This post was updated on January 30, 2023
2023 Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain Review
Welcome to Deckstainhelp.com, your number one source for deck staining tips and the latest industry news on the internet in 2023. Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain continues to follow the same premature fading patterns as years before. Leave us a comment if you’ve used Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain.
Note: This is our 2nd Review of Ready Seal Stains
Ready Seal® Wood Stain is considered a professional-grade exterior wood stain. Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain is suggested for use on all exterior wood surfaces such as decks, fences, arbors, gazebos, wood siding, roofs, and log homes. Ready Seal was originally designed for contractors but is now available to homeowners through some Home Depot stores in the southern part of the country. Ready Seal Stain is a drip and run free resulting in an even finish. The formula is a special blend of paraffin oil, resins, trans-oxide pigments, and algaecides.
Ready Seal® Stain Scores (1-10)
Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8
– Ready Seal lived up to their claim and resulted in a nice even finish. The cedar deck we tested definitely looked more enhanced with the Natural Cedar color we applied. With that said, the color did fade quite a bit after several days as the paraffin oils continue to penetrate into the wood grain. We also do not like how the finish stays oily for several days after application or until it fully penetrates into the wood grain.
Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 4
– At our 2-year test mark, there was about 50% color retention.
Picture of Ready Seal losing all color after 14 months. Picture used with permission from DeckStainPro.com
Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9
– Little to no peeling or wearing was visible due to Ready Seal penetrating well and not forming a film on top of the wood surface.
Cost Per Square Foot: 6
– Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain had an extremely poor coverage rate. We had to apply 2 coats and only experienced around 8- square feet per gallon. Ready Seal cost is below average but much more stain is needed. It took 7-8 gallons of Ready Seal Deck Stain to 2-coat our 600 square foot deck.
Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 8
– Ready Seal had a good chance of not promoting mold growth because it contains paraffin oil. We did not notice any algae but about 20% of the deck floor suffered from black mildew spots. A light cleaning would remove the mildew for reapplication.
Ease of Application: 8
– We experienced what the manufacturer claims to be an ease of application. Ready Seal is virtually goof-proof and dries to an even finish with no runs or drips. Coverage rate is not that good, hence the reason for the 8 score. The overall color was good, it does fade significantly after 3 days, however.
Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 10
– Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain did not darken at all after 2 years. Instead, Ready Seal fades in color to a more natural finish, which is at better for recoating.
Difficulty of Reapplication: 8
– Another decent score here due to no darkening. No need for a stain stripper. A good wood cleaner and brightener is all that is needed to prep the wood for a recoat of Ready Seal.
Overall Score Ready Seal® Stain at 2 Year Period: 7.75
–Ready Seal Wood Stain contains the non-drying oil paraffin, which dives into the wood fibers and does not cure on the surface. There are many positives to paraffin stains such as user-friendly application and an even finish. The negatives are poorer UV resistance and coverage rates with an oily finish that can stay on top of the surface. This can be tracked inside the house, several days after application. For an easy to apply even finish Ready Seal Wood and Deck Stain is a great choice. It may be necessary however to reapply every 12-18 months due to color loss.
Note: There are numerous deck restoration contractors who love Ready Seal and numerous who do not. We are on the side who are not fans. It is a better than average stain though that has gone mainstream into stores. We gave this product a better rating the 2nd time around testing. We like it but do not love it based on some of the issues we saw. We personally would rather use TWP or Armstrong Clark if looking at a semi-transparent stain that is oil-based since they cure fully and have better UV protection after 2 years.
Ready Seal Deck Stain Customer Photo Issues
Cost: $40.99 per Gallon, $189.99 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: Cedar
Deck Square Footage: 600
UV Exposure: Full Sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: Natural Cedar
*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take into consideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.
Deck Stain Help & Questions
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- Best Oil Stain For Decks
- How Long Does It Take For Deck Stain to Dry
- How to Strip a Deck
- Rough Cedar Stain Colors
- How Long Should You Wait to Stain a New Deck
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- Deck Stain Before and After
- Deck Stain Help
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
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.
I stained my deck with Ready Seal and it left an oily finish even after a fee weeks. When we walk on the deck we track oil inside the house. I used mineral essences to get rid of the oil. Didn’t work. I used a deck cleaner with no success. I decided to use a deck stripper. The stain disappeared but the oily finish stayed. When I pressured wash, I could see oily water (multicoloured) oozing from wood knots. don’t know what to do. I will try sanding it but I fear that a nee stain won’t work. Ready Seal is a nightmare.
It can be easily stripped. Use the Restore A Deck Stripper/Brightener kits.
I stripped it. I even sanded it and it is still oily. It’s a nightmare I don’t know what to do…
Stripping and brightening will remove it fully. Once fully removed, it should not be oily anymore.
It seems like the oil went too deep because I did all that and I even sanded it after and it still track inside. I can’t even see the stain anymore.
If you cannot see it then you should not be able to track it inside. Did you brighten after stripping? Send some pics.
I have a 2 year old deck and had it stained with Ready Seal 16 months ago. I’m not happy with it as it has faded and also still seems a bit oily when walked on though not much.
I would like to try TWP this time. We had the deck cleaned using low pressure a month ago and it looks great. Is it OK to us TWP now or need I power wash it?
You will need to strip and brighten it. The RS come off easily with the Restore A Deck Stripper/Brightener Kit.
We used this product last summer. Easy to apply, disappointed in longevity , no resistance to water after only 9mos. Will not use again. Need something that will give us more then 1yr.
This is exactly why we do not like the RS and will not use it on our customer’s decks.
I bought the Ready Seal at Home Depot last Spring. Looked great for a month but lost color rapidly. It will need another coat this year. Should I stay with the Ready Seal or switch to a product that will give me longer life? It was very easy to apply to my deck that was 2 years old at the time. How do I prep if going to a different stain?
The Ready Seal is easily stripped off with a deck stain stripper and light pressure washing. Brighten all the wood after.
Thank you for the reply. I am considering the Defy Extreme Stain going forward.
What is the held opinion on using this for wood fences?
Easy to apply, does not last as other top brands with UV protection.
Wish I seen your review sooner. Two days ago, we stained our old deck with RS with a transparent mahogany stain and it still hasn’t dried. For example, wiping a clean cloth over it shows a faint reddish color. Can we prime and paint over it using exterior paint? Or, would we need to strip off the RS first before painting over it (or using a different brand of stain)? Thanks for any advice you can offer!
No, you cannot apply a coating over it. You should strip and brighten for prep. Use the Restore A Deck Kits.
Scott, thanks for your reply — much appreciated!
I just stained my deck with Ready Seal and I do not like the oily film. The wood is 11 year old cedar that I cleaned and brightened – it was pretty weathered and I thought it would just drink up the ready seal and not really leave too much oil on top….that did not happen. It was a very nice clean grey prior to this mess I created. I just got done scrubbing the horizontal stained parts with dawn and simple green and rinsed very well….that seemed to knock back the oil on top quite a bit. The spindles on the railing are still beading water as you would expect. My question is, can I strip this right away and get back to the clean grey wood or do I need to wait a while before doing it? I was worried that the stripper would not stick very well to fresh ready seal. I should have listened to you guys on this site…I really just want to maintain a grey deck and apply a clear sealer to help extend the life of the horizontal boards until I can save up to replace it. I have a pergola that is a pain to stain and I used the light natural oak ready seal, but on the greyed boards it really turned it a darker color. It doesn’t look bad per say, but not the look I was going for and the oil is a deal breaker.
You can strip and brighten it now. Use Restore A Deck Products for prep and pressure washing.
Use a better brand of stain after: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/the-5-best-deck-stain-reviews-and-ratings/
I was going to buy RS until I see your review. Quick question, is oil based stain suitable for humid and cold weather in the PNW? Or should I go water-based? My deck is pretty old and weathered with uneven surface, and I was thinking maybe oil-based stain would stick to it better?
Either would work well as long as a quality brand: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/the-5-best-deck-stain-reviews-and-ratings/
Yes I did.
It looks pretty well stripped. Is this a brand new deck?
No, it was built a year ago Quebec, Canada
I finally got rid of the oil. I used another brand of stripper and it worked. Thanks !
Restaining a slightly beat up porch in Minnesota and contractor really pushing ReadySeal semi transparent, almost in a suspicious way. Any recommendation for what to use on porch that is in rough shape in a few places and gets a lot of moisture (Minnesota’s melting snow)?
TWP 100 Series. Much better than Ready Seal.
Since the oil does not dry, can I use this for my raised garden beds?
Why does it look like little fibers on just treated deck,contractor said it is wood pulp & will brush off,color very uneven
For a cedar ceiling do you need 1 coat or 2?
is this slippery
It can be since it does not fully cure.
This website has been SO helpful in answering all of our many questions. THANK YOU. We just ordered our stain and will leave pictures/reviews on your page once complete 🙂
You are welcome!
Honestly, we would not use any of them and order the other products or find them locally.
I stained my fence with Ready Seal about 4 years ago. I wasn’t aware of the fading reviews at the time, but it’s definitely done that in spades (I had used a light color as well). Because of the paraffin aspect though, the situation seems to just be that it has faded light; there is not any sort of flaking. I am going to restain it, most likely with a water based like RAD or Defy Extreme in a darker brown semi-transparent (though I’m open to oil if that makes a difference). I’ve read questions about whether power washing would be enough, and the advice was still to strip the fence. My concern though, is this is a city backyard situation, and my neighbor on the other side of the fence has his side stained as well. I obviously don’t want to ruin his side, and it also seems like a lot to put the already dry and pretty naked wood through. Any advice?
You have to remove the RS coating. If you can pressure wash it off then you are fine. If not, then you will need a stripper while pressure washing.
The wood has to visibly free of the RS and porous to accept the RAD Stain/
we just built a new red wood deck for above ground pool. looking just to seal the wood. any recommendations?
You cannot coat new wood right away and you must use a stain for UV protection from graying. See this article for more info:
Even if I’m just weather sealing the wood not staining
How long should I wait it’s it’s been a month
2-3 months article above explains.
I’m new to the staining world and have no idea where to start! I’ll be staining 3 porch posts that are cedar. What type of stain would you recommend that a beginner won’t have issues with?
One of these brands: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/best-semi-transparent-deck-stain-reviews-2020/
To go along with the above question… is it necessary to use a wood brightener after sanding, and before staining??
It has been longer than 45 minutes since applying stain. Can you reapply stain after a day or two?
It may not take and be “oily” as the RS is a non-drying stain.
How does product hold up on new roughcut siding? We are hoping to match the existing structure.(photo) How do we restain in future? Can we simply respray?
Maybe a year or two. We are not fans of the Ready Seal. Better brands out there: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/best-semi-transparent-deck-stain-reviews-2020/
Which would be your top 3?
That would be on the link we sent in the prior reply.
My fencing etc was coated nearly 3 years ago with Johnstone’s wood stain satin . Now needs to be redecorated.
Are there any of your products that can be applied over the existing which is oil based ?
No, you will have to strip and brighten for the prep.
very happy with the product so far, I applied to all sides of walnut tongue and groove boards on a 2nd floor porch, now I will apply a 2nd coat to the surface now the floor is down.
question…. do I need to do any prep before re applying in 2 years?
Clean and brighten but you may have to do it in one year as the RS does not last that long.
I am using defy stripper and a stiff bristle push broom and a power washer to try to strip Ready Seal off my deck. Although Ready Seal had mostly faded, a thick waxy, tarry substance can’t seem to be power washed off my deck. It’s goopy but and the deck seems stripped only to have that goop dry back on. Do I just need to keep brushing it away and power washing or do you have any suggestions? It’s very difficult to describe. Did I not use enough stripper? or would a different brand of stripper work better?
Did you brighten the wood after? Send a couple of pictures of the deck after the stripping.
I’m restripping it with a hose attached to a stiff bristle push broom then applying the brightener.
Here are photos after stripping and brightening my cedar deck. It looks blotchy. Will the stain come out blotchy if I apply it over this? If so, what should I do? I don’t know what caused this.
The blotchiness looks internal and most likely from not brightening evenly. Try brightener again but this time leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing. Apply it heavily.
It will show somewhat if you do not get it more even.
Can you do maintenance coats with this stain as in every couple of years wash with water & dish soap then reapply ? Thanks
Yes but use a deck cleaner, not dish soap.
My deck is approximately 10 years old. Pressure treated wood, pine I believe. The last stain was 6 years ago. Both times it was stained with Olympic Maximum Honey Gold. The deck is covered. Last year most it was screened in. All except steps. So I have new wood and old wood to stain. The new wood is a result of support for the screen. I used a pressure washer without any chemicals on stairs and deck. On the spindles I used Valspar all in one Wood Prep. Two questions. 1. What is best stain to use? 2. Choices locally are slim. Lowes quit selling Olympic. And sells Cabot and Valspar. I haven’t checked the smaller building materials stores in town. Is Cabot Gold or Timberoil compatible?
Try the TWP deck stains. We would not use Cabot or their Timberoil.
I have a relatively new deck (just over 4 years old) made of Trex. While mostly composite, the deck railings (vertical and horizontal) and some other framing are cedar. At about 1 1/2 years after the deck was built, I stained the cedar parts with Ready Seal after prepping with sodium percarbonate and a wood brightener (oxalic acid). The original prep I did was not great, there was still some graying, some fuzzies from the scrubbing/prep, etc…but the RS stain did provide a decent coating even with some of the unevenness. Looking back, I probably should have waited to do the staining because from what I’ve read and recent guidance provided to me from Ready Seal, new cedar should not be prepped and stained until 3 to 6 years after installed as it gives the wood time to properly age and absorb the stain.
Now 2 ½ years later I’m ready to prep and stain again; the railings are weathering more (some more graying, mold, algae, etc…). I called Ready Seal customer service and the emphatic guidance was to clean, prep the cedar with a bleach/water solution; that the previous method of sodium percarbonate and wood brightener won’t give the best result. My question is would I be making a mistake by cleaning with a bleach solution as it might irreparably damage the wood even though it would clean and remove the graying. I’m also worried the bleach/water solution could damage the Trex with discoloration, etc… The Ready Seal representative acknowledged this is a legitimate worry and that I should put a tarp over the Trex portions. It seems like from this site that maybe I should use one of the prep agents like Restore-A-Deck which probably wouldn’t risk damaging the Trex composite but give good results. Also, I’m wondering if I should move on from Ready Seal since I’ll be stripping and brightening the railings again and try one of your more highly recommended stains which won’t have to be reapplied as much. Thanks in advance for any guidance!
First of all, bleach can damage the Trex. Best to use a cleaner like the RAD. It will prep just fine for the RS but if you want longer lasting, then use a curing stain like the TWP or Restore A Deck Wood Stains. You will gain better UV protection.
What would you recommend for application over this product.
You cannot apply over it. You will need to remove it first. Good news it is easily stripped. Try the Restore A Deck Stripper/Brightener Kit. Once removed, try TWP or Restore A Deck Wood stains.
What is the best stain for a covered deck 8months old no previous stain it’s a new deck . No sun except for on the steps and partially the handrails. Most of your higher rating stains are not available in my area so really all I had to choose from is Lowe’s and Home Depot location is TN Thanks
If you can find the RS at HD, use that.
Well looks like RS is being discontinued in Home Depot and Lowe’s. What’s the next best choice?
There is nothing decent at HD or Lowes. Try finding TWP 100 Series.
I’ve only had it on for 2 months so can’t comment on wear. I will say it really did a nice job on my badly weathered 22 year old deck. Really looks far better than I would have expected. As stated the coverage was poor. It took 6 gallons to do just the flooring and railings around an 18’ above ground pool with 2 coats. Mine was very dry though so really soaked it up. I will be definitely buying more.
How many years before the ReadySeal needs to be re-applied
Every 1-2 years.
Ready seal is thinner stain so for initial application dry wood soaks it up. Application was easy. But, it made my old deck look like it was stained for the first time after stripping off old big box deck sealer. Second application was a breeze two years later. Used about 8 gallons first application to include lattice work below deck. Second application two years later required only two gallons and the lattice still looked good. Well worth it. Maintenance is a breeze. Deck is 12 x 20
Ready Seal is an amazing stain product. I had a new cedar fence built after hurricane Harvey. I had an area of about 18 feet that had an opening in my backyard. We do not realize the privacy and secure feeling of a fence being enclosed until it is knocked down. I got an estimate of $800 to stain the two thirds of my new fence. I had already spent over $4000 …..decided yo do it myself. I have a severe ankle injury that needs to be replaced. That goes to show that anyone can do the job . Ready Seal glides on smooth and is so easy to spread evenly. I applied two coats and achieved fab results. I chose natural cedar the color is bold and perfect. While I was staining my fence I had so many neighbors stop and take pictures of the can. So many begged for the brand and color……..Ready Seal worth every penny for the fabulous color , most importantly the feeling of not worrying about my fence. Thank you Ready Seal……..RAC
Living in an area of the country (Western NC) where the days of summer are almost guaranteed to be hot and muggy with afternoon showers , I like the fact that it can be applied on both slightly damp wood as well as in direct sunlight and on days of hot weather. I also liked its high speed goof proof (garden sprayer) application which requires no aback brushing or wet on wet applications to get a smooth finish.
But the biggest downers for me are that Ready Seal doesn’t bead water (its surface tension disperses it) and the product must be reapplied every 18 to 24 months making it one of the most expensive professional deck staining options available. The high sealer cost is offset somewhat by no requirements for stripping or sanding my deck in order to reapply stain. It requires only a good deck wash application to prepare it for staining.
I used the Ready Seal and it look good when done. The review is correct though that most of the color was lost by the next season. Suggestion on how I can make it last longer? Does adding more coats when redoing make it hold the color better?
Adding more coats does not make a stain last longer and in many cases it will fail even faster. With the RS, you will have issues of oily film being tracked into your home if over applied. I would suggest switching to Armstrong Clark or TWP as they are curing stains.