Best Stain for Cedar Deck

You want to protect your beautiful cedar deck surface against mildew, UV rays from the sun, and water but you don`t know how? Don`t worry, here we got what you need. Cedar makes a stunning deck building material and is capable of lasting long without even stain or sealer, however, it might eventually reveal signs of wear. Therefore, whether new or old, protecting your cedar projects calls for the use of the best stain for cedar deck.

With so many products in the market and it might seem challenging to pick the right one for staining your cedar deck. The good this that this post is all about getting it right when staining your cedar deck. Before discussing the products, let’s first discuss different aspects of cedar deck stain.

What Is Deck Stain

Deck stain is a water-resistance formula (In most cases) used to protect and give some color to the deck. The opacity of stain varies from solid to semi-transparent even though it will have added color even if partially transparent.

The added pigment aid in blocking UV rays and reduce sun damage to your project. The dark the color might mean the more pigment added, hence the more protection the stain will offer against UV rays.

With stain, there exist several shades and tones you can choose from. For example, redwood, natural, walnut, and cedar. Choosing the perfect tone and opacity would be the first important step in enhancing the inborn beauty of your wooden project in addition to providing enough protection against UV rays and water from damaging your project.

What Is Cedar Deck

A cedar deck is a typical exterior floor made of cedar that combines a stunning appeal with exceptional durability. Constructed from the finest cedar wood, it elevates your exterior living space with its natural beauty.

Whether you are looking to craft a tranquil retreat for relaxation or a captivating venue for entertaining guests, a cedar deck delivers all your desires as it leaves a lasting impression.

Pros of Cedar
  • Durable

Due to its durability, cedar has a long history of use in decking. Although cedar is a softwood, it is known for its natural resistance to rot and insect attacks, as a result, it tends to last longer.

Moreover, cedar requires less maintenance and it does not easily warp or split. A deck made of cedar can last for about 15 to 20 years or even more depending on the environment and maintenance.

  •  Attractive

Are you looking for an attractive material to craft your deck? Try cedar, it is generally known for its natural beauty that will leave your outdoor living space stunning. It has solid color tones and perfect consistency that might be sanded, stained, and treated for a beautiful finish.

  • Versatile

Western red cedar is normally pitch and resin free hence good for holding different stains, bleaches, colors, and translucent finishes. Cedar also is available in several dissimilar textures, grades, and dimensions.

  • Environmental Friendly

Cedar is renewable and biodegradable in addition to having a net negative greenhouse gas effect hence eco-friendly.

  •  Affordable

Even though cedar decking is not the least expensive material, it is an affordable wood, hence it has numerous advantages.

  •  Sensitive

being that it is a softwood, it is prone to scratch

  • Requires Maintenance

Cedar needs to remain well-stained or sealed. Although you always have an option of an unstained, rustic look, you need to seal it every few years.

  • Deterioration Concerns

Although when properly maintained it last long, cedar tends to degrade more quickly when used for ground level decks. However, simple maintenance might solve such a problem.

What Are the Benefits of Staining Cedar Deck

When it comes to creating an excellent exterior living space, a cedar deck stands out as an enduring and natural choice. However, proper care and maintenance is critical in ensuring its longevity plus a stunning look.

One of the most operational ways of preserving the good looks of your cedar deck is staining. Therefore, let`s look at the benefits of staining your cedar deck without wasting time.

  • Enhance Beauty

The obvious benefit of staining a cedar deck is to bring out its natural beauty and overall appearance. Stain normally intensifies the beauty of cedar decks, thus a striking visual appeal that complements any landscape.

Choosing the right stain will fill your cedar deck with character, revealing a glowing and welcoming attraction.

  • Protection Against the Elements

Weather elements are the biggest enemies of any outdoor wooden project. For example, sunlight and its UV rays, snow, humidity, and rain can seriously damage outdoor wooden structures making them lose their natural look.

These elements can cause warping, fading, and rotting in the long run. By staining your cedar deck, you can guarantee that it will remain safe from the elements and will serve you for years to come.

  •  Preservation of Wood Integrity

Although cedar is not immune to rot, it has a significant resistance to decay making it an ideal choice for outdoor projects like decking. Extended exposure to elements might weaken your cedar over time.

Staining your cedar deck will effectively seal the cedar`s pores reducing chances of rotting and mold as well as insect infestation.

  • Easy Application and Maintenance

Staining cedar deck is relatively simple, hence accommodating even the Do-It-Yourself lovers. Although different stains are available in the market, picking the right one for your deck is fundamental.

Also, stains tend to fade gracefully over time, avoiding the unpleasant peeling, which can occur with paint or other coatings. Regular maintenance usually involves simple reapplication of stain after a few years.

  • Choice of Finishes and Colors

Staining offers several different colors and finishes to choose from, hence customizing your deck`s appearance and matching your desired look. As a result, the versatility allows your stained cedar deck to become a sole reflection of your preference.

Best Stain for Cedar Deck

Discussed below are some of the best staining formulas you should consider for your cedar deck.

  • Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood enhances the natural appearance of your wood allowing great visibility of your wood`s texture and grain pattern.

This formula is oil-based, semi-transparent stain and sealer in one, thus suitable for all your outdoor wood structures. This stain and sealer for wood is a great formula that infiltrates deeply into the wood and offers significant protection and also preserves wood from the elements such as UV rays and mildew.


  1. Easy to apply and you can use a sprayer, roller, or brush.
  2.  Require no back brushing and leaves no laps or streaks.
  3.  Requires no thinning before spray application.
  4.  It offers significant UV protection to your wooden structures hence improving their durability.
  5. It has low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) hence eco-friendly.
  6. Offers high resistance to water. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood repels water hence great protection against water damage.


  1.  Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood has limited color options hence does not cater to users who prefer a wide range of color choices.
  2.  Its durability might vary depending on the type, methods used in the application, and exposure to elements.
  3.  Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood is relatively more expensive compared to other stains available in the market.
  • DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

If your cedar deck or other exterior cedar project requires some rejuvenation or protection, try checking out DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain.

This water based stain is capable of adding a bit of color to your cedar without blocking out its beauty. It is available in six colors, the natural cedar, which is designed to improve the look of your cedar surfaces.

Apart from enhancing cedar surface, DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain has other appealing traits such as UV light protection as well as low VOCs.

It is carefully made from ingredients such as zinc, which is the same compound found in sunscreen, hence preventing the harmful UV rays from damaging your project.


  1. Versatile and easy to use.
  2. Designed with advanced technology (zinc nano-technology) to block UV rays from causing damage to the wood.
  3. Can also be applied to pressure treated wood and a wide range of softwoods and hardwoods.


  1. It is relatively high priced.
  2. Two coats are recommended in order to realize the best results.


  •  #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Stain

Introducing #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Stain, an ultimate solution for someone looking to add a bit of color and steady protection to an old cedar fence, siding surface, or deck.

Its stunning semitransparent look reveals the wood`s grain and a natural appearance in addition to a bit of color. #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Stain is water based and therefore will have no problem working on any existing stains.

#1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Stain also offers your cedar protection against fading and graying. It comes in four colors allowing you variety to choose from.


  1.  I is relatively cheap in addition to better results.
  2. It comes ready to use and can be applied on all softwood surfaces.
  3. It dries faster hence saving application time.
  4.  It offers a flat natural looking finish that is mildew, and fungus resistant.


  1. Careful preparation is required and two coats are recommended for better results.


  • DEFY Crystal Clear Extreme Exterior Wood Stain

Having an attractive home is what everyone is up to, and beautiful homes sometimes might mean the existence of some life. If you prefer a striking future for your home check out DEFY Crystal Clear Extreme Exterior Wood Stain, it might just be the ticket. It is designed with a low VOC content and is easy to apply following that it is water based.

Made of some elements of zinc, it offers robust protection against UV rays that might damage your cedar wood project. Can easily be applied by brush, roller, or even sprayer, however, while applying with a sprayer, users might not realize missed spots, thus advised to take their time.


  1. Available in seven different colors hence one has a variety to choose from.
  2. Apart from offering resistance to mildew, it allows the wood grains to show through.
  3. Has zinc components hence robust protection against UV rays.


  1. Regular recoating might be required in high-traffic areas.
  • Thompsons Waterseal Woodlnd Cedr

Introducing Thompsons Waterseal Woodlnd Cedr a definitive solution that offers protection on cedar surfaces. Thompsons Waterseal Woodlnd Cedr capabilities surpass those of some water based stains or sealers.

It is available is 5 colors, one is designed to suit the natural color of the cedar, hence, can be a suitable choice if you want to revive an older cedar deck or other cedar projects. The stain uses a unique recipe to prevent fading and protect your cedar project from harmful UV rays.


  1. Offers high durability coating that is resistant to water infiltration hence reducing chances of rotting.
  2. Tightly seals the wood hence offering sun block and mildew resistance.
  3. Dries faster hance recoat can be done in just 4 hours.
  4. In most cases, 1 coat is enough.


  1. Requires thorough surface prepping for better results.
  •  Cabot Natural Australian Timber Oil

If you wish to give your cedar project a stunning allure, you do not need to strain, Cabot Natural Australian Timber Oil will leave you smiling. This unique oil is a mixture of linseed and tung oil and infiltrates deep into the wood for proper protection.

Cabot Natural Australian Timber Oil offers protection against both water and UV rays damage. It comes in 4 colors encompassing a natural finish to improve the look of beautifully weathered cedar. It also has low VOC content hence, ecofriendly.


  1. Made from a combination of oils hence improved efficiency.
  2. Single application delivers better results and protection against elements.
  3. Does not crack or peel.


  1. It is a labor intensive product for refinishing a deck.
  •  Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain +Polyurethane Finish

Introducing Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain +Polyurethane Finish, a perfect solution to your cedar wood project. It features exceptional capabilities in enhancing the wood grain.

This product also reduces finishing time by combining beauty with enduring polyurethane finishes in one simple step. Since it is a two-in-one product, it saves time and cost in the whole process. It is easy to apply with a high-quality natural bristle brush.


  1. Easy to apply even with a rag.
  2. Gives your project a stunning appeal by revealing its grain.


  1. Don’t stop at one coat.

Factors to Consider When Buying Cedar Deck Stain

Buying the best stain goes beyond just improving your project`s beauty. Before buying a stain, there are several factors to consider. For instance, the existing coat, and the type of stain, just to mention a few. Below is what you need to know before buying a stain for your cedar:


Cedar is known for its versatility and flexibility, it can be used for both interior and exterior applications. However, when used indoors, any high-quality stain should work better.

Issues come only where cedar is used outdoors probably due to the project being exposed to several elements. Here, you need to consider stains that are outdoor grade and have sealers to protect your project from harmful UV rays and decay.


The best available varieties for cedar stains are hybrid, water-based, and oil-based. It is vital to understand how the abovementioned stain varieties work.

  • Oil-based stain: these stains use either plant oil, paraffin, or synthetic oils. They are capable of enhancing your wood`s grain for they penetrate very deep into the wood reviving the fibers. Although, they have high contents of VOCs. One should use a respirator during application to prevent irritation.
  •  Water-based stains: these ones use good old-fashioned water as the liquid base. They are easy to apply and clean up just with soap and water. They are eco-friendly have low contents of VOCs and will not irritate your respiratory system when applied. However, they do not infiltrate deep into your wood, hence might not last longer.
  •  Hybrid stains: hybrid stain is a combination of oil-based and water-based oils, however, water-based stain takes the largest percentage here. Compared to oil-based stains, a hybrid has lower VOC content. They can easily be cleaned by using mineral spirits.


Stains normally have different abilities to hide blemishes and improve your wood`s grain based on their different specific levels of opacity. Check below:

  • Transparent stains:  also known as clear stains will only enhance wood fibers and offer protection against elements.
  • Semitransparent stains: they are often clear but bleached with a pigment to improve the look of the surface. They are not good to consider if you are looking for a stain that will hide blemishes on your wood. However, they offer good protection to cedar wood and can a bit revive the wood.
  • Semi-solid stains: Despite these stains adding a new tone to your wood and offering protection, they hide the grain of cedar wood hence not suitable for cedar decks.
  • Solid stains: apart from grains, these stains hide blemishes and knots.

Penetrating vs. Film forming Stain

Stain products will generally provide protection to your wood. For example, the water-based stain forms a film over the stain while oil-based might penetrate into the wood hence protecting it from within.

  • Penetrating stain:  this type of stain penetrates a wood like cedar and revives it. It allows the moisture within the wood to escape but will never allow moisture from outside to infiltrate, for instance, rain and snow. Penetrating stains might take up to 5 years before restaining.
  • Film-forming stain: film-forming stain creates cover over the surface of the cedar hindering water from infiltrating. Since they cover the surface of the wood, they can be good at covering blemishes. Although, they are not long-lasting.

Existing Coating

When staining a new cedar wood, any stain is recommended. However, when restaining your cedar surface, considered the previous coat. In cases where the previous coat is an oil-based stain, oil-based or water-based stain can be used for restaining.

Water-based stain will adhere to your cedar surface while the oil-based stain will penetrate the wood. For woods that have already been treated with water-based stain, it is advisable that you continue using water-based stain for restaining.


Added Protection

The main purpose of a stain is to prevent moisture from infiltrating the wood surface. Although cedar is rot and mildew-resistant, using mildewcide will be effective in ensuring your cedar surface does not submit to damage by fungi.



Application of stain is simple, however, some essential prep work is advised for a quality outcome. Below are some guidelines to get your job perfectly done:

  • Prepare the surface. Clean the wood surface properly using an exterior wood cleaner and a scrub brush and sand it after it dries.
  • Apply the stain. Using a clean brush, apply the stain and remember to work in small portions to avoid missing spots. When using a sprayer, work in large portions but remember to overlap the edges of each portion.
  • Keep a wet edge. Ensure you maintain wet edges to avoid lap marks.
  • Apply a second coat if necessary. Allow time for the stain to dry before you can add another coat.

How to Stain Cedar Wood Deck

when it comes to protecting the natural beauty and enhancing the life span of your cedar wood deck, staining is a vital step that shouldn`t be ignored.

A well-done staining process improves the appearance of the wood as well as gives it fundamental protection against the elements. In this far-reaching guide, let`s see how you can effectively stain your cedar wood deck


before the actual staining process, appropriate prep work is fundamental. Begin by thoroughly cleaning your deck, eliminating any dirt, or mold that might have accumulated after some time.

Use a high-quality deck cleaner and a stiff brush to scrub away any dirt. When the deck is clean, allow it to dry before continuing on toward the subsequent steps.

Sanding (If Necessary)

On the off chance that your cedar wood deck shows signs of wear, like cracking or rough surfaces, consider sanding it before staining. Light sanding with medium-grit sandpaper will smoothen the surface and guarantee a more even application.

Choosing the Right Stain

Picking the right stain is pivotal to achieving the ideal outcomes. Pick a high-quality, penetrating oil-based finish that is specifically designed for cedar wood. Transparent or semi-transparent stains allow the natural grain of the wood to shine through and offer protection against UV rays and moisture.

Testing the Stain

To ensure you get the color you want, testing the stain on a little, inconspicuous region of the deck first is advisable. This step allows you to adjust the application or select an alternative tone if necessary.

Applying the Stain

At the point when now is the right time to apply the stain, ensure the weather conditions are favorable – a dry, cloudy day is great. Use a paintbrush, roller, or siphon sprayer to apply the color equally, closely following the wood grain. Work in small segments to avoid lap marks.

Wiping Off Excess Stain

After applying the stain, take a clean rag or cloth and gently clear off any excess stain that has not been consumed by the wood. This step prevents the development of sticky patches and ensures a smooth, faultless finish.

Drying Time

Allow the stain to dry completely, following the manufacturer`s recommended drying time. Avoid walking on the deck or replacing furniture until the color is totally dry to avoid any damage to the newly stained surface.

Additional Coats

In the event that a richer color is desired, you can apply extra layers of stain after the main coat has dried. Make sure to follow the same application and drying process as in the past.

How to Maintain Cedar Wood Deck

A cedar wood deck can add appeal and polish to your exterior space while giving a comfortable retreat for relaxing. however, to keep its thriving condition and guarantee its life span, regular maintenance is fundamental.

With the right care and attention, your cedar wood deck can endure the elements and maintain its natural beauty for quite a long time into the future.


Regularly clean your cedar wood deck to ensure it looks good. Sweep away dirt, leaves, and debris to prevent mold development. For a more thorough clean deck, use a gentle detergent mixed with water and scrub the surface gently with a soft fiber brush.

Try not to use pressure washers, as the high-pressure water can damage the wood strands.

Sealing and Staining

To protect your cedar wood deck from moisture and UV light, consider applying a water-repellent sealer or stain. Sealers make a defensive layer on the wood surface, while stains add tone and further protect the wood from the elements.

Before applying any product, ensure the deck is totally dry. Adhere to the manufacturer`s guidelines, and reapply the sealer or stain every few years when necessary.

Preventive Measures

Protect your deck from possible damage by using furniture pads, plant saucers, or mats under heavy objects. This prevents scratches and water gathering that might prompt decay. Likewise, encourage proper drainage by keeping the holes between the sheets clear of debris.

Regular inspections

Perform everyday inspections to identify and correct any issue before it results in damage. Check for loose boards, nails, or screws, and fix or replace them as the need should arise. Assess for signs of decay or bug invasions, and make prompt steps to resolve these issues.

Regular maintenance

Different seasons pose different challenges to your cedar wood deck. During winter, remove snow and ice quickly, using a plastic shovel to prevent surface harm.

In pre-winter, keep leaves and natural matter away from your deck to prevent mold development. In the spring, inspect the deck thoroughly and repair any winter-induced damage if any.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Try not to use harsh chemical substances to clean your cedar wood deck, as they can damage the wood.

Standard Resurfacing

After some time, even with appropriate maintenance, your deck’s finish will naturally wear out. At the point when you notice signs of blurring or water retention, consider refinishing the deck. Sand it lightly to remove the old finish, clean it thoroughly, and then apply a new layer of sealer or stain.


Cedar decks are popular due to their natural resistance to decay and insects, making them appropriate for outdoor spaces. Staining a cedar deck offer numerous benefits, including protection against UV rays, moisture, and weathering, as well as enhancing the wood’s natural color and grain. So let`s determine the …

Best Stain for Cedar Deck

When it comes to selecting the best stain for a cedar deck, several products stand out. Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood, DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain are among the top options to consider.

Each of these products offers unique features and qualities to meet various needs and preferences.

Before you select a stain, there are several factors you need to consider when buying cedar deck stain. These include the stain type, transparency level, color options, and application method.

Moreover, staining a cedar wood deck calls for proper preparation and application techniques. For instance, you need to clean the deck thoroughly before applying the stain evenly, and allowing sufficient drying time will result in a beautifully stained deck that lasts for years to come.

Once you have stained your cedar deck, ensure to give it proper maintenance to enhance its lifespan and retain its appearance. Regular cleaning, stain reapplication, and addressing any issues promptly will help preserve the deck’s integrity and ensure continued enjoyment of the outdoor space.

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