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Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain Review 3.8/5 (20)

Ready Seal Stain Review

Ready Seal Stain Review

Ready Seal® Stain and Sealer for Wood is a Professional Grade wood stain. Ready Seal® Wood Stains may be used on fences, decks, arbors, gazebos, log cabins and any other outdoor wood project. Developed for contractors, Ready Seal is now available to homeowners. Ready Seal will not run or drip and will always apply evenly. It is a unique blend of paraffin oil, quality resins, finely ground trans-oxide pigments and algaecide.

Ready Seal® Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

– The Ready Seal® had a nice even application on the wood. The Gold color enhanced the older pine decking similar to as if wet with water. We did notice that the stain color faded significantly after a few days.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 1

– There was no color left after two years. Very poor at preventing UV graying.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

– Ready Seal® penetrates extremely deep into the wood. It does not peel.

Ready Seal Gold

Ready Seal Gold

Cost Per Square Foot: 5

– Coverage for the Ready Seal® is not very good. We got only about 75 square feet per gallon and needed to apply 2 coats. The Ready Seal® is less than many stains per gallon but you need much more stain than normal. The stain absorbs so well into the wood that you get very poor coverage. We needed 10 gallons to properly cover our 600 foot test deck with two coats of stain.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 7

– Containing primarily paraffin oil which does not promote mold growth, Ready Seal® shows promise. 30% of the decking floor was covered in green algae, though.

Ease of Application: 10

– We agree with the manufacturer’s claims here. Ready Seal® is goof proof in that it will dry evenly and will not run or drip. When we looked at the deck 24 hours later, the finish was perfectly even. 3 days later though it had faded significantly.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 9

– No darkening was noticeable. Ready Seal® fades in color instead. Better for reapplication.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

– Easy to reapply. Just clean/brighten the wood to prep. No need to use a stain stripper.

Overall Score Ready Seal® Stain at 2 Year Period: 7.125

– Ready Seal® contains paraffin oil which is a non-drying oil. This means that it does not cure or seal the surface of the wood but dives deep into the wood cellular structure. The positives to Paraffinic stains are:

  • Extreme ease of application
  • Deep penetration into the wood
  • Even coverage

The negative is the poor UV protection and proper sealing of the surface. If you want a stain that is easy to apply then Ready Seal® might be a good choice for you. Just remember you will need to redo every 12-18 months if you want to retain the color.

Product Information:

Where To Buy: Ready Seal® Stain
Cost: $27.99 per Gallon, $132.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Paraffin Oil Based Transparent
Available Colors: Gold, Natural Cedar, Light Brown, Medium Brown, Dark Brown, Medium Red, Dark Red
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 1-2 Coats
Coverage Per Gallon: 75-100 sq. ft per gallon as tested
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 48-72 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in All 50 States
More Info: Product Data
Manufacturer: Ready Seal® Stain

Test Deck Stats:

Deck Wood Type: 8-year-old Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 600
UV Exposure: Full Sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 

*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

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

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49 responses to “Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain Review”

  1. Jim says:

    Ready Seal's Gold, Cedar and "light" red and brown are not the best for UV resistance. Stay with the Medium or Dark and you won't have much of an issue with fading.

    • True. The more pigment a stain has at start the longer it can take to fade. This goes for any brand of deck stain. In general we used light colors (Golds, Cedars, Honeys, etc.) for all the stains we tested. Unfortunately Ready Seal faded faster then any other brand. We believe it to be the nature of the stain as it is not a curing stain but rather a non-drying stain that will lose color much quicker.

      • Joe Wood, you are correct that more solids can have a longer UV resistance. We try to use similar \”tones\” for our reviews and we have a new AC review coming out with using their semi-transparent cedar that will be updated soon. As contractors we do disagree with you though on Ready Seal being a \”great stain\” We personally do not like it and it has poor UV resistance for our tests. It does not cure or seal at all as it mostly paraffin oil that never dries with some pigment added. This seems to be shared by many of the contractors we talk to but there is definitely a large contractor following with this product. Contractors either love or hate it. I am sure it works fine for your business and I am not knocking your knowledge of it, we just differ greatly on it\’s performance.

  2. Michael says:

    The Ready Seal Gold **specifically** states that it has no UV protection.

    It is no surprise at all that the UV resistance was low. Only the Gold and Clear have no anti-UV properties. The 3 browns and the Cedar do have anti-UV compounds.

    Ready Seal is one of the highest rated stains. You might want to try another shade of stain in fairness to your customers.

    • Michael, we use golden or cedar tones for all the stains we test to be \”fair\” across the board. We cannot test a darker color for one brand and then compare it to a lighter color in another brand. Of course darker colors will typically last longer from UV but this goes for all brands. Ready Seal failed miserably in the lighter color when it came to UV protection compared to other brands that we tested with similar colors.

      I do disagree with you about Ready Seal being a high rated stain. There is nothing on the Internet that suggests this. Many contractors do like it since it is easy to apply but there are many more contractors who will not touch it since it just does not last.

  3. Skip Tezyk says:

    I used the natural cedar on my deck in North Georgia. I applied it and four weeks later I went away. It is now almost 10 weeks since I applied it to a six year old pressure-treated pine and the color has not changed one iota. I applied it using a pump-up sprayer and it went on beautifully.

  4. Jean says:

    Well I can attest that Ready Seal in Medium Red does not hold its color for very long in Utah sun. I've been very disappointed with the product for this reason. It's frustrating when you go through the whole process and within a couple of week it's all faded again. I'd like to give TWP a try instead. Can I clean and brighten, then apply TWP over a deck that has been previously stained with Ready Seal?

  5. markinaustin says:

    I plan to use red pigment to deepen the color of the Ready Seal dark red. I have tried this on test pieces of pressure treated and I have achieved the color my wife wants – a truly reddish stain. I found the pigment at a woodworking store. A very small quantity of pigment will recolor 5 gal.

    I have 500 sq. ft. of relatively new pressurized pine – it will have been under TX sun for two months when I clean it and then stain it.

    I will let you know how this works out over the next year and I will have photos available.

    The pigment is called "Mixol"..

  6. Mike says:

    I have a cedar fence in TX that I coated with Ready Seal, 3 years ago when it was new and it needs to be recoated. Should I stick with Ready Seal since it lasted 3 years or do you recommend TWC or AC as an alternative since they are more highly rated for UV protection? Also, how does the prep differ based on the product I choose? THX

  7. Lucille Ettore says:

    I just started putting Ready Seal on my 21 year old cedar deck. Second time (first in 2008 a contractor did it) It should get a "20" for ease of application! I am a 65 year old grandmom and I love this stuff enough to order it from Texas and get it in New Jersey. I did not want to switch to TWP because I LOVE the natural cedar color.

  8. Dorothy Guderian says:

    Where can I purchase TWC stain in Austin, TX?

    • Diane says:

      You can order it on-line at Home depot. I live close to Austin, in Lago Visa TX area. UPS delivered it. It was cheaper than their website. No charge for delivery for me.

    • Tyoung says:

      Kelly Moore Paints, 3 locations and Jeremy is knowledgeable about the product.

  9. Charles says:

    Preventing UV graying at two year mark, a score of 1? I built a cedar fence in 2008, stained it with Ready Seal, Redwood, using a pump up sprayer and a thin nap roller, and I attest to you that it still looks beautiful, over five and a half years later. I have noticed, with the product, that it really should be applied pretty heavy, so that the wood can thoroughly soak it in, otherwise it will in fact appear too light in color, whichever color being used.

    • Charles, big difference between a vertical fence and a horizontal floor. Looks completely washed out after a year on a deck floor.

      • Charles says:

        Okay, DeckStainHelp, first of all, the issue here involves; {Preventing UV graying at two year mark, a score of 1} Nowhere, does this issue involve whether or not the product has washed out after one year, regardless of any surface it has been applied to (hopefully properly applied). The fence that I built for my friends, is only my first experience with Ready Seal. My second experience (in 2010), was when my mother asked me to pressure wash her deck and apply Ready Seal, 'Natural Cedar'. I did not use a roller on her deck, I only used a pump up sprayer, and I used 15 gallons to cover 2,000 square feet of everything (deck, banisters and handrails). Now, I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY GRAYING WHATSOEVER, and it has been well over two years on both. The next issue here, 'Looks completely washed out after a year on a deck floor'. All I can say to that one, is, in my experience, the person who used Ready Seal on a wooden deck, or a wooden floor, should not use the product sparingly, however, should use a generous amount, if they actually care about what they are doing. I had to re-apply the product on a deck, because it rained shortly after the product was initially applied; that was completely understandable. If you want to give a stain/seal a poor rating, it should not be Ready Seal. I don't know how Ready Seal invented their product, but I can tell you, I am happy with the quality of the product, and I have no reason to doubt its integrity, whatsoever.

        • Charles, no reason to get defensive as I am sure it worked well for you. Our experience was very poor and we have tried it more than once with same results. As contractors we would never use this product on a customers deck because of it. There is a large amount of contractors who love this product for it\’s ease of use but there is just as many who will not use it since it fades so quickly.

          We appreciate you sharing your experience.

          • Charles Porter III says:

            Ready Seal in itself is a high grade oil that has been tinted. It must be stirred thoroughly before use, and for best results, it must be applied generously on the first coat for best results. Other brands out there look fabulous the first year, but tend to peel, and reveal graying; and need to be fully stripped off in order to properly reapply. Ready Seal does not require much work in order to reapply.

  10. Charles says:

    I used ready seal 3 years ago on a new deck after 6 months of aging, I used the dark walnut, it has held up very well, I have found that it needs to be applied heavily on the. First coating, then reapplied after 48 hrs. It is easily applied , I think some people apply like a paint. It all about your application, have been very satisfied, am about to reapply again.

    • Diane says:

      How did you apply your ready seal? Did you spray or paint with a brush? If sprayed, did you use hand pump type sprayer or electric sprayer?

    • Charles Porter III says:

      Another detail, is to thoroughly stir the product before use. The color pigmment tends to settle at the bottom of the can, so it really should be stirred with a stir stick once every hour, to maintain a uniform color while using the product.

  11. Tim says:

    Used readyseal on cedar pool deck. Horrible for this application. Figured since it penetrated it would have some durability. Currently looking for an oil penetrating stain for cedar that will not peel and last longer than the swimming season in NY.

  12. Jonathan says:

    READY SEAL is actually a really good product but you have to know some things about it, choose the correct color and use ample amounts where the sun is going to hit.
    Basically, we've found (after using it on hundreds of decks) that the darker the color, the more UV protection. This may not be much of a surprise! However, using "Redwood" color on pressure treated pine or other similarly dense woods, we can easily get 2 full years of UV protection and still have a beautiful looking wood color.

  13. Tom Howard says:

    The stain does apply easily, civerage is good but be aware it does dry darker than you might anticipate. I have a shaded deck so I can't really judge how well the stain holds up in direct sunlight. I do vey much like the surface of the wood on bare feet, very smooth. If asked to rcommend it I would but i would be cautious about using it in areas that receive a great deal of direct sunlight.

  14. H Rushing says:

    My deck was 10 feet from the water's edge on North Padre Island, Corpus Christi TX. About every 5yrs I would power wash and refinish with Ready Seal using their dark transparent stain. Many compliments by those living on the Island. With stood the hot South TX sun and salt air/ salt moisture. Found no other seal to compare. Worked well on long privacy fences,sprayed banisters/rails, fences and used roller/brush on deck, applying 3 coats each, using much less with each coat. I gave 5 star on all questions as the deck mellowed over a 5yr period. Much better than other products.

  15. Mark says:

    This Product is the best on the market Goof Proof no laps runs or streaks and it shows the wood grain looks beautiful. I have used it several times on different jobs decks, fences, cedar homes, and logs homes. The light colors don't last as long because they don't provide as much UV blocking. Light colors 2-3 year, Dark colors 7-8 years. I prefer a medium to dark color. I have use it on my own personal things like a 20 year old Redwood deck that I stain ever four years with Ready Seal, I use the Redwood color it looks like new. I also have a 20 year old fence that I stain ever seven years it too looks like new. How many fences have you hear of lasting 20 years I think that says it all.

  16. Jim Scandle says:

    I have used this product four times at our beach home and it in the past 13 years and it has held up well and provided the protection I expected. Will use again and would recommend it.

  17. Randy Oberg says:

    I have used Ready Seal for the past 3 years and I believe I have finally found the stain I will be using forever. I have a 500 square foot cedar deck built in 2008 which I first used Cabot and I was not pleased with the results. In 2011 I stripped the deck and applied Behr solid stain. The be Behr stain is junk do not use this stain ever! In 2013 I tried 3 gallons of Ready Seal for the floor just to try it out. It worked wonderful. I will never use another stain. Buy it you will love it.

  18. Raysa says:

    I have 125 feet of new cedar wood fence to stain front and back, how many gallons of Ready Seal do I need to buy. I will be using a sprayer. Thanks

  19. john says:

    "Ready Seal Stain and Sealer for Wood is an oil based semitransparent stain and sealer in one. It is a unique blend of oils, quality resins, and finely ground transoxide pigments that penetrate deeply into wood to protect and preserve it from the elements."

    all brands say this, and the "oils" are subject to change and also unlisted. i personally would not rely on rumor and assume the product contains no natural oils that mold likes to eat. you'd have to keep it clean, like (%99 to %100 of products i can find that are not synthetic; like urethan)

  20. MaryBeth says:

    Very disappointed in this stain. Very expensive & does not cover with one coat. Fades quickly if fence is in the sun.
    Color varies significantly from can to can. Will never use again.

  21. Jeff says:

    So basically, you've got a 3-4 year old review about a product that isn't even made anymore (Ready Seal Gold), and you're basing your evaluation off that? I have no connection with the company nor do I care which stains are rated highly, but the point is your review is too old to be valid any more, yet it doesn't mention anywhere the date of the review, nor what has changed with the product. It certainly doesn't cost $27.99, and it definitely doesn't come in the colors this review claims it does. I believe, like another poster said, that the Gold finish, specifically, didn't contain UV protection. So while you claim you were trying to compare apples to apples, you definitely weren't. Time for an update, or even a retest?

    • Jeff, we have a restest with Natural Cedar that will be evaluated this year and a newer review posted. The gold was tinted and does have UV protection. It was not clear (with no color) but tinted like any other honey or gold color. You can see this from the picture above and any other pictures of the gold on the web. Here is quote from another contractor on the web that offered similar advice:

      \”I have yet to try any other colors, although I probably should. On a couple of occasions, I have used Gold……but, Gold does not have much color in it, and therefore does not provide as much protection from the sun…… only lasts 12 – 18 months (roughly), and therefore, I discourage using it unless the customer is crazy about light colors, and doesn\’t care that they\’ll have to reseal more often.\”

      and this is from Ready Seals website:

      \”All Ready Seal colors contain transoxide pigments. Transoxide pigments have exceptional UV radiation absorption, providing exceptional protection to wood surfaces.\”

      Our findings are valid in our experience with the product and color.

  22. DIYer says:

    I'm suspicious of this site. Upon a quick internet search it came up as malicious and only pushing TWP Products. According to this site, Ready Seal products still rates among the highest even by their own biased standards, yet I didn't even see it on their list of the highest rated. I had to dig to find this brand listed. Not cool at all. I will specifically NOT be buying TWP products because of this manipulation to unwary home owners thinking that they are getting honest information here. The admin says the Ready Seal brand is not rated well by anyone? I guess you missed Home Depot's rating then where is has 5/5 star rating by a lot of reviews where 100% of them would recommend this product. I would say that's a pretty damn good rating, yet you claim otherwise. You should be ashamed of yourself for shady business tactics.

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your questions and concerns. We would like to reply and answer them. Our rating for Ready Seal comes for our experience as contractors in the field. We feel that we gave it a very fair rating based on our experience with the product. Ready Seal is not a bad product nor did we give it an unfair rating. It is not though one of our top products in our experience and we personally do not use it in the field when restoring customers decks. We feel there are better products out there that perform and last longer. As you can see with other posts on this review, some agree with us and some do not. This does not mean we have \”shady\” business tactics as you put it. I am sorry you feel that our experience make us \”dishonest\”, but that is not the point of this site. We help people and point them to products that we know will work based on many 1000\’s of deck restorations. Using or not using our advice is fully up to the consumer.

    • Tomfooled says:


    • Tyoung says:

      Just applied Ready Seal to stripped sanded 15 yr old cedar log posts and rails of deck. Very happy with application and natural cedar color. Deck is on water and in sun with trees on sides. Ready deck manufacture reps were on the phone everyday answering any questions I had not robots. Very pleased with results , week one. Will update my review.

  23. Kendall says:

    Ready Seal is easy to apply but does not last very long. We do many decks in PA and tried the Ready Seal a few years ago. Color fading was significant after one year, but that was not the biggest complaint we received. Our customers really did not like the oily residue that would rub off on clothes after the first week or two of applying. I guess this would be the nature of having the paraffin oil as it does not dry at all. We stopped using it because of this.

  24. Glen says:

    Readyseal Is the best stain I've ever used will always use it. itlasts The longest and goes on the easiest it is uniform with great color

  25. brian says:

    Is the information on this site applicable to staining wood on Log homes?

  26. Michael says:

    I am very familiar with the Ready Seal products and wouldn't use anything else. The Texas heat/sun can be relentless, but Ready Seal has held up beautifully on the fences around here for years. I agree with those who say that the darker colors will have a longer "staying power" than the lighter shades, so your review of the Gold color is a little misleading about the brand as a whole. Pecan is the most popular color choice in our area. Some other key points that some are not mentioning– the age of the wood, the type of wood, and the condition of the wood can all affect how any stain works. Experienced contractors will know this, but DIY homeowners may not. If you are applying stain on a brand new fence or deck, it won't last as long as an older fence because of the porosity of the wood. Older wood is more porous and will absorb more stain. That is just the nature of wood– it can take months or years for it to open up completely. So after that first application on a new fence, you may have to re-stain after a couple years, but beyond that, you should be getting years longer life. Also, if an older fence or deck is grey and oxidized, or if it has been previously stained or sealed with another product, there are some easy but necessary steps to prep the wood. Power washing is not always sufficient. Sanding not always recommended. And if there is any moisture left in the wood at all after cleaning or rain, the stain won't absorb properly. You absolutely have to let it dry sufficiently before applying any product (should be less than 15% – you can get a moisture meter cheap at HD to be sure). I've found very helpful information just by calling the company (Ready Seal) to describe the condition of a particular project and to get their advice on the best way to prep. I personally recommend Ready Seal to all our customers. I think it's an excellent product and was pumped to find it available at my Home Depot last year.

  27. Jason M. says:

    I've used 20 + gallons of this stain on decks over the past 5+ years and have found the Ready to hold up very well. I have also used Defy (older mix) and Ready Seal applied easier and lasted longer on a full sun deck in Maryland area. I do think the overall review score on this site seems low and believe the UV rating should be higher. The ease of reapplication is also a major plus. Stains seem to only last 2-3 years on most full sun decks, but this stain has outperformed others in my experience. Overall I would rank this as the best possible stain for the money, and given other aspects of a good quality stain. As others noted, you can also 5 gal. at Home Depot right to your house with free shipping.

  28. steve fung says:

    Does Ready Seal works well for walking deck that already had an old coating that was from more than 10 years ago? Any recommendation? Thanks.

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take in consideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.