Top 5 Best Solid Deck Stains (2021 Review)

Last Updated On February 26, 2021

Looking for a specific look on your old or new deck? 

You've come to the right place!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • The best deck stains for your next project
  • Tips for staining your deck like a pro
  • Safety reminders just in case you forgot/are unaware
  • And much more!
Solid Deck Stains: What Are The Best Solid Deck Stains To Use?

Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the best solid deck stains on the market.

Image Product

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Thompson’s Water Seal Solid Waterproofing Stain
  • Resistant to water damage
  • Affordable price
  • 6 color choices
  • Resistant to water damage
  • Affordable price
  • 6 color choices
View on Amazon

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Cabot Solid Deck & Siding Stain
  • 10 different color choices
  • For siding, decking, fencing, etc
  • Extra-pigment oil stain
  • 10 different color choices
  • For siding, decking, fencing, etc
  • Extra-pigment oil stain
View on Amazon

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#1 Deck Wood Deck Paint And Sealer
  • 6 color choices
  • Low-odor with easy cleanup
  • Stains and seals wood surfaces
  • 6 color choices
  • Low-odor with easy cleanup
  • Stains and seals wood surfaces
View on Amazon

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Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain
  • Water-based
  • Zinc nano-particle technology
  • Easy maintenance
  • Water-based
  • Zinc nano-particle technology
  • Easy maintenance
View on Amazon

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Olympic Stain Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer
  • 8 color choices
  • Waterproof protection for wood surfaces
  • sold in 1 gallon, 1 quart, or 5 gallons
  • 8 color choices
  • Waterproof protection for wood surfaces
  • sold in 1 gallon, 1 quart, or 5 gallons
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On February 26, 2021

Our #1 pick is the Thompson's WaterSeal Solid Wood stain because it's water-resistant and offers incredible protection for your deck!

This stuff is super durable, well-made, and has several rich colors that will not only protect your wood from things like mildew and UV rays, but it will also lay down a gorgeous color that completely revives your wood deck boards.

If you're looking for an awesome, strong wood stain to revive your deck, look no further than Thompson's WaterSeal!

Our Top 5 Best Solid Stains To Use On Decks

If you're truly looking for the best stains to use for your decking, 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:

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Process Takes About 30 Seconds

What Are Solid Deck Stains?

Solid color stains generally cover up natural grains and give your deck the durability it needs to withstand many years of use.

When applying a solid deck stain on your deck or any other horizontal surface, it will last anywhere from 2-5 years.

When applying stain to a vertical surface like siding or a fence, you can expect it to last anywhere from 5-15 years before it needs to a restain.

What Are The Different Types of Solid Deck Stains?

There are several different types of solid deck stains you can choose from, and each has its own pros and cons.

Make sure you investigate which of these is going to be best for your deck before you get started.

Acrylic/Water-based

Water-based stains are generally easier to work with, clean up with water, and are less toxic than oil-based stains.

Oil-based

Oil-based stains are a more conventional way to stain your deck. Although most solid stains are acrylic/water-based, there are still oil-based stains in existence that will also work great on your next staining project.

Semi-transparent deck stain

If you aren't looking for a rich color change, a semi-transparent deck stain will add a bit of color without eliminating the wood grains from the project. Think of it as a tint that adds UV protection and waterproofing qualities.

Transparent wood stains/clear sealers also work well to resist weathering and preserve the grain of the wood, but they won't change the color of your deck as a solid deck stain will.

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

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Process Takes About 30 Seconds

How Do Solid Deck Stains Work?

Solid deck stains are useful for owners who want to change the look of the deck or cover up the imperfections of an old one.

Here are some reasons why you might want to use a solid deck stain on your current deck:

Weathered wood

Sometimes the natural beauty of your deck withers away with the years and this can lead to graying, which most homeowners try to avoid. 

If your deck is starting to gray, it might be time to cover it up with a thicker solvent that will protect and preserve it for a few more seasons. 

That's why solid stains can be a great solution.

They offer protection for your decking, and they also cover up any graying far more than a semi-transparent or clear stain would.

To match other objects

You might want a certain color to match surrounding objects like fences, concrete pavers, the house, etc., and that's a perfect time to opt for a solid-colored deck stain.

As far as the staining process goes, it's really easy to stain exterior surfaces.

Let's start with a few supplies you'll need for the job:

Paint sprayer/paintbrush/paint roller

Sure, for smaller projects like staining handrails, you can just use a rag to apply the stain(remember to wear nitrile gloves).

For larger projects, a cheap HVLP paint sprayer will come in clutch at getting the job done fast while maintaining a professional look.

Paint masker/masking film and tape/drop cloths

A 3M paint masker makes it so easy to cover up all things that you don't want to get a stain on. 

Simply attach some painter's tape and masking paper/film to the paint masker, and get going!

Sandpaper/sanding pole

Use some 120-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface of the deck or exterior surface.

Don't get too crazy about sanding the deck before painting it. It's completely optional.

Note: It's not necessary to go any higher than 120-grit when staining wood. Why? Because some stains(like gel stains, for example) don't

Pressure washer

Using a pressure washer is almost always necessary when prepping to stain your deck.

Nitrile gloves/safety glasses/cotton mask

Keep yourself comfortable and safe while painting by buying these inexpensive safety supplies.

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

How to Stain A Deck Using Solid Deck Stain (Step-by-Step)

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

  1. Clean & Inspect Your Deck
  2. Mask off Surrounding Surfaces
  3. Apply The Stain Evenly To The Deck Boards
  4. Evaluate The First Coat & Apply Another Coat If Necessary

Step 1 - Clean and Inspect 

Make sure before you get started staining you use a power washer/pressure washer to clean all the loose dirt and debris (or even old paint) off the deck boards.

As you're doing this, make sure you also check the bottom side of the deck for mildew, termites, and any other corrosion and signs of damage that might indicate a better option of complete deck replacement - because painting a deck that needs to be replaced is a waste of money!

You might also want to take some 120-grit sandpaper, and sand the surface off before painting. 

Sanding isn't always necessary, but use your own judgment and preference to achieve your desired finish.

Step 2 - Mask Off Surrounding Surfaces 

Another important part of staining is making sure that you don't get stains on the surfaces around your project.

Take the time to lay down some drop cloths on your siding and any pavement around your deck and tape it off with painter's tape to make sure you don't get stain everywhere. ]

(Trust me, stain is hard to get off!)

Amazon is definitely the cheapest place to buy masking materials like film, tape, paper, and drop cloths. 

Step 3 - Apply The Stain Evenly To The Deck Boards

Now it's time to apply the stain in the most convenient way possible.

For colored stains, you might have to apply two coats to get full coverage.

Note: Because some wood grains absorb more stain than other parts, you'll want to look for knots in the wood and places where the stain absorbs further into the surface, and apply more stain to those areas on the first coat.

Step 4 - Evaluate The Results/Apply Another Coat If Necessary

Let the stain dry for the recommended time on the specific product you decide to use.

 If you didn't get the results you wanted on the first try, apply a second coat to help the stain better absorb and seal into the wood.

After you are satisfied with the job, you can peel off the masking, and call it a day!

Make sure to load the stain on extra thick to support the future foot traffic! 

What To Look For In The Best Solid Deck Stain?

UV resistance

UV rays are harmful to a bare wood surface, and the purpose of applying a solid deck stain is for UV protection.

Different colors

When shopping on Amazon, you have many different color options.

For example, if you go to Home Depot and choose some off-brand like Behr, you won't get the quality or color you wanted.

And Sherwin Williams is a quality choice, but it's going to cost you a lot more than buying off of Amazon, plus you'll have to travel to the paint store to make the purchase which is a hassle.

Waterproofing

If you don't protect your wood deck from the elements with some sort of paint or stain, then it's not going to last that long.

Use a solid deck stain to help your deck resist water and last longer.

Quantity

There are also different options for stain quantities when using the Amazon online shopping tool.

If you want to get the best deal, you'll buy the largest available size. 

Read More >> What Are The Best Deck Stains To Use On Weathered Wood?

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Our Reviews Of The Best 5 Solid Deck Stains

Thompson's is a reasonably priced wood stain that works hard to keep water out of your wood deck or another project.

With advanced polymers that provide long-lasting color, choose from 6 different colors of Thompson's for a waterproof finish that exceeds industry standards.

Thompson's is said to work 5-years on horizontal surfaces like decks and 15 years on vertical surfaces like siding and fences.

Pros

  • 6 different colors to choose from
  • Mildew and UV resistant
  • Good ratings and affordable price

Cons

  • Only sold in one quantity
  • Not as many color choices as other brands

Cabot is a high-quality semi-solid deck and siding stain that is priced accordingly.

Choose from 10 different colors of this uniquely formulated 

With plenty of 4 and 5-star ratings from customers in the past, you can reliably buy Cabot and expect it to work its magic on your deck, siding, fencing, or other outdoor wood staining project.

Cabot semi-solid deck & siding stain is resistant to scuffs and fades which is just another reason why you should buy either a gallon or quart off of Amazon, and give it a try for yourself.

Pros

  • 10 colors to choose from
  • Low VOC (volatile organic compounds)
  • Sold in 1-quart or 1-gallon

Cons

  • Not sold in 5-gallon sizes
  • More expensive than other products

#1 Deck Wood Deck Paint And Sealer is an advanced solid color deck stain for any outdoor wood surface that will protect against discoloring, UV rays, and water damage.

With 6 solid colors to choose from, #1 Deck Wood Deck Paint And Sealer is a water-based formula with low VOCs and good for use on surfaces like pressure-treated lumber, redwood, mahogany, fir, cedar, and more.

Pick up a 1 gallon can of #1 Deck Wood Deck Paint And Sealer off of Amazon today for the best possible price.

Pros

  • Both a stain and sealer
  • 6 different colors to choose from
  • Good for use on all vertical and horizontal surfaces

Cons

  • More expensive than other products
  • Mostly comes in darker colors

Defy is an environmentally friendly semi-transparent stain that comes with seven different color options. 

With zinc nano-particle technology, Defy is an extremely durable product that is like a sunscreen for your wood.

You can easily maintain your Defy in the future with a quick maintenance coat, so make sure to buy enough to store some extra away for later.

Pick up Defy in either 1-gallon or 5-gallon quantities off of Amazon.

Pros

  • Water-based
  • Eco-friendly
  • VOC compliant

Cons

  • More expensive than other products
  • It may not work as well as an oil-based stain
  • Doesn't ship to California

Olympic Stain is an advanced waterproofer that will give your deck a solid stain color at a reasonable price.

One gallon of Olympic Stain covers anywhere from 250-350 square feet depending on the type of wood. 

You'll need two coats of Olympic Stain to completely change the color of your deck, so take that into mind when buying on Amazon.

Buy Olympic stain a solid color, transparent, semi-transparent, or clear waterproofing sealant in 1 gallon, 1 quart, or 5-gallon quantities. 

Pros

  • 8 different colors to choose from
  • 1-gallon covers 250-350 sq. ft. 
  • Available in solid, transparent, semi-transparent, or clear waterproofing sealant

Cons

  • 2 coats necessary for a complete look
  • No UV protection mentioned
  • VOC content not specified

Out of all of these options, our favorite still has to be Thompson's WaterSeal Solid Waterproofing stain.

This stuff is just so versatile and easy to work with, and for a solid stain is still does a great job of bringing out the beautiful texture of your wood.

If you're looking for a high quality, affordable, durable solid stain, you can't go wrong with Thompson's.

Check out the lowest price now on Amazon!

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Final Thoughts On The Best Solid Deck Stain

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Stain And Paint With Safety In Mind 

Here's a reminder of some safety precautions to take when staining your deck to avoid damage to your health:

  • Nitrile gloves/leather gloves

Using gloves is a must for keeping your hands clean and healthy while painting.

Buy a box of nitrile gloves for your staining project - you'll thank us later.

  • Safety Glasses

Protect your eyes when painting/staining by using safety glasses. 

And remember, if you get any amount of stain in your eyes, you should flush them out with water right away.

  • Cotton mask/respirator

Using a respirator or at least a cotton mask is a smart idea when staining to avoid future respiratory problems.

Use Your Best Judgement, And Ask Us All Your Questions!

The best solid deck stain for you depends on your project, so look through all of these options, and choose the right fit.

And don't forget, if you have any questions, you can always shoot us a line on the home page of Pro Paint Corner.

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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Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

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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