Best Deck Stain Sealer

We can all agree that preserving our outdoor space means finding the perfect deck stain sealer and that length of time between reapplications, ingredients used, and whether it was oil or water based were most important in making that choice.

That was our top criteria for selecting the best deck stain sealer.

If you are ready to get moving with “all hands on deck”, then Thompsons Water Seal Natural Wood Protector scored high above the rest of the sealers we tested and is our top pick.

stainer
12 mins to read
56 products considered
15 products reviewed
36 hours reviewing

Top 10 Deck Stain Sealers

PictureSealerProtection (Years)Coverage Area (sq ft)
Thompsons2200

TriCoPolymer
5400

OLYMPIC
3350

Tall Earth
5200

Ready Seal
5400

Woodlife Classic
31,000

Defy
2150

One Time
7200

Flood
2200

Superdeck
3200

1. Thompsons

Best Overall Deck Stain Sealer

5/5 Product Rating
Thompsons is a well known name in stains and sealers.

This Advanced Natural Wood Protector helps protect your decks and porches from UV damage, fading, rotting and it resists mildew and mold growth as well.

This water-based product can be cleaned up easily with soap and water.

It is one of the best waterproofers and sealers you can put on your deck.

It won’t take you long to apply Thompsons; you can apply it to your decks whether they are wet or dry and it takes just one coat.

This maximum strength deck stain sealer will keep your deck looking beautiful and will prevent wood deterioration that can result in splinters, warping and other problems.

This clear coat will not alter the color of your wood so the beauty can shine through.

2. TriCoPolymer

Best Non-Toxic Deck Stain Sealer

4.9/5 Product Rating
You will be able to protect and waterproof your deck with TriCoPolymer Lumber Seal. This product is VOC free and is non-toxic as well.

Apply this sealer to your deck and protect it from mold, rain, sun, pests and decay. Cleans up easily with soap and water.

You can use Lumber Seal on all types of hardwoods and softwoods whether green or dry. This product will cover 3-400 square feet.

You can also use this product on porches, fences gazebos, trellises and more.

You’ve spent a lot of money to create a beautiful outdoor space; protect it from damage, warping and other problems by putting a good sealer on it.

The coated deck will allow any of the excess moisture that ends up on the deck to pass out of the wood, through the sealer. Lumber seal dries completely clear and will keep the deck looking beautiful for years to come.

3. OLYMPIC

Best Waterproofing Deck Sealer

4.7/5 Product Rating
Olympic is another well known name in the sealer and stain industry as well as paint.

This quality water sealer will help you protect your deck from water damage, UV damage, fading, rotting, mildew and mold.

This sealer is easy to use and will last up to 3 years between sealants.

This product is 100% VOC compliant in all areas of the United States.

This clear sealer is for exterior use and is oil based as well.

Protecting your deck has never been easier than it is with Olympic Clear Max Water Sealer. Your deck will look great year after year and when it is time to reapply, you will find have a much easier time resealing because there will be no major wood repairs to make due to water damage.

Deck Stain Sealer Comparison


Thompsons
View

TriCoPolymer
View

OLYMPIC
View

Tall Earth
View

Ready Seal
View

Woodlife Classic
View

Defy
View

One Time
View

Flood
View

Superdeck
View
Protection
(Years)
2 5 3 5 5 3 2 7 2 3
Quantity
(gallon)
1 1 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 1
Coverage
Area
(sq ft)
200 400 350 200 400 1,000 150 200 200 200
Shade Natural
Wood 
Clear
Satin
Wood
Light Warm
Mellow
Red 
Pail
Dark
Walnut
Natural
Wood
Clear Golden
Honey
Clear
Wood
Heart
Redwood

 

Deck Stain Sealer Buying Guide

Deck Stain Sealer Reviews

Things to Consider

deck-stain-sealer2There are many things that you will need to take into consideration before you start searching for the right deck stain sealer. Factors that you will need to look at include:

  • Location of your deck
  • The type of wood the deck is made of
  • How much sun the deck gets

If your deck is in a high sun area for extended periods of time, you will want to look for an oil based sealer because they penetrate deeper and offer more protection because of that; they also last longer. Redwood and cedar don’t need sealers due to the type of wood they are.

They are not usually prone to the same problems as other wood. Sealers will help the wood maintain its natural color rather than turning dark or gray. It also prevents the wood from getting wet and then drying out repeatedly which can cause the wood to warp.

Types of Sealers

There are several different kinds of sealers on the market that do different things. We have listed the different wood sealers below so you can see the differences between them and figure out which one fits your needs the best.

  • Water Repellant Sealers – There are several things that this type of sealer can do for you. It will form a protective coating on the wood and protect it from stains, wear and water damage as well.
  • Water repellant Wood Preservatives Water repellant wood preservatives also protect your deck against decay and rot because it prevents fungus, mold, and mildew from growing and causing tons of problems with the wood of your deck. It can also possible protect against some of the wood eating bugs that can damage your deck as well. This type of sealer is EPA registered.
  • Wood Toners – Wood toners are water repellants with a tint. They protect your deck by adding UV protection from the sun. This added protection comes from the darker tint of the sealer. Darker tones provide more protection from the sun than light colored wood. Wood toners can be applied right over the top of previously painted surfaces.

Types of Deck Sealers

There are two basic types of deck sealers. We’ve listed some help information about these two types below.

Oil Based –There are several advantages to using an oil based sealer. They protect your deck by penetrating the wood deeper and are extremely durable. They also provide a thicker seal that prevents many different kinds of damage. Oil based sealers require more time to dry which will provide an even finish. They also require solvents to be cleaned up and can have harmful odors or fumes.

Water Based – The advantages to using a water-based sealer include the fact that they dry quickly. It is extremely easy you clean up (soap and water) and resists mold and mildew. Water based sealers also don’t have the chemicals and dangers that oil based sealers can have such as being flammable or having a harmful odor or fumes.

deck-stain-sealer1The three sealers listed below can either be oil based or water based depending on what options the manufacturer offers.

Clear Finish – Depending on the clear finish your purchase, it may allow the wood to naturally gray while maintaining structural integrity, or it may preserve the natural color of the deck.

Semi- Transparent – This type of sealer has a little bit of a tint or color to it and offers UV protection. It adds some color but allows the grain of the wood to show through the sealer.

Solid Color – This will provide you with the best protection against any UV rays but it keeps the natural look of the wood intact. It is very important that the deck be thoroughly cleaned before sealer is added. If not you will seal the dirt to the deck and it will show.

Penetrating sealers prevent the wood from cracking and splintering. It will say penetrating on the can or bottle of sealer so you know you have the right kind. The best time to seal the deck is soon after it is built. Reapplication will normally be about every 3-5 years or as needed. A high quality deck stain sealer will help extend the life of the deck and there will be more time between reapplications.

Getting the Deck Ready for Application or Reapplication

Your deck will start to degrade quickly if it is left exposed to moisture and sun. By not treating your deck you are leaving it open to turn gray. Another potential and likely problem that can arise from leaving the deck untreated is that the boards can warp, cup or split. Take care of business and seal the deck and you will not have to worry about any of those things.

When you are getting ready to seal your deck there are three basic steps that you will need to follow that will make the sealing go smoothly.

  • Step 1 – remove the old stain or coatings
  • Step 2 – clean the wood and prepare it for sealing
  • Step 3 – Seal the Wood

If the deck has not been sealed before there will be no stripping step involved. New wood has some pre stain preparation that needs to be done. Don’t make the mistake of sealing the deck too soon. It needs to weather for a few months before you seal it.

New boards have a very high moisture content and since the surface is very smooth because of milling. This will prevent the sealer from being able to properly penetrate the wood of the deck.

deck-stain-sealer3Do a water test to see whether the deck has previous sealer on it. The water test is very easy. Just put a few drops of water on the deck in various places and see if they seep into the wood or they remain on top, beaded up. This will need to be done in several places.

Conclusion

The importance of sealing your deck is very clear. If you don’t seal it, it will wear out much faster and have to be replaced. Keep up with the maintenance your deck requires and you will not have to do much maintenance at all.

With all of the different kinds of sealers on the market, knowing some specifics that will help you sort through all of the varieties and select the right deck stain sealer for your needs. A good quality sealer will save you lots of money in repair or replacement costs and will keep your deck looking fantastic.

Resources

  1. Thompsons – http://www.thompsonswaterseal.com/home
  2. Olympic – https://www.olympic.com/