Top 7 Best Deck Stains For Weathered Wood (2021 Review)

Last Updated On April 2, 2021

Looking for the best deck stain for weathered wood? 

You're in luck because our Pro Painters have already done the research for you to find out which ones are the best!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • The best deck stains for weather wood
  • Tips and tricks on how to successfully stain weathered wood
  • Safety reminders to keep you safe while working on your deck.
  • And much more!
Top 7 Best Deck Stains For Weathered Wood

Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the best deck stain for weather wood.

Image Product

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DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain
  • 1 or 5-gallon options
  • 7 different colors
  • water-based and environmentally friendly
  • 1 or 5-gallon options
  • 7 different colors
  • water-based and environmentally friendly
View on Amazon

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KILZ Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain
  • 100% acrylic formula
  • 3-year warranty
  • For use on all exterior wood surfaces
  • 100% acrylic formula
  • 3-year warranty
  • For use on all exterior wood surfaces
View on Amazon

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Cabot Wood Toned Deck And Siding Stain
  • 10 different color choices
  • Creates a translucent oil finish
  • Low VOC content
  • 10 different color choices
  • Creates a translucent oil finish
  • Low VOC content
View on Amazon

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Olympic Stain Maximum Deck Stain
  • 8 different color choices
  • Enhanced waterproofing protection
  • Sold in 1 quart, 1 gallon, or 5 gallons
  • 8 different color choices
  • Enhanced waterproofing protection
  • Sold in 1 quart, 1 gallon, or 5 gallons
View on Amazon

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#1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain
  • Stain and sealant all in one
  • Doesn’t hide the wood grain
  • Low VOC/more eco-friendly
  • Stain and sealant all in one
  • Doesn’t hide the wood grain
  • Low VOC/more eco-friendly
View on Amazon

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Storm System Penetrating Sealer And Stain Protector
  • 5 different color options
  • Semi-transparent stain and sealer
  • Perfect for siding, decks, fences, and more
  • 5 different color options
  • Semi-transparent stain and sealer
  • Perfect for siding, decks, fences, and more
View on Amazon

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Varathane Ultimate Spar Urethane Stain
  • Water-based
  • Weather and UV resistant
  • Not expensive
  • Water-based
  • Weather and UV resistant
  • Not expensive
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On April 2, 2021

Our favorite is Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain because it is fortified with a zinc nano-particle technology that reflects UV rays and prevents loss of color in your deck or wood surface.

With quality that is designed to outlast other products, Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain is made with high-quality resins that will give your deck a semi-transparent look. 

Grab this stain off of Amazon in 1 or 5-gallon sizes for the best possible price!

Our Top 5 Best Stains For Weathered Wood

If you're truly looking for the best stains to use for your weathered wood refinishing project, you're in the right place!

Below is a list of our top 5 stains, keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of each one:

What Are Deck Stains For Weathered Wood?

Deck stains are any oil or water-based formula that is designed to protect your deck from the elements and meant for exterior use.

Here are some common characteristics of a typical deck stain:

UV protectant

UV rays can really do a number on wood that horizontally faces the sun. 

All products on this list are designed to block out UV rays.

Water-Resistant/Sealant

Water will destroy a deck, so if you have a deck that needs a fresh coat of paint, don't hesitate to find the best product for your project on our recommended list.

Mildew/Mold Resistant

Mold and mildew result from water penetrating into the cracks of the wood. 

If you apply a deck stain, water will stay on the surface of the wood grains instead of penetrating deep inside.

Staining wood can actually increase its lifespan. This is because the stain prevents splintering, rot, and rain from destroying the wood's surface.

What Are The Different Types of Deck Stain For Weathered Wood?

Oil-based

A typical deck stain is an oil-based formula that is designed to repel water and sunlight.

Water-based

Water-based stain formulas are less toxic, more futuristic, more environmentally friendly, but might not work as good as some oil-based exterior wood stains.

How Do Deck Stains For Weathered Wood Work?

Is it worth restoring an old deck instead of tearing it down? It might be, however, you might be better off deconstructing old wood decks and rebuilding with a more futuristic material like Trex decking materials.

You'll first have to inspect the deck top and bottom to make sure that it doesn't have extensive damage like structural damage, termites, or other corrosion that might make it too deteriorated to successfully stain and function.

Redwood and cedar decks can last a long time when regularly sprayed.

Here are a few supplies that you'll want to bring along when staining an old deck:

Power Washer/Pressure Washer

Take a power washer at a lower pressure, and spray all the loose flakes off of the deck.

This is probably the most important step in the whole staining process, considering old decks have a lot of splinters/warping and might have loose paint.

You could also try a paint stripper specific for deck stain afterward to make for the perfect adherence.

Even if you can only get a hose with a pistol attachment, do what you can to clean the deck as thoroughly as possible before painting.

Sandpaper/Sanding Pole

Sandpaper may or may not be necessary in the staining process. 

If you want, you can take 120-grit sandpaper attached to a sanding pole, or a sanding sponge for painting, and pass over the deck before adding the stain. 

Just be sure you vacuum up all the dust to keep it out of the stain job.

Masker/Masking Materials/Drop Cloths

There might be objects around your deck that you don't want to get a stain on.

If that's the case, you'll need to throw down some drop cloths, and you might even want to by a 3M paint masker, some tape, and plastic/paper to easily cover up anything that you don't want the stain to spill onto.

HVLP Spray Gun

We're going to go ahead and say that a handheld HVLP spray gun is a necessity to keep around the house nowadays if you are a DIYer.

HVLP spray guns are so cheap and so convenient to use. Go pick one up off of Amazon for a steal of a price.

Paint Brush

You might need a paintbrush(we recommend Purdy) to cut in all the small cracks before using a roller.

Paint Roller

A paint roller will always do a decent job at applying stain to your deck. 

If you are using a paint roller, you might want to also want to pick up a roller extension, so that you can roll more surface area and avoid having to work off of your hands and knees.

Read More >> What Are The Best Paint Sprayers For Staining Fences (or Decks)?

Steps For Staining Your Old Deck Like A Pro (5-Step Guide)

(Psst! You can click any of the links below to jump directly to that step.)

  1. Spray Off The Wood With A Pressure Washer
  2. Cover Up Anything That Isn't Going To Be Stained
  3. Apply The First Coat Of Stain With Your Preferred Method
  4. Evaluate The Results & Apply A Second Coat If Necessary
  5. Clean Up

Step 1 - Spray Off The Wood With A Pressure Washer

Cleaning the deck is the first step in the process.

First, spray it off with a pressure washer at low pressure---don't turn hit it too hard, as you could put a hole in it!

You may want to sand a bit, and then spray it off again to get rid of all the dust.

Step 2 - Cover Up Anything That Isn't Going To Be Stained

Use your paint masker or simply cover up undesired surfaces with a plastic or 

Step 3 - Apply The First Coat Of Stain With Your Preferred Method

Applying stain is so easy. 

If you are using a paint sprayer, just load up some stain in the paint sprayer, and do your best at evenly applying the stain onto the surface.

Step 4 - Evaluate The Results & Apply A Second Coat If Necessary

When staining, you never know if the first coat is going to be sufficient to seal in the wood completely. 

You'll need to read the label on the specific product you are using to understand how long it takes for the stain to cure.

Chances are, weathered wood decks it might take a couple of coats because of the way the wood fibers open up over time.

To save time, apply the first coat liberally.

Step 5 - Clean Up

Clean up consists of picking up drop cloths, removing tape, etc so that you can move on to the next paint job!

And don't forget to ask us any other questions you might have about staining a deck that has weathered wood.

Read More >> What Are The Best Semi-Transparent Stains For Decks?

What To Look For In The Best Deck Stains For Weathered Wood?

There are so many different stains on the market, so which one should you pick when staining your deck? It depends on your specific project and preference, really. 

For example, if you have a deck that is made from cedar wood, you might want to buy a stain that is designed specifically for cedar. 

Here are some key factors to keep an eye out for when staining your deck:

Durability/Warranty

Check and see if there is a warranty for the life of the stain you are buying.

Also, read reviews to see what others say about the specific stain. 

We don't recommend products from Home Depot(like Behr, for example) because they don't get good reviews, not to mention the fact that you can find much better products on Amazon for the same price or less.

Eco-friendly

Economically friendly products are an ideal solution. Do your part to make the world a cleaner place by buying a product that is less toxic. 

Products that have high VOC(volatile organic compound) content are less likely 

Different Color Options/Natural look

Some homeowners look to bring out the natural beauty when staining their deck, and others might need to cover it up with a darker or bolder color. 

Square Footage

Although it's hard to know exactly how many square feet a gallon or unit of each product will cover(because all wood surfaces accept stain differently), some of these products specify a ballpark number of how many square feet you can expect it to cover.

Keep an eye out when shopping, and measure your deck square footage to get a good estimate of how much stain you should buy.

Read More >> How Much Does It Usually Cost To Paint/Stain A Deck?

Our Reviews Of The Best Deck Stains For Weathered Wood

Defy is a super-formula environmentally friendly wood stain that is water-based, semi-transparent, and easy to apply for a natural matte finish on your next deck staining project.

Made using a zinc nanoparticle technology, these small zinc particles in the stain are designed to reflect UV rays and preserve the color of the wood.

Made with the highest quality resins, Defy is VOC compliant and ships to all states except for California.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Water-based
  • 7 different color choices

Cons

  • Doesn't ship to California
  • Not oil-based

KILZ Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain is one of the most economical ways to refinish decks, fences, siding and other outdoor products.

With a 100% acrylic formula, KILZ has what it takes to protect your deck from the sun, rain, and snow.

Want to know the best part? KILZ Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain has a 3-year warranty, so you can apply it to your project with the confidence that it will do the job(you should apply stain every few years anyway)

This semi-transparent deck stain will cover up to 250 square feet on the first coat, and up to 500 square feet on the second coat.

Pros

  • Great price and quality product
  • 3-year warranty
  • Easy clean up (just use water)

Cons

  • There may be higher-quality products
  • Only sold in 1-gallon quantities

Cabot is a high-quality translucent oil stain that will give some extra color to your old weathered deck.

Cabot is water repellent and penetrates deep into the surface of the wood to create years of lasting color that beautifies any exterior wood surface you apply it to.

Pick up Cabot in 1-gallon quantities off of Amazon for the best possible price.

Pros

  • Choose from 10 different colors (5 wood-toned colors)
  • Low VOC content
  • Translucent oil finish

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other products
  • Vapor is harmful
  • Not sold in 5-gallon quantities

Olympic is a stain and sealant that is said to last 6 years on decks, and 8 years on fences and siding.

With 8 different wood tones to choose from, you shouldn't have any problem finding the right match for your next deck staining project.

 With hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon, you can't go wrong with picking up either a 1-gallon, 1-quart, or 5-gallon container of Olympic Stain Maximum because it has enhanced waterproofing that reduces cracks, and UV defense that blocks damage from direct sunlight.

Pros

  • Easily applied in any weather (just not if too wet)
  • Mildew resistant
  • 8 different colors to choose from

Cons

  • VOC content not specified
  • Doesn't specify if it's water or oil-based

#1 Deck Premium Wood Stain is a great option for a reasonably priced stain that has hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Do you want to protect your deck from further fading and graying? Try #1 Deck because it will protect woods like cedar, treated pine, fir, redwood and other softwoods. 

With 5 semi-transparent/semi-solid colors to choose from, #1 Deck Premium Wood Stain even works on damp wood, so all you have to do is give your old weathered deck a quick power wash, and you can get to staining.

Available in 1 or 2.5-gallon quantities.

Pros

  • 5 different colors to choose from
  • Low VOC content/more eco-friendly
  • Creates a natural finish

Cons

  • More expensive than other options
  • Not sold in 5 gallon quantity

This stain from Storm System is one of the best stains out there for staining a wood surface that is weathered, especially at this price point.

Not only does it come in several different stain colors, but it's incredibly versatile and can be used on all types of wood grains - softwoods and hardwoods alike.

This exterior wood stain is fantastic for homeowners or DIY fans who want to get that new wood look on their deck or fence without a ton of hassle.

If you want to prevent weathering on your wood deck (and cover up the existing weathering) this stuff will create some awesome UV protection for the grain of the wood. 

It will truly help prevent graying and keep your deck or wood surface looking like new!

Pros

  • 5 different color options
  • Semi-transparent stain and sealer
  • Perfect for siding, decks, fences, and more

Cons

  • Only comes with 6, lighter colors
  • Oil-based so it has higher VOC content and is less eco-friendly

Varathane is a budget solution that will work on all outdoor wood surfaces.

This water-based formula is low-odor, dries in just 30 minutes, and can cover up to 90 square feet per quart.

Varathane has all the great qualities that you should expect out of a stain for outdoor surfaces, including UV and weather resistance, and a non-yellowing formula that provides a clear, satin finish.

Pick up this 'Amazon's Choice' product for less when you visit Amazon.

Pros

  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes
  • Recoat after 2 hours
  • UV and weather-resistant

Cons

  • Not specifically made for decking
  • Not oil-based

Our favorite choice is the Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain because it provides the best quality at the best value plus it's environmentally friendly, and there is even a DEFY Extreme 40 version that is VOC compliant for the state of California. 

With a semi-transparent finish, Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain is water-based, so it will be easy to clean up by just using water. 

By using zinc nanotechnology, Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain uses the highest quality resins to create an attractive UV/weather resistant finish that will longer than other products listed. 

Pick up Defy Extreme off of Amazon in 1 or 5-gallon quantities, and have it shipped to your doorstep within a couple of days.

Final Thoughts On The Best Deck Stain For Weathered Wood?

Is It Worth Painting? How To Evaluate The Condition Of Deck

You might be wondering, is it worth purchasing stain to resurface the deck, or would it be better to rebuild?

Here are some common signs of damage that you should look for when evaluating the condition of a deck or other wood project, and some procedures for inspection:

Walk along the deck - is it secure?

Safety is first and foremost. If the deck doesn't feel safe to walk on, then you are going to want to address structural problems before applying the stain.

For example, maybe there are some floor pieces that just need to be cut out and replace with newer wood. Or maybe there are supporting pillars below that need to be replaced before the deck is safe to walk on.

  • Inspect thoroughly for corrosion/termites/other bugs
  • Corrosion is normal on wood decks that don't get stained every few years.

Take a flashlight, and shine it on the bottom side of the deck to see if there are termites or corrosion that might dissuade you from staining.

What kind of wood is it?

You should try to figure out what kind of wood your deck is made out of.

There is probably an iPhone app that will tell you if you simply take a picture of it, and if you are having problems identifying the specific wood, send us a picture, and we'll let you know which type of wood it is.

Reconstructing? You might want to use synthetic wood...

The use of wood is becoming less and less common in today's construction industry.

There are better options, like recycled plastic (Trex, for example) decking materials that are a great solution and last longer than wood. Not to mention the fact that they don't even need to be stained. 

The important part is that you view all your options. Don't be shy about hiring a professional to help you figure out what you need to do for the perfect deck. 

Don't Forget To Stain Safely 

When staining a wooden deck, there are some safety measures to follow to avoid either exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals, or an accident like getting stain in your eyes.

Here are the safety essentials when using stains:

  • Cotton mask/respirator

You don't want to breathe in harmful chemicals that come out of the stain in the form of vapor.

For this reason, always use at least a cotton mask when working with stains.

Read More >> What Are The Top Respirators For Spraying Paint/Stain?

  • Safety glasses

Wearing safety glasses could literally save your vision when using stain. It's really easy to splash harmful chemicals into your eyes.

Note: keep a source of water around to flush your eyes out with just in case.

  • Nitrile gloves/leather gloves

Cover up your hands when using stain products to avoid damaging your skin.

More questions? 

Drop them all on our Pro Paint Corner page! We enjoy discussing the in's and out's of painting/staining, and we want your project to turn out fantastic!

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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Ryan Nichols

Ryan Nichols

I first painted professionally in my late teens. I have painted everything from long military base walls to spraying cedar wood siding on cabins in the mountains of Utah. I am also an automotive technician with plenty of auto body and paint experience. In my spare time, I even enjoy artistic oil painting.

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