The siding of your cedar home is an essential part of the entire structure. It is what people look at first when passing through or visiting your house. So, something that represents your lifestyle and integrity should not be neglected.

best exterior stain for cedar siding

Although cedar is known to have a stunning appearance and durability, it still requires additional protection to last even longer without losing the said look. With that said, fortification varies from one to another, and with the wrong type, you may end up having more problems than a solution.

Due to an increased demand for cedar siding stains, the market is currently loaded with products that are inefficient and may fail to meet your needs.

Therefore, we have collected all the necessary data of top-notch products and made a review of the best exterior stain for cedar siding. It is sure to make the job of researching and choosing the right stain easier.

Top 08 Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding list:

Image Product Details   Price
backpac Ready Seal 512 5 Item Weight1 pound
Product Dimensions : 
‎12 x 12 x 13.75 inches
 Natural Cedar
 Light Walnut
Part Number: 
Check Price
backpac General Finishes Item Weight2.25 pounds
Product Dimensions : 
‎‎4.6 x 4.1 x 3.5 inches
 Water Based
 Light Walnut
Part Number: 
Check Price
backpac Flood Series FLD520 Item Weight9.5 pounds
Product Dimensions : 
‎‎6.65 x 7.5 x 7.75 inches
 Oil Based
Part Number: 
Check Price
backpac DEFY Wood Size: 1 Gallon
Part Number: 
Check Price
backpac Cabot 140.0019202.007  Item Weight9.31 pounds
Product Dimensions : 
6.75 x 6.75 x 7.75 inches
Part Number: 
Check Price
backpac AMTECO INC Item Weight7.5 pounds
Product Dimensions : 
7 x 7 x 8 inches
Part Number: ‎TWP-101-1
Check Price
backpac Thompson’s TH.071861-16 Item Weight9.51 pounds
Product Dimensions : 
16.8 x 10.6 x 26 centimetres
Color: Tural cedar
Part Number: 
Check Price
backpac Wood Defender Material: Wood
 Cedar Tone
Check Price

8 Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding

We have compiled the highest quality cedar siding stains and listed out the benefits and shortcomings of them. Have a glimpse and see what each of them holds for you.

1. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain (Editor’s Choice)

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain

The most annoying things about staining are the time it takes and the cost that you have to bear to prime and seal the coat. However, you don’t have to worry about all these issues if you have the Ready Seal 512 5-gallon pail natural cedar exterior wood stain and sealer.

First of all, it doesn’t need any primer, thinner, diluter, or priming before application. Therefore, you won’t need to mix any type of conditioner with the stain, saving you some extra bucks.

Additionally, you get multiple options to apply the stain. You can use a roller, brush, or even a sprayer. So, the choice is in your hands, and you can apply it as you see fit. It usually doesn’t require any back brushing, and on top of that, you won’t need to worry about accidental streaks, laps, and runs.

On the other hand, the semi-transparent oil-based stain boosts the beauty of wood by allowing the natural grain and texture to remain observable. The Ready Seal 512 doesn’t require any wet-line application, and you can use it at any temperature.

Furthermore, ready seal natural cedar exterior wood stain and sealer comes with impressive protective capabilities. It can resist moisture, mildew buildup, and UV rays. Therefore, your wooden home will remain safe from rotting and discoloration.

The stain is also easy to maintain and won’t require stripping or sanding for re-application. It doesn’t contain linseed oil; thus, it won’t stain your hands in the process.

You should also know that the stain is safe for the environment. It is biodegradable and meets the requirements of the current VOC level.

  • Two in one stain and sealer saves money and time.
  • Can be applied with multiple types of equipment.
  • Protects wood from moisture and UV rays.
  • Environmental-friendly and biodegradable.
  • It cannot be applied on newly sealed, stained, or painted surfaces.​
  • The stain may leave oily residues if not wiped properly.

2. General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain, Cedar (Best Value)

 General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain

We always want the best for our home. It is where we spend most of our time. So, a place like that deserves premium quality protection and design, and what other better way than staining with the General Finishes Exterior Water Based wood stain.

Let’s talk about the pigmentation of the stain. It comes with an extremely stylish color produced, especially for exterior wooden structures. The premium quality stain can provide an elegant touch to the exterior of your wooden items while allowing the texture and wood grain to remain visible.

You should remember that the water-based stain is best suited for vertical surfaces such as entrance doors, garage doors, and furniture. Thus, we recommend that you avoid using it on horizontal wooden surfaces, especially if the project is large.

As for protection and other features, it is not the most efficient product but does a very decent job. The stain comes with UV absorbers and mildewcides, which can help in protecting the wood’s finish. The feature reduces mildew and mold growth, preventing any sort of rot.

The product lags a little behind when it comes to the transformation of color caused by sunlight. So, you should remember that before staining. Nonetheless, you can use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply the stain. It also features easy clean up; thus, you won’t need to go through the additional hassle of cleaning.

Nevertheless, the product is possibly the best stain for wood siding.

  • Pros
  • It comes with a stylish and elegant pigmentation.
  • The stain can protect exterior wood from mildew and mold buildup.
  • Can be applied in multiple ways.
  • Excellent for vertical wooden structures.
  • Wood’s color will change due to exposure to sunlight.
  • Not suitable for horizontal surfaces such as decks.

3. Flood Series FLD520-01 1G CWF-UV Cedar (Premium Pick)

Wood DefenderTransparent Fence Stain

The stains of flood series are gaining quite the reputation these days. They are of high-quality and are known to provide top-notch performance. Thus, let us have a look at the Flood semi-transparent stain reviews to know what makes them stand out while other products are failing to do so.

The first thing you need to know is that the Flood wood sealer features an oil-based formula. It is a natural finish that can protect the wood from water and sunlight effectively.

Additionally, a unique formula named Penetrol is used with the Flood wood sealer, which allows the stain to penetrate deep into the wood, providing maximum protection and durability. The product also features transparent iron oxides, enabling it to block and absorb UV rays.

Apart from these features, the stain is also resistant to mildew and protects the wood from moisture damage. Furthermore, the product, unlike other stains, does not crack, flake, or peel.

On the other hand, the semi-transparent stain leaves a deep amber hue on the wood. It looks mesmerizing and doesn’t show signs of fading for years.

As you already know, oil or acrylic resin takes time and effort to clean up. However, with the Flood semi-transparent wood stain cleanup is easier than ever and only requires soap and water.

The product can cover almost 250 sq feet, depending on the surface. As per our judgment, the stain is, in fact, the best finish for exterior cedar siding.

  • Deep penetrating formula for durability and protection.
  • Resists mildew, moisture, and sunlight.
  • Comes in a magnificent color.
  • Features easy cleanup.
  • A bit expensive.
  • You may require re-application after two years.

4. DEFY Wood Oil for Decks, 1 Gallon, Cedar

 DEFY Wood Oil for Decks

It’s impossible to write an entire review on wood stains without mentioning DEFY at least once. If you haven’t already heard about them, then something is not right with your research. So, without further ado, let us have a quick look at what may be the best exterior stain for cedar, DEFY Wood Oil.

The particular stain is unlike other stains due to having a unique blend of both water and oil-based sealants. In terms of application, the product works like an oil-based stain and sealer. It is able to penetrate deep into pores of wood effortlessly, allowing it to last longer and provide a better bond.

On the other hand, water-based features enable you to have easy cleanup. Although the stain sometimes fails to give you the expected effortless cleanup, it is still better than most other stains in terms of the specific job.

Apart from that, the product works like a two-in-one sealer and semi-transparent stain. It can give your wooden surfaces a stylish natural look while protecting your wood from the harsh elements of weather.

It is able to provide protection against water damage, moisture, graying, and UV damages. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about rotting or discoloration while using the stain.

Finally, the product is 250 VOC compliant, making it safe for the skin and the environment. It is also versatile and can be used on different types of woods and surfaces. Thus, we consider it as the best cedar siding stain.

  • Comes with the advantages of oil and water-based stains.
  • Provides protection against UV and water damages.
  • It can penetrate deep into the wood’s pore, allowing it to last longer.
  • Versatile and suitable for different surfaces.
  • Sometimes you will need to use more than just water and soap for clean up.
  • You may need to use more than one coat of stain for a particular area.

5. Cabot 140.0019202.007 Wood Toned Deck & Siding Low VOC Exterior Stain

Cabot 140.0019202.007 Wood Toned Deck

The next product on our list is the Cabot Wood exterior stain. It’s not the cheapest of products, and some may say it is quite expensive, but the quality and performance it delivers are outstanding. Let’s have a glimpse.

The product is a semi-transparent oil-based stain. It comes with a beautiful pigmentation that doesn’t hide the texture or grain of the wood. The stain will provide a stylish color on the wood’s surface, enhancing the beauty of the timber while allowing the natural grain to bloom.

Additionally, oil-based features allow the product to penetrate deep into the pores of the wood. The feature makes the stain durable and allows it to last for years. The product also comes with water-repellent ability, preventing any sort of rotting and water damage caused by continuous exposure to moisture.

The best thing about the product is that you can use it on a variety of surfaces. It is suitable for fences, trims, siding, and decks at the same time. Whether it’s the exterior of your deck or fence, you are the last person who needs to worry about compatibility.

Furthermore, the stain is extremely easy to apply. It doesn’t require much prepping or effort to use the product. It is not suitable for interior surfaces; thus, you should avoid using it on such wooden structures at all costs.

The benefits of the product outweigh the disadvantages. Hence, we believe it is probably the best semi-transparent stain for cedar siding.

  • Premium high-quality stain.
  • Durable and last for many years.
  • It able to repel water and moisture buildup.
  • Seamless application.
  • It is a bit expensive but worth the money.
  • The stain is not at all ideal for interior surfaces.

6. AMTECO INC TWP-101-1 Gallon Cedar Extention Oil Stain

AMTECO INC TWP-101-1 Gallon Cedar Extention Oil Stain

One of the most extraordinary things about having a high-quality stain is that you can rely on it. Now, many products may seem reliable, but, in truth, fails to meet the necessary requirements. Thus, if reliability is what you want, why not have a glance at the AMTECO INC TWP oil stain.

First of all, the oil-based stain comes with the ability to penetrate deep into the wood. It not only provides the perfect finish to the project but also provides protection against elemental damages.

A good thing about high penetrating stains is that they offer the best hue. The TWP 101 cedar tone, similarly will make your weathered wood look new. It will also highlight the existing patterns of the timber while ensuring warmth and amazing clarity.

You can expect ultimate protection from the stain. It is extremely useful when it comes to resisting mildew, wood rot, sunlight, and water. The product is also EPA registered, marking it safe for the environment and your health.

A unique feature of the stain is that it doesn’t blister, peel, or crack easily. Once applied, the stain lasts for quite some time while reducing the effort and time it takes for maintenance.

The product also comes with a high coverage rate of 200 to 400 square feet. It is the best siding stain suitable for fascia, porch decking, shutters, shakes, fences, wood siding, shingles, and rough-sawn cedar.

  • Deep penetrating oil-based stain.
  • Doesn’t crack, blister or peel.
  • It can resist mildew, water, and sunlight.
  • The stain has a decent coverage rate.
  • Over application of the product will leave an oily residue.
  • It can only be used for wooden structures that are above ground.

7. Thompson’s TH.071861-16 WatersealWaterproofer Plus Wood Stain

Damp weather or environment can cause different problems to your wooden homes and items. If preventing water damage, mildew, moisture, and mold buildup is your primary target then, the Thompson’s TH 071867-16 wood stain is the perfect product for you.

As the name suggests, the most powerful feature of the product is its ability to prevent water damage. Its waterproofing capabilities are incomparable and far better than any other stains.

The stain not only provides protection from water damage but also prevents mildew buildup and UV rays. Thus, there is no need to worry about discoloration due to excessive exposure to sunlight.

On the other hand, the stain ensures long-lasting color. It doesn’t fade over time, which most stains do in about a year or two. The product also features scuff-resistant color; hence, accidental streaks shouldn’t be a problem for you.

Another exciting feature of the stain is that it can give a beautiful color to your wooden exterior while highlighting the natural grain and texture. The finish you receive after using the stain is simply amazing.

Similar to some of the products we have reviewed, the stain is also an all-in-one wood sealer and stain. You won’t require the addition of an extra coat of sealant, which saves not only your money but also your precious time.

The stain also takes less to no effort for application. You won’t need to sand the surface thoroughly before applying it. Just remember to keep the particular area clean and free of dirt.

  • Heavy-duty water repellent capability.
  • Resists UV rays and mildew buildup.
  • Scuff resistant, long-lasting color.
  • Works as a stain and a sealer.
  • Dries too quickly, which sometimes causes a problem for fixes.
  • It is fantastic at protecting but doesn’t provide a magnificent look.

8. Wood Defender 200 Series Cedar Tone Transparent Stain

 Sashco 67575 Transformation Deck and Fence Stain

The Wood Defender transparent stain is the final product in our list of the best. However, it doesn’t imply that the stain is less efficient in protecting or beautifying wooden structures. So, if you are looking for something different, the product can be a great alternative to the other stains we have mentioned.

A group of highly qualified chemists had put their heart and soul to choose and use only the highest quality components to formulate the Wood Defender stain. Due to the raw materials, the product can provide ultimate protection and look to the wood and its surface.

Other than that, the transparent stain comes with a unique mixture of resins and modified oils. The blend enables the product to enter deep into the wood’s pore, ensuring stronger bonds and long-lasting protection.

Additionally, the stain uses the finest pigmentations, which offer an elegant and, at the same time, subtle look to the wood. Using the stain will help you to achieve that rustic look that you have been yearning for a long time.

The product also comes with protection against the harsh elements of weather. It is able to repel water, UV rays, mildew buildup, and fungus growth. Thus, you won’t come across discoloration due to sunlight or rotting because of moisty weather.

Two more things about the stain are that it is effortless to apply and dries nicely. However, drying time depends on the weather. So, keep that in mind before using the stain.

  • The formula comes with top-notch components.
  • Superior quality pigments offer the finest appearance.
  • Features a blend of resins and modified oils for protection.
  • Resistant to water, UV lights, fungus, and mildew.
  • Drying takes a very long time in cold places.
  • You may come across blotching after the first coat if not careful.

Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding (The Ultimate Buying Guide)

There are a few things you need to consider before purchasing an exterior stain for your cedar siding. These factors can help you in choosing the perfect product for yourself.

best cedar siding stain

Oil-Based or Water-Based

Before you decide on a stain, you need to know if you want a water-based or an oil-based product. There are some differences between both, so make sure you know the right details.

An oil-based stain offers better pigmentation and protection. It is thicker than water-based formula; therefore, less chance of dripping. Oil-based stains are able to penetrate deep into the wood’s pore, which creates strong bonds and allows the stain to last for a very long time.

On the other hand, water-based stains are better at repelling water. Therefore, if rotting is your main concern, then you should look into such stains. Furthermore, water-based products feature easy clean up; hence, they don’t require much effort for removal.

There are some unique stains that feature a blend of both water and oil-based formula. They come with the benefits of both. So, these products can also be a good option for your cedar siding.

Transparent or Translucent

These features will come into play when you are deciding on the look of your wood.

A translucent or semi-transparent finish will give your wooden structure a specific color while allowing the natural grain and texture to remain visible. It is a good choice when you want a particular appearance for the surface or if you want to hide the previous look of your wooden exterior.

On the contrary, transparent stains are pretty much invisible. You won’t notice it from afar. It has the same level of protection as a transparent stain. If the wood’s surface has an elegant color and appearance, it’s better to use a transparent stain. It will retain the original look of your timber while making it glossier and protecting it from elemental damages.

Cedar Pattern

If your cedar comes with a stylish texture, it is best to let it stand out. Often you will come across the decision of choosing a solid, transparent, or translucent stain. Now the decision will depend on your preference.

If your wood’s grain is stunning but has a worn-out color, go for a semi-transparent stain. If both the color and texture are stylish, then a transparent stain can be the perfect finish for you. A solid finish, on the other hand, can hide the poor look of your wooden structure.


The durability of your stain will depend very much on the climate or weather of your area. Sometimes your exterior wooden items may be exposed to excessive sunlight.

Now, sunlight contains UV rays, which can cause discoloration to the wood and stain. If that is the fact, then choose a stain with UV absorbers to prevent discoloration.

On the contrary, if your area is moisty or susceptible to heavy rainfall every once in a while, then a water-repellent stain can be your best bet. It will protect the cedar from rotting and mildew.

Apart from that, some stains take longer to dry in cold weather while other products can dry relatively quickly. You should keep this factor in mind, or else you will be losing precious time.

Weather can affect a stain in many ways. However, specific stains come with protection against particular climates. So, choose wisely.

Painting or Staining Cedar Siding?

This particular question often bothers homeowners around the world. So, let us clear it out today.

painting or staining cedar sidingg


While paint also protects cedar sidings from elemental damages, it hides the natural look of the wood entirely. You should opt for paint when there is no hope of reviving the color of the cedar siding. Paint is more durable and requires minimum maintenance.

However, paint sometimes makes the siding look artificial, and on top of that, it is quite costly.

Generally, stains do not peel or crack, unlike paint. Staining provides better protection and appearance. Furthermore, a stain is not expensive, which overall makes it a better option for your cedar sidings.


Stains are better at enhancing the natural look of the siding. It allows the texture and grain to remain visible while protecting wood from UV rays and moisture. If you decide on stains, you should go for a transparent or semi-transparent one. Stains are also much more affordable compared to paints.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Q: Can cedar siding be painted or stained?

Yes, of course, you can stain your cedar siding. New wood requires less to no preparation before the paint application. However, you should be careful while painting old or weathered cedar. It requires quite the preparation, and you will need to make sure the wood is free of dirt, mildew, and mold.

Q: Can I paint over stained cedar siding?

Yes, you can; in fact, many people paint their stained cedar to have better pigmentation and hue. Nonetheless, you must make sure to dry out the existing stain before applying a coat of paint.

You can sprinkle some water on the stained cedar to be absolutely sure about its dryness. If the surface absorbs the water, then it will need more time or cleaning before the paint job.

Q: Does cedar siding need to be sealed?

It depends on your preference. However, we recommend our readers to seal cedar siding. Usually, cedarwood comes with decent protection, but without proper sealing, it may lose the bright red hue and turn gray in about a year.

Cedar can show signs of wood rot, cracking, curling due to inclement weather. Hence, it is best if you seal it adequately.

Q: How do you clean cedar siding?

We suggest you try out oxygen bleach. It blends nicely with water. The mixture is non-toxic; therefore, it won’t take away the natural hue of the wood or make it fade.

Firstly, you will need to let the solution remain on the cedar siding for about 15 minutes to eliminate mildew. Afterward, scrub the surface gently without excessive force and rinse when you are done.

Q: How long does cedar siding last?

Cedar sidings last for approximately 20 to 40 years. But with proper maintenance, you can increase the lifespan of cedar sidings to almost 60-70 years. Usually, appropriate staining and sealing can increase the longevity of sidings.

Q: How often should you stain cedar siding?

It will depend on the weather condition and how much effect it has on the cedar siding. Typically, it takes around 3 to 5 years before you need to re-stain. However, it may take more or less depending on the condition of your cedar wood and existing stain.

Q: What color should I choose for my cedar siding?

It entirely depends on your preference and choice. However, as per our recommendation, you can go for a semi-transparent stain as it not only boosts the natural appearance of the wood but also provides it an aged look.

Q: Why is my cedar siding losing its color?

Often, you may witness your cedar wood turning gray, and it happens due to weathering. Weathering is a widespread problem for unprotected woods. When your cedar is exposed to the elemental effects of weather, it starts to lose its color and turns gray in a matter of time.

Q: Why isn’t my stain sticking to the surface of the cedar siding?

Although some manufacturers claim effortless application, it’s not always the case. So, if you want the stain to adhere properly to the siding, you must make sure the exterior is free of mildew, dust, and debris. A clean surface can absorb stain better than a dirty one.

Q: Should I apply stain on freshly painted cedar siding?

No, you should avoid staining a newly painted surface. The best course of action in this situation is to wait a few months and allow the siding to weather. Afterward, follow the proper guidelines and stain.

Sometimes, the stain you bought may not be compatible with the existing stain. In such cases, you will need to remove the paint entirely before you can go on with the staining job.

Final Notes

While staining the cedar siding of your home may seem challenging, sometimes the task of choosing the perfect stain becomes even more difficult.

A stain may feature heavy-duty protection against moisture, while another may provide a better appearance to the overall texture of the cedar siding. Some stains will fail you in the long run; therefore, you must be very careful before choosing one.

Our review of the best exterior stain for cedar siding comes with everything you need to know about cedar siding stains and what makes them stand out in the long run. We hope it will come as a great service to you. Thank you!