If you’re looking to stain your deck, there’s certainly no shortage of options when it comes to stains.
But finding the right stain can be the difference from your wood lasting for a decade or needing to be re-sealed just a couple of years later. (No thanks!)
That’s why I tested some of the most popular deck stains for pressure treated wood to help you find the best option. Here are my favorites!
In a hurry? The best deck stain for pressure treated wood I recommend is the Seal Once Nano+Poly Wood Sealer. This is a great stain that adds superior protection to your wood that I’ve been using for years.
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- 30+ stains considered
- 9+ stains thoroughly vetted and hand tested
- 13+ data points and key considerations
Best Deck Stains for Pressure Treated Wood
- Seal-Once Nano+Poly Premium Wood Sealer – #1 Best Overall Deck Stain
- Defy Extreme Wood Stain – Highest Quality
- Thompson’s WaterSeal Wood Sealer – Best Budget Deck Stain
1. Seal-Once Nano+Poly Premium Wood Sealer – #1 Best Overall
Overall, Seal-Once Nano+Poly Premium Wood Sealer is the best deck stain for pressure-treated wood, helping to keep your deck looking great for years to come.
It’s an amazing water based sealer that looks beautiful with many different colors.
This sealer is made with a special blend of resins and oils that penetrate deep into the wood, creating a barrier that repels water, dirt, and other harmful contaminants.
It also contains UV inhibitors that protect wood from sun damage, and it won’t peel or flake like some other deck stains can. When applied correctly, this sealer will last for up to 10 years on horizontal surfaces or five years on vertical surfaces.
But given its long-lasting formula, you can expect to pay a bit more for this product than you would for many other deck stains. So be prepared to spend around $70 for a gallon of this premium sealer.
Seal-Once Nano+Poly Premium Wood Sealer is simple to apply and dries quickly, so you won’t have to wait long to enjoy your newly protected deck. It’s available in clear and tinted formulas, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Clear formula is ideal for decks that are already stained or sealed, and it won’t change the color of the wood.
The Bronze Cedar formula is perfect for pressure-treated wood that has not been stained or sealed, thus giving the wood a beautiful cedar color.
Coastal Gray is perfect for decks that are exposed to salt water or sun, helping to reduce fading and weathering.
And lastly, Natural is perfect for unfinished pressure-treated wood, giving the wood a warm, natural pine color.
2. Defy Ultra Wood Stain – Best Quality Deck Stain
Defy’s Ultra deck stain is a semi-transparent color stain that offers lasting protection for your pressure-treated wood deck. It contains zinc nano-particles that reflect UV rays, keeping your deck cooler and preventing fading.
This stain is also resistant to mold and mildew, making it ideal for high-humidity areas.
Where Defy really shines is its durability.
It can last up to three years without fade or wear, making it one of the greatest stains for longevity and vibrancy.
The results after application are stunning, with a beautiful rich color that really brings out the grain of the wood.
And because of its high-quality components, you don’t have to worry about it peeling or flaking like some other types of stain.
Defy uses a combination of synthetic and natural resins to create a stain that penetrates deeply into the wood fibers. This gives it superior resistance to wear and tear, as well as pesky UV rays that are often at the center of fading issues.
Many wood stains come in single colors or shades. But thanks to Defy Wood Stain’s robust selection of six different colors, it’s easy to find the perfect shade for your deck and other projects. Stain colors include:
- Cedar Tone
- Driftwood Gray
- Light Walnut
- Natural Pine
Because of the versatility of Defy’s Wood Stain, it can be used on a variety of different wood types, including:
- Douglas fir
- Southern yellow pine
- Red oak
- Ponderosa oak
Another benefit of this deck stain is that you’re not limited to pressure-treated decks only. You’re free to use Defy on any outdoor wood surface, including:
- Wood patio furniture
- Play sets
- Swing sets
- And much more
Regardless of what you use it on, Defy’s Wood Stain will protect your surface by staying put for years to come.
3. Thompson’s WaterSeal Wood Sealer – Best Budget Deck Stain
Looking for a great stain on a budget? Then Thompson’s WaterSeal Wood Sealer is for you!
This sealer will help to keep your wood looking great while also providing protection against weathering, water damage, and other wear and tear.
This sealer is designed to provide a clear finish that will not yellow over time. It is also resistant to mold and mildew, making it ideal for use in high-humidity areas.
Additionally, this sealer is easy to apply and dries quickly, so you can enjoy your newly pressure-treated wood surface in no time.
For the best results, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. With proper care and maintenance, your pressure-treated wood surfaces will continue to look great for years to come.
Some areas where Thompson’s WaterSeal Wood Sealer can be used:
- Play sets
- and more
Thanks to the versatility of Thompson’s WaterSeal Wood Sealer, you can rest assured that your pressure-treated wood surfaces will be well protected no matter where you use them.
Some of the benefits of using Thompson’s WaterSeal Wood Sealer are:
- It is a clear sealer that won’t yellow over time
- High mold and mildew resistance
- Easy application
- Dries quickly
- Optimal protection
- Can be used on a variety of surfaces
For many homeowners, the transparent formula will serve nicely. But for others, the lack of color options may be a drawback.
As long as you’re happy with the current stain or color of your wood, Thompson’s WaterSeal should work great on your pressure-treated lumber.
The clear finish does a great job of sealing and protecting the wood without altering its natural appearance.
4. SaverSystems #1 Deck Stain – Best for Fences
Another great water-based stain is SaverSystems’ #1 Deck Stain. While it’s not going to give the same level of protection as some of the others I’ve covered so far – it still does a great job and is perfect for fences.
This high-quality stain is specifically formulated to protect pressure-treated lumber from the elements while still allowing the wood’s natural beauty to shine through.
SaverSystems’ #1 Deck Stain is made with a unique blend of resins and oils that penetrates deep into the wood to provide lasting protection. The stain also contains UV blockers that help prevent fading and graying, so your pressure-treated deck will always look amazing.
Unlike other deck stains on the market, SaverSystems’ #1 Deck Stain will never peel or flake off.
It’s also highly resistant to mold and mildew, so you can rest assured that your deck will stay looking great for years to come.
When it comes to pressure-treated wood, SaverSystems’ #1 Deck Stain is easily among the best.
It’s easy to apply, long-lasting, and provides superior protection against the elements.
Aside from decks, some of this stain’s best uses include:
- Pressure-treated lumber
- Outdoor furniture
- Play sets
- Other outdoor wood surfaces
In addition to its versatile formula, this stain also comes in a variety of colors, thus adding to its versatility. You can choose from a range of semi-transparent and solid colors to find the perfect shade for your needs, such as:
- Light Walnut
- Dark Walnut
As anyone who has ever owned a pressure-treated deck can attest, the natural color of the wood can be quite unappealing to some.
In order to give your deck a more attractive appearance, you will need to apply a stain that has some color.
If you’re in the market for a high-quality deck stain that will protect your pressure-treated wood from the elements and provide a long-lasting finish, I highly recommend Ready Seal Wood Stain & Sealer.
This formula is designed specifically for pressure-treated wood, and it’ll help to extend the life of your deck while also providing an attractive finish.
Ready Seal Wood Stain & Sealer is a water-based product that contains no harmful chemicals or VOCs meaning it is safe for both humans and animals.
You’re sure to be impressed by the extensive selection of colors available whether you’re looking for a natural wood finish or something bolder and more vibrant, there is sure to be a color that meets your needs.
Colors offered include:
- Natural Cedar
- Burnt Hickory
- Golden Pine
- Dark Walnut
- Natural/Light Oak
- Mission Brown
- Light Oak
Even better, this formula is very easy to apply, providing a long-lasting finish that will protect your pressure-treated wood. Ready Seal Wood Stain & Sealer is also an excellent choice for people who are looking for a deck stain that is safe for the environment with minimal VOCs.
This product comes in both a 1-gallon or 5-gallon size, so you can choose the size that best meets your needs.
- Penetrating Formula Nourishes & Beautifies.
- Adds Subtle Color, Allowing the Beauty of the Wood Grain and Texture to Show Through.
- Premium Iron Oxide Pigments Add Beautiful, Natural Color.
As one of the highest-rated deck stains for pressure-treated wood, this oil-based product penetrates deep into the wood to protect it from water damage, UV rays, and the growth of mold and mildew.
It’s formulated with a unique blend of oils and resins that penetrate deep into the wood to provide superior protection, and it’s available in a natural cedar tone or a dark walnut stain. It is also formulated to reduce the amount of streaking that some stains can produce.
One of the standout features of Thompson’s WaterSeal Penetrating Timber Oil is that it only requires a single coat. That means you can save time and money on your deck staining project, and that the stain will last longer since there’s no need to reapply it as often.
This formula is also very easy to apply. You can use a brush, roller, or sprayer, and it dries in just four hours. Plus, it has a low odor, so you won’t have to deal with the strong fumes that are common with oil-based stains.
Your deck is sure to appreciate the triple blend of protection that this product offers. The unique oils serve to give your pressure-treated lumber much-needed nourishment, while the resins provide a durable barrier against water, sun, and mildew.
The waterproofing quality of this stain is also noteworthy. In fact, Thompson’s WaterSeal Penetrating Timber Oil carries a three-year waterproofing guarantee. That means you can have peace of mind knowing that your deck will be protected from the elements, no matter what the weather brings.
In addition, this stain is available in more than one color, enabling you to choose the perfect shade for your deck. These vibrant stain colors include:
Cabot gets the nod for making one of the better deck stains on the market. The brand is reputable and has a variety of products to choose from depending on the look you’re going for and the level of protection you need.
This particular oil-based stain is easy to apply, and it penetrates deep into the wood to protect it from the elements. It also has a rich, natural color that enhances the look of your deck or siding.
Cabot Deck & Siding Stain is also resistant to mildew and UV rays, so it will keep your deck looking great for years to come. This stain is available in a variety of colors, so you can choose the perfect shade for your home.
If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting deck stain, Cabot Deck & Siding Stain is hands-down one of the very best options available on the market today.
Thanks to its easy application, you can finish the job with minimal effort and fewer hassles compared to some of the other deck stains out there.
Available colors include:
- Cordovan Brown
- New Cedar
- New Redwood
- Mission Brown
- Driftwood Gray
What’s more, there are options in semi-solid, wood-toned, semi-transparent, solid, bleaching, and low VOC. This means you can find the right Cabot stain for any outdoor wood surface.
The high durability of Cabot’s deck stains stands out among the rest, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas or any place where your deck might see a lot of wear and tear.
As such, you can expect between two and five years of protection from this deck stain, depending on the severity of sunlight and weather exposure in your region.
For best results, Cabot recommends applying two coats of this deck stain to pressure-treated wood.
The first coat should be applied when the wood is dry, and the second coat can be applied after the first coat has had time to completely dry.
Cabot also recommends using a brush or roller to apply this deck stain, rather than a sprayer.
Applying the stain with a brush or roller will give you better coverage and ensure that the stain penetrates deep into the wood for maximum protection.
KILZ’s product is perfect for those who are looking to protect their investment and keep their deck looking great for years to come. KILZ Wood Stain is a water-based, acrylic formula that provides a durable, long-lasting finish.
The stain is easy to apply and will resist fading, cracking, and peeling. It is also mildew resistant. KILZ Wood Stain can be used on any exterior wood surface, including decks, porches, fences, siding, and trim.
What’s more, you can find the product in four different colors: Natural Cedar, Redwood, Honey Gold, and White. It’s backed by a three-year limited warranty, which is competitive and if you choose to use this stain on fences, the warranty is five years.
KILZ Wood Stain is a great choice for those who want a durable, long-lasting finish on their pressure-treated wood.
It easily stands up to the elements, ensuring that your investment gets the protection it deserves. For optimal results, you should apply two coats of this stain, allowing the first coat to dry fully before applying the second.
You can expect to get as much as 250 square feet of coverage from each gallon of this stain.
You’ll find that KILZ Wood Stain is an easy-to-use product that provides excellent coverage.
The versatility of this deck stain is sure to appeal to a wide range of customers, as it can be used on a variety of exterior wood surfaces.
And thanks to the 100% acrylic formula, this product works to fight wear from all kinds of weather conditions. It doesn’t matter if it’s blistering hot or freezing cold outside; this wood stain keeps your pressure-treated wood looking great.
- One Coat Protection Wood Stain – Complete one coat protection allows you to cover the surface in just one coat.
- Durable Wood Stain – Formula fortified with urethane and resists scratching & peeling
- Deck Stain With Waterproofing Technology – Advanced waterproofing technology to make sure your wood is protected from cracking or warping due to water
If you want a high-quality stain that can penetrate pressure-treated wood, Olympic Elite Stain is one of the better options on the market.
This product offers a high level of protection against water and UV damage while still allowing the wood to breathe.
The formula contains active mildewcides to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, and it can be used on both new and old decks. It’s available in Mountain Cedar and Natural colors, both of which will make your deck stand out.
This deck stain is designed to provide a durable finish that will last for years. It can be applied with a brush, roller, or sprayer. You’ll need to allow anywhere between 24 and 48 hours for it to dry fully.
Price-wise, Olympic Elite Stain is slightly higher than the norm for one gallon. But it’s reasonable compared to other stains, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Furthermore, you only need to apply a single coat of this product. This can save you time and money in the long run, as you won’t need to reapply as often as you would with other deck stains—especially those that require two coats.
Olympic Elite Stain is one of the single best stains for pressure-treated wood on the market at a reasonable price given its quality.
It’s important to note that while Olympic called this a “Woodland Oil” stain, it is not oil-based. If you require an oil-based stain, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Woodland Oil is merely the style of stain and has nothing to do with the base.
Aside from that one potentially confusing detail, this is an excellent product that will protect your pressure-treated wood deck and keep it looking great for years.
Top Reasons to Stain Your Deck
Protecting the wood from weathering and fading
One of the most prominent benefits of staining your deck is the added protection it provides against weathering and fading.
Stains help to block out the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause the wood to fade and deteriorate over time.
They also provide a barrier against moisture, helping to keep the wood from warping, cracking, or otherwise becoming damaged.
Enhancing the wood’s natural grain and color
In addition to the practical benefits, staining your deck can also add a touch of style and beauty.
There are many different wood stains you can choose from, each of which will enhance the wood’s natural grain and color in different ways.
Whether you want a rich, dark stain or a light, natural finish, there’s definitely a stain out there that will suit your needs.
Check out these best deck stains for old decks to give your space a new look!
Giving the wood a bit of extra protection from wear and tear
Wood decks can deal with heavy foot traffic, furniture, and more on a daily basis.
If you want to give your deck a bit of extra protection from all this wear and tear, staining it is a good way to do so.
A quality deck stain will create a tough, durable surface that will be able to withstand a lot of abuse. Just be sure to stain your deck during the right time.
Considerations When Buying a Wood Stains
Quality of the Stain
One of the most important considerations when buying a deck stain is the quality of the product.
There are plenty of low-quality stains on the market that simply don’t last as long or give your deck as much protection.
To spot a quality stain, look for one that is labeled as “UV resistant” and “mildew resistant.”
You can also choose from more reputable brands like Olympic, Behr, and Cabot.
Check out these best brushes for wood stain so you can get even coverage from your stain!
The color of your stain is another important consideration.
There are many different wood stains you can choose from, each of which will give your deck a different look.
If you want a natural look, you’ll want to choose a lighter stain.
But if you’re looking for something more dramatic, a dark stain will do the trick.
There are also different levels of transparency.
Some stains will completely opaque, while others, like a semi transparent stain, will allow some of the wood’s natural grain to show through.
Choose the level of transparency that will give you the appearance you’re looking for.
Type of Stain
There are two main types of deck stains: water-based and oil-based.
Water-based stains are easier to apply and clean up, but they don’t last as long as oil-based stains.
Oil-based stains last longer and provide more protection, but they can be more difficult to work with.
Type of Wood
Different types of wood will require different types of stains.
For example, pressure-treated wood is often treated with a chemical called chromate copper arsenate (CCA).
This chemical can make it difficult for some stains to penetrate and adhere to the wood.
If you’re staining pressure-treated wood, be sure to choose a stain that is specifically designed for that type of wood.
Other types of wood will allow for more flexibility when it comes to choosing a stain.
Some stains can be much more expensive than others.
Finding a quality stain doesn’t have to break the bank, but you may have to pay a bit more for a top-of-the-line product.
When it comes to deck stains, you usually get what you pay for but there are some great deck stains for those on a budget.
Some stains are easier to apply than others.
If you’re not experienced in staining decks, you may want to choose a product that is easy to apply and doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge.
When staining pressure treated wood, be sure not to stain it too soon or you could cause problems down the road.
The amount of stain you’ll need will have an impact on which stain you’ll end up choosing.
Be sure to calculate the square footage of your deck to determine how much stain you’ll need to buy.
Oil-based stains can be harmful to the environment and are not as easy to dispose of.
If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option, water-based stains are a better choice.
Additionally, stains will contain harmful chemicals known as VOCs.
Be sure to choose a product with low VOCs to keep your family and pets safe.
How to Stain Your Deck: Step by Step
Choose Your Stain
Choosing the right stain is a critical step in staining your deck.
As we mentioned before, there are many different types, colors, and brands of stains to choose from.
Do your research and choose the option that is best for your deck.
Prep Your Wood
First, you’ll need to clean your wood and remove any existing stains or sealants.
You can do this by using a power washer, deck cleaner, or sandpaper.
If you’re staining a deck with peeling paint or old stain, you’ll need to remove as much of the old finish as possible.
Once your wood is clean and dry, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
TIP: Never stain damp wood.
Stir & Shake Stain
Before you begin the staining process, be sure to stir and shake your stain well.
This will help to ensure that the color is evenly distributed to give you a proper finish.
If you have a paint stick, you can use it to stir the stain.
Finally, it’s time to start the staining process.
To do this, you’ll need a paintbrush or roller specifically designed for use with stains.
Start by applying the stain to the edge of your deck and then work your way in.
Be sure to cover the entire surface of the wood.
TIP: If you’re working in direct sunlight, be sure to apply a thicker coat of stain to prevent the color from drying too quickly.
Let it Dry
Once you’re finished, let the stain dry completely before walking on it or applying a sealant.
Need more help? Check out the video below!
Using a stain on your pressure treated wood is essential to protect it from the elements so it will last for years to come.
Ultimately, the best deck sealer for pressure treated wood is the Seal-Once Nano+Poly Premium Wood Sealer for several reasons.
It’s one of the highest quality stains you can find at a reasonable price. Because the process of staining a deck can be so cumbersome, I recommend using a quality product so you don’t have to do it again anytime soon.