Last Updated: 13 July, 2020

Best Solid Deck Stain (Review) in 2020

Best Value

Minwax 70012444 Wood Stain

Minwax 70012444 Wood Stain


Our Choice

Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain

Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain


Premium Pick

Penofin Exterior Wood Stain

Penofin Exterior Wood Stain


Our Choice

Penofin Exterior Wood Stain

Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain


Best Value

Penofin Exterior Wood Stain

Minwax 70012444 Wood Stain


Premium Pick

Penofin Exterior Wood Stain

Penofin Exterior Wood Stain


Despite the common saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” it is something people often do, and usually, you will also face judgmental sneers because of how you or your house looks.

Not to blow your balloon or anything, but if you have excellent interior design, you should look into the possibilities of enhancing your exterior’s condition.


People often ignore how fences and outdoor furniture can be a make or break deal for a person’s reputation. Any passer-by would just take a quick look, and slide in a reprehensible comment. Unpleasant, and that’s sugarcoating it!

Exterior stains are the perfect things to bring out the true beauty of your wood. It not only glorifies your decks or lumbers but also protects them from excessive exposure to sunlight or water.

Now, there are many options to choose from- for instance, if you are a person who prefers dark color then, you can go for the best black exterior wood stain. On the other hand, if you prefer a smooth coating, then your optimal choice should be the best clear deck exterior wood stain.

So, if you are confused about which one to take home with you then, fear not because we have prepared a review of the best exterior wood stain just for you, we believe you will find everything necessary here if you scroll down.

05 Best Exterior Wood Stain

In this section, we have covered the top 5 exterior wood stains on the market. Make sure to have a good look at them if you are confused about the details.


Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain

Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain

Check Out Our Top Pick

Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain (Walnut)Our Choice

Minwax 260604444 Wood Gel Stain
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If you are a fan of painting on wood and DIY, you’ve probably heard the name Minwax. This company has made some significant wood stains, 260604444 Wood Gel Stain is not an exception.

The fantastic thing about this stain is that it is not exclusively for use on wood; you can coat metal, plywood, fiberglass, veneer surfaces with this. So, it will be useful for a myriad of different projects you might be working on.

Vertical surfaces can be a pain to manage as the stain often keeps rolling down, but Minwax Wood Gel Stain is here to help. This is made with a non-drip formula to give you more control over the staining process.

This is a ½ pint can with walnut-toned stain. It comes in a bunch of different colors, and walnut is a popular one among these. The stain gives the wood a rich, dark tone and an elegant look.

The instructions for this stain are quite straightforward, making the job a piece of cake. This is also a cost-efficient item; in fact, it is cheap enough to fit into a pretty tight budget.


  • The stain is made using the non-drip formula to stain vertical surfaces seamlessly.
  • This product can be used for both wooden and non-wooden surfaces.
  • It gives wood a superb walnut tone.
  • It is not too pricey and can be easily applied.


  • You should not opt for a rag to apply the stain.
  • It takes a while to dry.​

Minwax 70012444 Wood Finish (Dark Walnut 2716)Best Value

Minwax 70012444 Wood Finish
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Minwax is one of the most trusted wood stain manufacturers in the market. It would not be a surprise if the best exterior wood siding stain came from them. We are talking about the 70012444 Dark Walnut Wood Finish 2716.

This rich-colored stain penetrates deep into the wood. It is excellent for both exterior use and interior use. The product also provides fantastic protection to the wood.

Minwax wood stain is available in 28 different tones. This can of stain gives a beautiful dark walnut tone to your furniture. It has an elegant matte finish and accents the wood grain, giving it a stylish rustic look.

The stain can be applied on bare or stripped wood. Coating the stain is pretty straightforward. Use foam applicator, bristle brush, and a piece of cloth to do the job yourself. Each quart of stain will cover an area of 150sqft.

You want to coat the wooden surface twice. After the first coat, wait 4 to 6 hours and apply the second coat. This will give the wood a darker tone. It takes about 8 hours for the stain to dry.


  • The product can be used on exterior and interior objects.
  • It sinks inside the wood and highlights the grain.
  • It gives a stylish matte finish.
  • It is simple to handle.


  • Previously stained wood takes more time to dry than bare wood after application.
  • It takes a few days for the odor to go away.​

Penofin Exotic Hardwood Exterior, Wood Stain IPE Finish Premium Pick

Penofin Exotic Hardwood Exterior Wood Stain
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Is your deck made of IPE wood? Great, because IPE is a sturdy wood. Potential threats to many other timbers find it hard to deteriorate this wood. But the bad news is, it’s a challenge to find the best exterior wood stain and sealer for this wood.

IPE, as well as other highly dense tropical hardwood such as Garapa, Cumaru, etc. and Mahogany, Teak, Pau Lope, can be well taken care of by Penofin Exotic Hardwood Wood Stain; this stain is made to deal with non-porous hardwood.

The product is a penetrating oil finish that lets the wood breathe. It is perfect for protecting and nourishing exterior wood. Its Brazilian Rosewood oil goes a long way to keep the wood secure.

This stain comes with 99% UV resistance and superior mildewcide. So, your deck will remain shielded from mildew and mold. Its UV-protection keeps damaging rays from harming or fading the wood’s tone.

You should remember to refinish every 3 to 6 months. Before application, clean the surface properly. After the first coating, wait for 20 to 30 minutes. Another great thing about this is that the stain dries without bubbles or cracks.


  • This is probably the best oil-based exterior wood stain providing 99% resistance to damaging UV rays.
  • It keeps the wood secure from inside out.
  • It works nicely on non-porous hardwood.
  • It protects from mildew and mold.


  • The drying period can be lengthy but worth the wait.
  • It is quite pricey.

DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
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When you have to choose the best exterior wood stain for decks in terms of protection, DEFY Extreme Exterior Wood Stain would be a strong contender. Its formula prevents mold and mildew from growing.

The zinc nano-particle technology works as a blockade for harmful UV rays. This helps protect the natural endurance of wood, resists fading, and decolorization.

Getting a deck stained doesn’t mean that nature has to be compromised. DEFY Extreme Exterior Wood Stain is water-based and does not emit damaging chemicals. Also, this is a 250 VOC (Volatile organic compound) compliant product.

Longevity is one of the best features of this stain. Since it is built using only top-notch ingredients, you can rely on its quality. It utilizes the best resin available, making the stain last longer than its counterparts.

This is a semi-transparent stain with a matte cedar tone. You do not have to strip or sand the wooden surface when it gets dull; just clean it using water and soap. You can easily apply this stain by spraying and brushing.


  • This is an environmentally friendly water-based stain.
  • The product is easy to apply and lasts a long time.
  • It protects wood from greying caused by harmful UV rays.
  • It does not require stripping and sanding before coating.


  • Dribbles show sometimes, but it still looks pretty good.
  • It should be applied on cloudy days rather than sunny days.

Varathane 297428 Premium Wood Stain (Worn Navy)

Varathane 297428 Premium Wood Stain
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Wood stains often take a lot of time to dry. Are you not fond of being kept waiting? You could give Varathane 297428 Premium Wood Stain a try. This stain hardly ever disappoints.

The product is famous for its fast-drying formula. It dries three times faster than traditional wood stains, taking just an hour to dry. Nonetheless, you should give it a day for a full cure. It darkens with time.

This is an oil-based wood stain. It is perfect for staining cabinet, trim, paneling, furniture, and other projects. Varathane stain comes in 26 tones; this is a worn navy in color. You can cover an area of 275sqft with this can.

You need to apply it using a clean, lint-free rag or brush. After 5 to 10 minutes, you can wipe off in the grain’s direction. There is no need to use any wood conditioner before the appliance, which saves a lot of time.

Varathane Premium Wood Stain utilizes nano pigment particles to enhance color quality. It helps bring out the natural beauty of wood by highlighting the grain. It also enables you to make do with just one coat of stain.


  • The product has a much smaller drying period than ordinary stains.
  • It takes only one coat for maximum color.
  • It has nano pigment particles for highlighting wood grain.
  • It can cover up to 275sqft.


  • Be careful to not leave it for too long after staining if you don’t want a dark tone.
  • If you want a matte finish, you might want to try something else.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Exterior Wood Stain

The market is filled with different exterior and standard wood stains. However, only some of them come with the ability to offer you what you desire. Furthermore, there are some key aspects that require your attention before you buy one.

Thus, if you do not want anything to go wrong and achieve the best result, we suggest you check out the upcoming section to know what you should do, understand and avoid before applying an exterior wood stain.

best wood deck stain

Verifying the type of wood

The first task of staining any lumber is to know what kind of wood you are using. People mostly use either softwood or hardwood. Softwoods like conifers, Amborella, or pine have excellent absorption capabilities.

They can consume stains more quickly than hardwoods. Therefore, you can use one coat of stain on softwoods to get your desired look without having to darken it with the help of other products.

On the other hand, hardwood like cherry and oak cannot absorb stain as quickly or easily like softwood. Hence, you will need to use more than one coat of stain to have a dark color.

Now the task at hand is to determine what type of wood you have. Well, the process of verification is quite easy. You only need to check the grain of the lumber.

The grain of softwood is often blotchy, and it is not consistent. On the other hand, the grain of hardwood is consistent throughout the length of the borehole. So, by checking the grain of the wood, you can easily know what sort of timber you have.

Features of the Exterior Stain

Your ideal stain should have some features that make it suitable for your wood. Two crucial factors play an essential role in the process of choosing the best quality exterior wood stain.

The first quality that you must look for is the stain’s ability to bring out the natural grain of the wood, meaning how well it performs on your wooden furniture or decks.

If you are working with furniture then, you will require something that can provide an excellent finish to the project. On the other hand, fences or outdoor decks do not require flawless finish; therefore, you do not need something extraordinary.

The second chief factor is whether your stain has the ability to resist UV rays, water, and molds. As you are working with exterior wood, it will be susceptible to the harsh effects of weather.

So, if your stain is unable to protect it from such elements, then there is no point in purchasing it. Nonetheless, exterior woods require more than the help of a stain. It is best if you use a sealer to give them a proper finishing.

So, by using the best exterior wood sealer and an optimal stain, you can keep your outdoor lumber safe from elemental damages and ensure longevity.

What Items You Want to Stain

Before staining any wood, you should be prepared with some tools in your arsenal. If you are working with fences or decks, you will want to use a wide brush.

If you are planning to work on small exterior projects, then there are a number of things that you might want to have. First of all, a regular or a foam brush. Secondly, a lot of rags and thirdly, disposable gloves.

Remember, the rags you are using should be small. Larger ones have a high chance of getting stuck with the stain; hence, if you want better control of the wipers then, nothing beats small pieces of rags.

Preparing the Wood

The preparation process comes handy for both soft and hardwood. Usually, softwoods have a splotchy appearance and an irregular grain. So, to stain such woods, you would want to use a pre-stain conditioner first.

Such a product will give it an even surface. On the other hand, you should also use sandpaper to equalize the grain of the lumber. However, it will make the wood less absorbent, so, when you stain it, the surface may have a lighter appearance.

Nevertheless, if you rely on coarser grade sandpaper, then your lumber will be able to absorb more stain but with the cost of having a rough surface. It is true that you will get a dark texture, but you will also have a rugged-looking exterior.

Applying an Exterior Stain on Small Items


First, you have to soak the brush with the stain and apply it to the wood. Remember to use a decent amount of it on the grain of the lumber.


Wait for 5-15 minutes for the wood to absorb the stain. If you are applying it on hardwood then, you will have to wait a little longer and use more than one coat on it.


After waiting for the right amount of time, wipe the stain off using a rag. The direction of wiping should be the same as the grain of the lumber.


If you are planning to use more than one coat, then consider waiting for 4-6 hours after using the first batch of stain.


Wait for 15 minutes after applying the second batch and wipe off the excess stain with the rag


After you are done with staining, you should wait for almost 8 hours to let it dry properly.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

Q: How long do I need to dry my cedar wood before using a stain on it?

You should not use a stain on it while it is in a damp state. The approximate time of waiting is 3-6 months before applying a stain on cedarwood.

Q: What type of stain should I use for my wood?

Fully up to you, we would say. Some will give you a darker look, whereas some will provide you with a more natural appearance. On the other hand, there are oil-based and water-based stains; so, you can choose from those too.

Nonetheless, we suggest you use the best exterior wood oil stain if you are planning to work on outdoor projects.

Q: How often do I need to apply a stain?

Well, after 1-2 years, a stain loses its ability to resist water. Therefore, it is better to re-apply it after a few years.

Final Notes

It is challenging to take care of woods that are meant for outdoor projects. They are always out in the open; thus, vulnerable to the various effects of nature.

If they are not paid proper attention, they may start to rot or wear out within the course of a few months. Therefore, the most effective way to protect them from the elements of weather is to use an exterior stain.

Common stains will provide decent protection, but it won’t save them for a long time. What you need is the best exterior wood stain to make sure your decks, fences, or outdoor furniture are safe from harm’s way.

In our best exterior wood stain reviews, we have comprised everything you need to start your staining project. So, the path to glorifying and safeguarding your outdoor woods is just one or a few coats of stain away.

And with that, we wish you happy staining!

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