Best Exterior Wood Stain

Woody Jackson | Last modified on August 18th, 2022
71 Products Considered
95 Hours of Research
256 Reviews Analyzed

Choosing the best exterior wood stain can be confusing and overwhelming for any person. There are so many different types, brands, and prices of it. We’re here to help you pick the best one for your needs with this buyer’s guide on exterior wood stains!

Best Exterior Wood Stain

The Best Top 5 Exterior Wood Stain

1. Best Overall: Ready Seal Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain

Ready Seal Pail Cedar Exterior Stain is an oil-based, semi-transparent, exterior wood stain that dries to a durable finish while enhancing the natural beauty of cedar or another tree. The product is ideal for both new and previously painted siding. You can use this exterior wood stain on your house with no worries!

It also will not corrode metal or aluminum siding and trim, making it the perfect choice for any part of your home that needs protection from harsh weather conditions. This is an easy-to-use, low-odor, low-foam exterior wood stain designed to eliminate the need for sanding on primed surfaces.

Ready Seal Pail is made with professional-level ingredients that adhere to the timber while providing a superior quality finish over time while providing several protective benefits against fungal growth and harmful bacteria. Wooden surfaces are sensitive to moisture and airborne chemicals that may cause rapid discoloration or unsightly scars.

2. Best Exterior Wood Stain For House: DEFY Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

The DEFY Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain is a water-based product that is a better alternative to solvent-based or oil stain. The DEFY Semi-Transparent exterior wood stain is made from environmentally friendly high solids penetrating ingredients with UV blockers and anti-fungal agents. The exterior wood stains are used on new or old pressure-treated or unpainted exterior wood surfaces.

The most important thing before applying the DEFY Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain is to ensure the surface being applied has been properly prepared. The surface should be clean and dry and not have any loose or peeling paint or old coatings. The wood should be constructed with a weather-resistant adhesive, such as a phenolic resin, urea-formaldehyde, or modified acrylic urethanes.

The DEFY Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain is applied with a brush or roller using a back and forth motion. You will want to try to apply as smooth of coats as possible. Inadequate drying time between coats may lead to peeling later on. After the first coat has been applied, you will want to allow the area to be treated at least 12 hours drying time before applying the next coat.

3. Best Exterior Wood Stain For Furniture: Majic Paints Interior/Exterior Satin Paint

This exterior paint is a unique, non-toxic product that contains zero VOCs. This allows it to offer high-quality coverage in one coat. And when you’re done painting your home, the paint’s light, but the strong polyester finish makes for an easy clean-up.

You can use it on any surface, including wood siding for both inside and outside use, without worrying about harmful fumes or chemicals usually present when working with wood stains. The paint is non-toxic and environmentally safe.

The Majic Paints should be used in conjunction with their recommended primer for best results. It’s ideal for repairing and covering up any damage to your home’s exterior surface. The paints should only be used on wood in good condition and should not be applied to rotted or decayed surfaces.

You can use it on all kinds of siding, including aluminum, vinyl, cedar shingles, brick, and cement board – just make sure you prep the surface properly before applying the paint to ensure optimal coverage and durability.

4. Best Exterior Wood Stain For Hardwood: SEAL-ONCE Exotic Premium Wood Sealer

SEAL-ONCE Exotic Premium Wood Sealer is the most powerful wood sealer on the market today. If you want your wood to shine and protect from rot, this is the product for you.

SEAL-ONCE Exotic Premium Wood Sealer is unique because it has a proprietary blend of natural ingredients that helps prevent algae growth and decay, and corrosion from moisture, mildew, and air pollution. Finally, it contains a UV inhibitor that protects against the harmful effects of UV radiation on wood materials so they can dry faster after application without worry.

The manufacturer also recommends using a wood cleaner following application to assist with deeper penetration and seal better. In addition, Seal-ONCE should be applied in a well-ventilated area for at least 30 minutes because it can expand its pores if it’s not completely dried.

5. Best Exterior Wood Stain For Decks: #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks

If you’re considering a new color for your deck, don’t worry about it being outside the budget of your wallet. You can always go with more inexpensive wooden deck stains or paint. A popular exterior wood stain is Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, an excellent option for homeowners on a budget.

This particular product contains natural oil and a natural wood finish that becomes a water-based liquid when applied to the surface of the wood. This product has many benefits, including being non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain contains no VOCs, which is what makes it environmentally friendly. This product can easily be applied to your deck in less than an hour, and you will only need one coat of wood stain to get a beautiful new look for your deck.

Buyer’s Guide

The exterior wood stain you choose can make a difference in the longevity and maintenance of your home’s exterior. You should consider how easily or quickly the stain will dry and which finish you want to achieve.

Exterior Wood Stain Buyer's Guide

There are also different stains designed for different purposes such as preserving wood, protection from weathering, etc. Make sure to consider what your intended use is when selecting the best exterior wood stain for your purposes before making a decision.

What Is Exterior Wood Stain?

An Exterior wood stain is a coating made from oil or latex applied to exterior surfaces of wood before it is painted or sealed with another finish. It is used as a sealant and to protect the surface against ultraviolet light and water damage.

The different types of wood stains vary in how they are made, color, and transparency. Oil-based stains are the most commonly used because they are easy to apply and require minimal maintenance. Latex-based stains will flake or peel off within a few years if it is exposed to humidity.

Why Should You Use Exterior Wood Stain?

Exterior wood stain gives you extra protection against damage from water, UV rays, or other elements that can harm your home’s exterior finish. The two most common reasons are protecting exterior doors to save on future repairs and protecting deck furniture from absorbent moisture during rainy seasons.

Why Should You Use Exterior Wood Stain?

Benefits Of The Best Exterior Wood Stain

Applying exterior wood stain does more than just make the wood more visually appealing. Here are some of its other benefits:

Protection From Environmental Elements

Wood staining will protect your home’s exterior from sun damage, mold, mildew, water damage, rotting, and insects. By preserving the wood, you are also protecting these elements from entering your home or living space.

Durable And Lasting 

Compared to paint, stains are much more durable and long-lasting because they contain resins​ instead of being composed of pigmented solvents. As well-sealed wood is less susceptible to damage from water, mold, insects, or other elements.

Restores Wood

Some exterior stains are made to restore the original color of the wood instead of simply coloring it. It can help revive wood that has been damaged due to age or weathering.

Lower Cost Than Painting

Stains are much less costly than full coats of paint. You pay once and then apply your finished coat on top. Paint can peel away because it does not correctly adhere to the painted surface, resulting in chipping and scratching.

What To Consider When Choosing The Best Exterior Wood Stain

Here are things you should keep in mind when choosing the best exterior wood stain:

Intended Use

Make sure you’re going to use the stain on a surface that will be exposed to weather and elements. You don’t want it to chip or flake off. Many stains today are often designed for outdoors, but homeowners still want a highly durable finish that can take a beating from above-ground elements.

Stain Type

There are three main types of stain: oil-based, water-based, and solvent-based. Oil-based stains penetrate deep into the wood, making them more resistant against mildew, insects, and moisture. But they do have a strong odor that is generally viewed as unpleasant.

A solvent is generally used for exterior doors because it is the most waterproof type of stain. Water-based stains aren’t as durable as oil-based but offer a variety of colors and more vibrant finishes than the color you get from an oil base, which can dry out wood fibers.

Transparency

Transparency refers to how much light will pass through the coating. The more transparent a coating is, the more light it lets through. Non-transparent stains are usually used for exposed wood exposed to plenty of UV rays, such as decks and gazebos exposed to direct sunlight. But if you’re looking for a non-transparent stain to apply on windows or front doors, then choose a stain that is semi-transparent or translucent.

Color

While most stains are offered in different colors, you should consider if you need them or not. Light colors can make your house appear larger, while dark colors give it a unique look and impression. But if you’re painting exterior wood stain, make sure it matches the color of your home, especially if you are planning to paint over it.

How To Apply Exterior Wood Stain

Exterior wood stains are applied by hand or with an exterior grade pressure washer. Some staining requires multiple coats to achieve the desired level of protection, but it can be done in one day.

How To Remove Exterior Wood Stain

If the process of applying exterior staining has left you with too heavy or glossy stain, you can use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to remove it. The best way to remove stains is with water mixed with soap or bleach.

You can scrub the stained surface with a patio scraper, sponge, or pumice stone. Then do several light coats of paint to match the color of your stain of choice.

How To Lighten Exterior Wood Stain

Lightening stains is pretty easy. The best option is to sand the stained area down and then start with a lighter stain to match your original wood.

You can also use a wood staining kit to lighten the finish by using a longer application time and applying less coverage than you would for a full coat of stain.

How To Paint Over Exterior Wood Stain

Painting over stains is simple enough — just make sure to sand the area first so that the new paint adheres better than it does over stained wood.

If you want to strip the stain completely, you can use a paint stripper. For the best results, consider stripping and re-staining your wood all at once – that way, your new stain will match and look much more uniform.

How To Clean Exterior Wood Before Staining

You should always clean your wood before applying a new staining coating or painting since any grime or dirt will prevent your finish from adhering to the wood properly. Use a power washer with a special cleaning solution such as TSP (trisodium phosphate) for the unfinished wood. For painted wood, use a diluted mixture of soap and water. Allow the surface to dry before continuing with your staining process.

FAQ

Are All Stains Suitable For Outdoors?

Not all stains are suitable for outside surfaces. Some paints are meant to be used indoors only or can’t withstand outdoor elements. If your goal is to paint something for external use, you should look up the type of paint according to its intended use before picking a color.”

Can I Stain Weathered Wood?

Yes, you can stain weathered wood. The key is to spot-stain areas where the wood has not deteriorated underneath the finish. This will maintain the integrity of the structure. Make sure to examine all surfaces before you start staining and make decisions on what needs repairing or replacing before continuing work.

Can You Stain Wood Without Sanding?

Yes, there are many ways to stain wood without sanding, including applying lacquers, oils, water-based paints, and dye stains that use color pigments instead of dyes. All you have to do is soak the surface in water for about 30 minutes before staining to allow the wood fibers to swell up so that paint or dye can easily penetrate deep into the pores of the lumber.

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