Mold, rot, fading, flaking, and other issues are common in outdoor living wood spaces due to their exposure to a variety of harsh elements. The best exterior wood stain will help you avoid these problems while also improve the appearance of your outdoor wood furniture.
Top 8 best exterior wood stain on the market
Cabot Australian Timber Oil
- 3-way oil protection for superior penetration
- Ideal for decks, siding, railings, and outdoor furniture
- Available in 5 wood toned colors
- Not Intended for interior surfaces
You do not need to worry about this problem when using Cabot Australian Timber Oil. Its translucent color makes it the best exterior wood stain for outdoor furniture when you love the natural color of the wood surfaces.
Another outstanding feature of this wood stain is its 3-way oil protection. This is achieved thanks to a special formula including linseed oil, tung oil, and long-oil alkyds.
This combination not only protects the wood from extreme weather but also enhances the texture and the wood grain.
In addition, the iron oxide pigments are also integrated with the stain to help absorb UV rays from the sun.
- 5 wood-toned colors are available
- Protect the wood surfaces in 3 ways
- The translucent finish does not obscure natural wood grain
- Not available for interior
Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood
- Requires no primer. Ready Seal is darkest when first applied. It reaches its true color in approximately 14 days. Do not apply Ready Seal over painted or newly stained surfaces. Sealed surfaces inhibit penetration.
- May be applied using sprayer, roller or brush onto the woods surface.
- Requires no back brushing and will nerver leave runs, laps, or streaks.
- Requires no wet-line application, the product will blend itself and can be applied in any temperature range for proper application.
- Requires no diluting or thinning prior to spray applications.
As a result, it cuts out unnecessary steps during the application process, saving you time and money. You may also apply the stain with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
Despite its simple application, it still provides excellent coverage for wood surfaces.
Before applying this stain, you should clean and strip your existing porch first. By doing this, the unique formula of the stain allows it to penetrate deep into wood in minutes regardless of the outside temperature.
This is believed to be the best exterior wood stain for pine because the semi-transparent color allows the pinewood grain to show through and enhance its natural look.
In addition, the combination of oil stain and sealer would give full protection for softwood like pine.
Just keep in mind that you should wait at least 45 minutes before applying the second coat and that the cure period will take anywhere from 3 to 4 days, depending on the weather and the porosity of the wood.
- There are 8 semi-transparent colors
- No streaks or runs
- Available to many types of weather and temperature
- Suitable with other paint tools (roller, sprayer, brush)
- Drying time is lengthy (48 to 72 hours)
- All previous stains must be removed.
DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent
- WATER-BASED SEMI-TRANSPARENT WOOD STAIN – This environmentally friendly, water based deck stain allows the wood grain to show through with a beautiful semi-transparent, natural matte finish. It's great for staining wood decks, fences, siding, playsets, outdoor patio furniture, and more.
- FORTIFIED WITH ZINC NANO-PARTICLE TECHNOLOGY– It’s like sunscreen for your wood. Tiny zinc particles dispersed throughout the stain reflect damaging UV rays, preventing premature graying and color loss.
- EXTREMELY DURABLE, QUALITY THAT LASTS – DEFY Extreme wood stains are made with the highest quality resins available that have better resistance to fading and darkening. The result is a quality semi-transparent deck stain that typically lasts a season or two longer than competitive products. Keep your deck, fence or siding looking great for longer by using DEFY premium wood stains.
- EASY TO MAINTAIN – When it’s time to do a maintenance coat, there’s no need to sand or strip the surface again. Simply brighten the wood with DEFY Wood Brightener and apply a single maintenance coat of DEFY Extreme Wood Stain.
- 100 VOC COMPLIANT - Ships to all states including California
The finish, which uses zinc nano-particle technology, acts as a barrier, reflecting ultraviolet rays from the sun and preventing your wood from graying and losing its color.
This water-based stain also requires simple maintenance. Firstly, it allows you to clean your wood quickly just with soap and water. Furthermore, when the wood becomes dull and you want to recoat the area, you do not need to sand or strip the wood surface, just a quick scrub with soap and water is enough.
- Environmentally friendly
- Built-in sunscreen technology
- Many different colors to choose from
- Very limited coverage (100 to 150 square feet per gallon)
- Best Semi Transparent Deck Stain For Pressure Treated Wood
- The Best Deck Stain In 2023 – A Review By Brands
KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain
- A good exterior wood stain offers long-lasting protection, waterproofing that maintains the integrity and beauty of wood in variable outdoor conditions
- Our 100% Acrylic formula protects wood from rain, snow and sun damage. This stain is warrantied up to 3 years on decks and up to 5 years on fences and siding (see label for details)
- Use on properly prepared new to moderately weathered and unsealed exterior wood surfaces (0-10 years exposure) including decks, shingles, wood patio furniture, railings, siding, shakes and fences
- This semi-transparent stain provides UV protection. Coverage of up to 250 sq. Ft. For the first coat and up to 500 sq. Ft. For the second coat
- This is a 1-Gallon can of KILZ exterior waterproofing, semi-transparent wood stain in Redwood
This finish, which is made entirely of acrylic, protects your wood from all types of weather damage, including rain, snow, and heat, while still preserving its natural beauty.
Another outstanding feature of this product is that it has a long warranty which lasts 3 years on decks and up to 5 years on siding and fences. This would be useful for a water-based finish that needs to be preserved regularly.
However, you must satisfy a range of conditions to be eligible for the warranty.
This stain is also cost-effective when 1 gallon of stain can cover up to 250 and 500 square feet for the first coat and the second coat respectively.
Due to its opaque property, 5-year warranty, and cost-effectiveness, Kilz Waterproofing Wood Stain would be the best exterior wood stain for siding.
- Long warranty
- 100% Acrylic
- Reasonable price
- Require a lot of preparation work
SaverSystem #1 Deck Premium
- PROTECTS AGAINST COLOR FADE AND PREVENTS GRAYING - #1 Deck Protects Wood From Damage Caused By Exposure to the Elements. Can Be Used On Pressure Treated Pine, Cedar, Fir, Redwood, or Most Other Softwoods. Hardwoods Will Require More Frequent Maintenance Coats.
- BOTH A DECK STAIN & DECK SEALANT IN ONE - #1 Deck Stain Is a Dual-Purpose Stain & Sealer. It Adds Color to Your Wood and Seals it, Preventing Damage Caused by Water Penetration.
- ALLOWS THE WOOD GRAIN TO SHOW THROUGH - Available in 5 Beautiful, Semi-Transparent Deck Stain Colors That Dry to Flat, Natural Looking Finishes That Will Enhance the Beauty of Your Exterior Wood.
- BETTER FOR THE PLANET, EASY SOAP & WATER CLEANUP - With Less Than 50 g/L VOC Content, #1 Deck Sealer Is a Better Choice For Our Planet. Clean Up is Super Easy - Just Use Soap and Water.
- WORKS ON DAMP WOOD, MINIMIZING THE WAIT TIME BETWEEN CLEANING AND STAINING - Once Your Wood Deck Is Visibly Dry, It's Ready to Stain.
This stain works very well on damp wood. This means after cleaning and brightening your wood you just need to wait for only one day to apply the stain.
When it comes to protection, this water-based stain is created using the latest technology to enable the stain to penetrate deeply into the hardwood. As a result, it not only protects your furniture from UV rays but also resists mold, rot, and algae.
Another point that’s worth mentioning is that this stain requires simple application and maintenance. For application, the combination of stain and sealer allows you to add colors to the wood and seal it with just one step.
Besides, when the wood gets dull, simply clean it with soap and water before applying one coat to bring it back to life. This is a typical advantage of a water-based stain.
That being said, this stain is very thin and will be soaked into the wood very quickly. As a result, you may need to purchase a large number of gallons to complete your project.
- Work on damp wood
- Causeless harm to the environment
- Easy and simple cleanup
- Do not affect the natural wood look
- Dual effect
- Low VOC content
- Quite thin
Olympic Stain Maximum
- Weather-ready application allows you to clean and stain on the same day in temperatures down to 35 degrees fahrenheight, deck is ready for rain in 8 hours
- Durable formula features advanced SunBlock UV defense and enhanced water proofing protection
- Exclusive Scuff Guard technology and cleans easily with soap and water, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals
- Durable wood stain and sealant protects and beautifies in one step
- Recommended for use on exterior wood decks, fences, siding, railings, outdoor furniture and other wood surfaces.
This stain helps you to complete this project regardless of whether the weather is hot or cold, or even if it rains.
To perform well in harsh environments, this stain is enhanced in terms of waterproofing protection and sunblock. This shields your wood from the effects of moisture and UV rays.
Moreover, this stain also combines stain and sealant into one to reduce application steps and save user’s time while beautifying the look of your wood.
This wood stain comes in three different sizes: a gallon, a quart, and a five-gallon container. This makes selecting the appropriate size for a project much easier for users.
- Simple application
- Can be applied regardless of the weather
- Excellent waterproofing protection
- Advanced sunblock
- Quite expensive
- CLEAR SEALANT: Our water-based sealer provides top-notch protection against wear and tear in high traffic areas. It’s odorless and ideal for use on wood siding, log homes, swing sets, outdoor furniture, wooden decks and fences, and more.
- WOOD SEALANT: Unlike many sealers that only form a topcoat, our protector penetrates below the surface to create a long-lasting, water-resistant shield around the wood.
- FLOOR SEALER APPLICATOR: Our premium gloss is ultra-low VOC and great for enhancing the extended life of your exterior flooring.
- WATERPROOF SEALER: Ditch the oil-based sealers and choose a UV-stable coating option. Our fast-drying liquid creates a flexible, breathable barrier and provides a no-fuss, easy clean-up with soap and water, as it allows the wood to grey naturally.
- SEAL-ONCE: Our user-friendly wood sealers and stains are an effective way to protect your lumber or concrete against water damage.
Unlike other stains, which use a sealant to provide an exterior protective coating for the wood, the nanoparticles in this stain create a breathable barrier that covers the wood fibers at the cellular level, deep beneath the surface.
This flexible barrier not only protects the wood from external hard elements but also gives room for expansion and contraction. It also allows any water trapped inside to vaporize and go out.
The fact that this stain protects your wood from both inside and outside influences makes it the best wood stain for fences, siding, and other furniture exposed to rains and sunlight daily.
- Performs like oil-based stain without any toxic solvents or harmful chemicals.
- Works well on damp wood
- Easy clean-up
- Work on finished and sealed wood
- Wood turns gray over time.
Vermont Natural Coatings PolyWhey
- RICH COLOR: PolyWhey Exterior Penetrating Stain delivers color & waterproofer deep into wood for increased protection and durability.
- PROTECTS WOOD: Protects wood projects against moisture and harmful UV rays to prevent rot and decay by creating a non-toxic, waterproof barrier.
- BIO-BASED: By using whey protein as a co-binder, PolyWhey leverages a renewable resource to deliver the safest and most durable paints, stains and finishes on the market.
- EASY APPLICATION & CLEANUP: Complete jobs quickly with 48 hours dry times and easy soap and water clean up.
- USE ON: Exterior Penetrating Wood Stain with PolyWhey technology is a one-step, durable, element-repelling sealer and topcoat for siding, fences, furniture and other outdoor wood surfaces
This wood stain is made of natural and renewable ingredients and has an extremely low level of VOCs. You could barely smell anything even when you are applying it.
This is the reason why it’s considered the best exterior wood stain for a bench. You do not want to smell any harmful chemicals when sitting on a bench, right?
So, how does this natural stain work? Well, it works wonders just like other oil-based products to protect your wood from moisture, mold, rot, heat, and harmful UV rays.
However, to achieve that high performance, you have to do quite a lot of preparation work. It’s also a little tricky when the manufacturer says that you should apply the second coat when the first coat is still damp.
- Low level of VOCs
- Natural Ingredients
- Water- and heat-resistant
- Not recommended for exotic wood
- Takes a long time to cure
What to consider when choosing exterior wood stain
They are quite the same. The biggest difference is that while the stain has color, the sealer is transparent.
Oil-based stain is better than water-based one in terms of durability. Oil-based stains are water repellent naturally. So, it will not let water get into and damage your wood.
On the other hand, water-based stains are more eco-friendly and human-friendly. This kind of stain does not require a solvent or toxic chemicals in its ingredients. As a result, it has a lower level of VOCs which do harm to the environment and human health.
The stain opacity determines not only the final color that you like but also the level of protection for your wood.
Normally, four basic opacities are available on the market including toner, semi-transparent, semi-opaque, and opaque. The level of pigment increases with this order.
And remember that the more pigments a stain has, the less wood stain can show through and the longer the wood is protected and vice versa.
A good wood stain has to protect your wood from water, UV rays, and the growth of white and black molds. So, when you are looking for a wood stain, do not forget to look for those levels of protection.
Besides choosing the best stain for your project, applying the stain to your wood in a proper way is also important because it helps maximize the effects of the stain.
Here are some notes that you should keep in mind when doing this DIY project:
- Always check the weather forecast before getting started
Although some brands claim that their stains can work well on damp wood, it is always best to apply stain when the wood or weather is dry.
- Apply the stain when the temperature is not too hot or not too cold
You should not apply stain under direct sunlight and the perfect temperature would fall into the range of 10-32 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the stain has time to penetrate before drying and there would be no overlap.
- Do not leave any surface uncovered
The uncovered spots can be where the moisture and water are absorbed into the wood. Therefore, it’s important to seal any cut or damaged areas and to coat all surfaces if possible.
We hope that after reading this article, you already have some ideas about the best exterior wood stains for your project. An oil-based stain would be a perfect choice for exterior projects and among the above-mentioned ones, Cabot Australian Timber Oil comes out as an outstanding candidate.
Apart from giving 3-way protection thanks to its unique formula, this stain also contains iron oxide pigments that help absorb ultraviolet rays from the sun and enhance the natural beauty of the wood.
I am a licensed architect who is passionate about all things home improvement industries, I have been doing DIY painting projects and have developed lots of experience around home improvement over the 10 years.