Best Stain for New Cedar Deck 2024  4.8/5 (116)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Best Stain for New Cedar Deck

We appreciate you visiting Deckstainhelp.com, your go-to source for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics through 2024. If you are looking for honest deck stain ratings, look no further. In this updated article, we offer suggestions for how to best prepare and stain a new cedar deck. Feel free to leave a comment below.

My Best New Wood Deck Stain

Water-Based

My Best Applying New

Wood Deck Stain 

My Best New Wood Deck Stain

Oil-Based 

Months to Weather New Wood:

3 months for both semi-transparent and solid stain colors.

Months to Weather New Wood:

2-3 months for transparent and semi-transparent colors. 12 months for semi-solid.

Months to Weather New Wood: 

4 - 12 months for all TWP Series and Colors.


What Stains Work Well on New Cedar Deck

New Cedar Wood Decking stains

New Cedar Wood

There are many different types of cedar used for exterior surfaces with Red Cedar being the most common. We recommend you wait 3+ months to stain new smooth cedar wood surfaces to allow the wood to weather, creating an ideal porous surface that will hold the stain better. (Always follow the stain brand’s directions, though). After the weathering, all new cedar wood should be cleaned and brightened for the prep. This will remove any oxidation and mill glaze.

New Rough Sawn Cedar Wood

Rough sawn wood is not used for horizontal decking surface, but rather verticals such as fencing, wood siding, etc. This side of the wood does not have a mill glaze and is very absorbent. As long as the wood has a low moisture content, it can be stained right away.

Many wood stains have difficulty penetrating new dense woods like cedar. If a stain does not penetrate the wood it will remain on the surface and become susceptible to peeling and flaking. The best wood stains for new cedar are deep penetrating paraffinic oil-based stains that are thinner in viscosity. Stains for new cedar wood should dive deep into the wood to condition the wood cells and provide protection from UV fading and moisture damage.

We like a couple of different stains for new cedar wood. One is Armstrong Clark Wood Stain. It is composed of both drying and non-drying oils that break apart from one another throughout the application process. The non-drying oils dive into the new cedar to condition the wood’s cellular structure while the separated drying oils cure on the exposed surface to not only lock in the conditioning oils but to protect the surface from natural weather exposure.

Another similar stain best for new cedar wood is Timber Oil Brand. This is a paraffin oil-based wood and deck stain that penetrates deep into new cedar wood and decks. This cedar stain conditions the wood cells while providing water and UV protection. The Timber Oil brand promises ease of application of good penetration into new decking.

Prepping new cedar wood is important to stain life and performance. New cedar wood should be cleaned using a sodium percarbonate wood cleaner to remove mill glaze and other contaminants that may have infiltrated the wood during construction.

Once the new cedar wood has been cleaned the wood will appear darker. While the wood is still wet, apply a wood brightener to restore the cedar wood’s original color. Brightening wood after it has been cleaned will also open the wood pores to allow the conditioning oils to penetrate better.

Proper cleaning and brightening will ensure the best stain for new cedar wood will perform as expected and provide lasting beauty.

Staining a New Deck Tips Video – DeckStainHelp.com

Questions? Please Ask Below

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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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Jane
Jane
15 days ago

Hello!

My general question is:
Do we need to wait 3 months (depending on our area) to stain the brand new vertical cedar trim and rail caps we will be having installed on our deck later this month?

Details:
Our cedar and trex deck is 25 years old; it is south facing but only about 1/3 of the deck floor gets sun because of area trees.
It has cedar trimmed glass panels with a cedar cap rail;
We have a walk out basement so there is a full (horizontal) cedar slat/board wall that covers the gap to your left as you go down the cedar stairs to ground level.

This month (May) we are replacing all the cedar ONLY.

The trex deck surface, trex stair treads, joists, posts etc. are all fine still – just the cedar is weak in spots.

Ideally, our contractor would stain all the new cedar trim first, then cut it to size and install- touching up any exposed cut ends as needed.

I can see not staining a large flat surface like the entire deck floor for a few months but is it also a bad idea to not wait on the many small, vertical pieces too?? (though the slat wall is quite large though vertical)

And/or could/should we still do the ‘water pooling’ test on the trim pieces? Stain if it is not pooling?

Thanks for answering the same question a zillionth time! I’ve read so many opinions- getting confused!

(for what it is worth – based on your info. – I am leaning towards TWP 100 pro series or 1500!)

Chris
Chris
8 months ago

New cedar deck in full sun all day. What deck sealer would you recommend to help protect from uv and high humidity? We are in Iowa so we get hot, humid summers and cold winters.

Caleb Fritz
Caleb Fritz
9 months ago

Getting ready to build a new covered front porch with cedar decking boards for the flooring. It will be new cedar wood, kiln dried. I’m at that point where I’ve probably read TOO much and am tired of reading and just need to make a decision. Found my way here…what is the step by step process you would recommend? Should I stain before installing or just wait until after installing the boards? Is weathering necessary on kiln dried cedar? Are wood cleaners and brighteners necessary on new cedar wood? And what stain is best for cedar decking boards? I had used Defy Extreme on my flower window boxes that I made and really liked the Butternut color. I was planning on using this exact stain and color on the cedar floor to match the window boxes but then read water-based stain is not good for smooth wood like cedar?!? Alas, information overload is setting in! Please help and thank you!

Benjamin
Benjamin
10 months ago

I have a big cedar deck that I inherited, the planks are soft and screws are popping out, it does not look good anymore. I want to replace the wood in stages so we can use the deck this summer.
My question is; if I want to stain the wood should I stain the bottom of the new planks before installing them? I live in northern Ontario, it is very wet in the summer(usually ) and cold in the winters.
Thanks

Andrew Klimek
Andrew Klimek
10 months ago

Which oil-based stain do you recommend for a new rough-sawn cedar fence? Do you recommend washing and brightening the new fence prior to applying the stain? Thank you for all the helpful information.

Brad White
Brad White
1 year ago

I have new cedar and metal railings around a plastic deck. It has been weathered for 3 months now. Is it okay to use a water based semi transparent stain and sealer on this?
Thanks,

Kenny
Kenny
1 year ago

Can I use a urethane to lock in the look of new cedar posts and handrails?

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

I have an old cedar deck and am replacing the bad boards, maybe 35% of the floor boards total. I want to sand all the old floorboards plus railings, etc, that are left and would like to stain the whole deck with TWP 1500 honey tone. I know I should let the new boards weather at least 4 months before staining but what happens if I don’t? Is it just a matter of not working as well and then needing to do it again sooner? I could live with that if I just needed to re-stain the new boards again next summer. Don’t want to do any damage, however. Please advise.

Last edited 1 year ago by Joe
Joe
Joe
1 year ago

Thanks. Just to be clear, I’m using kiln dried cedar decking and plan on sanding it with 80 grit. Still need to wait?

Denie Goulet
Denie Goulet
2 years ago

Built a new deck last year. Cedar top board, pressure treated frame. Ready to seal the cedar. 11 months old right now. What should I use? Oil Base or water based? What’s the difference? How many applications should I do? Live in Edmonton Alberta. Deck is on the south side of the house so is in full sunlight all day long. Hot in the summer, long cold winters with lots of snow.

20210530_181430.jpg
Chuck
Chuck
2 years ago

I finished my project a few weeks ago and am very happy with the results. Here are several pictures, some before, during and post project. The deck was originally completed with Sherwin Williams Super Deck oil based transparent (Natural). The contractor sanded too fine, likely resulting in the poor adhesion. To fix this I sanded back to bare wood, allowed to weather for 60 days, pressure washed, then conditioned with TWP 2 step deck brightener. Then stained with TWP 1101 oil based cedar tone, spraying on first coat, then used pad applicator to place second coat before first coat dried. The deck was allowed to dry for 8 days before stepping on it (not intentional, just happened to be away).

Last edited 2 years ago by ChuckZ
Chuck
Chuck
2 years ago

I thought I had with the comment but appears they were not accepted. Any limit on size or number of pictures?

DSH
DSH
2 years ago

Testing pic

TWPSemiSolidColors.jpeg
Chuck
Chuck
2 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Here are some pictures, before, during, and after

F83F8C69-98BE-4471-99ED-C943DB553913.jpeg
9121E7F3-EA45-4563-9424-468406988895.jpeg
B035065E-073F-4C90-A25D-1FD79A0AF1C0.jpeg
DC128B3B-5545-4F36-AE91-5938D909AEC2.jpeg
Louis
Louis
2 years ago

I have had a cedar deck for approx 2 years. It turned a nice natural gray but some mold set in (you could see some uneven black areas) and the wood started to chip a little. We had someone clean the deck-they used Mold Armor product. The deck is now back to more yellowish color and is uneven. They are recommending Benjamin Moore Arborcoat semi-transparent stain. I do not see many natural gray options (although westcott navy and amherst gray looked ok-need to see it on the deck first). What do you recommend hearing this? Thanks

ChuckZ
ChuckZ
2 years ago

Hello,

I have sanded my 1 year old cedar deck back to bare wood. The initial finish was done too soon after install, resulting in mold under the Sherwin Williams super deck transparent stain. There has also been a lot of flaking where exposed to direct sunlight.

I sanded using 120 grit paper. Do I need to fine tune this with finer grit paper and if so what grit?

I am planning to clean with a mold killing product since mold has been present already however the sanding has removed almost all evidence of this. Do I need to use a wood brightner since im back to virgin wood? Any guidance on how soon to stain after sanding back to virgin wood?

Thank you

Last edited 2 years ago by ChuckZ
ChuckZ
ChuckZ
2 years ago

What is the suggested grit to use? Thanks for the feedback.

ChuckZ
ChuckZ
2 years ago

I’m going to use a cleaner/brightener but looking for recommendations on which product to use. After that I will stain with 2 coats TWP 101 using spray on then pad apply.

After the staining does the deck need to be sealed, or does the TWP 101 do all the sealing required?

Chuck
Chuck
1 year ago

Scott – my stain is now 7 months applied and there are small spots in random areas starting to show up lighter than the remaining deck – as if the stain didnt adhere well or I didnt apply second coat consistently. Regardless of the cause I am thinking of reapplying a new coat to the whole deck. I still have 2 or 3 gallons of the same TWP product. What is your recommendation on doing this? Can I just prep with light power wash and then reapply?

Tim
Tim
2 years ago

I am in Texas having a 12×25 cedar deck installed in November. The deck will be Fully Covered. Installer said only to wait 2-3 weeks to “dry out” before they will fully hand sand the entire deck with palm orbital, then stain using our selection. 1. Is sanding not recommended or should this be done before or after the weathering? 2. Is there a minimum temperature to apply the stain since we stay moderate in Texas but it can get to freezing. Ie if we get a moderate week in Dec or Jan is it ok to do it the? 3. Are we doing a lot of harm by only waiting a few weeks vs months to stain after installation? I guess we are all impatient to just get the job done and not letting the wood turn grey.
Thank You! Great website!!

Karla Blerot
Karla Blerot
2 years ago

Can I put linseed oil on my newly built cedar deck for the winter and then possibly stain it next spring? I live in Saskatchewan.

Shawn Chelf
Shawn Chelf
2 years ago

We are in central Indiana. We have a 3yo smooth cedar deck, almost 10k sf of decking total. Full sun about 3/4 of the day. We have alot of wood to cover so which would be the best/longest wearing for our situation? Also, due to the amount of work this is, we want something that will be easy to maintain (not needing to be completely stripped each time), even better if anything is able to be “spot maintenance” in traffic areas. Considering Defy (Hardwood for smooth cedar?) but not sure about water-based vs oil-based AC… Also, has anyone had experience using Earthpaint Rainforest Sealer? I searched this site but did not see it being mentioned anywhere.

Last edited 2 years ago by Shawn Chelf
Michael Haas
Michael Haas
2 years ago

I have a Western Red Cedar Deck that is about 15 years old. I stained it and it turned grey within a few months. It has been like that ever since. Now I want to run each board through a planer and reinstall it and stain or seal it. I don’t want it to go grey again. What stain should I use?

Zachary
Zachary
2 years ago

I have 33 boards of rough sawn cedar 1×8 I’m going to put up as facia. What is the best clear cedar stain to use that shows the color of the cedar and lasts longest. Much thanks!

Zachary
Zachary
2 years ago

Many thanks guys and gals! Last Q. I’m thinking of putting smooth side out Of the 1×8 rough sawn cedar for the facia. Soo Sand with 60-80 grit, then 100 grit and dust off, wash, then use Armstrong Clark redwood tint transparent Oil .. will this suffice? Thanks again

Linda
Linda
2 years ago

If I am needing to have my deck redone due to a poor job and color error, is it okay to switch from the original cabot Australian timber oil to another brand, and what would you suggest? Something went wrong and deck is almost a bright yellow, along with an blotchy ceiling. We need to tone it down and shift it back to a natural or a light brown tone (and get ceiling even).Thanks so much.

linda
linda
2 years ago

Thanks- last question- Can anything be done about the rough posts. I don’t think they can be sanded, but anyway to change the color?

Steve
Steve
3 years ago

I just installed two new 4′ x 8′ cedar sections to my dock. I have 4 other sections (also cedar) that are 4 years old which I never stained or sealed. The decking was dark gray and did not look at all. I power sprayed the old deck this past weekend and it looks a lot better, but nowhere near as good as the how the new deck looks. Should I wait 3 months and use a stripper/brightener on everything, then stain it all together?

Josh
Josh
3 years ago

Hello,
I too built a new cedar deck last spring and was also told to use Ready Seal clear stain on it, and to do so within the first few weeks. After applying this, deck had an oily/slick feel to it and turned gray within the first few months, so I cleaned it and reapplied the Ready Seal. Same thing again, oily feel and turned gray once fall hit.

After reading through this site now I have realized I did it all wrong. I have since scrubbed/cleaned the deck this week in hopes to prepare it to do it the correct way this time. I used Krub Kutter Cleaner to clean the deck. It has dried for a few days now and I see some fuzzies on the wood and the wood is a bright color.

My question is, has the wood been able to weather the appropriate time now even though I applied 2 coats of sealer to it last year? Also, should a stripper, cleaner, and brightener be used or is the preparation I have done with the Krud Kutter cleaner enough to apply new coat of stain/sealer? I live in KY and the deck is exposed to sunlight all day long.

Thank you for all of your information you have provided on this site! I wish I would have found this earlier.

Amy
Amy
3 years ago

I’m planning to put cedar siding on my carport in Hawaii; we have limited placed to buy stain supplies. What would you recommend as the best semi transparent stain and wood cleaner that I could get at home depot?

Amy
Amy
3 years ago

didn’t think so, but figured I would check since no one ships to Hawaii either.

Eric
Eric
3 years ago

I have a 5 yr old cedar pergola that’s never been stained. I am looking for something easy to apply and last several years. Also, in the article you recommended timber oil, are referring to Cabots Australian Timber oil?

Marie
Marie
3 years ago

Very helpful. Question, just installed a western cedar deck and it’s too late to stain if we’re going to wait 3 months. Meanwhile, it rained and the deck is very slippery when wet, what recommendations do you have for reducing slippage it’s the main entrance and we’re in a northern climate so it’s a deck that will also be shoveled.
Thank you.

Donna
Donna
3 years ago

Any recommendations on using some type of hardener for an Atlantic white cedar deck, the wood is soft and dents easily. Maybe shellac or eurathane?

Pam Fisher
Pam Fisher
3 years ago

It’s October and the weather will turn cold soon. Getting ready to install our cedar deck. Do we wait until Spring to stain and seal? We do not want the gray look but rather want the natural cedar look. If we wait it would be April-May before it is warm enough to apply stain.

Thanks for your help

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