Best Deck Stain and Sealer 2024  4.9/5 (25)

This post was updated on May 11, 2024

I am Scott Paul, a leading exterior restoration contractor and business owner with over 30 years of experience in exterior wood. My reviews and help tips are based on my history as a wood restoration contractor and actual hands-on testing, all designed to present you with the top product choices. See here for more info about me.

Best Deck Stain and Sealer

See my Deck Stain Facts section, which contains over 150 simple Q&A articles that answer all your questions about deck staining.

Best Deck Stain and Sealer

DeckStainHelp.com is the most informative website dedicated to exterior wood deck restoration. My 30+ years in the business and many 10,000 decks restored have made me one of the top experts on which deck stain brands work well in 2024!

Here is a list of my top Wood and Deck Stains, considering the different stains available, such as transparent, semi-transparent, semi-solid, and solid stains.

My Best Deck Stains and Sealers are

  • Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Stain
  • TWP 100 Series
  • Restore-A-Deck Solid Stain
  • TWP Pro-Series Semi-Solid Stain
  • Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid Stain
  • TWP 1500 Series
  • Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain
  • Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain
  • Gulf Synthetics Deck Revive

See below for more information on each brand.

There are many different brands and types of deck stains available today. Not all brands and types are the same, so I have compiled a detailed list below to help you determine your needs and expectations. The deck stain and sealer ratings below are based on my reviews from using the products in the field, and we have also included the Consumer Star Ratings from other users who have posted. Please review each product for additional information and feedback on each product tested.

TWP 100 Pro Series – Best Overall Semi-Transparent Deck Stain and Sealer

TWP Stain ReviewsWhere To Find: TWP 100 Pro Series
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Transparent Oil-Based Stain. Full-curing EPA Registered Stain. 10 semi-transparent colors. Easy to apply. Excellent mildew resistance.
Cons: Only Available in 35 States.
Consumer Star Ratings:   4.5/5 (41)
DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.69
See My Review Article Here: TWP 100 Series Review

Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent – Best Damp Application Deck Stain and Sealer

Restore A Deck Wood Stain ReviewWhere To Find On Google: Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Stain
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Transparent Water-Based. Damp Wood Application – It can be applied the same day as the prep. Easy water clean-up. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada. Excellent mildew resistance.
Cons: Only 5 colors.
Consumer Star Ratings:   4.6/5 (50)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.625
See My Review Article Here: Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Review

How To Restore Your Deck All in One Day – DeckStainHelp.com

Restore-A-Deck Solid Color Deck Stain – Best Solid Color Deck Stain and Sealer

Restore A Deck Solid Color Stain Review

Where To Find On Google: Restore-A-Deck Solid Stain
Pros: Solid Color (Opaque) Wood Stain – Water Based, Stocked colors without custom mixing. Damp Wood Application – We can apply it the same day as the prep. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada.
Cons: None that I know of.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.8/5 (8)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.6
See My Review Article Here: Restore-A-Deck Solid Stains

TWP Pro-Series Semi-Solid Stain – Best New Semi-Solid Deck Stain and Sealer

TWP Stain Reviews

TWPStain.com Website: TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Solid Oil-Based. Full Curing Wood and Deck Stain. 30 Custom-made semi-solid colors. Easy to apply. Excellent mildew resistance. Clean and recoat as needed for maintenance. Based on the TWP 100 Series, it has been around for 25+ years.
Cons: Newer to market, so might be hard to find. Only available in 35 States.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.9/5 (6)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
See My Review Article Here: TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series Review

Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid Stain – Best Semi-Solid Deck Stain and Sealer

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain RatingWhere To Find On Google: Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid
Pros: Easy to apply. One coat coverage for semi-solid. Paraffin and Curing Oil Blend. Full Curing Stain. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada.
Cons: It cannot be applied to new wood unless it is aged for 1 year. It can take a few days or longer to cure fully.
Consumer Star Ratings:   4.4/5 (62)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
See My Review Article Here: Armstrong Clark Stain Review

TWP 1500 Series Semi-Transparent – Best VOC Compliant Deck Stain and Sealer

TWP 1500 Series RatingWhere To Find: TWP 1500 Series
Pros: Complaint in all 50 States. Penetrating Semi-Transparent Oil-Based. Complete Curing EPA Registered Stain. EPA Registered Wood Preservative
Cons: Takes longer to dry than the TWP 100 Series
Consumer Star Ratings:   4.6/5 (21)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
See My Review Article Here: TWP 1500 Series Review

Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain – Best Mildew Resistant Deck Stain and Sealer

Defy Extreme Stain Review

Where To Find: Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Transparent Water-Based. Nano-technology for deep penetrating. Zinc oxide prevents mildew better than most brands. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada.
Cons: It can be more complex to apply than other brands.
Consumer Star Ratings:   4.1/5 (55)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.47
See My Review Article Here: Defy Extreme Stain Review

Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain – Best Hardwood Deck Stain and Sealer

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain RatingWhere To Find: Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Transparent, Oil-Based. Paraffin and Curing Oil Blend. Full Curing Stain. Works best on exotic hardwoods and IPE. They are allowed in all 50 States and Canada.
Cons: Only 3 colors.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.6/5 (14)
My DeckStainHelp.com Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.60
See My Review Article Here: Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Review

Gulf Synthetics Deck Revive – Best Deck Resurfacer Type Stain and Sealer

Gulf Synthetics Deck Revive Review

Where To Find: Gulf Synthetics Deck Revive
Pros: Unlimted colors. Fixes old neglected decks by adding an acrylic polymer coating that lasts for many years. It is the only Deck Resurface product on the market that works.
Cons: Expensive (but worth it)
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.8/5 (71)
See My Review Article Here: Gulf Synthetics Deck Revive Review

Best Deck Stain and Sealer Photos

The Best Deck Stain and Sealer Video – DeckStainHelp.com


Do you have any questions as to what brand of stain you should use on your deck?

Please ask below, I am here to help!

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

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Shahin Ahdieh
Shahin Ahdieh
1 month ago

Thoughts on Seal Once Marine for a brand new composite Dock on a Lake with lots of sun and rain in summer and lots of snow in winter … any other suggestions please . Thanks

Shahin Ahdieh
Shahin Ahdieh
1 month ago

My deepest apologies, i meant preasure treated wood dock … any recomendations on water based sealant .Thank you very much

Jessica
Jessica
7 months ago

I’m surprised Olympic sealer got a high rating (in some tests). I used Olympic Wood Protector Semi-transparent Stain last October after preparing deck as recommended. The peeling and damage to deck boards was worse than any other product I’ve used over the years. This is a deck that gets minimal use and I was really disappointed that I have to do the staining/sealing all over again this year.

Steve
Steve
8 months ago

Hi there, I recently stained and sealed my deck with C2 Guard Waterproofer. I followed the directions on how to apply it (not in direct sunlight, two coats wet on damp, deck was dry to start) and prepped the deck boards with a scrub down of sodium percarbonate, then pressure washed and rinsed. The deck seems to never have been sealed before and before I started it was grey weathered pressure treated pine. Looked like drift wood. I let it dry for a couple of days and it was a pale yellow pine color. The stain color was great when applying but after it completely dried it seems to have soaked in too much. Most of the color is gone and after it rained the water seems to seep deep into the boards. It brings back the color I want but after it dries it’s pale again. Looks like it’s also not working as a waterproofer. Any ideas on what to do next? Ignore the pressure treated pale boards as I they are new and I will only treat them next year.

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Steve
Steve
8 months ago

Thanks for the reply Scott. Will do. If I can’t sort it out with them I’ll switch to one of your supported products.

Randy Stiffler
Randy Stiffler
10 months ago

My deck is 24 years old and somewhat weathered as seen in photos. I’m trying to decide between semi-transparent oil and semi-solid oil stains. Will the semi solid fill the cracks at all or offer more protection? Water based olympic was used in the past.

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David
David
10 months ago

I purchased a newly constructed home in 2020 in Southern California close to the beach. I have 2,200 SF of decks made with Philippine Mahogany (marketed as Kayu Mahogany). The builder told me he bleached and stained the wood and then applied a water-based, outdoor, satin polyurethane clear-coat. It had a lovely light grey appearance. However, the decks started to peel after just a few months. I want to refinish the decks using the very best process and materials available. Three products have surfaced from my research: Penofin Architectural Grade, Messmers UV Protection Plus for Hardwood Decks, and Armstrong Clark Hardwood/Ipe Stain. Which product do you recommend most highly for my decks? Do you have suggestions for how to best prepare the decks for a new stain? Thank you, in advance, for your advice.

Debbie
Debbie
11 months ago

we are building are large deck with pressure treated wood and want to stain it prior to laying the boards. I am looking at your videos and it says NOT to stain prior to 3 months. We are going to be putting a large 11×14 gazebo on the deck so that is why i wanted to stain before the 3 month period. Do you think it would cause problems for the wood? I also live in Canada and the weather will start to become cooler once September comes

Sasha
Sasha
11 months ago

Hi.
What is the best product for a deck in California that bakes in the sun all day?
Thank you!

Last edited 11 months ago by Sasha
chas
chas
11 months ago

Pressure washed 8 year old yella wood deck in Ga. what is the best semi-transparent sealer? Behr didn’t last long from previous treatment. Is new Behr any better?

Denise
Denise
11 months ago

I have sanded paint off a small front porch and small back deck, both with stairs. However, I was unable to remove the paint in tight corners, hard to reach places, and the little holes in the treated wood. Please help me to know what to use to protect the wood. I do not want to ever do all this sanding again. Will stain cover where the paint is? Do I need to use a solid stain instead of semi-transparent? After all this work, I want it to look good. The color of the deck was an aqua blue. Thank you for any help you can give me.

Denise
Denise
11 months ago

Thank you for responding. I have tried pressure washing, stripper, and sanding by hand, but have not had any success removing these areas.

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Sandi
Sandi
1 year ago

Can I put a coat of cabot gold over a coat of Australian Timber Oil without a problem occurring?

Susan Priano
Susan Priano
1 year ago

Currently refinishing a port Orford cedar deck in Berkeley, CA (northern CA). Have used Cabot before VOC reformulation and SuperDeck or Duckback on another older Redwood deck.
What are your recommendations?

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Gary Holland
Gary Holland
1 year ago

Scott, I have cedar siding on my house and we live in the mountains of Utah, so lots of sun, less rain. The wood was dipped prior to construction 20 years ago and was restained 10 years ago and is pretty dry, we have used Duck back stain red cedar color, I honestly don’t know if it’s oil based or water based, it looks great in the area not in direct sun but weathered in the sun areas. It doesn’t seem to peel or have any residue that needs cleaning, it may have been power washed prior to staining 10 years ago, but I’m not sure. Should it be washed and what type of stain would you recommend I’ll send pictures.

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Paul
Paul
1 year ago

Is a sealer not a superior waterproofing product as opposed to just a stain? Most products sold in home depot in Canada are stain and sealer combo products. But the focus on this site seems to be stains only, and they are described as sealers as well, but not when going to manufacturer website for ie. Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain, it is just a stain. I’m trying to get the best protection and am confused. Thx!

ken
ken
1 year ago

Considering using TWP products for a deck project (~300 sq ft [doug fir?] 10+y/o, stripped & sanded). However, I am looking for clarification about your relationship(s) with your top picks TWP & RAD as you all seem to do business out of the same location.

Anne
Anne
2 years ago

What clear water based sealer is good for older wooden decks that can be applied after power washing

Anne
Anne
2 years ago

Thank you, is it water soluble non toxic?

Cathryn Ramin
Cathryn Ramin
2 years ago

I have a brand new smooth high end redwood deck, half of which is in full Sun. I plan to let it cure 1-2 months. We are in the Bay Area-SF -can be damp, can be very dry. What is the best option for staining? Ideally, beautiful redwood will be visible. Family has small kids, so limited time for retaining.

April
April
2 years ago

I am in Ontario we stain our deck with Beauti Tone Wood Shield Best.100% Acrylic Deck & Siding Semi Transparent Stain..It looked really nice when it was dry. But as soon you walk on it with our bare feet it is so hot and if your feet is wet coming out from the pool it is very slippery.. Plus when it snow a little on in it is very slippery too. .. So like to cover it over this spring so it isn’t slippery and very hot on bare feet So I am wondering what you recommend so our grandkids and us won’t burn or fall this summer on our deck..

Tori
Tori
2 years ago

I am in Florida, lots of mildew. I have raw wood that was sanded down two years ago. I would like to protect the deck. I would like something that will not require long term care. Also, something that will not be slippery from humid conditions, have dogs and older person to consider. Is there such a product?

Rob
Rob
2 years ago

Hey DS Help Team!

Very much appreciated for all of the support and info you put out there!

I’m planning on building a small 12′ x 12′ entry deck. The deck will be partial sun and partial shade. I’m in Southern California so it’s usually dry but we do see some moisture through the winter months. I’m planning on either clear Cedar or select heartwood Redwood. I love the natural yet subdued warmth these woods offer – I don’t particularly care for that hotter/yellow look that comes with staining.

I want to preserve the natural grain and tone of the wood while not shooting myself in the foot for future maintenance. I had been leaning towards an oil based UV protective sealer until I found your site and figured maybe a semi-transparent oil or water based product may be better.

I probably wouldn’t mind having to re-apply something every year or two but I would like to avoid stripping and sanding in the future.

Any specific tips you all could offer?

Many thanks in advance!

R

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

I live near Baltimore Maryland and need to seal my new wood deck. It’s aged a few months, seems to be ready as water does not bead. Was considering transparent to keep the wood grain look. My concern is with how long transparent strains last. Recommendations? Lots of trees close by, if that makes a difference.
Thanks,
Mark

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

Read the article and watched the video. You recommend semi-transparent. We were thinking transparent , but not if it’s not going to do as well. Do transparent stains/sealers not protect as well? If so what aspect(s), e.g. UV protection etc. Thanks.

Jameswentworth
Jameswentworth
2 years ago

Cabot Deck Correct Ok never heard of the other brands

Darren Hughes
Darren Hughes
2 years ago

I live in Nixa Mo zip code 65714 near Springfield Mo. My deck is little over a year old. After only a year it turned grey. I used Thompson non stain sealer when I built it and I am disappointed it turned ugly grey. I have pressure washed the deck today and wood looks great again. What stain/sealer do you recommend. I do not want it to turn grey again. I understand I need to use a sealer with a stain to keep it from greying. I like the natural wood color though. It is just regular decking not cedar or composite. I am ok with little color if it will keep wood from turning grey. I like the idea of twp product of just cleaning and brightening every 2 years and just reapply the product. What suggestions do you have? Can you use the brightener and just reapply the restore a deck product? I don’ really understand the solid color restore a deck product. How is it different than the twp poduct stain. Sorry for all the questions but I put alot of work into the deck and cleaning it I do not want the same results I got with the Thompson junk product.

Linda Camlot
Linda Camlot
2 years ago

Need a semi transparent stain for an older treated spruce wood deck in Laurentian mountains 60 miles north of Montreal. There is a lot of snow in winter, on hot sunny side in summer ,about 30 feet from a lake. Most traffic on stairs down to lawn. The house is cedar as is the trim. The vertical trim for the deck could be stained a more opaque stain as it is not possible to sand down to natural base.Advice please and availability in Montreal area.

Linda Charles
Linda Charles
2 years ago
  1. Is Ready Seal a good product to use when sealing and staining a deck?
Janeen Bacon
Janeen Bacon
2 years ago

I have a redwood deck, 6 years old.
It has two year old stain ppg proluxe.
Thinking of trying an oil based stain again.
Do I need to sand it again? Or just clean and power wash it?

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Janeen Bacon
Janeen Bacon
2 years ago

Thanks! I can’t get any of these locally. Is there another brand you recommend that I can get in the Portland Oregon area?

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