Best Exterior Wood Stain: Choosing The Best Wood Stain For Outdoor Furniture

Choosing the right wood stain for outdoor furniture is essential for its longevity and appearance. Factors to consider when selecting an exterior wood stain include the different types of stains and popular brands.

The right stain protects against rain, sun, and temperature changes while preventing mold and mildew growth. It will keep the furniture fresh and vibrant, making it a valuable addition to your outdoor living space.

This guide provides all the information needed to decide on the best wood stain for outdoor furniture, from basic information to purchase.

Types of Wood Stains for Outdoor Furniture

There are two main wood stains for outdoor furniture: oil-based and water-based. Each type offers unique benefits, and the best option for your furniture will depend on your preferences and needs.

Key Differences Between Oil-Based and Water-Based Stains

Oil-Based Stains

Oil-based stains are known for their durability and long-lasting protection. They penetrate the wood deeply, providing a rich, vibrant color that won’t fade as quickly as water-based stains.

However, oil-based stains can take longer to dry and may emit strong odors during application.

Water-Based Stains

Water-based stains are popular for those who prioritize eco-friendliness and easy cleanup. These stains have a lower VOC content and dry quickly, making them ideal for DIY enthusiasts.

However, they may not last as long as oil-based stains, but water-based options offer excellent protection against moisture and mildew.

The Role of Stain Colors and Finishes in Enhancing the Appearance of Outdoor Furniture

The right color and finish can transform the look of your outdoor furniture, elevating it from ordinary to extraordinary.

Wood stains are available in various colors, from natural wood tones to bold, vibrant hues. Choosing a color that complements your outdoor décor will create a cohesive, visually appealing space.

The finish of a wood stain refers to its sheen, which can range from matte to high-gloss. The right finish can enhance the natural beauty of the wood while providing added protection against the elements.

Comparison of Popular Wood Stain Brands

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compared some of the most popular wood stain brands on the market.


Known for its eco-friendly, high-quality oil-based stains, Penofin offers a wide range of colors and finishes. Penofin products are ideal for long-lasting protection and a vibrant appearance.

Armstrong Clark

Armstrong Clark is a trusted name in the industry, offering oil- and water-based stains. Their products are known for their durability and excellent UV protection, making them ideal for outdoor furniture in sunny climates.

BEHR Premium

BEHR Premium offers a variety of water-based stains, including solid, semi-transparent, and transparent options. Their stains are known for easy application, fast drying time, and long-lasting protection against the elements.

Benjamin Moore

A reputable brand in the painting industry, Benjamin Moore offers a range of high-quality wood stains for outdoor furniture.

Their ARBORCOAT line features both oil-based and water-based stains, providing various options to suit your needs.


Cabot is a well-established brand known for its wide selection of wood stains, from traditional oil-based products to eco-friendly water-based options. Their stains offer excellent durability, UV protection, and resistance to mildew, making them a popular choice for outdoor furniture.


Olympic offers a range of wood stains, including oil-based, water-based, and hybrid options. Their stains are known for easy application and long-lasting protection against water, mildew, and UV damage.

Wolman Durastain

Wolman Durastain is a trusted name in wood protection, offering high-quality, long-lasting stains that provide excellent resistance to weathering, UV rays, and water damage.

Their products are available in various colors and finishes, ensuring a perfect match for your outdoor furniture.

Best Exterior Wood Stains and Sealers

Choosing a high-quality exterior wood stain and sealer for your outdoor furniture is essential to protect it from the elements and enhance its appearance.

Combining a stain and sealer in one product offers a convenient and efficient solution, saving time and effort.

Benefits of Using a Combined Stain and Sealer

Time-saving: Applying a stain and sealer in one step saves you time compared to using separate products.

Enhanced protection: Combined products offer both color and protection against moisture, UV rays, and wear and tear.

Uniform finish: Stain and sealer in one product often result in a more consistent finish.

Top Recommendations for Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer

Ready Seal: This oil-based stain and sealer is known for its easy application and high-quality protection. Available in various colors, Ready Seal penetrates the wood, offering long-lasting protection against the elements.

Thompson’s WaterSeal: A popular water-based stain and sealer, Thompson’s WaterSeal offers excellent protection against water damage and UV rays. It dries quickly and is available in various colors to suit any outdoor furniture style.

Olympic Stain and Sealer: Olympic offers a variety of stain and sealer in one product, suitable for different types of wood and furniture. Their products provide excellent UV protection and water resistance, ensuring your outdoor furniture stays protected and beautiful.

Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer in One: What to Know

Using a combined exterior wood stain and sealer simplifies the process of protecting and beautifying your outdoor furniture. However, choosing a product specifically designed for exterior use is essential to ensure maximum durability and protection against harsh weather conditions.

Stain and Sealer in One for Hardwood Floors vs. Outdoor Furniture

While hardwood floors and outdoor furniture require protection, there are some key differences to consider when choosing a stain and sealer in one product.

Durability: Outdoor furniture is exposed to harsher conditions than indoor hardwood floors, so it’s crucial to choose a product designed to withstand weather, moisture, and UV damage.

Application: The application process for outdoor furniture may differ from hardwood floors, with different techniques required to achieve the desired finish.

Color options: Outdoor furniture stains typically come in a wider range of colors than hardwood floor stains, allowing for more design flexibility.

How to Choose the Best Exterior Wood Stain Colors for Outdoor Furniture

Choosing the right color for your outdoor furniture can enhance its appearance and complement your outdoor living space. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect color:

Consider your existing outdoor décor: Choose a color that harmonizes with the existing elements of your outdoor space, such as cushions, rugs, and other furniture.

Think about the wood type: Different wood species have unique natural colors and grain patterns. Consider how the stain will interact with the wood’s natural appearance.

Factor in sunlight: Direct sunlight can fade some stain colors over time. Opt for a UV-resistant stain to maintain the color vibrancy of your furniture.

Test the stain: Always apply a small amount of stain to a hidden area of your furniture to ensure you’re happy with the color before staining the entire piece.

Wood Stains for Specific Purposes

Pine is a popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its affordability and availability. The best pine exterior wood stain should protect against moisture and UV damage while enhancing the wood’s natural beauty.

Top recommendations for pine outdoor furniture stains include

Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane: This oil-based stain is designed for outdoor wood surfaces, providing excellent UV protection and water resistance. It enhances the natural beauty of pine while offering long-lasting protection.

Cabot Australian Timber Oil: Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil is a durable oil-based stain penetrating deep into the wood, providing excellent moisture resistance and UV protection. It’s available in various colors, making finding the perfect shade for your pine furniture easy.

DEFY Extreme Wood Stain: This water-based stain is designed for exterior wood surfaces, offering excellent protection against fading and damage from moisture and UV rays. It’s available in various semi-transparent colors, allowing the natural beauty of the pine to shine through.

Best Stain for Outdoor Wood Furniture Exposed to Harsh Weather Conditions

Outdoor furniture exposed to harsh weather conditions requires a durable stain that protects against moisture, UV damage, and temperature fluctuations. Some top recommendations include:

Behr Premium Weatherproofing Wood Stain: This water-based stain offers long-lasting protection against harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and sun. It’s available in various colors and finishes, allowing you to customize your furniture’s appearance.

Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD: Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD is a high-quality, oil-based stain that protects against harsh weather, including UV damage and moisture penetration. It’s available in various colors to suit any outdoor furniture style.

Olympic Maximum Stain + Sealant: This stain and sealant in one product offer maximum protection against weather damage, including water, UV rays, and temperature changes. It’s available in various colors and finishes, allowing for a customized look for your outdoor furniture.

Best Stain for Wooden Decks (Pressure Treated, Old Decks, Anti-Slip)

Choosing the right stain for your wooden deck is crucial to ensure its durability and safety. Here are some top recommendations for different deck types:

Pressure-treated decks: Staining pressure-treated wood is vital to improve its aesthetics and safeguard it against weather-related damage.

Cabot Wood-Toned Deck & Siding Stain is an outstanding choice for this purpose, as it’s an oil-based stain specifically designed for pressure-treated wood.

It penetrates deeply into the wood fibers, providing excellent protection against water damage and UV fading, ensuring your deck maintains its beauty and durability for years.

Old decks: Rust-Oleum RockSolid Deck Resurfacer is a water-based stain designed to restore and rejuvenate old decks. It offers excellent durability and protection against weathering, peeling, and cracking.

Anti-slip decks: Benjamin Moore INSL-X Sure Step is a water-based, acrylic stain designed to provide a slip-resistant finish on wooden decks. It offers excellent protection against weathering, water damage, and UV fading.

Best Solid Stain for House Siding and Wood Siding Stain Considerations

Choosing the right solid stain for your house siding can greatly impact its appearance and longevity. Here are some top recommendations and considerations:

BEHR Premium Solid Colortypes Weatherproofing Wood Stain: This water-based stain offers excellent durability and protection against the elements, making it perfect for house siding. It’s available in a wide range of colors to suit any style.

Sherwin-Williams Woodscapes Solid Stain: This high-quality, acrylic-based stain is designed for exterior wood siding, providing excellent color retention and protection against weathering and UV damage.

Valspar Duramax Exterior Stain: If you are looking for a high-quality solid stain that can provide exceptional protection against weathering and UV damage, Valspar Duramax is an excellent option.

Looking for the ideal stain for your wood siding? Check out this water-based option that comes in a variety of colors so you can find the right one for the outside of your house.

Wood Siding Stain Considerations

When choosing a stain for your wood siding, keep the following factors in mind:

Durability: Look for a stain that protects against weathering, water damage, and UV fading.

Color retention: Choose a stain that maintains its color over time to keep your siding fresh and vibrant.

Ease of application: Consider stains that are easy to apply and provide a smooth, even finish.

Maintenance: Opt for a stain that requires minimal maintenance, such as periodic cleaning and recoating every few years.

Stain Durability and Protection

What Exterior Stain Lasts the Longest

When it comes to exterior wood stain, longevity is crucial for maintaining the appearance and protection of your outdoor furniture.

Several factors affect stain longevity, including the type of stain, environmental conditions, and the quality of the wood surface.

Type of stain: Oil-based stains generally last longer than water-based stains, providing better penetration and protection against moisture and UV damage.

Environmental conditions: Severe weather conditions, including extreme temperatures, heavy rainfall, and direct sunlight, can negatively impact the longevity of the stain.

Wood surface: Properly prepared and well-maintained wood surfaces tend to hold stain better and longer.

Top Long-Lasting Stain Options

Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD: This oil-based exterior wood stain is an exceptional choice for those seeking long-lasting durability and protection against even the harshest weather conditions.

Cabot Australian Timber Oil: Known for its deep penetration and protection, this oil-based stain is ideal for outdoor furniture exposed to various weather conditions.

BEHR Premium Weatherproofing Wood Stain: This water-based stain is expertly crafted to withstand even the harshest of weather conditions, providing long-lasting protection and vibrant color retention.

Will Stain Protect Wood Outside

Using stain for outdoor wood protection offers several benefits, including:

UV protection: Exterior wood stains typically contain UV inhibitors that protect the wood surface from sun damage and fading.

Moisture resistance: Stains provide a barrier against moisture, preventing water damage and decay.

Enhanced appearance: Stains enhance the natural beauty of the wood, allowing you to customize the color and finish of your outdoor furniture.

Does Exterior Stain Waterproof Wood

Exterior stain plays a crucial role in waterproofing outdoor wood, but it’s important to note that it may not provide complete waterproofing.

Stains create a water-resistant barrier on the wood surface, helping to prevent water absorption and damage.

However, to achieve maximum waterproofing, consider using a combination of stain and sealer, or look for products specifically designed to provide both stain and waterproofing protection.

Staining and Sealing Process

Can You Stain and Seal at the Same Time? Understanding the Pros and Cons

Staining and sealing outdoor wood furniture simultaneously using a combined stain and sealer product is possible. These products offer the benefits of both staining and sealing in one application, saving time and effort.


Time-efficient: Combining staining and sealing in one step reduces the overall time spent on the project.

Uniform finish: Applying stain and sealer together ensures a consistent and even finish.

Cost-effective: Using a combined product can be more cost-effective than purchasing separate stain and sealer products.


Limited options: Combined stain and sealer products may not offer as many color and finish choices as separate products.

Compatibility: Some wood types or existing finishes may not be compatible with combined stain and sealer products, potentially affecting the final appearance and protection.

What Do You Use to Stain and Seal Outdoor Wood Furniture

To stain and seal outdoor wood furniture, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

Exterior wood stain: Choose a stain suitable for your wood type and desired finish.

Wood sealer: Select a sealer compatible with the stain, or opt for a combined stain and sealer product.

Sandpaper: Use various grits of sandpaper to prepare the wood surface.

Cleaning materials: Use a soft brush, tack cloth, and mild soap to clean the wood surface before staining.

Staining applicators: Brushes, rollers, or staining pads are ideal for applying stain and sealer.

Protective gear: Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask during staining.

Step-by-Step Guide for Staining and Sealing

Prepare the wood surface: Sand the wood surface using progressively finer grits of sandpaper, ensuring a smooth and even surface. Clean the surface with a soft brush, tack cloth, and mild soap to remove dust, dirt, or debris.

Apply the stain: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply the stain using a brush, roller, or staining pad. Apply the stain evenly and consistently, allowing it to penetrate the wood surface.

Allow the stain to dry: As per the manufacturer’s recommendations, let the stain dry completely. Drying times may vary depending on the type of stain and environmental conditions.

Apply the sealer: If using a separate sealer, apply it evenly over the stained surface, ensuring complete coverage. This step is unnecessary if using a combined stain and sealer product.

Allow the sealer to dry: Allow the sealer to dry completely before using or exposing the furniture to the elements. Drying times may vary depending on the sealer and environmental conditions.

Inspect and maintain: Regularly inspect your outdoor furniture for signs of wear, damage, or fading. Reapply stain and sealer as needed to maintain the appearance and protection of your furniture.

How Long Does Stain Last on Wood Siding and Outdoor Furniture

The longevity of stain on wood siding and outdoor furniture depends on several factors, including the type of stain, environmental conditions, and the quality of the wood surface.

Generally, exterior wood stains can last between 2-5 years before requiring reapplication. However, some high-quality, long-lasting stains can last up to 10 years with proper maintenance.

To prolong the lifespan of your stain, follow these tips:

Choose a high-quality stain: Investing in a durable, long-lasting stain can help extend the time between reapplications.

Properly prepare the wood surface: A clean, smooth, well-prepared wood surface will hold the stain better and longer.

Perform regular maintenance: Regularly inspect and clean your wood siding and outdoor furniture, promptly addressing any signs of wear or damage.

Protect from harsh weather: If possible, shield your outdoor furniture from direct sunlight, heavy rain, and extreme temperatures to minimize wear and fading.

Recap of top wood stain recommendations and their applications

Here’s a quick recap of some top wood stain recommendations and their applications:

Best exterior wood stain and sealer for outdoor furniture:

For convenience and time-saving benefits, consider using a combined stain and sealer product, such as Ready Seal, Thompson’s WaterSeal, or BEHR Premium Waterproofing Stain and Sealer.

Best exterior wood stain for pine outdoor furniture:

Look for a stain formulated for softwoods, like DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain or Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stain.

Best stain for outdoor wood furniture exposed to harsh weather conditions:

Opt for a durable, weather-resistant product like Sikkens ProLuxe Cetol SRD or Olympic Elite Advanced Stain+Sealant.

Best stain for wooden decks:

Consider using a product tailored to your specific deck types, such as Cabot Australian Timber Oil for hardwood decks or Rust-Oleum RockSolid for pressure-treated decks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you stain outdoor wooden furniture?

Yes, you can stain outdoor wooden furniture. Staining not only enhances the appearance of the wood but also protects against the elements, such as UV rays, moisture, and mildew. Choose an exterior wood stain for outdoor use to ensure optimal performance and durability.

Do you need a sealer after stain wood?

Applying a sealer after staining wood is recommended, especially for outdoor furniture. A sealer provides additional protection against moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors that can cause wood to deteriorate.
Some exterior wood stains already contain a sealer, making it unnecessary to apply a separate sealer. Always read the product label to determine if a separate sealer is required.

Is there a stain and finish in one?

Yes, there are stain and finish products available in the market. These all-in-one products combine the color of a stain and the protective qualities of a finish, simplifying the application process and reducing the time needed to complete a project.
However, choose a product designed for outdoor use to ensure adequate protection against the elements.

Is there a wood sealer with stain in it?

Yes, there are wood sealers with stain in them. These products combine a stain’s color enhancement with a sealer’s protective properties.
They provide a one-stop solution for staining and sealing outdoor wood furniture, offering both convenience and time-saving benefits.

Which is the most suitable color for staining a deck?

The best color to stain a deck depends on your personal preference, the style of your home, and the surrounding landscape.
Popular stain colors for patios include natural wood tones, such as cedar, redwood, or mahogany, and more contemporary shades, like gray, blue, or green.
Consider testing a small area with your chosen stain color to ensure it complements your home and outdoor space.

What is the most popular stain for a deck?

The most popular stain for a deck varies based on individual taste and regional preferences.
However, some well-loved options include semi-transparent stains in natural wood tones, solid in neutral shades, and oil-based stains that highlight the wood’s natural grain.
When selecting a stain for your deck, consider factors such as wood type, climate, and desired maintenance.

What stain is good for outdoor wood?

A good stain for outdoor wood enhances color, protection against the elements, and durability. Look for exterior wood stains designed for outdoor use, as they typically offer better resistance to UV rays, moisture, and mildew. Popular brands for outdoor wood stains include Penofin, Armstrong Clark, BEHR Premium, Benjamin Moore, Cabot, Olympic, and Wolman Durastain.


Choosing the right exterior wood stain for outdoor furniture is essential for its appearance and longevity.

Factors such as wood type desired color and finish, and product features like UV protection, water resistance, and durability should be considered when selecting the right stain.

Regularly inspect, clean, and maintain the furniture; reapplying stain and sealer is also recommended.