Looking to put the final touches on your deck but can’t figure out what sealer/stain to purchase? Don’t worry; you’re not alone!

A deck sealer is an important part of your porch’s aesthetic appeal, durability, and environmental resistance. It is crucial to have your deck sealed to prevent the decomposition of wood, mold accumulation, and heat/moisture damage.

There are many types of deck sealers on the market, however, and the correct choice for your porch may be unclear. It’s difficult to narrow the choices down, due to the vast amount of wood used in today’s porches.

Things to Consider When Choosing The Best Deck Sealer

Let’s have a look at some things to keep a note of when looking for the best deck sealer for your porch.

  • The Climate in Your Area. The deck sealer you purchase will be based on a variety of considerations. One of these considerations is the weather and climate of your area. Deck sealers are designed for specific climates; many are engineered for specific temperatures and humidity levels.
  • Opaque or No? The more opaque a deck sealer is, the more resistant the sealer is to harsh weather. You’ll want to keep your eye on this feature and have in mind what type of elements your deck will be exposed to on a routine basis.
  • Natural or Synthetic Wood. One sealer does not work on all types of decking material. Synthetic deck sealers are different from natural wood deck sealers, so make sure you double-check this before you purchase.

Top 9 Deck Sealers Comparison Table

PictureNameIndoor / OutdoorQuantityPriceRating (1-5)
Indoor / Outdoor
Rating (1-5)
1. THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.043851-16 Solid Waterproofing StainOutdoor1 gallon$$$4.5
2. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer Outdoor5 gallons$$$$4.7
3. Rust-Oleum Varathane 200261H 1/2-Pint Interior Crystal Clear Water-Based Polyurethane Indoor½ pint$$4.6
4. Eco Wood Treatment Wood Stain Outdoor1 gallon$$$4.6
5. Rainguard Clear-Seal High Gloss Heavy Traffic Urethane/Acrylic Water Seal Outdoor1 gallon$$$3.9
6. Thompsons 10100 Aerosol Water Seal Multi-Surface Waterproofer Outdoor12 ounces$4.5
7. Rust-Oleum 00903 Woodlife Classic Outdoor1 gallon$$4.2
9. Rubberseal Liquid Rubber Waterproofing and Protective CoatingOutdoor1 gallon$$$4.6
10. THOMPSONS WATERSEAL 041851-16 Transparent Stain Indoor1 gallon$$4.5

Buying Information

Let’s take a look at some more details regarding the best deck sealer for the type of wood that’s present on your porch.

  • Type of Wood. Deck sealers can often handle different types of wood. Sometimes, however, certain types of wood won’t stain properly with certain types of sealer. You’ll want to keep a note of the type of wood you’re looking to seal and make sure the sealer you purchase can work on the wood!
  • Clear Sealer. A clear deck seal functions to preserve the natural beauty of your wood. While these sealers can be perfect for environments that aren’t subject to harsh weather, they can also be easily undone if they’re consistently exposed to harsh weather such as heavy humidity and rain.
  • Quantity per Square Foot. Take measurements of your deck before you shop for a deck sealer. You’ll want to make sure the amount you buy is suitable for the surface area of the deck you’ll be sealing!

Top 5 Best Deck Sealer Reviews

1. THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.043851-16 Solid Waterproofing Stain

Waterproof your wooden surfaces with Thompsons WaterSeal TH.043841-16 Solid Waterproofing Stain. Its water seal formula is resistant to UV rays and water. It only takes a few hours to apply the wax and just one coat will seal your wood for years to come.

It offers exceptional protection from the elements and is used and recommended by many professional contractors. The one-gallon size is large enough to take on multiple projects without the need to purchase more for some time.

You’ll also be able to apply it to both damp and dry wood. Let’s examine the features of this deck sealer.

Firstly, this deck sealer is water-based: this means that it is easy to clean up and easily scrubbed away by soap. You won’t have to worry about the residue left behind by conventional deck sealers. It’s the best deck sealer for a mess-free finish.

It’s resistant to moisture, water, and UV rays from the sun. You’ll be able to protect the precious wood on your deck from a variety of damaging conditions: this enables the use of this sealer in a variety of different environments.

Finally, it’s long-lasting and easy to use. You’ll also be able to apply it to damp wooden surfaces, too.

Thompsons has everything you’ll ever need in a deck sealer.

2. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar

This massive pail of deck sealer will surely have the material you’ll need to finish any job you need to be completed. Let’s see what’s so great about the Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer.

Cut out the complications and get right to the finish – Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer requires absolutely no primer before its application. Don’t worry about spending extra on primer; this deck sealer makes it irrelevant.

This deck sealer can be applied at any temperature, with any form of application. Don’t stress over what you need to apply it successfully – you can use a hard sponge to spread it efficiently.

It’s hassle-free, prime-free, and easily applied. It’s a little expensive, but at least you’ll save your money on the primer.

3. Rust-Oleum Crystal Clear Water-Based Polyurethane

This deck sealer is easy to clean and doesn’t have a strong, potent odor that will knock you over as soon as you open it.

We like that it goes on clear and found that it holds up very well in all weather conditions.

Ideally, this sealer is best used to seal screen porch decks and other indoor wooden surfaces. It looks spectacular after it dries, with a sparkling crystal finish.

On top of being made in the United States, this excellent indoor deck sealer is also easy to clean. Should you get a little of the sealer on your clothing, all you need is a little soap and warm water to remove it.

Although it may not be the best deck sealer to use outside, it would be suitable for covered decks in dry, mild climates.

4. Eco Wood Treatment Wood Stain

Eco Wood Treatment is a non-toxic, multi-purpose wood preservative. It protects all outdoor wood surfaces against rot from the inside out. Eco Wood Treatment can be used to protect new as well as existing wood.

This paint-on treatment works by penetrating deep into the pores of the wood, leaving no residue or greasy feel. The active ingredients in Eco Wood Treatment are completely removed from your lawn when it rains, so there is no fear of runoff onto the ground below.

It penetrates deep into the wood to help prevent future damage and can be used on decks, fences, siding, or any wood surface that requires extra protection.

This treatment allows you to easily restore the rich brown color of your wood surface with just one single application.

It replaces dangerous arsenic-based preservatives with eco-friendly ingredients like natural substances from minerals.

5. Rainguard Clear-Seal High Gloss Heavy Traffic Urethane/Acrylic Water Seal

Rainguard Clear-Seal High Gloss Heavy Traffic Urethane/Acrylic Sealer is a high gloss, low VOC water-based liquid urethane/acrylic sealer that provides excellent resistance to water and stains.

It is specially formulated for use with concrete, masonry, brick, and wood surfaces. This water sealer penetrates deeply and quickly into rough or porous concrete surfaces to provide a seal that resists cracking, peeling, and fading.

It withstands extreme weather conditions for years of protection against harsh sunlight, salt, and chemicals. Unlike conventional oil and solvent-based sealers, this acrylic sealer has a low odor.

Rainguard Clear-Seal is a non-toxic, low odor, water-based, concrete, and wood sealer that provides the perfect finishing touch for driveways, patios, decks, or even indoor floors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Better to Stain or Seal a Deck?

To maintain the color of your deck, you seal it. However, if you want a more uniform color, you stain the deck. A wood stain is more expensive than a sealer but it lasts 5 times longer.

How Long Does Deck Sealer Last?

To properly maintain your deck with a protective finish, you need to diligently apply a new protective coating every one or two years.

If your deck has been neglected or is showing signs of wear, it may not be time to replace it, but to restore it with a new layer of finish. When evaluating your wood deck, don’t limit yourself to the surface alone but look at all areas to determine if restoration or replacement is your best option.

Restoring your deck can extend its useful life for another 10 years or more.  Decks are most likely to be taken out of service due to rot, termites and nails pulled from sagging boards — not because they cannot withstand the weather.

How Long Does a Deck Need to Dry Before Sealing?

The time for allowing the deck stain to dry should be long enough for the moisture level in it to drop below the point where it lifts off again. If your deck is exposed to a lot of wind, or if you have created some local “pockets” with uneven stain coatings, allow an extra day.

The best test before applying the sealer is to lift any loose end of the tape and apply a little pressure with your fingertip. If it “pops” free easily then you are ready for the sealer.

Sealing wood decks after staining can increase their durability and beauty and help prevent mold or mildew. Most stains for use on exterior wood surfaces should be allowed to dry for at least two days before applying a sealer.


Deciding on which sealer and stain to use for your deck can be a difficult process. With so many options available, it’s hard to determine what product is best for you.

There are different features and benefits you should consider when making your decision. That’s why it’s important to practice proper research when it comes to this topic. The good news is that you’ve come to the right place.

If you are still unsure which product is the best fit for you, get the Thompsons WaterSeal.