Best Stains For Redwood: From Decks to Furniture

Staining Redwood is essential for maintaining its beauty and integrity, as it enhances its appearance, preserves its essence, and extends its life. Redwood symbolizes strength and endurance, with unique properties like resistance to insects and decay. Proper staining enhances its natural beauty and protects the wood from UV rays, moisture, and wear and tear. The best redwood stain adds color and seals the wood, keeping it vibrant and robust for years to come.

Types of Redwood Stains

Redwood stains come in various forms, each serving a unique purpose:

  1. Transparent Stains: These show wood grain’s natural color and texture and are good for new and unstained surfaces.
  2. Semi-Transparent Stains: Adding hints of color, allow wood grain texture to show. Best for decks 5-10 years old.
  3. Semi-Solid Stains: These allow subtle wood grain and texture to show, suitable for decks 5-10 years old.
  4. Solid Stains: Hiding imperfections of aging wood, they give a long-lasting, even, and uniform look. Good for decks that are 10+ years old.

Brands and Options

Several brands offer redwood stains, each with unique features and price ranges. Some popular brands include NewDeck, Wolman, WoodRx, and Preserva Wood. Prices can range from $10 to $250, depending on the type and quantity.

Color Choices

Redwood stains are available in various colors, including brown, cedar, gray, and clear Redwood. The choice of color can significantly impact the appearance of the wood, allowing for customization to match the surrounding décor.

Application and Care

Choosing the right stain is just the beginning; proper application and maintenance are key to ensuring the wood’s longevity. Every step matters from surface preparation to choosing between water- or oil-based stains. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and re-staining, ensures the Redwood continues shining.

Redwood Decks and Fences: A Comprehensive Guide

Redwood, the giant of the forest, finds its way into our homes, gracing our outdoor spaces with decks and fences. Its rich hue and robust nature make it a favorite, but it requires a protective shield like a hidden treasure.

Stains: A Colorful Palette for Your Redwood

When it comes to staining Redwood, the world is your oyster. From transparent to semi-transparent, the choices are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. But what’s the best stain for your redwood deck or fence? Let’s paint a picture.

  • Transparent Stains: Like a window to the soul, transparent stains allow the natural beauty of Redwood to shine through. They offer minimal UV protection, so they’re best for shaded areas.
  • Semi-Transparent Stains: Walking the line between concealment and revelation, semi-transparent stains provide a hint of color while still showcasing the wood’s natural grain. They offer better UV protection and are suitable for areas exposed to sunlight.
  • Solid Stains: If you want to make a bold statement, solid stains are the way to go. They cover the wood completely, like a mask at a masquerade ball, offering the highest level of protection.

Application Methods: The Art of Staining

Staining Redwood is not just a task; it’s an art form. The brush you wield is your wand, and the stain is your magic potion. Here’s how to conjure the perfect finish:

  • Brushing: The traditional method, like a poet’s pen on paper. It offers control and precision but can be time-consuming.
  • Rolling: A dance across the wood, the roller glides, leaving a trail of color. It’s faster than brushing but may require a brush for touch-ups.
  • Spraying: The modern artist’s spraying tool offers speed and uniformity. It’s like painting the sky with clouds but requires masking and careful handling.

Maintenance: Preserving the Beauty

A redwood deck or fence is like a garden; it requires tender love and care. The stain is its armor, but even the strongest shield needs maintenance. Here’s how to keep your Redwood looking fresh:

  • Regular Cleaning: Like washing away the dust of time, regular cleaning keeps the wood vibrant.
  • Re-Staining: The seasons change, and so does the stain. Re-staining every 2-3 years is like breathing new life into the wood.
  • Inspection and Repair: Look for signs of wear and tear. A stitch in time saves nine, so timely repairs can prevent major damage.

Redwood Furniture and Indoor Applications

Redwood, with its majestic charm, doesn’t just beautify our outdoor spaces; it also brings elegance to our indoor furniture. Tables, chairs, and cabinets, all whispering the secrets of the forest, become part of our daily lives. But like a fine wine, redwood furniture needs the right care and stain to blossom.

Techniques: The Craftsmanship of Staining

Staining redwood furniture is like composing a melody; every note and every stroke must be harmonious. Here’s how to orchestrate the perfect finish:

  • Sanding: The canvas must be smooth. Sanding Redwood is like smoothing the wrinkles of time, preparing them for the stain’s embrace.
  • Wiping: Dust is the enemy of perfection. Wiping the wood with a damp cloth is like clearing the fog, revealing the path ahead.
  • Applying: The stain is the soul of the wood. Applying it with a brush or cloth, in even strokes, is like painting a masterpiece. Patience is the key.

Types of Stains: The Essence of Redwood

Choosing the right stain for redwood furniture is like choosing the right words for a poem. Each type tells a different story:

  • Oil-Based Stains: Rich and deep, like the voice of the earth. Oil-based stains penetrate the wood, enhancing its natural beauty.
  • Water-Based Stains: Light and airy, like a breeze through the leaves. Water-based stains offer a subtle charm and are eco-friendly.
  • Gel Stains: Thick and luscious, like honey from the hive. Gel stains provide control and are perfect for intricate designs.

Preparation: The Foundation of Success

Preparation is the unsung hero of staining redwood furniture. It’s the foundation upon which the castle is built. Here’s how to lay the groundwork:

  • Choosing the Right Stain: Like picking the right key for a song, the stain must resonate with the wood. Test it on a hidden spot to see the magic unfold.
  • Cleaning the Surface: A clean surface is a blank page, ready for the writer’s ink. Remove old finishes and clean thoroughly.
  • Applying a Pre-Stain Conditioner: Redwood can be thirsty, absorbing the stain unevenly. A pre-stain conditioner is like quenching that thirst, ensuring an even finish.

Sealers and UV Protection for Redwood

Redwood, a symbol of strength and beauty, is a favorite choice for indoor and outdoor applications. But even the mightiest tree needs protection from the elements. Sunlight, rain, and time can wear down the Redwood’s natural charm. Here’s where sealers and UV protection come into play, acting as the shield and armor for your redwood structures.

Sealers: The Invisible Shield

Sealers are like the invisible shield of Redwood, preserving its color, texture, and integrity. They come in various forms, each with its unique touch:

  • Transparent Stains: These are like the gentle whispers of nature, showing the natural color and texture of the wood grain. Ideal for new and unstained surfaces.
  • Semi-Transparent Stains: Adding hints of color, these are like the subtle notes in a song. Best for decks that are 5-10 years old.
  • Solid Stains: Hiding the imperfections of aging wood, solid stains give a long-lasting, even look. They are the wise old sages of stains, perfect for decks that are 10+ years old.

Brands like BEHR PREMIUM and Preserva Wood offer a range of redwood sealers with UV/Fade resistance.

UV Protection: The Sunscreen for Redwood

The sun’s rays, while life-giving, can be harsh on Redwood. UV protection is like sunscreen for your wood, preserving its youth and vibrance. Here’s how to shield your Redwood:

  • UV-Resistant Stains: These are like sunglasses for your wood, filtering harmful rays and keeping the color from fading. Brands like Olympic and Flood offer specialized UV-resistant redwood stains.
  • Oil-Based Sealers: Rich in polymers, oil-based sealers provide UV rays protection, like a comforting shade under a tree.
  • Regular Maintenance: UV protection is not a one-time affair; it’s a continuous dance with the sun. Regular maintenance, reapplying the stain or sealer, ensures that the Redwood remains unscathed.

Oil vs. Water-Based Stains: A Comparative Analysis

Regarding staining Redwood, the choice between oil-based and water-based stains can be perplexing. Both types have their unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

Oil-Based Stains: The Traditional Choice

Pros and Benefits:

  • Deep Penetration & Protection: Oil-based stains penetrate deep into the wood, providing excellent protection against moisture, rot, and harsh weather conditions.
  • Natural Appearance: Enhances the natural beauty of the wood, giving a more even and natural-looking finish.
  • Durability: Resistant to harsh weather and lasts longer (5 to 7 years).
  • UV Protection: Offers protection against harmful UV rays.


  • Some may not be VOC compliant.
  • Flammable and may have odors.
  • Longer drying time and potential environmental hazards.

Best for: Woods that lack natural rot-resistant oils like pine, spruce, and fir. Ideal for outdoor structures exposed to extreme weather.

Water-Based Stains: The Eco-Friendly Option

Pros and Benefits:

  • Environmentally Friendly: Most are VOC-compliant and non-flammable.
  • Quick Drying: Dries faster and retains color better.
  • Breathable: Allows the wood to breathe, reducing the likelihood of mold or mildew growth.
  • UV Protection: Contains UV-blocking agents.


  • Doesn’t penetrate as deeply, leading to potential peeling or flaking.
  • May require more maintenance and sanding between coats.

Best for: Naturally rot-resistant woods like cedar, Redwood, and cypress. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

Is Oil or Water-Based Deck Stain Better?

The decision between oil and water-based stains depends on various factors such as the type of wood, climate, exposure, and desired durability. Here’s a quick comparison:

What to ConsiderOil-Based Deck StainsWater-Based Deck Stains
DIYer FriendlyYesYes
Where to UseOutdoor surfacesIndoor and outdoor surfaces
Eco FriendlySome areMost are
Wood GrainMore natural-lookingLess visible
UV ResistantYesYes
Water ResistantExcellentGood
Longevity5 to 7 years2 to 5 years

Specialized Staining Techniques

Its rich color and durability make Redwood popular for outdoor structures like pergolas, picnic tables, and siding. Staining these structures not only enhances their appearance but also extends their lifespan.

Staining Redwood Pergolas

A pergola is more than just a garden feature; it’s a statement of style. Staining a redwood pergola requires precision and the right choice of stain.

Types of Stains:

  • Semi-transparent Stains: Enhances the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Solid Stains: Offers a uniform appearance and hides imperfections.

Application Methods:

  1. Preparation: Clean the surface and sand if necessary.
  2. Priming: Use a wood primer if using a solid stain.
  3. Staining: Apply stain with a brush, roller, or sprayer.
  4. Sealing: Apply a UV-resistant sealer for added protection.

Maintenance: Regular cleaning and re-staining every 3-5 years.

Staining Redwood Picnic Tables

A redwood picnic table is a centerpiece for outdoor gatherings. Staining it properly ensures that it remains inviting and durable.

Types of Stains:

  • Clear Stains: Preserves the natural look.
  • Tinted Stains: Adds a touch of color.

Application Methods:

  1. Preparation: Clean and sand the surface.
  2. Staining: Apply stain evenly with a brush.
  3. Finishing: Apply a clear finish for added protection.

Maintenance: Clean regularly and re-stain as needed.

Staining Redwood Siding

Redwood siding adds a rustic charm to a home’s exterior. Proper staining is key to maintaining its beauty.

Types of Stains:

  • Oil-Based Stains: Offers deep penetration.
  • Water-Based Stains: Eco-friendly option.

Application Methods:

  1. Preparation: Clean the siding and remove old paint or stain.
  2. Staining: Apply stain with a sprayer for even coverage.
  3. Sealing: Seal with a weather-resistant sealer.

Maintenance: Inspect annually and re-stain every 5-7 years.

Color Choices and Trends in Redwood Staining

With its natural elegance and timeless appeal, Redwood offers a canvas for creativity and expression. Staining Redwood isn’t just about preservation; it’s about making a statement, adding a touch of personality, and keeping up with the latest trends.

Understanding Redwood Stain Colors

Redwood stain colors are like the notes in a symphony, each with its unique tone and emotion. Here’s a glimpse into the palette:

  • Natural Tones: These are the whispers of the forest, preserving the natural beauty of Redwood. Think clear stains or light tints that enhance the wood’s inherent charm.
  • Warm Tones: Like a cozy fireplace, warm tones like cedar, mahogany, or chestnut add richness and depth.
  • Cool Tones: Can you stain redwood grey? Absolutely! Grey, blue, or green stains offer a contemporary and sophisticated look.
  • Bold Tones: For those who dare to be different, bold tones like black or dark brown make a striking statement.

Matching with Surroundings

Choosing the right stain color is like dressing for the occasion; it must match the surroundings:

  • Outdoor Structures: Consider the garden’s landscape, plants, and overall theme. Natural or warm tones often blend seamlessly.
  • Indoor Furniture: Look at the room’s color scheme, flooring, and décor. Cool tones might add a modern touch, while warm tones offer a classic appeal.

Latest Trends in Redwood Staining

Trends come and go, but some leave a lasting impression. Here’s what’s hot in the world of redwood staining:

  • Grey Stains: Grey is the new black! It’s chic, versatile, and perfect for a modern look.
  • Two-Tone Staining: Why settle for one when you can have two? Combining two stain colors, black and natural, creates a unique and artistic effect.
  • Eco-Friendly Stains: With the growing focus on sustainability, eco-friendly stains are gaining popularity. They’re not just good for the wood but also for the planet.
  • Matte Finishes: Gloss is taking a backseat, and matte finishes are stealing the show. They offer a subtle and elegant look that’s perfect for contemporary designs.

frequently asked questions

Is it better to stain or paint Redwood?

Staining is generally preferred as it enhances the natural beauty of Redwood and allows the wood to breathe. Paint may form a film that can peel or crack over time.

What’s the best stain for a redwood deck?

The best stain depends on the deck’s age, condition, and exposure. Oil-based stains offer deep penetration, while water-based stains are eco-friendly. Brands like Behr, Olympic, and Cabot are popular choices.

Can you stain redwood grey?

Grey stains are trendy and offer a modern and sophisticated look.

How often should you re-stain Redwood?

Typically, Redwood should be re-stained every 2-5 years, depending on the type of stain and exposure to weather.

Do you need to seal Redwood after staining?

Sealing adds an extra layer of protection, especially for outdoor structures. It’s advisable but not mandatory.

Common Misconceptions: Debunking the Myths

  1. Myth: Redwood doesn’t need staining.
  • Truth: While Redwood is naturally resistant to decay, staining enhances its appearance and offers additional protection.
  1. Myth: All redwood stains are the same.
  • Truth: Stains vary in type, color, and properties. Choosing the right one requires understanding the wood and the desired effect.
  1. Myth: Staining redwood is a one-time task.
  • Truth: Regular maintenance, cleaning, and re-staining are essential to keep the Redwood looking its best.
  1. Myth: Water-based stains don’t last long.
  • Truth: Quality water-based stains can offer good durability and are often more environmentally friendly.

Resources and Recommendations

Staining Redwood is an exciting journey that transforms ordinary wood into extraordinary masterpieces. But to embark on this journey, you need the right tools, products, and resources.

Recommended Stain Brands for Redwood

  1. Behr Premium: Known for its durability and wide range of colors.
  2. Olympic Maximum: Offers weather protection and UV resistance.
  3. Cabot Wood-Toned Deck & Siding Stain: Excellent for natural wood appearance.
  4. Minwax: Great for indoor furniture with various finish options.

Top-Rated Redwood Sealers

  1. Thompson’s WaterSeal: Water-based and offers excellent water resistance.
  2. Ready Seal: Oil-based and known for deep penetration and UV protection.
  3. Defy Extreme: Environmentally friendly and offers a clear UV-resistant finish.

Essential Tools for Redwood Staining

  1. Brushes: Quality brushes ensure even application.
  2. Sprayers: For large surfaces like decks and siding.
  3. Sandpaper: For surface preparation.
  4. Sealers: To add an extra layer of protection.

Where to Buy: Trusted Retailers

  1. Home Depot: Wide range of products and expert advice.
  2. Lowe’s: Great for tools and accessories.
  3. Local Hardware Stores: For personalized service and local brands.

Buying Guide and Expert Picks

  1. Consider the Wood: Choose stains that complement Redwood’s natural beauty.
  2. Check the Weather: Outdoor staining requires dry and mild weather.
  3. Read Reviews: Look for customer reviews and ratings.
  4. Consult Experts: Don’t hesitate to ask for professional advice.


Redwood staining is a unique and versatile technique that combines art and science, allowing for a rich, versatile canvas. It requires the right stains, tools, techniques, and imagination to bring out the true potential of Redwood. Whether a professional or DIY enthusiast, understanding the nuances of redwood staining is crucial, it’s about choosing the right colors, following trends, debunking myths, and knowing where to find the best products. Redwood staining should honor its essence, preserve its soul, and reflect one’s style, creativity, and vision.