Top 6 Best Stains For Pressure Treated Wood (2021 Review)

Last Updated On August 20, 2021

Are you looking to stain a wood surface without the mess of runny wood stain? You might consider a gel stain for the job.  

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you will learn:

  • The best gel stain products on the market
  • Tips for performing the best gel stain job
  • Do's and don't's when using gel stain
  • And much more!
Pressure Treated Wood: What Are The Best 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 gel stain for your next project.

Image Product

digital-business-prep-table__image

General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain
  • Leaves an elegant finish
  • Easier to use than regular stain
  • Doesn’t penetrate the wood
  • Leaves an elegant finish
  • Easier to use than regular stain
  • Doesn’t penetrate the wood
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

Minwax Interior Wood Gel Stain
  • Popular choice
  • Non-drip formula
  • Dries completely in 8-10 hours
  • Popular choice
  • Non-drip formula
  • Dries completely in 8-10 hours
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

Unicorn Spit Gel Stain and Glaze in One
  • Creates an opaque look
  • Scented
  • Includes 10 bottles-each a different color
  • Creates an opaque look
  • Scented
  • Includes 10 bottles-each a different color
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

Gel Stain by Retique It
  • 11 different colors to choose from
  • Glazes over the existing finish
  • Dries in an hour or less
  • 11 different colors to choose from
  • Glazes over the existing finish
  • Dries in an hour or less
View on Amazon

digital-business-prep-table__image

Varathane Premium Gel Stain
  • Great for vertical surface refinish
  • Buy in half-pint or 1-quart quantities
  • Enhances the natural beauty of wood
  • Great for vertical surface refinish
  • Buy in half-pint or 1-quart quantities
  • Enhances the natural beauty of wood
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated On August 20, 2021

Our favorite is DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain because it stands out with the most reasonable price and the best reviews. 

Not only that, but DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain is VOC compliant and water-based, so you won't be exposing yourself to overly toxic chemicals when applying to your pressure-treated wood. 

Pick up DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain in 1 or 5-gallon quantities off of Amazon for the best possible price, and choose from 7 different colors.

Top 6 Stains For Pressure Treated Wood

    If you're truly looking for the best stains to use for your pressure-treated wood, 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:

  1. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain
  2. Thompsons Waterseal Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain
  3. Liquid Rubber Color Waterproof Sealant
  4. Cabot Semi-Solid Deck & Siding Stain
  5. Ready Seal Exterior Stain And Sealer For Wood
  6. Olympic Elite Woodland Oil Stain

What Are Stains For Pressure Treated Wood?

Basically, any wood stain that is designed for exterior use will work great for staining pressure treated wood.

Wood is pressure treated to withstand the environment using preservatives like chromate copper arsenate. 

The chemicals/preservative used to pressure treat wood from weathering are toxic - pressure-treated lumber is for outdoor use only. 

You should never burn pressure-treated wood, and there's really no reason to, considering it is water-repellent and has high durability that will last a long time.

What Are The Different Types of Stain For Pressure Treated Wood?

Oil-based

Oil-based stains are a classic solution to sealing in exterior wood because they resist water and absorb well into the wood grains.

Water-based

Water-based treatments are generally easier to work with because they are less toxic and may not absorb as deep into the grains of the wood.

Colored

Keep an eye for your different color options when shopping stains for pressure treated wood on Amazon. 

Natural look

Some of these products are clear sealers designed to embellish the natural grain of the wood.

Read More >> What Are The Best Pump Sprayers For Staining A Fence?

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

What Supplies Will You Need To Stain Pressure Treated Wood?

Before you get started on staining your pressure treated wood deck or fence, there are a few things you'll need.

Here are some supplies that you might need when staining wood:

Paintbrush/paint sprayer/paint roller

You be the judge of how you are going to apply the stain. Most of these products can be put into a small handheld HVLP hand sprayer without a problem.

We highly recommend that you purchase an HVLP hand sprayer if you don't already have one because they are so inexpensive, and they make painting easy.

Read More >> What Are The Best Paint Sprayers For Staining A Fence?

Paint masker/masking materials

You may want to protect some surfaces from being hit with stain droplets with some plastic, and a paint masker will help you to mask large areas easily and accurately. 

Drop cloths also help you from spilling stain on cement, plants, and other objects.

Paint Safety Gear

And last but not least, you definitely want to make sure you have some plastic gloves, a mask or respirator, and adequate clothing to cover your skin.

This is especially important if you're working with a paint sprayer as that atomizes the paint particles and can make it easier for you to ingest them.

So, make sure you cover up and protect yourself from harmful checmicals!

Read More >> What Are The Best Respirators To Use For Spraying Paint/Stain?

Step-By-Step Guide To Staining Your Pressure Treated Wood

Now that you have all the supplies you'll need, here are the steps you'll need to take to get your pressure-treated wood stained in no time!

  1. Thoroughly clean the surface you're staining
  2. Mix the stain
  3. Mask surfaces to protect them from stain
  4. Apply stain using your method of choice
  5. Let the stain cure and add another coat if necessary
  6. Clean up

Step 1 - Thoroughly clean the surface

You can use either a pressure washer or a chemical treatment/deck cleaner like Olympic deck and wood cleaner

Step 2 - Thoroughly mix the stain before applying

Stain formula ingredients start to separate from each other with time, so you must stir the stain before applying it to your project.

Step 3 - Mask surfaces that you don't want stain on

If you want to look professional and keep stain off of undesired surfaces, you will use a paint masker or simply just a drop cloth or plastic covering.

Step 4 - Apply stain using the most efficient method

Are you staining just a few boards? It might be fastest just to use a paintbrush. 

Working on a large project, like a whole fence or house? It might be better to load up your paint sprayer and make short work of the situation.

An important thing to know when staining pressure treated wood is that some areas are going to absorb the stain better than others, and you will probably have to use more stain in certain areas to get an even look.

Step 5 - Let stain cure, and add another coat if necessary

You won't know if you are satisfied with the stain job until it fully cures because it might look blotchy when wet(depending on the type of wood).

Step 6 - Clean up

Nothing is better than cleaning up a fresh paint job, and moving on with your life! We hoped these steps helped you in completing the stain job on your pressure-treated wood.

What Should You Look For In The Best Stain For Pressure Treated Wood?

Quantity

Buying paints and stains in quantity is always a good idea. Besides, if you have some leftovers, you can always sell them on your local Facebook marketplace or Craig's List ads.

The important part is that you have enough stain to cover your whole project. 

And with pressure-treated wood, you are probably going to have to apply more than one coat, and certain areas(like the ends) will need more stain than others.

Environmentally Friendly/ VOC content

Volatile organic compounds are controlled by the EPA, and they are basically a measurement of toxic gases that are emitted in the form of vapor.

Most VOCs are toxic and should be taken into consideration when applying stain on pressure-treated wood because you should use a cotton mask or respirator to avoid breathing in harmful fumes.

Solid Color Stain/Natural Beauty

The finished look all depends on how you like it. 

The best way to get an idea before applying the stain is by reading reviews and looking at pictures of how other people's projects have turned out.

Read More >> What Are The Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stains To Use?

Our Reviews Of The Best Stain For Pressure Treated Wood

Looking to stain a deck? DEFY is a semi-transparent deck stain that is water-based, environmentally friendly, and has hundreds of great reviews on Amazon.

Fortified with a technology called zinc-nano-particles, this is both the ultimate and affordable solution for staining pressure treated wood.

Everything about DEFY is great. For example, DEFY is VOC compliant, and it is easy to maintain after the fact.  

This is one of the best deck stains on the market.

Pros

  • Purchase in 1 or 5-gallon quantities
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fortified with zinc non-particles

Cons

  • Ships everywhere but California
  • Slightly more expensive than other products

Thompson's WaterSeal is an affordably priced waterproofing stain that leaves a semi-transparent on your wood finish.

When applying Thompson's WaterSeal, you can expect it to last up to 4 years on decks, and up to 6 years on fences and siding.

By exceeding the industry's expectations for waterproofing, you can preserve your outdoor wood surfaces with the confidence they will resist mold, mildew, and UV damage.

Pros

  • Prevents water damage
  • Less expensive
  • 5 different colors to choose from

Cons

  • VOC content not specified
  • Not the highest possible quality

Liquid Rubber is a water-based solution and an excellent option for applying to pressure-treated wood or almost any other exterior surface for waterproofing, UV protection, and chemical resistance.

Say goodbye to cracking and chipping in your pressure-treated wood with this environmentally friendly product is easily applied with either a paint sprayer or paintbrush.

Liquid Rubber is completely free of VOCs, has great freeze/thaw qualities, and is affordably priced on Amazon. 

Pick up either a 1-gallon or 5-gallon bucket of Liquid Rubber off of Amazon in 7 different color options.

Pros

  • Non-toxic
  • Highly durable
  • 7 different colors to choose from

Cons

  • More expensive than other products
  • Not sold in quantities less than 1 gallon
  • Not made specifically for wood(but will still work great)

Cabot offers another heavy-duty water and weather-resistant oil stain formula in 8 different colors.

With superior UV protection, you will ensure that your exterior wood surface is fade and scuff resistant when applying just one coat of Cabot to its surface.

Apply Cabot to siding, fencing, decks, and pressure-treated retaining lumber.

Pick up a 1-gallon container of Cabot Semi-Solid & Siding Stain off of Amazon for the best possible value.

Pros

  • Low VOC
  • A highly effective oil stain
  • 8 different colors to choose from

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than other products
  • Only sold in 1-gallon quantity

Ready Seal is another exterior stain that works great on any exterior wood surface.

When reaching its true color within 14 days, Ready Seal Exterior Stain And Sealer can be applied with any method whether it be a paint sprayer, paintbrush, or paint roller.

Forget about priming first, just apply Ready Seal directly to your exterior surface for the perfect weather-proofing solution in 8 different colors.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Great for any exterior use
  • Sold in 1 and 5-gallon containers

Cons

  • Not sold in smaller than 1-gallon quantity
  • Takes longer to dry than other products (48-72 hours)
  • Takes 14 days for the color to cure

Olympic Elite Woodland Oil Stain is a one-coat solution for protecting exterior woods like redwood, pine, cedar, and more.

With long-lasting protection against the elements, this oil stain is fortified with urethane to prevent scratching and peeling.

Forget about mildew, algae, and more by applying a thick coat of Olympic Elite on your exterior project.

You'll find 1-gallon quantities of Olympic Elite on Amazon for the best possible price.

Pros

  • 1-coat application
  • Fortified with urethane
  • Protects against water damage

Cons

  • VOC content not specified
  • Read some questionable reviews on Amazon before buying

Our favorite is DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain because it is a water-based solution that uses zinc nano-technology to block out UV rays/direct sunlight and prevent color loss in your pressure-treated wood. 

With hundreds of great reviews on Amazon, you can't go wrong with DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain, especially because it is designed to last longer than other products on the market.

For us, the biggest plus side is that the product is more or less environmentally. 

In this case, DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Cedar-Tone Exterior Wood Stain is a solid stain that is environmentally friendly and does a really good job, so we highly recommend you trying this on your next stain job.

Final Thoughts On Best Stain For Pressure Treated Wood

You Can Also Used Used Motor Oil To Stain Pressure-Treated Wood

Is it time to change the oil on your car? Did you know that you can use that same used motor oil as a water-resistant coating on your pressure-treated wood? Now you know!

Read The Stamps Or End Tags To Find Out About Your Specific Wood

If the pressure treated wood is new, read the label to find out which chemicals were used in the process(if necessary).

Safety Reminder

When staining pressure treated wood, you should use the following safety measures:

Nitrile gloves/leather gloves

You'll want to use some gloves to avoid getting stains on your skin.

Safety glasses

Be sure to cover up your eyes when applying the stain. 

Cotton mask/respirator

It's important to avoid breathing in fumes. Always keep a cotton mask or respirator on hand when using stains.

More questions? Don't hesitate to ask on our Pro Paint Corner page!

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.

Got A Paint Question? Ask Your Pro Painter!

Learn More Expert Paint Tips

Painting shouldn’t be this hard. Check out some of these other helpful guides to help you nail the perfect paint job!

How To Stain Cabinets?

Are you working on staining cabinets in your home? You’ve come to the right place!  In this

Read More »
How To Stain Concrete Floors?

Were you wondering how to stain concrete floors? Stay right here. In this ProPaintCorner.com article, we

Read More »

Want to know how to stain wood furniture? You’ve come to the right place! In this Propaintcorner.com

Read More »
How Long Does Stain Take To Dry?

Are you wondering how long it takes for stain to dry? You’ve come to the right

Read More »

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.

About Pro Paint Corner

You’ve got painting questions. We’ve got the best painting answers from a network of seasoned painting pros.

Recently Published Guides