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 2020 Reviewed

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

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

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

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

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

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6. Olympic Stain 79614 Maximum Wood Stain and Sealer

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7. DEFY Crystal Clear Composite Deck Waterproofing Sealer

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8. Rust-Oleum 01901 Coppercoat Wood Preservative

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9. DEFY Extreme Wood Stain Light Walnut

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How to Choose The Best Desk 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.


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.

Written by Adrian Dimakis

Adrian Dimakis loves writing about everything tech, gadgets, travel and leisure as a full time editor at LearningRegistry. Adrian graduated from UCLA with a degree in journalism and marketing, and his work has appeared in publications including USAToday and The Boston Globe. When he's not testing gadgets and accessories, checking different online services, you can find him planning his next trip on a big paper world atlas with lots of pins. Adrian is also an avid consumer with an oddly deep love for finding amazing deals on amazing products.

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