Best Deck Stains For Pressure Treated Wood Reviews In 2021

Wondering about choosing the Right Deck Stain for Pressure Treated Wood? Last summer, I too, was in a fix, looking for a valid answer. I went through a lot of online resources to come to a conclusion, but to my surprise, most of them had only product reviews that too very vague and inconclusive for my quest.

I decided to dig deep to make my deck staining a success, it was a bit offbeat from my specialization in pressure washing but still it was worth the effort for deck staining is such an immersive & enjoyable experience for enthusiastic DIYers.

In addition to the Deck wood type, other factors like sunlight exposure, expected usage & weather conditions need due consideration in finding a suitable stain or primer. The guide below explores the whole process of identifying the right deck stain. I’ve another useful reads for exterior wood stains & deck stain colors that may interest you.

Featured Recommendations: Longest Lasting Deck Stains, Acc To DIYers

★ Best Overall ★

DEFY Extreme 5 Gallon

longest lasting deck stain

Extremely Durable

Easy To Maintain

Zinc Nano-Particle Technology

★ Best value ★

Thompsons Waterseal Transparent

best deck stain and sealer

Best Brand

Advanced Polymers

Multi-Surface Waterproofer

★ Premium ★

Cabot Semi-Solid Oil-Based

best deck stain

Long Lasting


Lightly Pigmented

4 Best Deck Stain Reviews As Per The Opacity Levels

best oil based deck stain and sealer

Clear Deck Stain

Popularly know as clear deck sealers also, clear stains are primarily used as a water repellent sealer to enhance the lifespan of deck.

Deck sealers refrains the moisture penetrating into the wood as exposure to water can lead the wood to swell due to absorption and it shrinks when the moisture is dried.

A continuos repitition of swelling and shrinking can crack, split or warp the wood.

But these outdoor wood sealers lack the required pigmentation to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays, so the wood can sometimes darken or gray over time.

Application: So as evident by the description above, clear stains can only work for decks or surfaces which don’t have any exposure to sun and it works as a useful agent against water & moisture to enhance the durability of the surface.

Recommended Product

Thompsons Waterseal Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar


THOMPSONS WATERSEAL is a top-rated deck stain that comes in beautiful woodland cedar. It comes with an easy application and a great one to give a fresh and shining look to your deck. It covers the wood properly, providing a shield against water, mold, mildew, and harmful UV rays.

The coating of this can be done on moist or dry wood, which might be recently cleaned also. It is a time tested one, gives a new look to your old or even cracked wooden surfaces. It also adds life to your wood and keeps it safe from the damage of mold and mildew etc.

It completely matches the standards of the industry ASTM D-4446, rather surpasses them. It features advanced polymers and helps in providing fade resistance.

best deck stain reviews

Semi -Transparent Stain

Semi clear Stain provide a touch of transparency and enhance the look of the wood with a tone or shade of color. Typical colors of water based or oil based semi transparent stains include cedar, redwood, natural, and a host of brown hues. Best of all, you can use this deck stains regardless of where you live, especially if you find one specifically made for the type of weather you’re used to.

In case you have a wooden surface, exposed to sun as well as rain, a semi transparent deck stain would be a better option for it can offer a natural-looking deck with protection against water as well as sun. Semi clear Stains are transparent and can tone up the color shade as well giving an attractive finish.

Aplication: Due to its ability to fight against mmoisture and sunlight, these deck stains are effective in all types of weathers. A range of colors like natural, cedar, redwood and brown hues are available across brands of semi-transparent stains.Check below to see the most recommended product or you can compare the top semi transparent clear stains here.

Recommended Product

DEFY Extreme 5 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain


The Defy extreme is another amazing wood stain and gives a soothing natural matte finish to your, decks, fences, siding, outdoor patio furniture and others. This is semi-transparent and the best option for your exteriors. A simple three-way process which helps in cleaning, brightening and staining.

This is the most preferred among the semi-transparent options. It certainly adds life to your wooden spaces. Fading and darkening can happen to your wood outdoors very easily, so this one is manufactured with resins of supreme quality, which gives a long -lasting finish as compared to its competitors, making it last for two seasons or more.

The Deck Extreme is eco-friendly and comes with easy maintenance. The defy extreme just needs a single coat to brighten your wood, a far better option than other competitors available. This is one of the most durable of all, and is made of zinc nano particle-technology which enhances it with defensive properties, such as providing protection against fading, color loss or harmful UV rays.

stains for pressure treated wood

Semi Solid Deck Stains

The next in the transparency scale are the semi-solid deck stains which is based upon an linseed oil based penetrating formula which can pierce deeper in the wood.

Like semi-transparent, semi solid stains are among the most popular and commonly used for they offer a good protection against moisture and ultra violet rays and still enhance the wood grains which enhances the lools of the surface.

Aplication: They are preferred when long lasting finish, along with durability and protection is required. They add life to your wooden furniture, siding, decks and also protect and prevent the growth of mold, mildew, algae etc.

Semi Solid Stains are easier to maintain and are good for surfaces with exposure to rain and sun, so ideally these stains are most useful for decks that are in the open. Some of most common semi-solid deck stain colors include Espresso, Mountain Cedar, Sequoia, Woodland, and Oxford Brown.

Recommended Product

Cabot Semi-Solid Oil-Based Deck And Siding Stain


The Valspar Cabot is considered to be the best oil based deck stain and sealer also recommended for siding, and many other wood structures.

It preserves and enhances the natural look of the wood, and it repels water that can cause the wood to crack, split, or warp. The stain also helps get rid of any mold and mildew, which often leads to the decay of the wood.

In addition, such as other oil-based deck stain and sealer, the Valspar Cabots is a low-maintenance & best deck sealant and stain. In most cases, once it starts to fade and wear off, you can simply give the deck a light wash, then recoat it, without using paint strippers on previous coats of stain.

Its arguably the best deck stain for full sun and old wood as it protects the wood against harmful UV rays, which means the wood will never fade or look old even if the stain has been on there for a while. so this is the best treatment for the old wood deck. Interested in Cabot Deck Stain? Make sure to check all of our Cabot Deck Stain Reviews.

Solid Color Deck Stain

Solid Color Deck Stain

Solid deck stains are preferred specially for surfaces which have worn out due to years of esposure to rough weather or excessive usage. Its a solid stain offers the highest level of protection against rough usage and often last quite longer compared to other opacity stains before requiring a re-job. Typically, a solid stain can last about 5 years easily.

Aplication: Solid Stains are best applied to cover up the wear and tear of wood over time, it essentially cover up the faults and disfiguring of the wood and looks more like a finished paint.

These types of stains usually come in colors such as taupe, gray, walnut, and even white, and they can be used on a variety of wood, including redwood, pine, and even mahogany.

Recommended Product

Restore-A-Deck Solid Color Stain for Decks & Exterior Wood


The Restore-A-Deck is the most recommended deck sealer for pressure treated wood as it can be prepared and used the very same day. Any sorts of surfaces inside or outside, horizontal or vertical log homes, fences, outdoor wooden furniture can be stained with this. It serves two purposes both a solid stain remover and also as a sealer for your wood.

It is a wonderful one to apply and make wood look fresh and shining. It helps in keeping the wood intact and prevents it from the damages caused by water, UV rays, fungi, mold and mildew etc.

There are so many advantages and useful features attached with it., mentioned above. It is safe and convenient to use. It can be applied on both kinds of wood damp or dry and gives a beautiful flat finish as soon as it dries up, and can be reapplied as per requirement. It comes in a premixed solid color, and one gallon can be applied on about 200-350 feet area (depends on absorptive quality of wood).

Best Deck Stain for Weathered Wood or New Wood : Oil based or water-based ? Let’s find out….

best water based deck stain

It’s a woodworker’s privilege to choose among water-based or oil-based stains, however, there are a few other considerations that one must keep in mind Water-based stains are good for simple woodworking jobs that are hard on time as they dry up quickly. They also offer a better resistance to mold and mildew as well.

If the surface is exposed to elements like rain, air, sun and high footfall then the longest lasting deck stain that comes as a natural choice for it is the oil-based stain because it can help your surface or deck withstand the harsh treatment for long. Check the latest deck stain brand Reviews: The Flood deck stain.

Another important consideration to take into account is definitely the wood type, its previous treatment and the condition of the wood (if it’s new or weathered wood).

Oil Based Stain

Used commonly, these exterior wood stains use a mix of varnish & linseed as base material that offers ample time to even out any excesses before drying. They penetrate deeper and leave a richer surface, highlighting the natural grains.

best clear deck sealer for pressure treated wood

You just a need another coat to give them a refreshing look. They are the most long lasting stains due their great surface adhesion & they offer great protection against peeling as well. Typically the oil based stains require mineral spirits for thinning and cleaning up.


  • Easy to apply and offer an even finish.

  • Deeper penetration ability offers better looks and long life.

  • Great for working on large wooden jobs.

Water-Based Stain

Not as popular as oil based stains, Water-based stains still come a handy option for certain projects. Water is used as a mixing agent or a thinner for clean up. These are more environment friendly & user friendly as

best deck stain for weathered wood

they don’t exhume any volatile organic compounds or odor while applying. Since they don’t block air from penetrating the wood, they resist decaying. If you are not satisfied with the finish with water-based stain, all you have to do is to clean up that part with water and apply a fresh coat.


  • Quick drying solution for small & urgent tasks.

  • Convenient to mix and easy to cleanup.

  • They Offer great resistance to Mildew and mold.

  • Environmentally & User Friendly.

Lets Discuss The Wood Type First …

When you stain your deck the type of wood also matters. Both of the stains whether water-based or oil-based give a lustre and protection against many things. The softwood is stained in the best manner by the water-based ones and the hardwood by oil-based ones.

The Pressure Treated Wood

The treated wood can be easily stained without any problems. If you use stain or going to use deck paint for old wood, it would certainly look great. The treated wood has fewer chances of getting rot but can develop cracks with time.

In order to reduce surface cracking deck, stain and sealer can be used for your wood. A dealer can always help you to test the moisture content of your wood before staining pressure treated wood. Oil-based or semi-transparent deck stains work the best for and on it.

There are chances of solid color and paints to peel off if used on the pressure-treated wood. The market offers specially and specifically designed deck or fence stains for pressure treated wood.

best deck stain for weathered wood
best oil based deck stain

The Cedar Wood

The Cedarwood requires oil-based stains, as this one weathers at a slow pace. This wood is widely available and is a cheaper one. With time and weather effect it just deteriorates and might flake away. Thinner oil-based stains work well for the new cedar.

The oil should have a deep penetrating quality, as it will provide immense protection by going deep inside the wood and thereby conditioning the wood cells. Fading and protection against the ultraviolet rays is required, and the oil-based stains work well for this.

You can go for different types of treatment for your cedar wood, such as bleaching oil, semi-transparent stain, solid color stain, and even primer and paints can be used. All these give a protective layer and a beautiful finish to your cedarwood.

The Red Wood

Staining or sealing your redwood will add longevity to it and make it look beautiful, adding value to your yard.

Any semi-transparent type of deck stain can work wonders for your red wood surfaces. The best wood deck stains should possess deep penetrating quality, for giving life to wood.

The deck stain adds lustre and enhances the beauty of your wood along with protection. They prevent weathering and also lets the wood look amazing.

what is the best stain for treated lumber

It should be always kept in mind that while coating the wood, an extra amount of stain should not be applied and only what is required should be used. Years can be added to your wood with proper care and maintenance.


Staining your deck isn’t as difficult as it may seem, especially once you do your due diligence so that you can decide which stain is ideal for your needs. The guide above has been created with the sole purpose of helping users find the most suitable and best deck water sealers, for helping you decide which stain to purchase. Mentioned products come from the most reliable deck sealer brands and can be an easy pick for you one-time deck stain.

A longest lasting deck stain is good in protecting your deck and keeping it mildew-free and attractive for a very long time. Choosing the right stain is crucial, but once you decide what is and isn’t important to you, the decision becomes much easier, making you feel a little more confident about that decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. Which deck stain lasts for a longer time?

The solid deck stains last for a very long time. They give a perfect finish to your wood or furniture. A number of reasons act as a deciding factor for choosing the best one (already discussed in the above article). The piercing or penetration of the wood stain also helps in deciding so. The more penetration, the more durability.

Q2. Which is a better option oil or water-based deck stain?

A lot has been debated on this, so to consider in short, oil-based stains work best for hard wood surfaces while water-based stains for softwood textures. Oil based stains give a more natural look to your wood base while water-based ones give a little synthetic feel. Water based dry faster as compared to the oil-based ones. Oil based stains give a yellowish look. Lastly, it depends on your wood texture and choice which you opt for.

Q3. What is most suitable temperature for applying the deck stain?

Though all products have varying features but 70 degrees F is the most suitable temperature for applying the stain. The area should be dry and not moist, because moisture hampers the application of deck stain coat. Even if rain is predicted then this shouldn’t be applied as a precautionary measure. Very hot surfaces or moisture should be avoided, as it effects the finish and drying schedule.

Q4. How many coats are required to be applied to stain your deck or furniture?

The coats should be applied entirely depending on the need of the wood. Some wooden surfaces have less porosity or more, as its better to put a maximum of 2 coats for best and excellent results. The right coating will add lustre and rich look to your wooden space. The market offers one coat products also, the guidelines should be followed accordingly.

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