Wood Whiz

Best exterior wood stains

Best exterior wood stains

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Top Choice

Ready Seal 512 Wood Stain

Ready Seal 512 Wood Stain

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Top Value

DEFY Extreme Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme Wood Stain

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Top of Line

KILZ Exterior Wood Stain

KILZ Exterior Wood Stain

Not only can exterior stain give your outdoor wood a beautiful color, brings out the natural wood beauty it also protects your outdoor furniture and wood deck. While highlighting the natural beautify and texture of the wood, it can create a waterproof barrier that will also protect the wood from UV rays, mold, and mildew. Here are a few tips and reviews that will help you choose the best exterior stain for your needs.

Wood Whiz- Eric Hawkings

Welcome to woodwhiz.com. My name is Eric Hawkins. I love all things wood. After getting a degree in engineering, I followed my passion of working with wood in different capacities like woodworking, staining, polishing, oils, crafts, finishing, refinishing and much more. Read More

Top 5 Exterior wood stains

Best Quality PRODUCTS


Ready Seal 512 Wood Stain

Ready Seal 512 Wood Stain

A stain and sealer in one, Ready Seal 512 Wood Stain allows you to add luster and beauty to the wood while keeping the wood grain visible. Perfect for any type of outside wood project, this semi-transparent stain is oil-based and easy to apply. Plus, you won’t need to thin or dilute it before you apply it. 

It is an oil-based all-in-one stain and sealant.

Penetrating deep into the wood, the sealant can prevent damage from ultraviolet rays and mildew. Ready Seal 512 goes on dark but shows its true color in only 14 days. You also won’t need to do any sort of back brush since the stain will leave a smooth finish without runs, streaks, or laps. Prefect of any DIY projects.

  • It’s both a stain and a sealer

  • It works well on any type of wood surface

  • This stain gives you protection from mildew and mold

  • Protects against UV damage

  • It’s hard to clean

  • You can’t thin it


DEFY Extreme Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme Wood Stain

This water-based formula is an environmentally friendly, high-quality and perfect for outside furniture and wooden decks staining projects.  Defy Extreme Wood Stain has simple maintenance and apply to provide a gorgeous matte finish. Perfect for pressure-treated wood, it helps to give you good protection from scratches and weather.

Providing durability and resisting fading, Defy Extreme is a long-lasting product that features zinc nano-particle technology that stops the wood from color loss and graying. Applying just one coat is enough and you won’t need a paint stripper or sander.

  • This is an environmentally friendly stain

  • It has zinc nano-particle technology that gives you mildew and mold resistance

  • It works on any type of wood surface

  • Resin is UV Resistance

  • You need to use a wood brightener with it

  • The application can be complex for some users


KILZ Exterior Wood Stain

KILZ Exterior Wood Stain

Durable and mildew-resistant, KILZ Exterior Wood Stain will maintain the integrity of wood while retaining its beauty. This waterproof stain also provides UV protection. This acrylic forum gives you long-lasting protection to wood from the sun, snow, and rain.

Capable of covering nearly 250 sq. ft. with the first coat, you will need a brightener and wood cleaner to neutralize the wood. Perfect for fences, siding, shingles, railings, and patio furniture, this is a semi-transparent wood stain in a redwood color. You can easily clean up any mess with water, and you can apply the stain with a brush, sprayer, or pad applicator.

  • It’s easy to clean up

  • You get protection from water and sun

  • It gives you great coverage with one container

  • Great choice for a DIY enthusiasts

  • You need to do some preparation before you apply it


1# Deck Premium Wood Stain

Deck Premium Wood Stain

Featuring high-performance quality, #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is a solid color deck or semi-transparent stain that gives the wood a natural, flat look. Water-based and environmentally friendly, you can use it on exterior softwoods and comes in four varieties. The sealant protects the wood against UV rays and moisture and contains low VOCs.

#1 Deck Wood Stain is simple to clean up with soapy water and does not have a very strong odor. It doesn’t require thinning and works on any type of softwood. Plus, it works as both a sealer and stain.

  • It’s both a sealer and stain

  • It doesn’t have a lot of VOCs

  • It comes in four varieties

  • It’s not a good product for thinning

  • You can’t use it on inside projects


Thompson’s Waterseal

Thompson’s Waterseal

This unique formula is both a sealer and a wood stain. Thompson’s Waterseal saves you time and money and is available in five different colors. Providing a natural look to any wood surface, it provides protection for the wood while enhancing its appearance.

With its all-in-one protection, Thompson’s Waterseal waterproofs wood while showing the natural grain and texture of the wood. It is a fast-drying stain solvent that gives you fade-resistant rich colors as well as mildew and mold resistance. Plus, you can apply it to either dry or freshly cleaned up damp wood.

  • It’s UV ray and mildew resistant

  • This is a great water-proofing stain that also prevents water damage

  • It’s a great all-in-one application

  • You have to prepare the wood before you can apply the stain


Minwax Wood Finish Stain

Minwax Wood Finish Stain

This oil-based stain comes in 28 colors. Minwax Wood Finish Stain is lighter than other brands and more affordable. Helping to restore the beauty of worn-out wood, this is a great product for a wooden deck staining projects or even a cabinet.

You can use this stain for an aesthetic purpose or to save an old wood fence. Minwax Wood Finish Stain is a great choice if you are on a budget or have old wood that you want to restore.

  • It’s really affordable and easy to apply

  • This is a great stain for old wood projects

  • It is lighter than other exterior stains

  • Since it is light, you may need to apply more layers


Woodrich Timber Oil Stain

Woodrich Timber Oil Stain

Available in three colors, Woodrich Timber Oil Stain is a semi-transparent oil-based stain. Easy to use, you won’t leave tracks during application. Giving you deck a beautiful appearance, this stain will protect the wood from moisture and UV light.

Woodrich Timber Oil Stain with highlight the natural color of your wood. You can actually test color before you purchase this stain, and you can apply it with a brush or spray.

  • You can test the colors before buying it

  • It’s easy to apply with a brush

  • It highlights the natural color of the deck’s wood

  • It has a pretty strong smell that’s hard to take after awhile


Wolman F&P

Wolman F&P

Protecting and enhancing the exterior of any wood Rust-Oleum Wolman F&P will bring out the natural grain while providing wood with long-lasting water-resistant protection. Preventing the growth of mildew and mold, it can also prevent decay and rot. This deeply penetrating oil-based stain is transparent and can protect the wood from UV light damage.

This easy to apply exterior wood stain includes fungicidal preventive characteristics that allow it to stop rot and decay from damaging the wood. Plus, when it is applied frequently, it can bring out the beautiful natural grain of your wood.

  • This is an easy to apply stain

  • It protects wood from mold, water, and UV light

  • It shows off the wood’s natural grain

  • It really on protects the outside of wood and not the interior

  • Its long-term protection can actually cause damage to the wood.


SikkensCetolDek Finish

SikkensCetolDek Finish

This translucent stain provides incredible protection for wood. SikkensCetolDek Finish is durable and gives the wood a gorgeous appearance. It can last up to three years thanks to its incredible durability.

Offering great protection and durability, SikkensCetolDek Finish both easy to maintain and apply. If applied correctly and according to manufacturer instructions, it can be very cost-effective.

  • This is a durable stain that is cost-effective

  • It’s easy to maintain and apply

  • It gives the wood a gorgeous appearance

  • Some people find the two-coat application complicated


Cabot Australian Timber Decking Stains

Cabot Australian Timber Decking Stains

Featuring incredible durability, Cabot Australian Timber Decking Stains is perfect for fencing, decks, and siding. You only need to apply it once to get the benefits of this deeply penetrating oil-based stain. Capable of protecting the wood for up to three years, this exterior stain gives the texture of wood long-lasting beauty.

Enhancing the beauty of any wood, Cabot Decking Stain gives the wood a unique pigmented appearance. It can also protect the wood from sun damage and is a natural repellent. Plus, it is super easy to apply. Uniquely known for superior durability.

FAQ's related to Exterior Wood Stain

Exterior wood stains are tough an help protect the life of your wood. Making sure you get the best results is really just a question of making sure you let them dry enough, using the right products, and making sure you use enough coats. If you are still worried about working with them, here are some quick questions and answers to give you DIY confidence.

There are several things to consider when choosing an exterior stain.
        • You will want to use an oil-based stain on newly treated lumber that has a pre-applied water repellent. Because of the additive they use to  repel water, it can keep the wood from accepting a water-based stain effectively.
        • Newly treated lumber that doesn’t have the applied water repellent will work well with either a water-based or oil-based stain once it has fully dried.
        • If the wood already has a solid stain application, it is best to use another solid stain.
        • Opaque and solid color stains are not as suitable for a horizontal surface like steps or a deck floor since foot traffic can create visible wear that can be hard to touch up. Consider using a stain that has a formula specifically made for foot traffic.
        • Some exterior stain products also let you stain other types of surfaces like composite wood, brick, and concrete. Just check the manufacturer’s recommendations to see what surfaces the stain is compatible with.

Clear and Toner Stain – Perfect for new wood surfaces, clear and toner stain allows the wood to gray and weather naturally.

    Transparent Stain – Allowing the grain to show on most types of wood, transparent stain will hide few imperfections. Typically, these nearly-clear stains often come with just a touch of color. Their durability is dependents on the quality of the pigment used to create the color.

   Semi-transparent Stain – The most popular type of stain, the semi-transparent stain will hide more imperfections in the wood while still allowing some wood texture and grain to show through. You will find that the color in semi-transparent stains is usually wood-inspired colors.

     Semi-solid Stain – Some brands offer semi-solid stain that will give you a similar color to a semi-transparent stains wood, but is better able to hide the imperfections in the wood.

      Solid Stain – Providing the most color, a solid color stain has the best ability to hide imperfections while providing durable protection. You can get a solid stain in a wide range of colors including nature-inspired red and browns to blacks, blues, and grays.

      Restoration Stain – Used on a wood or composite surface, restoration stain will fill in cracks and coat imperfections.

Polyurethane containing stains, both oil based or water based are going to be the longest lasting stains, with a life of about 5 years for the oil based, they keep moisture out and needs minimal maintenance. After this, dark colored stains will last the longest, generally about 3 years or so because they block out the most light, therefore preventing the most damage. These are available from a variety of different brands and the darker the color the better. Finally, clear or semi-clear stains hold it for about 2 to 3 years, which is longer than lighter tinted stains. These do have a tendency to turn cloudy if not applied perfectly and are generally not anyone’s first choice. 

A deck should be oiled every year in a mild climate and twice a year in a climate that has lots of rain or intense sun. Most people should err on the side of caution and apply at least one coat of oil to their deck in both the spring and the fall. The optimal time to oil a deck is during the mild seasons, before any significant rainfall and after the last of the snow has fallen. Make sure that you have a few clear days for the deck to fully cure, ensuring that your efforts aren’t wasted. 

Apply the oil in a thin coat, making sure to allow it to fully soak in before wiping it clean. Buff heavily and ensure that everything is perfectly smooth before finishing the process. It should take a few hours to complete a proper oil application, but it should not take you all day. 

For small exterior projects you are generally going to want to use 4 coats of stain, with a significant amount of time for drying between the first two and last two coats. Make sure you are sanding or buffing between each coat and that you allow the top to sit for the entire cure time before buffing it out.

Small projects can have the stain applied by brush, roller, or rag depending on personal preference. Put on a thin and even coat, pressing lightly to get the stain into any cracks or natural faults in the wood. Buff after dry and lightly sand for better results with the next coats. Never slap stain on or try and go over the old coats without allowing to dry first. Make sure to only apply when you will have clear weather to allow proper drying and cure time.


  • gunes barua says:

    what is the best oil based exterior stain for wooden garage door

  • Eric Hawkins says:

    Hello, Thank you for your question. Any good penetrating wood stain that is oil-based will work to stain a wooden garage door. Make sure to mix the stain properly before applying to avoid an irregular finish.
    I hope that answers your question.

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