Best Deck Stain for Pressure-Treated Wood

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Best Deck Stain for Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is more effective at preventing decay or damage than untreated wood. The air within the wood is pushed out and replaced with preservatives that will keep the wood strong. With the pressure treatment, the wood becomes more resistant and avoids damage from water or moisture.

The treated wood is perfect to use anywhere the wood may come in contact with moisture. Of course, decks are made with pressure-treated wood, unless a synthetic material is used instead. Other ways that pressure-treated wood may be used in your yard include fences, gazebos, swing sets, and other wood structures.

With pressure-treated wood, you can be assured that you’ll be protected from damage caused by moisture and your deck or structure will last a long time. However, using the best deck stain for pressure-treated wood is a necessary step if you want your deck to look great and be as well protected as possible.

There are a lot of different deck stains out there, so let’s take a look at the best options.

Related: The Best Deck Paint for Old Wood

The Best Deck Stain for Pressure-Treated Wood

1. Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

When you use this stain, you can skip the primer step. This stain is dark even when applied for the first time, though it takes about 14 days to show the real color. This can make it a little challenging to know if you need to apply a second coat, but that’s a minor inconvenience for a great product.

Like most other stains, this can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer. This stain is very easy to apply and will not streak or run. You can apply this stain at any temperature. Follow the simple directions to get the best results.

The stain is UV and mildew-resistant and will do an outstanding job of protecting your deck. Overall, it’s our top recommendation on the best deck stain for pressure-treated wood list. Additionally, there are eight different colors to choose from.

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  • No diluting is needed when you’re using a sprayer
  • Requires no re-application
  • Suitable for all wooden surfaces
  • Natural and brings back the beauty of the stained wood
  • The true color may take 14 days to show up

2. DEFY Extreme Wood Stain- Semi-Transparent

DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Cedar Tone

The next product on our list is proudly environmentally friendly. It’s a semi-transparent stain that allows the wood surface’s natural color to show through as well. The stain gives it a matte finish making the wood look stunning yet natural. There are seven different tones available so you can choose the one that’s best for your deck.

You can use this stain on a wood deck or any treated wood surfaces such as fences, siding, and more.

Made with Zinc Nano-particle technology, the stain is just like sunscreen for the wood. It will keep the wood protected from the environment, while also looking great. 

The Defy stain is highly durable. You don’t need to worry about it fading or peeling off your wooden surfaces. The color will stay true for a long time.

Another aspect that we love is there’s no need to spend time sanding the surface or preparing the wood. You can directly apply it to the surface.

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  • Highly durable
  • Weatherproof
  • Matte finish
  • Easy application
  • Best to apply on a non-sunny day

3. Seal Once NANO+POLY- Premium Sealer and Stainer

SEAL-ONCE Nano Penetrating Wood Sealer & Stain (Clear) - Water-Based, Low-vOC waterproofer for Fences, siding, Beams, Furniture & Log Homes. … (1 Gallon)

Seal Once NANO is a water-based formula. There are no harmful chemicals involved, making it safe to use and handle. Its standout feature is the penetrating nanotechnology that will seal the pressure-treated wood extremely well.

The stain comes in 9 different tints, providing you with plenty of options. Decks need to be protected from water and the elements and this stain does the job. This stain will also give the wood a fine texture.

Seal Once is a safe formula, it has a low amount of VOC which assures safety for pets and children. When you apply this stain, you are applying a durable protective layer on the treated wood. It prevents mildew, decay and won’t peel off easily. It’s also UV resistant. The stain dries quickly and gives you a neat finish. It’s also eco-friendly and odorless.

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  • Odorless
  • Dries quickly
  • Safe for pets, plants, and humans
  • Eco-friendly
  • Not as durable or long-lasting as some of the higher-rated stains

4. Thompson WaterSeal- Waterproofing Stain

THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.041851-16 Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar

Thompson/s WaterSeal is a trusted product from one of the leading brands in the industry. This is a sealer and stain combination that is designed to protect the wood from water damage while also helping it to look great.

Decks are exposed to the elements year-round, so it’s critical that they’re protected. Even though the pressure-treated wood is better than regular lumber would prevent water damage, an untreated deck will not hold up over the long term.

You’ll need to apply the Thompson’s WaterSeal on a dry day with no rain in the forecast, so it has plenty of time to dry before any rain.

This is a transparent stain, which means your wood texture can be visible, which is a nice feature if you prefer a natural look. Made with advanced polymers, the stain keeps the existing color of the wood intact. It protects the wood from UV damage and prevents mildew from growing on most surfaces.

Thompson’s WaterSeal is often considered to be one of the best waterproofing stains, and it comes in five different shades which helps it land a spot on the best deck stain for pressure-treated wood list.

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  • Waterproof
  • Fully transparent
  • Trusted name brand
  • UV Resistant and durable
  • Very thick and must be applied carefully

5. Cabot Semi-Solid Deck and Siding Stain

Cabot 140.0001480.007 Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain, Gallon, Redwood

This stain has been uniquely formulated to help it last longer even when exposed to the elements and harsh conditions. The stain is deep penetrating, and you’re left with a semi-solid finish that allows a little bit of the existing color and texture of the wood to show through.

In terms of UV resistance, Cabot makes one of the best products in the industry. The stain keeps your treated wood surfaces from fading away or from any visible damages. It claims to only need one coat, but we’ve found that’s not always the case. It really depends on the color you’ve chosen, the existing color and condition of your deck, and how light or dark you want it to be when it’s done.

The Cabot stain is ideal for any treated wood surfaces like decks, sidings, fencing, or other wood projects that need staining. 

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  • Gives a great texture to the wood
  • UV and mildew protection
  • Trusted name brand
  • Sold in a gallon and available in 10 colors
  • It’s not as durable as advertised and may need more than one coat

6. Olympic Maximum Stain + Sealant

Olympic Stain 79603 Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer, 1 Gallon, Solid Stain, Oxford Brown

Olympic Maximum features waterproofing protection, ensuring that the wood doesn’t get affected by water.  Apart from waterproofing, this stain also provides UV protection. Sun and water are the most damaging factors to your deck, and Olympic Maximum does an effective job at protecting against both. The stain is made to resist damage and strengthen the wood. It helps in reviving the good condition of the wood. 

You can choose if you want a clear waterproofing sealant, a semi-transparent stain, or a solid stain. The solid stain will not let much of the wood’s natural color will show through. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a color that matches the natural color of the wood to give it the best look. You can get the right one according to the type of wood you are trying to stain.

The stain seals your wood and keeps it protected from any damage. You can apply the stain in most temperatures and weather conditions. It’s always ready to be used.

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  • Weather ready applicant
  • UV and mildew protection
  • Can be used on any wood surfaces
  • Retains beauty of the wood
  • It takes a long time to dry

Why Stain Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood or lumber is essential in situations where moisture could be an issue, including all outdoor structures. But you may be wondering why stain or seal the wood when it’s already built to protect itself? And what are features to consider when looking for the best deck stain for pressure-treated wood?

By staining the treated wood, is a necessary step that takes the protection to the next level. The three major reasons for staining/sealing are:

  1. For Waterproofing. The treated wood is protected from damage by the weather internally, but the weather will impact the external surface of the wood. It’s necessary to stain the treated wood to keep it protected on the outside too. By taking care of your deck with one of the best stains for pressure-treated wood, you’re sealing the treated wood securely, so it stays unaffected by all kinds of weather.
  2. Keeping the Chemicals Sealed: Treated wood contains chemicals that protect it from getting decayed or influenced by other factors. But as time goes by, these chemicals need to be sealed. The arsenic chemicals present on treated wood are toxic, so it’s necessary to periodically stain the wood to keep these chemicals secured inside the wood. While new treated wood needs to be stained to keep it from the adverse effects of the weather, it’s crucial to stain the pressure-treated wood as it gets older. 
  3. Improving the Color: While at it, it’s great to give your treated wood a good color. The stain makes your deck look very elegant. The tint revives the appearance of the wood, giving it a much newer or younger appearance. Even old wood decks can look amazing if they’re well cared for.

While we understood the need to stain the wood, there’s now a need to find the best stain. Getting the right stain for the treated wood ensures that your deck will maintain the appearance you want, while also being able to withstand whatever weather conditions it faces. By using the stains covered in this article, you’ll be able to have a deck you can be proud of.

Related: Best Pool Deck Paint: Give Your Pool A Cool Look

What Are the Different Types of Deck Stains?

Stain adds a colorant to the wood. Different types of stains do their job differently. Let’s look at the types of stains.

1. Oil Stain

Oil stains are widely available. The amount of all-natural, non-toxic linseed oil allows the stain to be uniform and will bring consistency to the paint. 

Staining with oil is much easier, and so it’s ideal for large wood projects.  Oil stains take about 1 or 2 hours to dry. 

You can find an all-natural oil stain, or you can also find the ones that have varnish or synthetic pigment in them.

2. Varnish

A varnish stain can dry hard. Even if you use a lot of varnish oil stain, you can wait until it seeps into the wood and becomes even. 

You’ll need to give enough coating for varnish to have a good finish. Varnish is ideal for covering small surfaces.

3. Water-Based Stain

Another stain that’s extremely common is water-based. Water-based stain is easy to clean up and use. It’s safer than most other stains.

The only drawback about this is that it might take longer for application. Even if you want to prepare the wood beforehand, applying a water-based stain can be time-consuming.

4. Gel Stain

Gel stains are thick. It can be challenging to apply gel stains, but they go on thicker and cover more sufficiently. If you find an improper coating, you can recoat the surface and fix it. 

Most of the time, the wood needs to be prepped before applying the gel stain. Staining wood like pine can be very difficult, and that’s when you can turn to gel stains.

5. Lacquer Finish

The lacquer stains also dry faster, like varnish. They dry in about 15 minutes making them a great choice for woodworkers. When you can finish the staining task as quickly as that, why not choose it?

This stain is best for professional woodworkers only and for large wood projects that need to be finished in no time. The stain gives a pungent smell that might cause dizziness.

6. Metalized Dye Stain

These were said to be designed to protect surfaces from fading. Metals are added to the stain to make it powerful and resistant.

It was seen that the metalized dye stain also tends to fade away slowly as time passes. It’s best to use these stains as sprays. They dry quickly and are easier to handle. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the common questions related to staining wood decks.

How Many Coats of Stain are Ideal?

Ideally, 2-3 coats should be enough with almost any stain. Some stains claim to require only a single coat, but that may not always be true. It also depends on how dark you want the color to be.

Is Sanding Necessary?

Not usually. If there are very rough spots where the wood is damaged or old stain or paint is peeling, sanding in those specific areas before applying the stain will help to improve the results. However, in general, most stains can be applied to the wood without prior treatment by sanding.

Does the Stain Darken After It Dries?

It depends on which stain you’re using. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions. Some stains will darken a bit after a few days or a few weeks. If the instructions do not indicate this, the stain you’re using probably will not darken.

How Long Does It Take for the Stain to Dry?

It depends upon the kind of stain you applied. Some stains take about 24 to 48 hours to dry, while some dry within hours. Metal-complex stains dry faster than any other type of stains.

How Long to Wait for the Next Coat of Stain?

This also depends upon the stain you’re using. If the wood absorbs the stain quickly, then it can dry within a few hours. Check the product label or instructions from the manufacturer. 

Is Wood Stain Hazardous?

Some products are safer than others. All stains on the market should be safe for adults if used as instructed. However, some stains go the extra step of being safe for humans, pets, and the environment. If you’re using a stain that contains volatile organic compounds (VOC), it’s best to wear a mask while applying the stain.

Final Thoughts on the Best Deck Stain for Pressure-Treated Wood

Applying stain or sealer is an important step in the maintenance of a wood deck. Your deck can last for many years if it’s properly maintained. This step of applying stain will help you to have a beautiful outdoor space while also saving you money in the long run.

Choosing the right product can be a difficult task, but since we’ve shown you the best deck stain for pressure-treated wood, that decision should be much easier. All of the products covered here are among the best in the industry, so it’s simply a matter of choosing the one that meets your needs the best.

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