2022 Best Stain For Pressure Treated Wood

Typical Cost To Build a new Deck Average: $3,565 - $5,122
See costs in your area

The market is full of deck stain products, and when choosing the best stain for a pressure treated wood deck, you’ll need to ponder over some criteria.

Details like the types of stain available and whether a particular treatment will meet your requirements and budget.

How Much Doe Deck Stain For Pressure Treated Wood Cost?

In the table below you will find up to date prices per gallon for the most popular brands of deck stains for pressure treated wood.

Product Name Stain Type Amount Price
Ready Seal 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer Oil-based 5 Gallons $154.99
Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer Oil-based 1 Gallon $36.98
DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Redwood Water-based 1 Gallon $34.82
#1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain Water-based 1 Gallon $39.99
Storm System Storm Protector Penetrating Sealer and Stain Oil-based 1 Gallon $33.99
KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain Acrylic-based 1 Gallon $33.98
Cabot Semi-Solid Deck and Siding Stain Oil-based 1 Gallon $79.99
Rain Guard Water Sealer Water-based 32 Ounces $44.33
Thompson’s Water Seal Oil-based 1 Gallon $56.16
Calculate Deck Building Prices
Decking Material:
Project Type:
Deck Size:
Sq. Ft.
Your Zip Code:
Low End
Mid Range
High End
Need a Contractor?
Get up-to 4 Free Estimates

How to Choose the Right Stain For A Pressure Treated Wood Deck

There are several stain color options for a pressure treated wood deck, and each color has a variety of alternatives when it comes to selecting a stain.

Pigment Stains vs. Dye Stains

Stains are usually one of two kinds; “pigment” stains contain fine-colored dirt particles, and “dye” stains are soluble salts.

If a solvent is added to the dye stain, it breaks down into induvial molecules smaller than pigment elements. Thus, dye stain can access spaces where pigment stain cannot.

A pigment stain will lose most of the color when applied to dense wood grain like maple, while a dye stain does a great job adding color.

For open-grained woods like oak, a pigment stain will embed into its pores to create a better color finish than a dye stain would.

Oil Stains

The majority of oil stains will be comprised of both dye and pigment, while some contain just dye. An oil stain can be brushed or wiped on. However, oil is more appropriate when using a brush than a water-based stain.

Water-Based Stain

This type uses water as a solvent and binder, making the application more manageable and less smelly. A water-based stain is best if you’ll be using a water-based finish.

On the other hand, it dries very quickly, so it can be more problematic to apply. This type is typically rubbed on.

Gel Stain

Gel stain is simply a highly dense oil-based stain. It’s quite messy to work with as it’s typically rubbed on.

However, this type offers a high-quality color that rarely blotches. Gel stain is the only option for staining softwood like pine.

Here are some of the best products for a pressure-treated wood deck.

Ready Seal

“Ready Seal” is best for natural beauty on pressure-treated wood.

Ready Seal is an oil-based, semi-transparent sealer and stain appropriate for almost any type of exterior woodwork.

It has a unique formula that infuses new wood and protects it from harsh UV rays, mildew, and mold.

You won’t need to apply a pressure-treated wood primer with Ready Seal. It will look very dark with the first application and will take around 14 days to achieve the final color.

Avoid applying Ready Seal to a freshly stained exterior as a sealed surface will prevent penetration.

Ready Seal goes onto surfaces easily using regular stain applicators like brushes, rollers, or sprayers.

The product will enhance the natural beauty of your pressure-treated wood as the grain and texture shine through.


-Acts as a wood sealant
-It can be used on all exterior wood
-Easy to apply


-Not environmentally friendly

A 5-gallon pail of Ready Seal Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer is approximately $154.99.

Did you know? The world’s shortest tree is the “Dwarf Willow.” It lives in the northern regions and rarely grows more than a couple of inches high.

On the other hand, the tallest trees grow as high as 100 meters or more than 320 feet. These include the “Giant Sequoia,” “Coast Redwood,” and “Australian Mountain Ash.”

Olympic Stain

“Olympic Stain” is best for pressure-treated wood.

For an excellent stain that protects your deck from mildew, mold, rotting, and cracking, consider Olympic Stain.

This established product is best known as an outstanding treatment for pressure-treated wood. It offers enhanced waterproofing and sunblock UV defense to protect, strengthen, and condition wood fibers for long-lasting natural wood beauty.

A great feature of the formula is that the results are not weather dependent, and you can apply it whenever you want.

You’ll have total control over completing your stain projects and still get brilliant results.


-Protects against elements and cracking
-Great coverage
-Application is not weather dependent


-It may take longer to dry in some climates
-One gallon of Olympic Stain will cost around $36.98.

Pro Tip: The first step to a great wood stain finish on your pressure-treated wood is to prepare the wood correctly with a thorough sanding.

You can use either a sanding block or an orbital sander to do the job. Start the project off right by sanding the wood a few times with progressively finer grits of sandpaper as you go. Then for a finishing touch, use very fine sandpaper.

DEFY Extreme

“DEFY Extreme” is the best semi-transparent deck stain for pressure-treated wood.
DEFY Extreme is a water-based semi-transparent stain that is efficient in enhancing the natural beauty of wood and safeguarding against the elements. This stain can be used on wood decks, sidings, fencing, outdoor patio furniture, etc.

It is highly durable, environmentally friendly, and dries fast. It also beads well; therefore, it will protect your wood during the hot summer and wet winter months.

When your wood requires brightening, you won’t need to strip or sand it, just apply some DEFY Wood Brightener and then the DEFY Extreme Wood Stain.

Since DEFY is a penetrating stain, the color may look lighter than you expected at first but will eventually darken.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidance to achieve the results you’re looking for. Avoid applying DEFY in direct sunlight, as it will dry before penetrating the wood. For the best results, use it on a cloudy day.


-Easy to use
-An application can last for two or more years
-Best semi-transparent deck stain for pressure treated wood


-One gallon of DEFY Extreme will cost around $34.82.

Pro Tip: Each type of wood stain is best suited for a particular application method.

For example, you can either rub it in with a cloth or use a natural-bristle brush for an oil-based stain.

Water-based stains are also rubbed on using a cloth, or a synthetic bristle brush can be used. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations before getting started.

#1 Deck Premium

“#1 Deck Premium” is best for old pressure-treated wood.

This product is one of the best 2-in-1 treatments for semi-transparent deck stains for pressure-treated redwood, fir, pine, cedar, and other softwoods.

It protects your wood from color fade and graying, and it’s ideal for your decks, fences, patio furniture, wood siding, and playsets.

Once applied, your wood grain will shine through beautifully. It comes in five semi-transparent deck stain colors. You’ll get the same exceptional results using any color.

It offers extra protection for your pressure-treated wood from the rain, sun, and harsh weather conditions to significantly prolong its life.

A major advantage of #1 Deck Premium is it can be kept clean with just soap and water. It doubles up as a sealer, so you won’t have the additional expense of purchasing sealer. And your wood will look natural and colorful.

This environmentally-friendly stain will protect your wood from water damage by deeply penetrating it.


-Easy application
-Protects your wood from graying and fading
-Easy clean-up after use


-For hardwoods, you’ll need to apply coats regularly

One gallon of #1 Deck Premium stain costs approximately $39.99.

Did you know? Some trees talk to each other. If pests threaten willows, they’ll emit a chemical warning to neighboring trees, which secrete more tannin to put the invader off.

Storm System

“Storm System” stain is best for all types of pressure-treated wood.

This oil-based semi-transparent sealer penetrates deep into the wood for additional protection against varying weather conditions.

Since it offers semi-transparency, your wood grain will shine through it.

It can be applied to your fencing, decks, and sidings with a roller, brush, or spray. Fence and deck applications should last for three years before needing another coat.

It is compatible with all types of wood, including cedar, mahogany, redwood, and cypress.

The Storm Wood Stain Protector is a premium product, and you may like its color richness. It offers easy application, takes only 24 hours or so to dry, and looks fab.

It absorbs into the wood from the start for superior quality. The bottom can turn sludgy. However, you can overcome this by stirring it thoroughly with a paint stir stick.


-Compatible with all wood types
-No need to buy an additional sealer


-The bottom can get sludgy
-A gallon of Storm System Sealer and Stain Protector will cost around $33.99.

Did you know? Softwoods were responsible for the pine furniture boom in the early 80s to late 90s as the color finishes were stunning.

KILZ Stain

“KILZ” stain is best for color on pressure-treated wood.

For a semi-transparent deck stain to protect your wood from water, the sun, and snow damage for between three to five years, give KILZ a try.

Its 100% Acrylic formula will protect your new or weathered wood surfaces from the elements, and its waterproofing sustains your wood surfaces’ integrity and natural beauty.

KILZ offers moderate coverage as a first coat can cover an area of 250 square feet, and a second application can approximately cover 500 square feet.

Use on a well-prepared, new to reasonably weathered, and unsealed exterior wood surface. This product is ideal for shingles, decks, railings, patio furniture, siding, fences, and shakes.


-A small amount goes a long way
-Long-term preservation


-You may need to dilute it for the consistency you prefer.

One gallon of KILZ Redwood exterior waterproofing, semi-transparent wood stain typically costs $33.98

Did you know? The way decking is designed affects its longevity. To dry out efficiently, the wood needs to be able to breathe.

There will be a significant rot problem if a decking area is built without spaces between the slates. The design and deck location will play a big part in whether it lasts 15 years or 40.

Cabot Stain

“Cabot” stain is best for pressure-treated fence wood.

Cabot is specially formulated to protect the wood from the elements while strengthening it, and it protects treated pine from scratching and fading.

Cabot is one of the best wood stains, as only one coat is required for great results. This pine decking stain treatment can be used on fencing, siding, and porches.

Cabot is an oil-based stain and one of the best. It goes on smoothly, penetrates well, and offers long-lasting preservation on any pressure-treated wood surface.


-Repels moisture
-Strong defense against mold
-User and environment-friendly



A gallon of Cabot Semi-Solid Deck and Siding costs around $79.99.

Did you know? Wood fuel is renewable as long as forests are managed well. Appliances achieve a 90% burning efficiency, and the net carbon emissions from wood are less than fossil fuels.

Rain Guard Water Sealer

“Rain Guard” is best for colder climates.

Rain Guard offers exceptional protection for exterior wooden surfaces from snow, ice, and rain. It is compatible with fences, sidings, shingles, and decking.

Once applied to the surface, it will not alter its appearance and can last for five years or more. It will not leave a surface film and prevents premature greying and efflorescence.

Rain Guard’s proprietary ingredient “Mirco-Lok” penetrates deep into the wood surface to create a hydrophobic barrier to protect the wood surface from mildew, moisture, and mold.

The Rain Guard formula includes advanced UV stabilizers for long-lasting performance. It is concentrated, so a little goes a long way.

It’s also easy to mix and use with a sprayer, roller, or brush. You can easily remove any overspray with soap and a clean damp cloth.


-Highly effective against water damage protection
-Environmentally friendly
-It provides an invisible clear finish


-Several coats might be necessary
-For a quart (makes 2 gallons) of Rain Guard Water Sealer, the cost is $44.33.

Did you know? Trees grow from the top, not the bottom. After 100 years, as the tree grows, the branches only move a few inches up the trunk.

Thompson’s Water Seal

Thompson’s Water Seal is best for a lightly pigmented stain on pressure-treated wood.

Thompson’s Water Seal will enhance the beauty of your wood by allowing its texture and wood grain to shine through.

This product is a sealant and stain, and the formula includes advanced polymers for fade-resistant color.

It exceeds industry standards (ASTM D-4446) for waterproofing wood and safeguards against mildew and fading for a long-lasting natural color finish.

In most cases, you’ll just need one coat. However, you can apply as many as you want to achieve specific results.


-Easy to use
-One coat is usually sufficient
-Exceeds industry standards for waterproofing


-One gallon of Thompson’s Water Seal will cost around $56.16

Over to You

As you can see, there are several high-quality stain products for pressure-treated wood available. Once you’re clear on your requirements, you should have no problem finding the perfect stain. Good luck!

Calculate Deck Building Prices
Decking Material:
Project Type:
Deck Size:
Sq. Ft.
Your Zip Code:
Low End
Mid Range
High End
Need a Contractor?
Get up-to 4 Free Estimates

About Ilan

Ilan G. has been working in the remodeling and construction industry for over 15 years. His focus is on construction planning and design as well as project cost estimating. Ilan also has a personal interest in interior design, as well as in unique DIY remodeling projects. Read more about Ilan

See more about Remodeling Calculator team here

Leave a Comment