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Best Stains For Cedar Deck in 2024: Top-Rated & Reviews

As there are many best stains for cedar deck on the market, it is not an easy task to find the best one for you. But wait, don't panic. We've already tried many models of the best stains for cedar deck available and reviewed them carefully. This article will walk you through how to opt for the best stains for cedar deck and provide you with our selection of 12 best models on the market.


Cedar decks are unmistakable to the nose and eye if you live anywhere with a cedar tree nearby. They're also durable and naturally resistant to rot, making some of the best decking materials out there in terms of cost and longevity. Cedar decks can be easily stained, but which stains are best for this material?

Bonus: Before jumping to our selection of the best stains for the deck, we think you may not want to miss this sprayer to embrace your piece of work quickly. Based on our experience, a paint sprayer accompanied with stains is a great combo!

1. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood


  • Requires no primer. Ready Seal is darkest when first applied. It reaches its true color in approximately 14 days. Do not apply Ready Seal over painted or newly stained surfaces. Sealed surfaces inhibit penetration.
  • May be applied using sprayer, roller or brush onto the woods surface.
  • Requires no back brushing and will nerver leave runs, laps, or streaks.
  • Requires no wet-line application, the product will blend itself and can be applied in any temperature range for proper application.
  • Requires no diluting or thinning prior to spray applications.
  • Subject to or will include a PaintCare recycling fee in the following states: CT, or VT. Not available in CA.
  • Easy maintenance - no sanding or stripping required for re-application

This is a Ready Sealable Stain and Sealer, which is a great feature in terms of durability, fit and finish, and ease of upkeep. If you're in the market for a cedar deck stain but also want to avoid a flat finish that leaves streaks or uneven coverage on the wood, this is the ideal product. The shade of light brown color ranges from warm earth tones to even golden hues.

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2. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, Cedar Tone 1 Gallon


  • Water-Based Semi-Transparent Wood Stain – This water-based deck stain allows the wood grain to show through with a beautiful semi-transparent, natural matte finish. It's great for staining wood decks, fences, siding, playsets, outdoor patio furniture, and more.
  • Fortified With Zinc Nano-Particle Technology – It’s like sunscreen for your wood. Tiny zinc particles dispersed throughout the stain reflect damaging UV rays, preventing premature graying and color loss.
  • Durable Quality That Lasts – DEFY Extreme wood stains are made with the highest quality resins available that have better resistance to fading and darkening.
  • Easy to Maintain - DEFY is easy to apply and maintain by applying a single maintenance coat of DEFY Extreme Wood Stain when the wood starts to show signs of wear.
  • 250 VOC Compliant - Water based and VOC compliant everywhere except California.

Here's another Ready Sealable stain, which can be applied like a regular exterior stain. Still, you don't have to worry about drying too fast or losing its effectiveness. The finish can vary from dark wood tones to even lighter tones of gold and bronze. It offers good coverage, too, so you'll want to use less than with other cedar deck stains. This is an excellent option because it contains a UV protectant, which can resist cracking, fading, and peeling in the face of the sun's rays.

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3.#1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks, Fences, & Siding - 1 Gallon (Cedar)


  • PROTECTS AGAINST COLOR FADE AND PREVENTS GRAYING - #1 Deck Protects Wood From Damage Caused By Exposure to the Elements. Can Be Used On Pressure Treated Pine, Cedar, Fir, Redwood, or Most Other Softwoods. Hardwoods Will Require More Frequent Maintenance Coats.
  • BOTH A DECK STAIN & DECK SEALANT IN ONE - #1 Deck Stain Is a Dual-Purpose Stain & Sealer. It Adds Color to Your Wood and Seals it, Preventing Damage Caused by Water Penetration.
  • ALLOWS THE WOOD GRAIN TO SHOW THROUGH - Available in 5 Beautiful, Semi-Transparent Deck Stain Colors That Dry to Flat, Natural Looking Finishes That Will Enhance the Beauty of Your Exterior Wood.
  • BETTER FOR THE PLANET, EASY SOAP & WATER CLEANUP - With Less Than 50 g/L VOC Content, #1 Deck Sealer Is a Better Choice For Our Planet. Clean Up is Super Easy - Just Use Soap and Water.

This is a high-quality deck stain designed to be more aggressive on wood surfaces than regular wood stains, thanks to the inclusion of Tung oil. It's also durable enough to protect against mold, mildew, and water, so it's resistant to rain and snow. The cedar tone that this deck stain comes in sets it apart from other cedar deck stains – it's a closer match to lighter shades of natural raw cedar.

How to choose the best stains for cedar deck
1. Price :

With great stain options, it can be hard to decide where to start in deck stains. Some less expensive alternatives may seem like they'll do just fine. But they will not last nearly as long as a high-quality stain or sealer. So you have to get the most bang for your buck when choosing colors for a cedar deck.
2. Coverage :
Does the stain cover your cedar deck with a uniform shade of color? Many stains come in based on how much you apply, so you won't have much control if you go with one that's too thin or too thick.
3. Drying time :
Every project is different, but you want to ensure you've got enough time to do all the staining before you get any bad weather or precipitation. Many stains have a drying time of about 15 minutes so that you can apply one coat while the other dries.
4. Type of stain :
From semi-transparent to bright colors, all kinds of stains can help your cedar deck stand out in the crowd. Just ensure that you've got adequate protection in place regarding moisture and UV rays. You don't want your beautiful new deck turning into an eyesore after just one year due to neglect!
5. Price :
Along with the price, you also want to look at how easy the stain is to apply. Some colors can be thick and hard to use; others are easy-to-pour and easier on your hands and practice.
6. One coat vs. two coats :
If you're depositing two coats of stain on your cedar deck, you may want to use a less aggressive shame so that it doesn't leave that odd blotchy finish behind. The semi-transparent stains usually have one coat of paint that will do the trick.

1. How much does one gallon of cedar deck stain cover?

The answer is about 400-500 square feet on a 2x12-inch rough-sawn cedar deck. Most of the products on the market today will cover an area of between 500 to 650 square feet, so that's what you should expect when buying stains for a cedar deck.
2. What is the average coverage rate for a one-gallon natural cedar deck sealer?
I, too, was wondering how many square feet I would cover with one gallon. I did some research and found out that it depends on how thick you apply the product, but you can expect to cover an area of roughly 300 to 400 square feet per gallon maximum.
3. Can I use a one-step stain and sealer over an old, existing deck stain?
You can apply a one-step product over an existing stain, but clean the area with a deck cleaner so that the new product works properly. The idea is to ensure that your cedar deck is clean and ready to apply a new stain.
4. How long does it take to dry a cedar deck stain?
Typically, deck stains dry in between 20 to 35 minutes. This is a reasonable amount of time to give the surface and let it dry completely before sealing it with the polyurethane sealer. The polyurethane sealer should be applied between 10-20 minutes if you use a semi-transparent stain. If you're using a darker color, then up to 40-60 minutes will be needed for proper drying, but most stains will be ready for use quickly.
5. How long does it take to stain a cedar deck?
The amount of time you need to wait between applying the first coat of stain and the second coat depends on how much time you need for proper drying. As mentioned before, if you're using a semi-transparent stain, this should be ready for use after about 10 minutes. If you're using darker colors for a cedar deck, then anywhere from 20-60 minutes should be enough to dry, depending on the weather conditions and temperature.
6. Why is my cedar deck not taking in a new stain?
If your cedar deck is not taking in new stains, then there may be an issue with your wood's surface or its porosity.


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    Olympic Stain
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