The 7 Best Exterior Wood Stain Reviews in 2020

Best Exterior Wood Stain Reviews

Every weather change brings along with it the challenge to maintain your furniture the way you always want it to be – sharp and everlasting. But that’s not always the case.

Harsh weather, changing environmental impact, and your surroundings can simply shorten the life of the wood at home.

Exterior stains can safeguard the wood to keep it as good as new every time there’s a challenge to the shelf life of the wood.

What is Exterior Wood Stain?

As the name suggests, exterior wood stains act as a coating to protect the wood from fading or losing its color. However, it does not protect from scratches. For that, you’ll need a topcoat that can cover the wood from damage.

There are two exterior stains:

  • Oil Based Exterior Stain
  • Water Based Exterior Stain

While oil-based stains take longer to dry, they are long-lasting. Oil-based are ideal for outdoor wood, whereas water-based exterior stains are suitable for internal or interior wood that is easier to clean than the oil-based one.

Exterior wood stains act as a coating to protect the wood. Some reasons to use exterior wood stains are:

  • Retain the rich texture of the wood.
  • Avoid fading of the wood finish
  • Increase the life of the wood
  • Change the wood color without impacting its finish and natural color

List of Best Exterior Wood Stain:

1. Ready Seal – Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain

2. EditorDEFY Semi-Transparent Exterior Stain

3. Thompson’s WaterSeal Transparent Waterproofing Stain

4. Minwax Gel Stain

5. Old Masters Gel Stain

6. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Stain

7. Kilz Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Wood Stain

Short Reviews of Best Exterior Wood Stain:

1. Ready Seal – Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain

Why We Picked

The Ready Seal Exterior Wood Stain gives a dark first finish. It takes up to two weeks to settle into the advertised color.

The product is easy to apply since a primer is not necessary before applying. The sealed surfaces provide exceptional protection against any penetration and make it water-resistant.

The sealer can be brushed, sprayed, or rolled on the intended wooden surfaces. It doesn’t leave streaks or laps, which gives an excellent smooth finish.

The product blends itself and is not dependent on temperature. Additionally, it can be sprayed directly without any prior dilution or thinning.

Keep in Mind

Do not apply Ready Seal over painted or newly stained surfaces. The resulting color might be sticky and a bit darker than advertised.

In a Nutshell

  • It requires no primer
  • It can be brushed, sprayed, or rolled
  • “Goof Proof” application

2. DEFY Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

Why We Picked

Defy water-based semi-transparent wood stain is a perfect choice if you want your wood texture to remain in good condition for long. If you stay in a place that has recurring molds of excessive heat on the wood, then the DEFY Exterior stain comes with the zinc nanoparticles that keeps them at bay.

The DEFY stain is one of the best exterior stains since it is an environment-friendly stain that comes with high-quality resins. These resins avoid any darkening or fading of the shine on the wood.

Another advantage of using the DEFY Exterior wood is when its turn to carry out maintenance on the wood, you don’t need to rely on using sand to redo it.

Simply use the DEFY wood brightener, and your wood is good as new.

It does not allow water to rest on the wood; it seals the wood carefully without needing additional coating on it. Ideally, wait for sometime before you apply it to the new wood.

This premium finish is best for fences, decks, siding, and many wood surfaces without needing a redo often.

Keep In Mind

If you prefer an oil-based wood stain, then this might not be the best choice.

In a Nutshell

  • Environment-friendly
  • Easy to use
  • Least maintenance

3. Thompson’s WaterSeal Transparent Waterproofing Stain

Why We Picked

Thompson’s water seal is a reputed brand that comes with waterproofing and prevents any water seepage. Ideal for dry wood or damp wood that has been cleaned it outperforms industry quality standards better than the best outdoor wood stain.

With this coat, your wood is safe and avoids any immediate UV impact or mildew that develops on the wood.

If you’re looking to paint gates, then one gallon of Thompson’s water deal is an excellent way to do so. You don’t have to go the usual route of sanding the wood before doing so.

Simply clean any dirt or dust layer on it and go ahead and use Thompson’s water seal. Except for extreme weather, in normal conditions, you might not need to reuse the product for as much as four years.

That’s the product quality you can expect from Thompson’s Water seal.

If you prefer a bit of personality to your wood, then you choose from the many waterproofing stains of sequoia red, woodland cedar, acorn brown, harvest gold, and maple brown.

With the right combination, your wood can go from a dull look to one with a classy shine that adds color and texture to the wood.

Keep in Mind

It is not water repellent, but it does an excellent job of keeping water at bay.

In a Nutshell

  • Great waterproofing stain
  • Ideal for dry or cleaned damp wood
  • Lasts long for as much as four years without any work

4. Minwax Gel Stain

Why We Picked

If there’s one stain that can be used for multiple surfaces without much effort, it is the Minwax Gel Stain. As one of the best exterior stains, it comes with the non-drip formula that’s the right choice for vertical surfaces like doors and molding.

Besides, fiberglass and metal can do with a thick layer of MinWax gel stain to give a vibrant appearance.

Sanding helps in creating a rough surface. Unlike other stains, the MinWax is a gel. Hence a gentle sanding can help you rough the surface so that the gel seeps in without much effort.

While you can use it on outside surfaces, we recommend using a waterproof sealer after use since it can avoid any damage to the wood or surface from damage or mold.

Another reason to buy this gel stain is that it’s easy to use though it does take some time to dry. All you need is a single coat of this gel, and your surface is ready as new.

Keep in Mind

It does take some time to dry.

In a Nutshell

  • Requires a bit of sanding before use
  • Useful for any kind of surface
  • Single coat is sufficient for a significant impact

5. Old Masters Gel Stain

Why We Picked

A classic walnut finish is often challenging to get. Even with many coats getting an exact match is hard. But with the Old Masters Gel Stain, you are not far from getting this real walnut finish.

It’s useful for painting supplies on house wood-stains. You need a little of this, which covers a lot of surface with very little wastage.

If you are considering getting a fresh coat on expensive furniture then that can put you behind by as much as thousands of dollars to restore it.

Try the Old Masters Gel Stain, and you can cut your costs by a fraction and yet get the same rich finish.

This oil-based gel stain is also great to create a multi-dimensional effect on the wood, making it perfect for any surface type.

If you pick your best exterior wood stain product based on quality and results, then don’t look further. With the Old Masters Gel Stain, you are assured of excellent quality at a low cost as compared to its competitors.

Yet, at this cost, you get great results that will leave a long-lasting impact.

Keep in Mind

It is oil-based and hence might not be suitable if you want to go for a water-based exterior stain.

In a Nutshell

  • Excellent finish
  • Low cost as compared to its competitors
  • Oil-based wood stain

6. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

Why We Picked

The #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is dually powerful since it works as a stain as well as a sealant. It protects the wood from UV damage to prevent loss of texture and color.

It is widely used to gives decks a new stain while also acting as a sealant to the wood. Additionally, the product works great for all softwood types, which include cedar, pine, redwood, or fir.

The #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is available in four variants that provide semi-transparent yet natural look to the finish.

The resulting finish looks attractive and adds a sense of elegance to your deck. It contains a low amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (less than 50 gram/liter), which ensures minimal gas emission and a pleasant working environment for the project.

This wood stain for decks is water-based and easy to clean.

Keep in Mind

Its water resistance is lower than expected, which makes it more suitable for indoor projects.

In a Nutshell

  • UV damage protection
  • Semi-transparent natural finish
  • Low VOCs
  • Easy to clean
  • Recommended for indoor projects

7. Kilz Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Wood Stain

Why We Picked

It is made of 100% acrylic; the Kilz Semi-transparent waterproofing wood stain gives long-lasting protection with a three-year warranty. The one gallon of Kilz semi-transparent waterproofing wood stain provides a mildew-resistant finish that covers up to 250 square feet.

If it’s the second coat, you get as much as 500 square feet covered.

Ideally, dry the area for twenty-four hours before coating it. It will give you optimum results to get the desired outcome. And once it is done, sand it lightly to remove any wood particles or fibers.

This durable Kilz stain is ideal for decks, siding, and fence that protects from sun, dust, and snow damage.

Keep in Mind

If you are using plywood, then we suggest using a porch and floor paint on the surface instead.

In a Nutshell

  • 100% acrylic
  • Ideally dry the areas before use
  • Great for decks, siding and fence areas

What To Consider Before Buying Best Exterior Wood Stains:

Determine The Type of Wood Stain

Each of the exterior stains on this list is meant to add the necessary richness and protection to the wood. However, each one has a specific action like adding the perfect texture, suiting a particular wood type, giving you different wood color textures, and many more.

Before you choose one, consider the type of surface, texture you’ll want, and the kind of wood stain that will be perfect for it for the right suitability.

Do The Best Exterior Stains Comply With The Necessary Standards?

If a particular exterior stain does not give you the desired effect and rather spoils the wood surface, you know it’s not made as per industry standards.

Take time to check the industry standards of wood stain when it comes to the standard right to the quality check, the results, and the timeframe in which it should protect the wood from undue damage or wear and tear.

Is It Oil or Water-Based?

While some wood surfaces go along with water and oil-based, others work well only if you use a particular type. If your wood is often outdoors, then going for a water-based wood stain is a wise choice.

On the other hand, the in-house wood can do with oil-based exterior wood stains that often face such spillages.

Can They Be Used For Specific Surfaces?

Best exterior stains are used for slides, decks, wood, fiberglass, and metal. It’s best to check before you buy an exterior stain if it’s compatible with all surfaces or ideal only for specific surfaces like wood or fiberglass.

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