Clear Deck Sealers in 2022 4.5/5 (150)

This post was updated on March 1, 2022

Best Clear Deck Sealers in 2022

Here at DeckStainHelp.com, we are proud of the fact that we are the Internet’s number one reference for your deck stain opinions and reviews. We thank you for your continued support. Clear deck sealers continue to be a great option for protecting your wood deck from water damage, but unfortunately, do not provide any protection against UV rays and graying/wood darkening. If you have used clear deck sealers, we would like to hear what you think, so feel free to leave a comment below and pictures of your completed projects if you have them.


Clear Deck Sealers and Stains for Exterior Wood

It is no secret that protecting a wood deck with a water repellent sealer is vital to its integrity and lifespan. Clear deck sealers leave the wood looking natural which may appeal to the deck owner. Without a doubt, a natural-looking wood deck is a thing of beauty.

Deck sealers do give adequate water protection by locking out moisture. This is important to the wood’s lifespan. When water is absorbed into the wood it swells and when it dries up it shrinks. This continuous swelling and shrinking eventually begins to crack, split, and warp the wood. A clear wood sealer will stop this water damage from happening.

Another enemy to a wood deck is the sun. Harsh UV rays turn the wood fibers gray and also cause warping and splitting of the wood. The problem with clear deck sealers is that they lack the pigment to protect against sun damage. So although a clear deck sealer will give a deck great water protection it will not protect against sun damage.

This is without a doubt a huge disadvantage when using clear deck sealers. The best way to keep a natural look and give the wood deck both water and sun protection is to use a semi-transparent deck stain in a natural color. The wood grain is still allowed to show through and with only a little bit of tone or color a wood deck can still look very natural, yet the deck stain has enough pigment to give adequate sun protection.

Clear deck sealers can be very appealing to deck owners looking for water protection and keeping that “natural look” they are wanting. This comes at a risk to the wood deck because of the lack of sun protection. If you are looking for a natural-looking deck with both water and sun protection consider using a semi-transparent deck stain as opposed to a clear deck sealer.

Have A Question on the Best Clear Deck Sealer? Ask Below in Comment Area!


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Olivia
Olivia
1 month ago

Hello,
The more I read the comments the more confused I get…and have spent hours trying to figure this out.. BUT…grateful to have found your site! We have a 1000 sq ft deck (oh my) and a patio cover that get sun the whole day. I sealed it last year with Super Deck which seems to have barely done anything. After reading reviews it seems the $20/gal vs $60/gal gets the same comments…that I will have to re-do this in a year. I have learned here I to pick a stain so that is new but helpful. I got a LOT of staining to do. So first I need to pressure wash the deck? Then stain it and then seal it?????? Thank you!!! From a mom of three that can’t spend any more time reading about deck sealers lol.

Jim C
Jim C
1 month ago

I have a cedar tinted at factory pressure treated wood deck which is three years old and ready for its first sealer treatment.

I would like to use a clear stain, but I have read that clear stains lacks pigment to prevent sun (UV) rays from long term damage to wood. Since my wood deck already has a stain should I still use a tinted semi transparent stain or would a clear stain be OK?

Curtis
Curtis
1 month ago

I have left over Defy Extreme stain that is probably 5 years old. I stirred the product and it still appears good. I have sanded the deck and plan to use this if age is not an issue. Does the Defy Extreme product lose its effectiveness over time?

Thanks

Circler666
Circler666
2 months ago

What’s the best option sealer or stain ? If the wood is iroko and there is snow for a few months of the year, then rain then high temperature 20-30c dry months with sun most of the day?

Garlan
Garlan
2 months ago

want to seal exterior glu lams

Roetje
Roetje
2 months ago

Hat is the best wood sealer (no pigment) to let wood grey naturally while resisting water?

Michelle
Michelle
11 months ago

We are almost done sanding off the Behr deck over we put on a few years ago. I was planning to use clear sealer (Thompson’s water seal), but read your article about its lack of UV protection. If I use a semi transparent stain, I would prefer a lighter color, but does a darker color provide better UV protection?

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Cate P
Cate P
1 year ago

What are your recommended deck sealer brands?

Cate P
Cate P
1 year ago
Reply to  Cate P

What about for a dock? Sorry I miss wrote my initial question. Thx!

John Mammon
John Mammon
1 year ago

What brand do you recommend for a new deck that will maintain the natural look of the wood while waterproofing and protecting from sun damage

Steven Goldstein
Steven Goldstein
1 year ago

Can a clear sealer be used over a semi transparent stain? Is it recommended?

David Colombino
David Colombino
1 year ago

I have a black butt deck that’s gone grey naturally I’m wanting a product that will seal and protect the grey?

Jeff Cross
Jeff Cross
1 year ago

I understand that a clear treatment has less UV protection. Although I am trying to get the full TRUE colors of the hand selected cedar boards used on the deck. I have tried 2 different ‘clear’ wood protectors. Both left the wood YELLOW😳. Cedar has beautiful reds and whites which is what I want. I am willing to treat the deck every season to help protect it from the sun. Would that be enough to protect it so we can go ahead with a true ‘clear’ seal?

Karen
Karen
1 year ago

Want to stain/seal cedar porches. What is the best product for uv protection and preserving the beauty of the wood.

craig martin
craig martin
1 year ago

I am putting new redwood 2 x2 on the top of of a deck overhang. The structure is painted white (just finished) but The redwood I have is so beautiful I want to just use natural clear on it. What is my best choice

John
John
1 year ago

Hi there, I’m doing a cedar T&G cabin restoration and I’m looking for a clear coat that will not darken the wood. My client had a mold problem due to no ventilation, humid climate & no circulation. My plan is to run A/C ducting along the peak of the ceiling and add fans to correct the problem and prevent it from happening again. My clients love the look of the natural cedar, they want to keep this look but every transparent product I’ve tested so far darkens it. She also wants a gloss on the ceilings and flat on the walls which is basically asking for the impossible to have a variation in the colors but keep the natural Cedar look. Does anyone have any experience using a clear or water based transparent product that has had success with this? Any suggestions would be sincerely appreciated!

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Denise Dougherty
Denise Dougherty
1 year ago

my deck is painted – can I put a sealer ontop of this to make the paint last longer?

DEBORAH SAUNDERS
DEBORAH SAUNDERS
1 year ago

why not?

DEBORAH SAUNDERS
DEBORAH SAUNDERS
1 year ago

Thanks. Not the answer I was hoping for though! We have our deck “stained” with a Valspar product 2 months ago and it is molding/mildewing badly. I was hoping a sealer would help. Valspar says there is nothing they can do and that it is normal. Also not the answer I was looking for!

DEBORAH SAUNDERS
DEBORAH SAUNDERS
1 year ago

Thanks. I guess it’s just something we are going to have to live with.

Harrison ned
Harrison ned
1 year ago

Can a severe weather wood be sanded after a darker sealer was applied

Samantha Brite
Samantha Brite
1 year ago

I installed pine soffit ceilings in my porch area. The pine is untreated and will see very little sun and little to no direct moisture being that it is a ceiling. However, I would like to seal the ceiling to make it last as long as possible. I also want to prevent the pine from yellowing if I can. I live in South Texas so we experience mild winters and extremely humid summers. Any recommendations?

tammyjenkins
tammyjenkins
1 year ago

what do you recommend for a clear oil based deck sealer? I have a cedar deck and made the mistake of using a semi-transparent stain on it. I plan to strip the stain and likely sand. I do not mind having to reapply an oil sealer on a regular basis. I want to avoid the constant stripping

tammyjenkins
tammyjenkins
1 year ago

no. I think I want to apply a penetrating oil that will protect the deck. I am in Minnesota so high intensity UV light is less of a problem than in other parts of the country, Nevertheless, i would like UV protection. I thought an oil would save me from the extensive maintenance that I encountered with a semi- transparent stain that peeled in 2 years. I thought that an oil would require yearly reapplication-but the preparation would be just good cleaning (vs stripping and sanding) The more I read, the more confused I get. your help is appreciated.

Matthew Gipson
Matthew Gipson
1 year ago
Reply to  tammyjenkins

What would I use on a new cedar deck far as a clear tinted sealer? Not looking to stain it currently

Erin
Erin
1 year ago

Hey there, we live in sunny (and super humid) Florida and just rebuilt our deck around a swimming pool using PT pine. Love the natural wood, and want to show off the grain, but wouldn’t mind going slightly darker with a semi-transparent if need be. What would be the best sealer to use in this area…hoping to be able to apply with a roller. Thanks so much, this is a very informative site!

Krista Dunsmore
Krista Dunsmore
2 years ago

Redid our porch last year, left the floor natural wood and replaced the concrete steps with natural wood. We wanted to keep the light wood colour so chose to use Super Deck clear sealer. It seems to be all but gone this year with no protection left, so looking for something a bit longer lasting. Not opposed to something with a stain as long as it will keep it fairly light if that is a better option for protection. Also, obviously needs to go overtop SuperDeck, what is left of it. The main porch floor gets little sun, as it is covered and on the protected east side of the house, but the steps get the morning sun exposure.

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Jack Crowe
Jack Crowe
2 years ago

I have a deck, gate and side patio covered area that I will need to treat soon. I would like to see as much of the original wood color as possible but still do the UV and weather protection. Can I use one of the following in the link to do the entire job? Also, what would be the best way to apply? Maybe some type of sprayer?

https://www.deckstainhelp.com/best-semi-transparent-deck-stain-reviews-2020/

Thanks!

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Marc A Hyman
Marc A Hyman
2 years ago

I want to use a CLEAR sealer on my factor- stained “cedar-toned” pt fencing and railings. Am i assuming correctly that the lack of uv protection typical in a clear sealer is a non issue in this situation since the wood is already stained in the factory. I DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE THE COLOR BUT I WANT TO PRESERVE THE WOOD. UV protection is already provided by the factory stain, is it not? If i am correct, will i need to seal every year or might it last 2-3? And, of course, all this also assumes that the wood WILL NOT TURN GREY which would defeat the whole purpose!!!! Thank you.

This is a very disappointing subject as i just installed a new cedar deck and after a week prior to sealing, the beautiful color is already leaving. We sanded it and are applying cabots natural Australian timber oil to that thus changing the color anyhow but hopefully still holding some advantage of cedar over pt.

Barbara Poole
Barbara Poole
2 years ago

2019.05.19. Installed floating boat dock with PT pine. Four months later put Valspar One coat exterior clear sealer. Looked great for a few months. Then…first noticed that the product became sticky, then started turning brown and splotchy in the areas that were exposed to direct sunlight. The areas that are not exposed to all day sunlight look acceptable. 12 months later and the swim deck that is exposed to sun looks terrible. Now using an orbital sander, 40 grit sanding disc, to remove sealer from swim deck. It’s very time-consuming, but starting to look like a brand new board. First, I hope we are correct in sanding sealer off, since we are half-way through with swim deck. Secondly, we are correct to NOT go back with Valspar, right? What is your professional recommendation for product to use? Pictures of swim deck, and an area that is covered but does receive sunlight in late afternoon attached. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. Barbara

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Michele
Michele
2 years ago

Hello, i live in KC and had a treated pine wood deck built around a pool last year. I’m ready to weather protect it but really don’t want to change the color of the natural wood. Now that I know I can’t put just a clear weatherproof sealant on due to no Sun protection, what’s the best protectant with the lightest of color? We love the love of untouched wood. Thank you!

Dan
Dan
2 years ago

Our multiple decks’ surface boards are cedartone treated pine sold by M—— in the Chicago area. They were installed about 15 months ago around a swimming pool and by the house which has sun for only 5 or 6 hours a day, the wood has never been sealed.

The cedar tone color has held it’s color and I’m considering using transparent sealer/stain, what brands should be considered? I’ve heard Sherwin Williams is really good however I have a hard time finding any reviews.

Dan
Dan
2 years ago

Are you not a fan due to performance or other issues?

Scott
Scott
2 years ago

Hope this isn’t a repeat question..
I have small privacy fence on 2 sides of my deck and the deck is approximately 15 by 25 feet. All the wood is MicroPro Sienna PT.
What would you recommend doing or not doing with regards to sealing?
I thought I should seal it with a clear sealer since it’s already has color in the PT wood.
I put advanced Thompsons water seal on the bottom side of deck boards but wasn’t sure if that is the best product for top.
Thanks

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Doug
Doug
2 years ago

Good morning. My father always said the stupidest question is the one never asked.
Well here goes. So, I have a new deck 1 year old. Want to keep it just standard natural look. Are you saying to buy and stain sealer in a natural color opposed to just a clear sealer to help prevent sun damage.
Thx

Jeff
Jeff
2 years ago

Jeff,

Relatively new deck (pressure treated southern pine), installed in late November. After 3 months of drying, some checking appeared. Moisture meter read mostly under 9%, so I thought it was time to apply some protection. After cleaning (waited two days after cleaning) I applied a semi-transparent stain (Sherwin Williams water based Superdeck). Result came out very splotchy. I then stripped the deck (Behr stain stripper). The deck looks OK now in its natural state. Knowing that a clear sealer will have no UV protection and will turn grey, would there be another option to apply a solid color stain? Would the stain (clear or otherwise) take OK after the stripper application?

Thanks,

Julie
Julie
2 years ago

Hi – We want to apply a clear sealant to all of the decks on our condo building. The decks were built new a little over a year ago. What brand/type of clear sealant would you recommend? Do we also need to seal the posts and other non-deck/stair surfaces?

Thanks!

Julie
Julie
2 years ago

I think so, the other owners want to use a clear sealer.

Amy Dahl
Amy Dahl
2 years ago

We are installing new tongue and groove fir boards on a covered porch. Porch faces east. Gets morning sun and limited water. Can a transparent stain adequately seal between the boards so water doesn’t get between them? We will seal all sides of the boards but want the top coat to create an impermeable coating between the boards. Looking at Sikkens but don’t like the colors and hoping to maintain natural wood look more. Want a sealer that creates a rubbery/solid layer on top to minimize water infiltration. Or can we do a stain followed by a good exterior sealer? What products are compatible for that?

Anne
Anne
2 years ago

I am having a cedar picnic table built… gorgeous. What is the best clear sealer for waterproofing and UV protection? Thank you .

Anne
Anne
2 years ago

Thanks about the UV info…..of course. Makes sense. Then, what I really need is the best sealer for CEDAR……it is beautiful and I’d like to try to keep it that way…….thank you………again!

Isaac
Isaac
2 years ago

Building a large deck and wanting to slightly burn the wood then seal/stain it… Would a natural stain completely take away from the burnt look?

Isaac
Isaac
2 years ago
Reply to  Isaac

Similar to this

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Joan nielsen
Joan nielsen
2 years ago

Which semi transparent deck stain is the best to use and where can it be purchased?

Tammy Sanders
Tammy Sanders
2 years ago

I need a stain/water protection that goes on clear for my deck.What would I use. In the past I have used Sickens products but they don’t sale clear. Thank You.

Howard
Howard
2 years ago

I am looking for water repellincy.

Howard
Howard
2 years ago

Can a sealer be painted over a clean and painted wood deck.

Mike
Mike
2 years ago

I just built a redwood pergola and would like to know the best sealer to protect the natural looking redwood. I was going to go with a clear sealer by Cabot but read that a clear sealer might not protect from UV damage. If I go with a semi transparent deck stain, what is th best tint to use to keep the natural redwood look?

Ron
Ron
3 years ago

I want to put a sealer/protector on two single person porch swings. I want to keep them the natural color, but I want them protected from water, sun, and mildew. What Cabot sealer should I use.

Dave
Dave
3 years ago

Hi. I live in Los Angeles. I have an Ipe deck that has not been treated in ten years or more. It gets a lot of sun. It it still in reasonably good shape, but has silvered in most places, which I don’t mind. I think the ship has sailed on restoring the original reddish color, and that’s okay. At this point I just want to protect it from further UV damage, and protect it from moisture. It is starting to show signs of cupping and buckling due to higher than usual rainfall last year. I just borrowed a heavy-duty power-washer, and plan to clean it off – but can’t figure out what to treat it with afterwards. The stuff I used when the deck was first built was very expensive and hard to use, oil-based and specifically designed for Ipe. But it never worked right and wore off quickly without absorbing. I went to Home Depot but didn’t see anything that seemed ideal. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Bill
Bill
3 years ago

I live in Canada where clear oil-based sealers are no longer sold ….just water-based. I have a bit of a “different color wood dilemma in that there is:
1) a green pressure-treated dock 18 years old, now a light green/grey. The first sealant many years ago was Thompson’s Waterseal (water-based and lasted 1 year. Then I used Olympic Waterguard (oil based) many years ago and it lasted many years. A few years ago I used Olympic again but didn’t realize it is now water-based in Canada and it did not last a year. Needless to say, I’m not impressed with water-based clear sealant.
2) a light brown “Barefoot” brand pressure-treated lower deck/pergola, that is a bleached looking light brown. I put the same Olympic WaterGuard (water-based) that I had left over from previous years and it did little to nothing.
3) The “wall” of the upper deck and stairway at the cottage has just been redone with the now seemingly only-available pressure treated “Sienna” lumber …a quite pleasing light brown/cedar-like color. All stores (HD, Lowes, etc) only carry the Sienna p-t lumber.

All 3 different woods are contiguous so the different wood is noticeable (but not necessarily bad-looking). I can send a picture if desired.I am adding 2 more fingers to the dock and have found some green p-t lumber still available and will use that as it will tie in with the other fingers and I believe the older p-t treatment is superior to the newer treatments.

I now want to protect all wood on all areas and want some recommendations. The wood will be clean and dry, but I want the treatment to last many years, and then be able to easily do it again when it needs it. I will likely apply with a sprayer or a roll-on. Any advise you can give would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time and help.

Bill

Boulder Dave
Boulder Dave(@boulder-dave)
3 years ago

Need a clear restorative, stain recommendation for a 38 year old Boulder CO town home, back deck that gets little or no direct sunshine and only half the deck is exposed to rain and snow.  

James Chauncey
James Chauncey
3 years ago

We just stained our deck. The deck is several years old but still in good condition. Can you recommend a good sealer (Water Proofing).

john
john
3 years ago

I have a deck that has water based paint on rails and deck, we cleaned and sanded it, now I want to leave it like it is weathered, rustic whatever you want to call it, but I would like a clear top coat that would protect it, wishful thinking? suggestions?

Cindy
Cindy
3 years ago

I have ipe decks which have been treated with Penofin. Should I stick with that or can I switch to Cabot Australian Timber oil…or would you suggest something else all together?

Thank you

David Stewart
David Stewart
3 years ago

We bought a beautiful carved wood Tribal panel consisting of five panels connected by short pegs on the sides in Bali some years back . On one side there are raised designs in configurations of a Sun Mandala which are also painted . These designs are faded slightly We want to hang the piece under a covered loggia in an area that gets some direct sun light in the afternoon . Otherwise it will be out of weather factors except for swelling and contraction from the elements . The wood Sun Mandala was originally in the ceiling of an old rice barn .
What would be the best way to seal the painted wood surface and protect it from sun rays as well as moisture /swelling .
The piece is in an arid environment that has a rainy season as well .

Mari MacAskill
Mari MacAskill
3 years ago

So…..I wish I would have found your website before I started treating my rails with clear sealant. It’s made out of cedar. I used Valspar clear. Does all wood gray with clear sealant with 4-6 hours of sun? I live in Texas so it’s hot too.

danny
danny
3 years ago

can you stain a deck after its been sealed

Dennis konsdorf
Dennis konsdorf
3 years ago

Looking for the best semi transparent natural color wood deck stain.

josh
josh
3 years ago

what brands do you recommend? I just rebuilt a deck using weather shield treated wood. I want to protect it from sun and water damage. I was thinking about a light/natural stain and water seal combo. Everyone I know uses Thompsons but I’ve seen mixed reviews online and Home depot stopped carrying it. Why? Whats the best brand out there today?