Best Deck Stain, Sealer, and Strippers: DIY Ideas to Stain a Deck

Read this article to know about the full concept of the best deck stain, sealer, and strippers.

Stain vs Sealer vs Strippers

There is no such big difference between deck stains and deck sealers both work exactly the same as protection against UV rays, water-repelling, and repairing of the fading deck. But Stain has pigment, which means it gives a color that appears on the other hand Sealer is transparent in nature.

Strippers are also known as deck paint, stain, and sealer remover. It is the first most step while decking, it helps in cleaning the dirt, prevents the growth of mildew and mold.

Types of Deck Stain

There are two deck stain types available in the market:

  • Oil-Based Deck Stain
  • Water-Based Deck Stain

Oil-Based Deck Stain

The Oil-Based Deck Stain is applied when the deck is full exposure to the sun. And evenly this is highly durable in harsh weathered conditions than Water-Based Deck Stain.

  • These deck stains usually penetrate deeper into the woods.
  • Helps in preventing mold growth.
  • The drying time is longer which means it is easier to apply a coat again.
  • It is highly flammable even under wet conditions.

Water-Based Deck Stain

The Water-Based Deck Stain is applied under cool weather. But it requires more work to prep but it is more durable with an odor-free property.

  • It is easy to clean with soapy water.
  • Eco-Friendly and does not contain any flammable substances.
  • Provides protection against mold and fungus.
  • It has better color retention with quicker drying time than Oil-Based Deck Stain.

Best Deck Stain

Cabot Australian Timber Oil Natural

best deck stain sealer strippers
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First, we have this best deck stain of Cabot Australian Timber Oil Natural with 4.6 star Amazon ratings. It is a completely oil-based deck stain which means it provides protection from the Ultra violet rays, prevents the growth of mold and mildew growth on the wood deck.

It is available in a variety of colors you can choose according to your wooden deck and ease of application is very easy to use all you need is just a roller brush or sprayer for doing your DIY job.

Ready Seal Semi-Transparent Stain And Sealer

Ready Seal Semi-Transparent Stain And Sealer
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Next up we have these two in one applications Ready Seal Semi-Transparent Stain And Sealer. It is also an oil-based deck stain with 4.6 star Amazon Ratings. But this time you are getting a semi-transparent deck stain which means you are able to color and wood grain will still be shown.

This will save you time because of its combo features and adding an extra layer for protection from UV rays and mildew growth. You can easily apply it by using a brush, roller, or sprayer on any type of solid wood stain deck.

#1 SaverSytems Deck Premium Stain

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If you really want to stain your weathered deck surface then #1 Deck Premium Stain by SaverSystems would be the best solution out there. It has 4.6 star Amazon ratings and even comes at an affordable price. The semi-transparent color properties help in rejuvenating the old decks back to their life.

This comes in two in one applications of being stain and sealant at the same time. Also due to its water-based stain, you can easily clean it with soapy water. Also protects the decks from UV rays, mildew and mold growth, you can easily apply it using a brush or sprayer.

Cabot Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain

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At last, we have this multi-use Cabot Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain is the best deck stain that works fine on even fences. The deck stain is rich in pigment level which means you are able to experience the colors. The oil-based deck stain allows it to protect from harmful UV rays but it didn’t mention mildew and mold.

It has low volatile organic chemicals also known as VOCs and high-hiding camouflage from the rest of the products. You can easily apply it with a brush but don’t use a sprayer. This is the best way to stain your deck using this product.

How To Stain or Seal a Wood Deck?

How To Stain or Seal a Wood Deck
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Image Credits: Home Depot

Staining and sealing a deck comes in the same process however, you need to do stripping your deck (discussed below). So here are some tips and tricks to stain a wooden deck at home.

  • Start washing the wood with water and deck cleaner and use a scrub for cleaning while the surface is wet. Then let the surface cleaner deeply penetrates into the wood for 10 minutes.
  • After that rinse the water over the deck using a Pressure Washer or Garden Hose. Let sit the wood dry for two days before using a deck stain.
  • Now stir the deck stain well and pour it into the tray. Use a brush for filling the gaps, cracks, and hollow spaces. Paint over the railings also.
  • After this process uses paint pad applicators for making it easy to clean. Try to make vertical strokes. One coat of deck stain is more than enough and let it dry for 4 hours.
  • Make sure to cover the unwanted outdoor furniture area using plastic. Sometimes grasses, bushes, and around the house deck are highly exposed.

You don’t need to invest high in purchasing a Pressure Washer also known as “Power Washer”, although Garden Hose is the best alternative to this tool.

Things To Consider While Shopping For Deck Stain

The main thing that needs to consider while looking for deck stain is:


The opacity is also known as the “pigment level” in the wood, which means how the color will be shown on deck. The higher the pigment level the more it shows the deck stain colors. It simply has four basic properties:

1. Toner: It does not change the look of the deck because its property is close to the transparent sealer. And it requires a coating every year.

2. Semi-Transparent: The highest selling of all time. It is rich in opacity which most deck stain contains as it allows to show some colors over the deck. I recommend you properly decide based on this property. And it requires an application every two years or more.

3. Semi-Opaque: It is also known as “Semi-Solid”. It shows the high colors on decks after applying. And need an application for more than two and a half years.

4. Opaque: It has a densities level of pigment, it completely changes the appearance of your deck. Well, this lasts long for more than half a decade.


Material is the second important thing to look at while selecting the deck paint, stain, sealer, or stain. For Deck stains, you have to choose between water-based vs oil-based given above.


Colors are another important factors because it gives your exterior deck a new look by choosing the right color of deck stain. My personal advice for you is to choose a neutral light color as it does get heated up during the summer than the darkest one.

Strippers vs Cleaner/Remover

The first step while decking is Stripping because it helps in removing the old deck stain or sealer. However, staining over a previously stained deck can ruin the whole wooden deck quality.

Cleaners on the other hand are used to remove dirt, mildew, and dust. But it is not a better option while staining a deck in that case strippers work perfectly.

Tips For Stripping Old Stained Deck

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pic credits: Istockphoto

Most of the beginners have no idea of staining an old stained deck, but wait we have covered up for you. Before that, you need to know that it is done before staining your old deck.

Testing: First sprinkle some drops of water on the deck and see for a minute or two. If the water remains steady on the water then there is no need for anything, but if it gets absorbed then you highly need to pay attention to your deck.

Imperfection: Check if any iron nails coming out of the wood, if yes. Then hammer it into because of imperfection. Try to remove the old deck paint or stain using a sander and clear the dust.

Cleaning: Power Wash the wood with the deck cleaner or remover and scrub it side by side. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then start using the staining process.

Best Value: DEFY Wood Stain Stripper

best deck stain sealer strippers
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This high-quality deck stripper help in restoring the backyard deck back to its originality. The DEFY Wood Stain Stripper contains a semi-transparent ingredient that helps in easily removing dirt, mildew, and algae.

It is a ready-made solution that can be easily applied through a sprayer or brush. But one downside that we faced- it does not work well on solid stains and paints.

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