Best Deck Stains For Pressure Treated Wood In 2020

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 off beat 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.

I research a lot and realized that in addition to the Deck wood type, there are other factors too that are crucial in finding a suitable stain or primer. The guide below explores the whole process of identifying the right deck stain.

Which one is better oil based or water-based deck stain? Let’s find out….

Water Based VS Oil Based Deckstain

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, oil-based stain comes as a natural choice for it can help your surface or deck withstand the harsh treatment for long.

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 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.

Oil Based Deck

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

Waterbased Deck

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 stain and paint your deck, it would certainly look great. The treated wood has less 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 deck wood before staining it. 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 stains for pressure treated wood.

Stain Pressure Treated Wood Decking
Cedar Wood Before After Deck Solid

The Cedar Wood

The Cedar wood 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 ultra violet 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 cedar wood.

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 deck stains should possess deep penetrating quality, for giving life to wood. The deck stain adds lustre and enhances beauty of your wood along with protection. They prevent weathering and also lets the wood look amazing. It should be always kept in mind that while coating the wood, 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.

Redwood Solid Stain

The Different Opacity Levels Of Deck Stains:

Transparent Deck Stain

Clear Deck Stain

As the name suggests, clear stains for deck provide a clear coating that shows the true color of the wood and nothing else. Although they do a great job in protecting and preserving the wood, clear stains normally provide no protection against UV rays and, therefore, the wood can sometimes darken or gray over time.

Recommended Product

Thompsons Waterseal Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar

THOMPSONS WATERSEAL is a transparent waterproofing stain and 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 keep 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.

Semi -Transparent Deck Stain

Semi -Transparent Deck 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 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.

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.

Semi Solid Deck Stains Remover

Semi Solid Deck Stains

The semi-solid deck stains are easy to use, and durable too. The linseed oil-based stains pierce deeper in the wood, giving it protection, long lasting finish and adding beauty to your wood space. They help in providing protection against harmful ultraviolet rays. The texture of the wood is also enhanced with the help of this. The coating gives a unique pigmentation, thereby highlighting the wood’s beauty. 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.

Recommended Product

Cabot Semi-Solid Oil-Based Deck And Siding Stain

The Valspar Cabot semi-solid oil-based stain is great for decks, siding, and many other wood structures. If you’re looking for the best semi-solid deck stain, this is definitely one to consider. 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 decking stain is a low-maintenance & best deck sealant. In most cases, once it starts to fade and wear off, you can simply give the deck a light wash, then recoat it, without having to spend hours stripping off the previous coats of stain. Its arguably best stain for old deck & for the full sun 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.

Solid Color Deck Stain

Solid Color Deck Stain

If you want your deck stained in a solid color, you can easily find stains that do this. 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 one solid color stain is the most recommended and preferred product 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).


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 deck sealer reviews, 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 or best exterior wood stains.

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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