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Best Deck Sealers to Keep Your Deck in Perfect Condition

Decking is a fundamental element when it comes to the overall beauty and aesthetics of a building. This piece of furniture represents you; standing as your first impression to the outside world. It, therefore, goes to the best of your interests, and possible reputation, to make sure this structure is as neat, and more importantly, looks as natural as possible. For it to look as optimally clean and natural, you’d need to sweep and mop it consistently, but perhaps what gives that final appeal is sealing!

Sealing, or rather staining, helps by repelling the water, which, when absorbed into the wood, will cause it to swell, dry up and shrink. Eventually, it will start to crack and split. Sealing will prevent all this, and in turn, ensure that the fibrous piece of wood remains strong and maintains its integrity for longer. Since you definitely wouldn’t want to do this every year, it is necessary to choose one that lasts as long as possible and appropriately blends with your furniture without compromising the beauty in its natural look. These stains should also consist of appropriately low volatile organic compounds, which, if high, may cause smog, pollution, respiratory problems among other health hazards. Some of these stains even go as far as fending off the dirt.

There is a wide variety of amazing sealants out there, but some might not exactly live up to their expectations. To ensure you are guaranteed the most appropriate sealant, we have done our research to bring you the best deck sealers in the market.

Top 10 Deck Sealers of 2019 Reviewed

1. THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.041851-16 Transparent Waterproofing Stain, Woodland Cedar

Best Transparent Waterproofing Deck Sealer

Are you looking for a deck sealer that’s strictly designed for outdoor use? If so, then Thompson WaterSeal TH.041851-16 is what you need. It is among the best when it comes to finishing fences, shutters, outdoor furniture, and pressure-treated decks. It keeps away moisture from penetrating into the wood, thus preventing it from rotting.

If anything, it is designed to make it easier to maintain your deck. Unlike the low-grade finishers, this particular product is able to keep away stains, sand, and other impurities. Thus, you do not have to keep applying a finisher each year. With this product, you can wait for another two years before applying another round of finisher.

It is the norm for one to be required to apply two or more coats of a low-grade sealer. Not so for this particular product, given that applying just once is enough. If you have weather-beaten wood, this sealer has the ability to give it a new lease of life. Apply only once on old wood and it will look brand new. After applying it, you can touch the surface after only two hours. This cannot be said about the other sealers.

THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.041851-16 Transparent Waterproofing Stain

Pros:

  • Only needs to be applied once
  • Protects the deck for at least two years
  • Great for use on outdoor wooden surfaces

Cons:

  • Reports of sediment at the base of the can
  • Cannot be used in a pump spray due to the thickness
  • Some reviewers have complained of the product notwithstanding winter

2. DeckWise Ipe Oil Hardwood Deck Semi-Transparent 250 VOC Natural Finish

Best Semi-Transparent  Deck Sealer

This sealer is designed to be used on a specific type of wood from Central and South America. Known as Ipe wood, this sealer is meant for it and other exotic woods. The DeskWise Ipe Oil Hardwood Sealer comes in the form of a wax emulsion. It works perfectly well as a protector of deck end cuts. The sealer is also effective in preventing splintering. It also checks in the ends of freshly cut wood.

The sealer works well when applied to wood 24 hours after being cut. To reiterate, this is not a sealer for the wood surfaces. Rather, it works extremely well on end cuts and faces grain on carvings. This prevents the wood from cracking a few hours after being cut. Since it is dark on color, first test the sealer on a limited area before applying it on the rest of the wood.

Some of the objects on which you can use the sealer include doorknobs, knife handles, and other pieces made from exotic wood. It is also great for wooden objects that have been thermally treated. Unlike other sealers that are water-based, this particular product is paraffin-based. After drying, it will leave behind a waterproof protective coat.

DeckWise Ipe Oil Hardwood Deck Semi

Pros:

  • Works on virtually any kind of wood
  • Prevents cracking, splitting, and splinters by 90 percent
  • One coat can last for more than a year

Cons:

  • Great for only the end-cuts and grains
  • May make the wood appear darker than usual
  • Complaints about its durability

3. Cabot 140.0003460.005 Australian Timber Oil Stain, Quart, Jarrah Brown

Best Timer Oil Stain Deck Sealer

Is your deck made of mahogany, teak or other premium wood? The Cabot 140.0003460.005 is effective when it comes to protecting the surface from damage. It waterproofs the wooded surfaces of outdoor furniture and prevents the development of mold and mildew. The deck sealer is designed to deeply penetrate into the wood. Together with the resin in it, the sealer will bring out the natural patina and depth.

The formulation of this particular product includes iron oxide pigments which and complex and translucent. That’s how it is able to keep resisting the effects of UV rays for a long time. It fills in the wood for enhanced volume and maintains an attractive natural color. In that aspect, it isn’t like the other sealers which are known to stain the wood.

One can of this sealer is enough to cover between 400 and 600 square feet of a smooth wooden surface. On rough surfaces, it can cover between 250 and 350 square feet. The major determinant of the area covered is the porosity of the wood. When dry, it leaves a translucent-toned finish. No worries about stains.

Cabot 140.0003460.005 Australian Timber Oil Stain

Pros:

  • It can be used on a wide variety of wood products
  • A penetrating formula that enhances the natural patina and depth
  • One can cover a wide surface

Cons:

  • The top layer congeals due to exposure to air
  • Complaints about it being too expensive
  • Reports of the sealant no soaking in

4. CoverSeal AC30 Gloss Wood Sealer, Durable, Fast Setting, Clear Gloss Look

Best Clear Gloss Deck Sealer

The purpose of a deck sealer is to protect wood surfaces from damage caused by water and the sun. However, there are some deck sealers which also enable the surface to repel grease and oil. The CoverSeal AC30 can do all that and more. It also renders wooden surfaces extremely easy to clean. All you will need to do to clean the surface is to wipe it with a wet cloth. The good thing is that it will not come off scratch.

A fast-drying sealer, this product is UV-resistant, low odor, non-yellowing, and breathable.  It is also VOC compliant and designed for use on plywood, hardwood flooring, bamboo, docks, stairs, wood decks, and wood laminate. You can also use it on concrete, tiles, and stones. That makes it a very versatile sealer.

It comes in a 0.95-liter bottle which can be used on a surface area of between 400 and 800 square feet. When dry, it provides a clear gloss in whichever surface it is used. Over the course of time, the surface will remain resistant to all kinds of stains.

CoverSeal AC30 Gloss Wood Sealer, Durable, Fast Setting, Clear Gloss Look

Pros:

  • Can provide a clear gloss on all kinds of surfaces
  • Resists the effects of UV rays
  • A single bottle can cover a wide area

Cons:

  • Comes in a small bottle
  • Not many reviews from past users
  •  Its chemical formulation not clear

5. BOND DISTRIBUTING LTD 00200 00200 Gallon Natural Wood Stain/Sealer

Best Natural Wood Deck Sealer

With the sealer from Bond Distributing Ltd, you do not need to be a professional to use it. Using a layman’s skills, you can attain professional results without trying too much. If anything, the product is extremely easy to use. All you need is to pour the sealer in an open container and then use a brush to spread it on a wooden surface. That’s a procedure that virtually anyone with hands can pull off.

The thing with this deck sealer is that it can rejuvenate any wooden surface by penetrating inside. It doesn’t matter if it is hardwood or not. The sealer is designed to work with all types of wood. In addition, it will enhance the color of wooden surfaces due to its staining abilities. Within no time, a surface that once looked dull will be bright and shiny.

Once this product is used on your deck, it will protect it from chipping, flaking or cracking for a long time to come. During the application process, only a thin layer of the sealer is left on the surface. It is non-drip and won’t produce any overlapping patches.

BOND DISTRIBUTING LTD 00200 00200 Gallon Natural Wood Stain Sealer

Pros:

  • It is easy to use
  • Rejuvenates wooden surfaces
  • Protects against chipping, flaking or cracking

Cons:

  • Some people have found the staining feature bothersome
  • Not returnable after use
  • A costly sealer

6. Olympic Stain 79614 Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer

Best Wood Dec Sealer And Stainer

How would you like a product that can seal and stain wood at the same time? The Olympic Stain 79614 does all that and more. Once it dries off the surface of the wood, it makes it waterproof and therefore mildew-resistant. It is effective when it comes to protecting the surface against water damage, scuffs, and UV rays. That makes it a perfect sealer for your deck and other outdoor wooden surfaces. It can be used on fences, siding, decks, as well as wooden furniture

One gallon of the sealer is enough to cover between 250 and 350 square feet of the surface. Of course, the biggest determinant on the area covered is the porosity and texture of the surface. Before using it on the entire surface, first, test it on a small area. That will tell you if the penetration and appearance are good enough.

This sealer can be applied in different ways including by a spray gun, roller or brush. However, it is advisable that you use a brush on the surface after rolling or spraying. The sealer dries in just 24 hours. It is made with a penetrating oil/acrylic formula for enhanced protection. What more could you ask for?

Olympic Stain 79614 Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer, 1 Gallon, Solid Stain

Pros:

  • The formula provides extra protection
  • A mildew-resistant coating
  • Stains and seals at the same time

Cons:

  • Once you open the container, you cannot return it
  • Reports of the product arriving in a damaged box
  • The stain color may not be appealing to you

7. DEFY Crystal Clear Composite Deck Waterproofing Sealer

Best Clear Waterproofing Deck Sealer

Did you know that wood can start to decay as a result of exposure to Ultra-Violet rays? The good thin this that sealer is formulated using zinc nano-particles, which ensure the deck does not undergo that kind of decay. When sunlight lands on the surface, the zinc nano-particles disperse it into the air. This prevents the wood from losing color or greying prematurely.

The formula also contains resins that have the ability to protect wooden decks for a long time to come. The resins work by resisting darkening and fading. By so doing, DEFY Crystal Clear Sealer can help prolong the life of a deck by several years.

A semi-transparent sealer, this product is water-based which makes it easy to apply. Importantly, the sealer is eco-friendly. It is safe to use which means you do not have to be overly cautious while doing it. The wood stain is available in a variety of colors including natural pine, butternut, driftwood gray, cedar tone, light walnut, redwood, and walnut. With that, you have the opportunity to pick the color that best works for you. If you compare with single-color stains, this particular one has lots of benefits.

DEFY Crystal Clear Composite Deck Waterproofing Sealer

Pros:

  • Protection from damage due to exposure to UV rays
  • Prevents wood darkening and fading
  • An eco-friendly sealer and stain

Cons:

  • May wear off due to the effects of rain
  • Reports of water penetrating through it
  • Costlier than most of the other sealers

8. Rust-Oleum 01901 Coppercoat Wood Preservative

Best Coppercoat Deck Sealer

Rust-Oleum is well-known for products that preserve things. No wonder the Rust-Oleum 01901 is one of the best sealers on the market. Hardly does it stain wooden surfaces. Rather, it leaves behind a clear wood finish. With just one can, you can treat between 400 and 600 square feet of the wooden surface. That’s more expansive than most of the other sealers on the market.

It is an EPA-registered product, which means it is certified less harsh to the environment. The product seals off the wooden surface while protecting it from fungus, mildew, and rot. It is formulated with an insecticide which keeps away termites, moths, and other harmful insects. That’s why it is explicitly referred to as a wood preservative.

Unlike other sealers that stain the wood, this particular product creates a clear green layer. With time, the green layer will fade and leave the wooden surface looking as natural as possible. Apart from the surface, it can also protect end cuts on the porch and deck floors. What more could you want in a deck sealer?

Rust-Oleum 01901 Coppercoat Wood Preservative

Pros:

  • A single can is able to treat a vast area
  • An eco-friendly wood sealer
  • Can protect wood end cuts

Cons:

  • Reports of users feeling dizzy after using it
  • A lingering smell if it splashes on your clothes
  • May wash off in the rain

9. DEFY Extreme Wood Stain Light Walnut

Best Light Walnut Deck Sealer

A wood sealer shouldn’t work the same way as paint. It should have the ability to remain transparent in such a way that you can still see the wood grains. What you get from this sealer is all of that and more. Soon after drying, you will not be able to avoid noticing the beautiful natural matte finish. Like other products from the DEFY brand, it features zinc nano-particle technology. Thus, it has the ability to reflect and distribute UV rays to prevent premature color loss and graying.

Just like they block UV rays, the zinc particles also naturally deter the growth of mold and mildew. In short, the wood will not experience any signs of rotting, once it has been applied with this sealer.

The sealer features resins of the highest quality. Because of the resins, the product is able to resist any darkening or fading. This durable sealer will protect your wooden surfaces for more than a year. Within that time, you will find the polished wooden surface to be extremely easy to maintain. It will no longer be necessary to sand the surface since it is already protected.

DEFY Crystal Clear Composite Deck Waterproofing Sealer

Pros:

  • Leaves the wood surface with a clear matte finish
  • Contains reflective nano-zinc particles
  • High-quality resins resist darkening and fading

Cons:

  • A costly sealer
  • Reports of messy results
  • Doesn’t last for very long

10. OLYMPIC/PPG ARCHITECTURAL FIN FBA_52125A/01 GAL LIQ Deck Cleaner

Best Premium Deck Sealer

Before applying a sealer onto a wood surface you should ensure that it is properly prepped. What better way to prepare a wooden surface than cleaning it? For that, you need a product with the ability to properly clean the surface. The Olympic/PPG Architectural Deck cleaner is an example of such a product. It goes further than just getting your deck clean. Rather, it gets rid of all impurities, mold, and mildew so that you have a clean surface to work on.

You don’t have to dilute or mix this product with anything to use it. It is a ready-to-use product that only requires you to apply on the surface to be cleaned. After waiting for 5 to 10 minutes, you can rinse off the product for a clean surface.

When it comes to the types of wood on which you can use this product, the options are endless. It works on softwoods, hardwoods, as well as composite wood products. Once the surface is clean, you can wait until it dries before you apply a sealer. Now, you see why this product was included in a review of sealers and strainers?

OLYMPIC PPG ARCHITECTURAL FIN FBA_52125A 01 GAL LIQ Deck Cleaner

Pros:

  • A ready-to-use mixture
  • Removes dirt, mold, and mildew
  • Can clean all kinds of wood surfaces

Cons:

  • Reports of exaggerating black marks
  • Not enough to cover a wide area
  • An expensive deck cleaner

How to Choose The Best Deck Sealer – The Ultimate Buying Guide

Wood sealers are necessary when it comes to protecting wooden surfaces from damage by water and the sun’s UV-rays. They help to prolong the life of your deck in addition to providing an attractive glossy finish.

However, buying the right deck sealer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. A lot of research is necessary before you finally settle on buying one sealer model. In carrying out that research, the following are some of the things you need to look at.

What Are The Various Types Of Deck Sealers?

Deck sealers exist in different models which are as varied as there are many manufacturers of these products. We are going to describe the types of sealers based on how transparent they look once they have been applied on wooden surfaces. The following are the most common types of wood sealers.

  • Water-Based Sealers: This is one of the main types of sealers available on the market today. It produces the right results and is likely to last longer with the correct application. Most of them tend to retain the natural color of the wood on which they are being applied. They also provide better protection against UV-rays. Water-based sealers are also more eco-friendly since they do not contain harmful chemicals. Apart from suppressing mold and mildew growth, they also make the surfaces easy to clean.
  • Oil-Based Sealers: The popularity of oil-based sealers emanates from the fact that they easily penetrate into the wood. They are also easy to apply. They come with binders for removal of excess stains before the sealer fully dries up. Mostly, they are made using great oils including tung oil, rosewood oil, linseed oil or paraffin oil. Only that they produce a strong smell and take longer to dry.
  • Solid Sealers: If you are looking for a long-lasting sealer, try one with a solid stain. They properly cover wood surfaces and last for a maximum of five years. That’s longer than the length of time you get from other types of sealers. Solid stain sealers hide bad looking wood grains out of sight. Only that they are likely to start cracking, chipping or peeling off after a short time.
  • Semi-Transparent Stains: If you usually treat your deck with transparent sealers, then you might opt for semi-transparent ones. Even though they let wood grains to show, they slightly stain the surface. In the process, they enhance the looks of some wood types such as walnut. However, they aren’t as tough as the solid stain sealers.
  • Transparent Stain Sealers: Transparent or clear sealers are suitable for bringing out the natural beauty of the wooden surface. They neither add color, stain nor darken the wood. Even though they aren’t pigmented, they repel water and prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Only that they may not protect the wood against UV rays.

Which Location Are You Applying The Sealer?

When buying a sealer, it is important to consider the climatic conditions in which you intend to apply it. For example, there are several sealers that do not work in extremely wet conditions. In the reviews above, we have discussed products that cannot withstand wintry conditions as well as rainstorms.

They either get washed off the surface or get weakened due to the prevailing weather. However, if you live in places with a normal climate, just about any sealer will work for you. What you can do is to check the label to be sure that the product is actually meant for your sort of climate.

What Type Of Treatment Did You Use On The Surface?

It makes sense to use the same type of sealer like the one you had used before. If you do not put that into consideration, then you will have to strip the surface of the previous coating before applying the new one. For example, if you had applied a solid stain sealer, then you would have to remove it to apply a transparent stain sealer.

That’s why it is necessary that you apply the same type of sealer consistently. That way, it will be easier when making a decision on the type of sealer to buy.

Does It Contain Volatile Organic Compounds?

There are several types of wood sealers that contain VOCs, especially oil-based ones. For such products, check that they are EPA-certified and that they meet the standards established by authorities and countries. If not, then you may end up exposing yourself to the harmful VOCs which may cause health complications in pets and humans. For example, they can irritate your throat and cause headaches.

They may also cause damage to the central nervous system and the kidneys. Don’t ever neglect to check that the sealer you are buying complies with all regulatory requirements.

What Type Of Wood Is It?

The type of wood will determine the sealer you buy. There are sealers that work on specific types of wood, while others are almost universal. When you combine the right sealer with the appropriate type of wood, the results will be nothing but magnificent.

If you are not sure if you have made the right sealer-wood combination, you can apply a minimal amount on a small area of the wood to see how it works. With that, you will have a good idea of how the deck will look when you finally get to apply the sealer onto it.

Does The Deck Need Protection From The Sun?

Decks tend to be hit by the sun to varying degrees depending on whether it is covered with a canopy or not. If it has a canopy, then it will only be exposed to a small extent. Regardless of how much exposed the deck is, it requires protection against the harmful UV rays. If not, the deck will quickly lose its fresh looks.

The sun will not only bake it, but it will leave it dry and even damage the cellular structure. At that point, the wood becomes too porous. It lets in moisture and becomes the breeding ground for moss, mold, and mildew. This has the effect of reducing the life of the wood. That’s why you must just ensure that the sealer you buy is capable of protecting your deck against UV rays.

Conclusion

To choose the right sealer for your deck, you have to consider much more than whether it is water-based or oil-based. Neither is it a matter of choosing between one brand name and another. With the just concluded buying guide, the process of evaluating a wood sealer should be easy. But importantly, the deck sealer you buy should be able to serve you as expected.

If it does not meet your needs, it really doesn’t matter if you can afford it or not. So, make sure that you only buy a deck sealer that meets all of your expectations. On that, you should never compromise.

Adrian Dimakis

Written by Adrian Dimakis

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