Best Decking Treatment, Stain, and Sealer for 2021

This post was most recently updated on February 24, 2021.


As the weather is beginning to warm up, it’s natural to turn your attention to the exterior of your home.

It’s time to manicure the lawn, tend to the flowerbeds and gardens, and remember one frequently overlooked area of the house — the deck.

A backyard deck is a wonderful extension of your living space. Decks are ideal for hosting gatherings like cookouts or picnics. They also make a wonderful space to simply relax with family and enjoy those lazy summer evenings and holiday weekends.

Unfortunately, after a long winter, many decks are worse for wear. With life being so hectic, it’s easy to neglect the maintenance necessary to keep your deck looking great.

For those of you who have overlooked their deck recently, there is good news…

You can refinish a deck to refresh it and improve the overall appearance of your home. This, in turn, can help increase the value of your property.

Today, we’ll explore the importance of taking care of your deck with the best decking treatment options available and offer our favorite choices of deck stain and sealer for 2019.

Let’s get right down to it now so you can get the job done and start enjoying your deck sooner.

Caring for Your Deck

Decks are constantly exposed to the elements. They experience UV damage from the sun and are susceptible to moisture damage from rain and snow. There’s also mold and mildew that love to grow on decks.

To help make sure your deck lasts as long as possible, you need to care for it properly. This will take a little work on your part but it will repay you with some serious dividends.

Every spring, you should give your deck a thorough cleaning. There are a lot of deck cleaners on the market for all needs and budgets.

The purpose of sealer is to safeguard the wood of your deck from the damage that can be inflicted by the elements. We’ll look at sealers in a bit more detail later.

Deck Stain and Sealer Options

Deck stains and deck sealers are similar products that accomplish roughly the same goal when used as a treatment for your deck.

Deciding on which is the best decking treatment depends on your overall goal.


Deck sealers are applied directly to the deck and they usually leave a film on top of the wood.

Deck sealers are generally clear and they allow both the color and natural grain of the wood to show through.

You can also find deck toners which are sealers with a little added color. Typically, the added color is minimal and the natural grain of the wood remains visible.

While deck sealers can provide some degree of waterproofing to your deck, they won’t protect the wood of your deck from UV damage. When UV damage is left unchecked, it will dry the natural oils from your wood causing it to decay and split. Beyond this, as the sun dries out the wood it will become discolored and ruin the appearance of your deck.

Colored sealers and toners need annual reapplication.


Deck stains penetrate the wood. This, along with other properties, allows the stain to give more protection to the wood.

One of the most popular types of deck stains is the semi-transparent type. This stain will give the deck wood some color while still allowing the grain and beauty of the natural wood to show through.

Solid stains are broadly similar to paint. They penetrate the wood but also sit on top of the deck wood. These stains protect the decking, but you won’t be able to see the grain of the wood through the opaque color.

Semi-transparent and solid stains both offer waterproofing as well as UV protection to your deck. The darker the stain color, the more protection your deck will get from the sun’s rays.

When looking for stains, there’s a vast array of colors available so you should have no problem getting exactly what you want.

Stains should be reapplied every couple of years since they’ll begin to weather and lose color and their protective abilities over time.

Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Decking Treatment 2021

When choosing the best deck stain or sealer, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Quantity: One of the most important considerations is how much sealer or stain you need to buy. Most products cover 150 to 300 square feet so you need to make sure you have enough to complete the job. Measure your deck including railings and steps to determine the square footage. It doesn’t hurt to buy a little more than you need either. It’s much better to have a little left over for retouching instead of hustling back to the hardware store in the middle of your project!
  • Oil-based or Water-based: You also need to decide if you plan to use an oil-based stain or sealer, or a water-based alternative. Both options have benefits and drawbacks. Oil-based stains are easy to apply. They take longer to dry which helps reduce lap marks, but they’re messy and they don’t last very long. They can also be more susceptible to mold growth due to their natural resins that can be a food source for mold and mildew. Water-based stains are easy to apply but the wood needs to be prepped properly in order for them to last. If prepped properly (cleaned and brightened) they’ll perform well. They have the added benefit of being easy to clean up, and safer for the environment.
  • Preparation: Make sure your deck is properly cleaned and prepped before sealing or staining. If you don’t do this, even the best decking treatment doesn’t stand a chance of holding up.
  • Watch the Weather: Also make sure you’ve got a few days of clear weather before you get started. The last thing you need is to have your project derailed by a thunderstorm because you didn’t check the weather forecast.

Best Deck Stain and Sealer 2021

Now you’ve got the lowdown on deck sealers and stains and what differentiates them, we’ll highlight 3 of our top picks for the best deck stain and sealer 2019.

1. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

DEFY Extreme is a water based stain and is the standout winner when it comes to deck stains. This stain is semi-transparent and contains zinc oxide nanoparticles that help to alleviate damage from the sun. This stain also acts to strongly inhibit mold and mildew.


  • Added uv and mildew resistance
  • Easy to apply
  • Long lasting


  • Must clean and brighten the wood first


2. #1 Deck Advanced Solid Color Deck Stain

#1 Deck Advanced Solid Color Stain is formulated to provide maximum UV protection for your wood. It’s a totally opaque, high-hiding finish that is great for both vertical and horizontal surfaces. Available in 5 colors, you can use this stain on a deck that has old boards alongside of newer replacement boards to hide the difference. Another growing trend is to stain the horizontal deck boards with a semi-transparent and the vertical posts and railings with a solid.


  • Covers in one coat
  • Easy to apply, can be sprayed with an airless sprayer, or brushed and rolled
  • Quick drying


  • Only 5 color options


Restore-A-Deck Stain

Available in several colors, this semi-transparent stain from Restore-a-Deck is water-based and super-simple to apply. The stain is a proprietary blend that will protect your deck from both UV rays and water damage. Restore-A-Deck is recommended for use on pressure treated wood.


  • Multiple colors to choose from
  • Safe for pressure treated wood
  • Practically odorless
  • Prep & stain your deck in one day


  • Easy to over apply the stain
  • Limited color choices

  1. […] Well, when it’s time for upkeep and refreshing your deck, you need to reach for a deck stain stripper to properly prepare your decking for the new treatment. […]

  2. […] Also called toner, this is basically a sealer and will impart very little color to your decking. It will protect your deck from the elements but […]

  3. […] discussed above, some pressure treated woods are technically still wet. As such, they can’t be sealed until they’ve had a chance to […]

  4. […] using a semi-transparent stain or clear sealer, you can retain the natural beauty of the wood since the grain shows through the […]

  5. […] contain the waterproofing capabilities of all deck sealers while the added pigment provides UV protection. The amount of pigment is higher than in […]

  6. […] you don’t want to waste your time testing different products on your deck, you should visit for expert recommendations on professional and affordable deck treatment […]

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