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Picture this: you’re building a new house, and you’ve chosen to use cedar wood for the deck and some new furniture. A few months after the construction is over, you notice that your beautiful cedar deck and outdoor furniture have turned grey. It looks old and damaged, and you don’t know what to do.
Cedarwood is expensive and weathers quickly, so you want to make sure that you can protect it from the elements by staining it.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through a list of ten of the best cedar stains to suit your needs. We’ll also explain the different types of stains, what factors to consider when buying cedar stains, and how to stain cedarwood.
Let’s take a closer look.
Why Stain Cedars?
While it might seem like a bit of a paint to do, staining cedar is one of the most important things you could do for the wooden items in your home, particularly those outside and exposed to the elements.
You must stain your cedar wood to protect it from weathering and turning grey. If you’ve ever owned outdoor furniture made from cedarwood, you might have noticed that it turned grey very quickly. Of course, some people appreciate the weather-beaten look of the wood, but we highly recommend treating your cedar with a wood staining product to prevent it from getting damp and worn.
Also Read: What Paint Is Best For Damp Walls?
Additionally, even though you might enjoy how the wood looks when it turns grey, you must also remember it turns grey unevenly. This means that if, for instance, you have a wooden deck or wooden furniture on your front porch, they will start to turn grey only in certain spots, while others will turn grey over time. If you live in a place with constantly changing weather conditions, you will find that the parts of the wood that receive direct sunlight or rain weather much more quickly turn grey.
Thankfully, there are a variety of cedar stains available in the market that allow you to stain your cedarwood in different ways to achieve different looks and finishes.
Types of Cedar Stains
Below is a list of the types of cedar stains with a brief description of how they stain the wood.
Semi-transparent cedar stain
The semi-transparent cedar stain is the most popular type because it enhances the wood’s natural look and grain. It is also long-lasting and doesn’t need to be reapplied regularly.
Opaque cedar stain
The opaque cedar stain is durable and long-lasting and provides your wood with complete coverage. This means that the wood’s natural grain is covered due to its high pigmentation levels. It lasts for four years before needing to be reapplied.
Semi-opaque cedar stain
The semi-opaque has the same durability as the opaque wood stain, but its pigmentation levels are not as high as the opaque wood stain. It lasts for four or five years.
Clear cedar stain
The clear cedar stain is transparent, so you can still see the wood grain. However, transparent cedar stain needs to be reapplied regularly.
Best Cedar Stain
BEST ON BUDGET
Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain
General Finishes Exterior 450 Water Based Wood Stain
BEST PREMIUM PRODUCT
Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
Our Top 10 Recommendations
Now, let’s look at the top ten best cedar stains!
Our number one pick is the Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain in cedar tone. While this product costs a little more than some of the other cedar stains on this list, we can assure you that it is worth it. This cedar stain is semi-transparent and water-based with a matte finish. This means that you will be able to see the wood grain! We love this cedar stain because it is perfect for outdoor and patio furniture, decks, wooden fences, and even playsets. Defy has also made sure that this wood stain is fortified with zinc nano-particle technology, which means that it acts like sunscreen for your furniture and provides a ton of protection from direct sunlight.
- It is easy to maintain, durable, and comes in various shades to protect other types of wooden furniture if you have them!
- This product costs a little more than some other cedar stains out there.
One gallon costs $48.17
Our second pick is the Thompson Waterseal Semi-Transparent Waterproofing Stain in Woodland Cedar. This product is excellent because it has the power to restore cedarwood items in your home and make them look brand new! This product protects your wood from water damage, mildew, and mold. Avoid using this stain on freshly painted wood or when the weather is extremely hot.
- You can apply this stain on wet or dry wood.
- It protects your cedar furniture or deck from UV rays.
- You cannot use this stain when the weather is hot.
It costs $44.95.
Also Read: Can You Paint In Wet Weather?
Our third pick is the Ready Seal Cedar Exterior Stain. This stain was explicitly designed for cedarwood, and it comes in ten different shades for different kinds of wood. One of the best features of this product is that you don’t need to prime your surface first; you can apply it directly. You can also apply this stain using different tools, such as a roller, paintbrush, or sprayer.
- You can apply this stain at any temperature.
- You don’t need to thin or dilute it.
- It is easy to maintain.
- It doesn’t leave marks or streaks behind after being applied.
- It takes two weeks to cure and reach its proper color.
- You can buy this stain only in a five-gallon bucket.
A five-gallon bucket costs $169.
The next recommendation that we have for you is the Olympic Stain Elite Wood Oil Stain. We love this stain because you only need to apply a single coat to achieve the look you want and high protection.
- This stain offers you UV protection and creates a protective layer against the sun’s harmful rays.
- It is resistant to scratching or peeling.
- This stain is fortified with urethane.
- It is resistant to mildew, algae, and mold.
- You can buy this stain only in one or three-gallon buckets.
- It is on the higher end of the pricing scale.
A three-gallon bucket costs $143.99.
The Cabot Semi-Solid Deck Stain is the final item rounding off our top five picks. This stain is the ideal product for those who need something quick and easy to apply. We love this cedar stain because it has an oil-based formula that ensures durability. Additionally, this stain has UV protection, which means that if you have outdoor cedar furniture in need of a protective substance, this stain is the answer to all your problems.
- You can choose from nine different shades to stain your cedar furniture or deck.
- You only need to apply one coat for the results you want to achieve.
- This cedar stain is resistant to scuffing and fading.
- It offers your cedar products UV protection.
We couldn’t find any!
This stain costs $60.79
If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of painting your cedar furniture or deck with a paintbrush or roller, then this wood stain could solve that problem! In addition to manufacturing different types of paint, Krylon also sells semi-transparent wood stains in aerosol cans, which makes applying the stain much easier for people who don’t have a lot of time on their hands. You can also use this product to stain your fence. We highly recommend using this product because it gives off a natural cedar stain look. It is waterproof, has an oil-based formula, and protects your wooden furniture, fence, or deck from harsh UV rays.
- This product dries very quickly.
- You buy it in four shades.
- It is durable and long-lasting.
- While we think that it is a pro, some people might feel that the fact that this product comes in an aerosol can is not beneficial.
One aerosol can costs $18.88.
As we near the end of our list, we’ve made sure to include some cost-efficient options for people on a budget. This product by Storm System is both a wood stain and sealer, and we can’t recommend it enough! It has an oil-based formula and is semi-transparent, which means that you can see the wood grain while making sure that it remains protected. In addition to cedarwood, this stain also works well on mahogany, redwood, pine, Douglas fir, cypress, and spruce wood.
- You can apply this stain with a paintbrush, spray, or roller.
- It seals, protects, and stains wood.
- It is cost-efficient.
- We couldn’t find any!
One gallon costs $33.99.
Here is another affordable recommendation for you! It’s worth noting that unlike most of the other cedar stains mentioned on this list, this water-based wood stain by General Finishes doesn’t work well on horizontal surfaces. Therefore, we’d recommend using this stain only on fences, doors, and pieces of furniture.
- You can buy this stain in ten different colors.
- Thanks to its water-based formula, you can clean it up easily using soap and water.
- You can apply it using various methods, including a brush, spray gun, or roller.
- You cannot apply this stain on horizontal surfaces.
One quart costs $33.41, and a gallon costs $114.89.
Our second last recommendation is the most affordable item on this list. Thanks to its oil-based finish, the Saman cedar wood stain helps your furniture or deck achieve the natural cedar wood look that you’ve always wanted.
- This cedar stain is durable and has a dual purpose! You can stain, varnish, and seal wood simultaneously.
- It is easy to find online and in stores.
- There are 14 different cedar stain colors to choose from.
- You can apply this stain directly without needing to sand or stain wood.
- It is odorless and safe to use around pets and will not harm the environment.
- We couldn’t find any!
An eight-ounce tin costs $13.99.
The last cedar stain recommendation is the SaverSystems semi-transparent wood stain. This product protects and seals your wood. Since it is semi-transparent, it allows the natural wood grain to shine. In addition to cedar, you can use this stain on fir, redwood, pine, and other softwoods.
- It prevents your cedarwood from turning grey.
- You can use it as a sealer and stain.
- You can use it on damp wood.
- Thankfully, there aren’t any.
It costs $86.99.
How To Find the Best Cedar Stain For You
Here are some factors to consider when buying cedar stain.
The stain’s base
When you search for a cedar stain, you will realize that there are different bases that make up the stain. These are water and oil-based stains. Water-based stains are easier to clean up and have low VOCs. However, even though oil-based stains contain higher VOCs, they are more long-lasting and durable.
You must consider the amount of protection you want your stain to provide. For instance, if you’re going to stain outdoor furniture, you might want to consider buying a stain with UV protective ingredients.
Also Read: 8 Best Epoxy Resins for Wood
How to Apply the Stain
Here’s how you apply the stain.
- Clean the wood’s surface thoroughly.
- Depending on the length and breadth of the surface, apply the stain using either a paintbrush, roller, or spray gun.
- Wait for the coat to dry, and apply a second coat if you need to.
In this article, we walked you through a list of ten of the best cedar stains that you can find! Even though staining wood can feel intimidating, it’s very difficult to mess up. As long as you’ve got a stain and a tool to apply it, you’ll definitely nail it.