Stain and seal wood: Do You Have To Seal wood After Staining?

After stain-treating, sealing helps you get the most out of your wood. Staining protects your furniture, but it does not last for long periods. When you stain your wood, seal it afterward to keep the natural look and feel of your wood for longer.

Do you have to seal the wood after staining it? This kind of question is often asked by people who own furniture. Most of the time, people who have stained wood furniture don’t want to spend time sealing it.

They already consider that the stain has given such a great look and ensured that the wooden furniture would last for years.

The fact is that there will be some unnecessary damage to wooden furniture when users don’t seal it after the staining process.

When users don’t seal the wooden furniture with a clear coat, the real stain color may not appear very well. Besides, there will be no additional protection to the wooden furniture when users don’t seal it.

A wood stain may seal the pores and protect the wood from damage caused by water and moisture, but its main job is to change the color of natural wood.

While sealing stained wood is not required, it allows you to use it as a layer of protection that keeps your wood looking wonderful for years. You’ll want to seal it at some point after staining to avoid water damage.

Applying a sealer is a great way to protect the stained wood from scratching and fading. The extra step might not be needed, but if you spend a little more time on the project, the result will be worth it.

Sealing Stained Wood

Sealing stained wood is not as complicated as many people might have imagined before. The key is to use the right tool. Applying stain is perfect with a high-quality foam brush or bristle brush.

Then, apply the polyurethane by following manual instructions on the sealant’s package. Most sealant products recommend applying several thin coats. Let every coat dry before applying another coat.

Don’t forget to prepare sandpaper to remove bumps after each coat. All dust should be removed completely before the next coat application.

The stain will dry in approximately 48 hours. But, the time length might apply during hot climates. Or else, it is best to let it dry for 72 hours.

The main difference between a sealer and a stain is that a sealer only covers the surface of the wood, while a stain penetrates deep into the wood. A sealer only covers the surface of the wood, while a stain changes the color of the wood.

Things that Threaten Wooden Furniture

Wooden furniture is easily exposed to the environment, whether it is the striking sun or pouring rain. Either sunlight or humidity can deliver a significant impact on the wood. By sealing the wooden furniture, then it gets good protection.

However, skipping the topcoat is still possible. But owners have to be ready with the final result. Regardless of the result, homeowners have choices if they don’t want to seal their wooden furniture after stain coat application.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Staining Wood Without Sealing It

Of course, the staining process doesn’t take too much time. It requires at least an hour to add a clear coat and wait for the drying process. However, the final color may not meet owners’ expectations though they might still ignore it.

However, there are several disadvantages that owners should know. First, there is less protection upon the wooden furniture without the final coat.

Another disadvantage that users might face is that the final color of the wooden furniture doesn’t resemble the original one. 

Even worse, the final result doesn’t look glowing at all. Homeowners who want tough wooden furniture might take the appearance for granted. But, sealing is necessary for those who want sturdy furniture with an elegant look.

After staining wood, you have to seal it because the wood remains a porous surface. If you’re using a regular stain, it can provide some degree of protection compared to totally unfinished wood. But it isn’t good enough.

What makes a wood sealer different from a wood stain?

A sealer is a transparent protective coating applied to wooden surfaces. Sealers protect the wood from water damage, and they also help to preserve its look and appearance.

Wood stain is a type of sealer that adds a pigment to the wood to prevent UV light from drying out.

Any wood surface can be treated with wood stains, which come in various colors. Some stains are designed to be waterproof.

What distinguishes polyurethane from wood sealer?

Polyurethane and sealer aren’t always the same. While all polyurethane finishes are sealers, not all sealers are polyurethane.

The key difference between a sealer and a polyurethane is that a sealer is a generic term for any finish that seals wood pores. A finish that closes the wood pores is called a “sealer.”

Worth Paying Efforts of sealing wood

Without a doubt, there are extra costs for sealing wooden furniture. But, it is worth paying.

Sealers can save wood more than any homeowner might have imagined before. Layers on wooden furniture protect it from termite, moisture, mold, and fungus. 

Even more, the shape of wooden furniture remains the same. What can be better than having good-looking furniture that looks adorable and maintains its original shape?

It means homeowners can enjoy more advantages when they apply a sealing coat after staining their wood furniture.

How Hard It Is to Apply Sealer

Applying sealer needs good experience. So, many furniture owners hesitate to apply sealer because they are not experienced enough. However, learning to apply sealer is easy.

When owners follow the right direction, sealing wooden furniture might not be too complicated. Don’t forget that the quality of the sealer delivers a major impact on the final finishing. So, ensure that the sealer is good quality and can provide manual instructions for owners to apply it.

Choices of Sealer

There are several choices of sealer available in the marketplace. But, pay attention to the kinds of sealants. Owners must determine whether the wooden furniture is painted, stained, or merely raw wood.

Fortunately, oil is also a good kind of sealer. But, it is not compatible with stained wood. Oil is good for raw wood. Other suitable options include wood wax which delivers better color, and polycrylic, which doesn’t require experts. Matte finish is perfect with Polycrylic

Sealing is always a beneficial thing. It is not important when the wood furniture has no exposure to almost anything, whether it is moisture, sunlight, human hands, etc. Any wooden furniture has a high risk. 

Do you seal the wood before staining?

Stain or sealer? Which comes first? Always stain before sealing. The wood should never be sealed before staining since that prevents staining.

Sealers are designed to fill in the cracks and crevices on the wood surface, and they’re meant to be applied after stains. For paint jobs, you should seal the surface first to create a smooth base for paint.

How you put on stains and sealants depends on what you are working on at the time. For the best results, we suggest staining first, sealing, and then applying Advance Topcoat last.

This is the most effective technique to protect your wooden furniture.

How do you seal wood naturally?

Linseed, tung, refined hemp, soy, and walnut oil are all-natural oils that, on their own, can be used to seal and protect the wood. They are called drying oils.

Drying oils penetrate, harden and preserve wood – providing a long-lasting finish that does not turn rancid.

How long should the stain dry before sealing?

Before sealing, you should normally give the stain 24 to 48 hours to dry. Wait an additional day before adding a sealer if you don’t want to take any chances or believe the stain might not be completely dry.

What About Outdoor Wooden Furniture?

Sealing stained outdoor wooden furniture is similar. The main difference is that certain sealant products are specifically made for outdoor use.   It is also important to let dry every coat before applying the next one.

Applying a coat with a sprayer for outdoor wooden furniture is highly recommended for the best result. But, it doesn’t mean that applying a coat by using a paintbrush or roller isn’t applicable.

It is important to ensure that users apply a thin coat when using a roller or paintbrush.

The Necessity of Clear Sealant

The high-quality sealant is clear. But, the finishing may apply differently, whether matte or glossy. Users can choose which one they want by reading the instructions on the package.

The clear sealant will be very compatible with any stain. Besides, users can use a rag to wipe it by selecting the right finish. Spread a smooth and thin layer on the wooden furniture surface so there won’t be any spots on the surface.

Keep in mind that clear sealant has different quality levels. Paying higher for the best sealant to gain the best result is nothing wrong.

This is particularly for beginners who might want to apply sealant without any hassle by using either a brush or sprayer.

Secrets of Successful Wood Sealing

Wood sealing is easy to apply. The key to properly sealing the wood is to apply the sealant in a thin layer. This will allow the sealant to penetrate the wood and form a strong bond with the surface. The thinner the sealant layer, the less chance there is for air gaps to form between the sealant and the wood.

For sure, a good finish comes from using a good sealant. It is essential to know that not all wood sealers are made equal; if you choose the wrong one, the wood surface may be damaged.

Wood is porous, meaning moisture can easily penetrate the surface of the wood. To prevent moisture penetration, apply a penetrating sealant. A penetrating sealant will fill all the small cracks and crevices in the wood and seal it from the elements.

Does oil-based stain seal wood?

When an oil-based stain is put on wood, it soaks into the wood and goes deep into the grain.

Oil stains seal the wood, which can trap moisture in porous woods like teak. It lasts longer because it penetrates the wood more deeply than water-based stains do.

Oil-based stains aren’t sealed; it just looks like a sealant was put on. Applying oil or water-based sealer is the best way to keep moisture from damaging wood furniture.

Many kinds of oils can be used to seal the wood. But that depends on what kind of oil you use. Make sure you use the right oil for the job.

What distinguishes a sealer from a primer?


  • Primer is a coat of paint applied to the surface of wood, metal, concrete, or other non-porous materials that cover and protects the surface.
  • Primer is typically applied to new surfaces before the first coat of paint.
  • A primer coats the surface of the wood, sealing the surface from moisture and the elements.
  • Primers give a protective coating over an uncoated or unfinished surface, such as bare wood.
  • Primer coats the surface and creates a barrier between the surface and the finish coat.
  • Primer is applied that helps to fill any bare spots or cracks on the surface.


  • A liquid is applied to seal a surface, prevent previous paint from bleeding through from the surface or prevent excessive absorption of the topcoat into the substrate.
  • A sealer coats the primer, protecting the wood surface from future deterioration.
  • Professionals often choose sealers to protect a finished project from future staining and moisture damage.
  • Sealing is a protective coating also used to improve the appearance of the finish.
  • The sealer adds gloss and color to the coating.
  • Sealer is applied after the primer has dried and protects the paint finish from staining, peeling, chipping, and fading.

What should I use to seal stained wood?

To stop bleeding, most stains need to be sealed after the dyed wood has been smoothed, apply a sealer coat made of shellac that has been thinned out, sanding sealer, or one of the other appropriate sealers.

Use of shellac with NGR or water-based stains is prohibited. The most common material used to seal stained wood is varnish.

Epoxy works well but can take several days to cure. An acrylic emulsion can also be used but is not recommended for outdoor use due to the chemicals and odor left behind.

Polyurethane wood finishes are made of synthetic coatings that are very durable and resistant to water. This makes them the best clear coat for protecting the wood. The polyurethane made from water-based dries quickly and can be used on unfinished, stained, or painted wood.

If you need to seal stain or filler before applying polyurethane, ensure the sealer is compatible with the varnish. If not, use a resin sealer that goes deep into the wood.

This finishes the wood, but if you want a smoother finish, you can put polyurethane on top of it.

Can you seal stained wood with Polycrylic?

Since water-based polyurethane dries crystal clear, you may apply it over light-colored woods like maple without worrying about it turning yellow.

Although polycrylic is typically believed to dry clear as well, it might seem milky if applied excessively over dark wood, so be careful when applying it.

What distinguishes a wood sealer from a varnish?

Wood seal and varnish are different in that sealant shields the surface from moisture while a varnish gives it a shiny appearance. Although they can be used on stained surfaces, sealants are often applied to raw wood.

Sealers are most suited for any surface, while the varnish is ideal for indoor woods with little to no moisture or high humidity. It is ideally suited for cupboards in the laundry room, bathroom, or kitchen.

How do you seal stained wood outside?

Sealing wood is a great way to extend the life of your outdoor furniture. It prevents your wood from becoming splintered and cracked over time. Sealing wood also helps protect your furniture from the elements. You can use water-based or oil-based sealers.

Water-Based Sealers

Water-based sealers are usually the best option for outdoor wood. They are inexpensive and dry quickly, and there is very little odor. These sealers are safe for all types of wood.

Oil-Based Sealers

Oil-based sealers are best for wood with a dark stain. They can be more expensive than water-based sealers, but they last longer and are easier to clean up.

Sealing stained wood can be a tricky task. Many try to do it all at once, which usually results in a poor job and wasted time and money.

To begin, you need to clean the wood so that you don’t get any dirt or grime on the surface of the wood. Once the wood is clean, apply a stain sealant to the surface of the wood.

Do you need to put a sealer on a deck after you stain it?

A deck should be sealed as soon as possible so it can be stained or painted in time. Sealing a deck is a good idea for many types of wood, like cedar, teak, mahogany, and other quality woods, because it enhances the wood grain and natural color.

Applying a clear sealer or polyurethane resin on a deck that has been stained is not a good idea. Stains will make the coating harder to apply, and the results will be less than optimal.

If you want a clear finish, you should remove old stains from your wooden deck and start from scratch. Then you can apply a clear sealant, like a polyurethane resin.

In high-traffic areas, the stain could wear away quickly. Many deck companies recommend using a combination of stain and sealer products, which is a sealer with added pigment.