location of Your Structures

Before shopping for the right deck staining and sealing product for your wooden structure, you should consider your location: the prevailing weather conditions and a lot more. If you live in wet environments, you need to buy products with high levels of water-resistance to prevent possible rotting of your structures.

The Type of the Wood on Your Deck

The type of wood you used in the construction of your deck is vital in determining the final finish of the structure. Different stains and sealers work differently for different wood types. For instance, some stains work specifically for soft and porous woods like pine; these stains might not perform the same on the hardwood. Therefore, always ensure that you are aware of the type of your wood before shopping for a product.

Effects of the Formula On the Environment

You will realize that different deck sealers and stains contain a variety of chemicals. Some of these chemicals might be volatile, and when such fumes get into the environment might end up causing different health complications. Settling for products that contain no Volatile Organic Compounds would be necessary for the greater good.

The Budget

The budget is, in fact, the first thing that you must think about before deciding on the product to buy. You always need to buy wood stains and sealers that you can afford. A good number of people get enthralled by the features present on some expensive products; in the process, they end up spending more than they planned. Ensure that you are working within your budget so that you are not stretched financially in the end.

The Conclusion

Our best product for the best deck stain and seal is Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer

Sealing and staining your deck protects it from different environmental elements that may affect the durability and service life of the wood. Even so, you cannot just shop for any product out there without researching how to get the best of your products. 

Therefore, to help you get the best products in the market, we have outlined some of the factors that you need to consider before shopping. Also, we have reviewed the very best deck stain and sealers that will suit your different projects. Rest assured that any that you will pick from this list will serve you right. Happy shopping!

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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.

2 thoughts on “9 Best Deck Stain and Sealer- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Terry Hodges

    I truly appreciate the research you have done. It gives me insight into what is the best choices to preserve my 25 year old deck which I am trying to maintain for another 10+ years.

    1. Wood Critique

      Hello Terry,

      Thanks for the nice words.
      It’s amazing that your deck is already 25 years old. It can last another 25 years with proper maintenance.
      I do believe that the use of a formula that serves as both deck stain and a sealer gives you extra advantage in deck protection and preservation.
      I have one question for you though, have you used the same deck stain in the past 25 years?

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