Best Stains for Outdoor Furniture 2023

October 4, 2023

Staining outdoor wood furniture.

When designing your patio, for example, you need to consider several factors like deciding on a focal point, finding the purpose of your deck, figuring out the appropriate placement of your outdoor furniture, and how your furniture would blend with the environment. But when it comes to prepping your furniture for the outdoors, you also need to consider two critical factors: aesthetics and how your furniture can withstand the adverse effects of the changing environment

One way to make them last outdoors is by staining them to make them impervious to the harsh outdoor elements like rain, wind, and UV rays while not forgetting the aesthetic aspect of your patio. Staining helps you make your wood furniture look at home with the outdoor landscape while giving your furniture an added protection against UV rays and moisture. But before you stain your pieces of outdoor furniture, you need to know which type of stain is most suited to your outdoor furniture. 

Most Recommended Stains for Outdoor Furniture

Given the myriads of brands of stains in the market today, choosing the right one for your furniture quickly becomes a big challenge. Nevertheless, you will surely not want to spend on and use something that is not appropriate for your pieces of furniture. So, to facilitate the choosing process for you, we have listed here the best outdoor furniture stains in the market today:

Last update on 2024-05-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1) Ready Seal 512

If you’re looking for the best outdoor furniture stain, look no further. Just remember the brand Ready Seal 512. Its formula does not need any primer to make it adhere to the wood surface. It is at its darkest when you first apply it. But it shows its actual stain within fourteen days.  

The Ready Seal 512 can’t penetrate well into newly stained or painted surfaces. So, it will be best to refrain from applying it on such surfaces. You can apply it using a brush, roller, or sprayer. Moreover, it doesn’t need any back brushing, nor does it leave laps, runs, or streaks. 

It does not necessitate wet-line application. It blends itself well with the surface, and you can use it in any outdoor environment. It doesn’t need thinning or diluting before spraying it. It is easy to maintain and does not need stripping or sanding when you reapply it.

Its formula is meant to penetrate deep onto the very fibers of wood, making the wood water-resistant. It also offers anti-mold and anti-mildew properties. Besides, it provides substantial protection from UV rays.

2) DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

If you’re looking for a product that carries a water-based stain formula, you should consider the Defy Extreme Wood Stain. It is formulated for pressure-treated wood, decks, and wooden patio furniture. This wood stain enables the grain to shine through with its semi-transparent and natural finish. 

This formula comes fortified with nano-particle technology (zinc). So, it functions like sunscreen over the wood, preventing damage to your wood furniture. Moreover, it is wrought in the highest quality resin that can resist darkening and fading, resulting in a semi-transparent deck stain that lasts longer. 

The Defy Extreme Wood Stain is easy to maintain and doesn’t necessitate sanding. It is also 100 VOC compliant. Plus, you can ensure that your outdoor furniture will have extended durability and lifespan with this excellent stain.


The Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain is a formula you can rely on to protect outdoor furniture. This formulation is designed for staining and sealing at the same time. Hence, if you use this stain, you will no longer need to purchase a sealer separately. 

It comes in five various colors. You can use it as a wood stain for the exterior and as a wood protector. It will let the wood grain’s natural beauty manifest itself while enhancing the furniture’s appearance. When it comes to waterproofing, it goes beyond the industry standard. 

Besides, its advanced polymer formulation also provides fade-resistance property. This formula is mildew resistant likewise and protects your furniture from UV damage. It is also quick-drying within one to two hours. One downside of its use is that you need to prepare the wood before you apply it.

4) KILZ L832111

If you’re looking for a reliable exterior wood stain, you should consider the KILZ L832111 Exterior. It will provide excellent waterproofing properties to your furniture. It also offers a mildew-resistant finish to let your furniture retain its beauty and integrity. It protects your furniture from rain, UV rays, and snow. 

The KILZ L832111 guarantees up to three years of protection for decks and five years of protection for fences and siding. You can apply it to a moderately weathered wood surface. You can also use it for new and unsealed outdoor wood surfaces, including shingles, decks, patio furniture, sidings, railings, fences, and shakes. 

It provides a semi-transparent stain. It comes in a one-gallon can that can cover up to 250 square feet of the first coating and 500 square feet second coating. Moreover, it comes in redwood and cedar colors. 

5) Cabot 140.0003460.005 Australian Timber Oil Stain

If you are looking for a translucent oil treatment for your teak, mahogany, or other high-quality wooden furniture, you can check out the Cabot 140.0003460.005 Australian Timber Oil Stain. This stain can penetrate deep into the wood and can accentuate its patina and wood depth. This formula comes with translucent iron oxide pigments for extra UV protection. 

After applying this stain, you will end up with a translucent-toned and flat finish for your wood furniture. It can cover up to six hundred square feet when you apply it to a smooth surface and up to three hundred fifty square feet when applied to rough surfaces.

Factors to Consider When Buying Exterior Wood Stain

Given the myriads of stain brands in the market today, finding the right stain for your outdoor furniture becomes a bit confusing. Hence, it will be good to know the following important criteria to zero in on the right stain for your outdoor furniture:

Purpose and Intended Usage

When choosing a brand of stain, it will be best to know its intended application and usage precisely. Begin with the end in mind, as some woodworkers would advise you. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with the application of stain. Would you use it for your fence, deck, chair, or siding, or would you use it for indoor furniture? 

Remember that some stains thrive well when used for decks, while some do not. Decks, of course, lay flat. Hence, they are more affected by standing water and UV rays. 

Would you also use it for staining wood that sees a lot of foot traffic? If yes, then you will need something that can penetrate deep into the wood. If you apply it to outdoor furniture, you will need something that amplifies the attractive grain patterns of wood. Hence, it will be best to opt for a transparent stain.

Types of Stain

If you consider applying stain to exterior furniture or wood, it will be helpful to know the different types of stains. Stains can be oil-based, acrylic or water-based, or hybrid stains. These categories are based on the liquid that manufacturers use when mixing the protective particles and pigments. 

Water-based stains, of course, make use of water as their liquid base. You can apply them quickly, and they are easy to clean up using water and soap. Moreover, they are not smelly and don’t aggravate any respiratory disorder. Nevertheless, they are not known for penetrating deep into the wood as compared to the oil-based stains. 

On the other hand, oil-based stains penetrate deep into the wood. Hence, they do not flake or fade easily. Since they penetrate deeply, they protect the wood from within. They also strengthen the wood fiber bonds. Moreover, they are known to enhance and amplify the beauty of the wood grain. 

One downside of the use of oil-based stains is that they can irritate your respiratory system. Hence, you need to wear a mask when applying them. Another thing is that it is a challenge to clean up. You would need mineral spirits to tidy it up.


Stains come in various colors and hues. So, before you decide to buy something, make a pause, and use your imagination to figure out the finish that you would like to achieve with your furniture. Once you’ve figured out which color you would like to have, then look for that color. 

Most brands come in different colors. So, select carefully the color that you want. Do color tests and buy small quantities of stains. Apply them to the wood and see if the color is precisely the color that you have imagined.


Exterior wood stains also come in various levels of transparencies. So, when choosing a stain, you need to consider how much transparency level you would like to achieve when you apply the stain. Of course, the most transparent stains are completely see-through, allowing the natural color of the wood to come out. They barely alter the wood’s color, and they let the wood grain be evident. 

Hence, they are perfect for expensive exterior wood furniture. Nevertheless, they will likewise work well with ordinary types of wood. Nonetheless, they are not long-lasting. 

You can also opt for semi-transparent stains. These stains will obscure the wood grain a bit. Nevertheless, they are longer lasting than transparent ones. They also let the blemishes blend well with the stains compared to transparent stains. 

Going up a notch higher in the level of transparency, you will find semi-solid stains. They also blend well with various wood grains without destroying the wood texture. Moreover, they tend to last longer. 

Lastly, there are solid stains that obfuscate the wood grain entirely. They are perfect for replacing shingles, deck boards, and furniture. They also provide longer-lasting protection to your wood.

Steps on Staining Outdoor Wood

Wood pieces exposed to the harsh elements of the outdoor environment may start to show damages and weathering. So, it will help to stain them to bring new vigor to their colors and extenuate their usability lifespan. However, staining your outdoor furniture necessitates prepping the furniture’s surface and stripping down the old finish. It also requires sanding. Finally, you need to apply a new stain. Below are the simple steps that you can follow when staining outdoor wood:

Step 1: Prepare the Materials

You need to prepare your materials for staining at the onset. You will need a brush with natural bristles for oil stains. For latex stains, it will be best to use a synthetic bristle brush. Using the proper brush will ensure that you can apply the stain evenly over the surface.

The preparation process also includes preparing the wood correctly. Prepping the wood, of course, takes time. But the time you spend on it is indeed worthwhile. To prepare the wood, you need to remove the parts that you don’t like to stain. These parts include nails and metal bolts. Then, clean the mildew and dirt off your wood. Afterward, allow the wood surface to dry.

Step 2: Stripping Old Stain

You need to strip the wood, and when you strip the stain, you need to do it in a well-ventilated place. You can utilize a chemical stripping solution or sander in removing the old stain. You can use a sanding sponge (fine-grit) to reach the curved or challenging-to-reach areas. It will help to let the stripping solution for 20 minutes to work before you strip the wood of old stain using a scraper tool.

Step 3: Sanding

Before staining the wood, it will also help to clean off the remaining stain by sanding. In this way, you can make the wood’s surface smoother before you apply the new stain. When sanding, you should sand along the wood grain direction. Afterward, you can clean the wood using a dry rag to remove the sanding dust before applying the stain.

Step 4: Start Staining

The primary step in the staining process is the staining itself. Once you’ve prepared the wood for staining and have chosen the perfect stain for your needs, you can then start staining. You can use a rag or brush when applying the stain evenly over the wood surface. Begin at the upper part of the furniture and work your way downward. 

Caveats When Staining Outdoor Furniture

Staining furniture is not a difficult task. Even if you haven’t done staining wood before, you will still get to stain the wood the first time you try to stain wood. Nevertheless, it will help if you know the following do’s and don’ts when staining wood to ensure that you do it right the first time:

When staining wood, do it at room temperature. If the stain is not at room temperature, chances are it may produce inconsistent results. Stains do produce better results at 70°F. Yet, you should first check the label to know the best temperature for the stain brand when applying it. It will be best to use smooth and even strokes to produce consistent and natural color when the stain dries. 

It is best to apply the stain during a dry day. Don’t apply stain during the wet season. So, it will be best to move your schedule for staining to a date that is not rainy. Besides, you should choose an area that is not humid because if not, you will find the stain not drying quickly as expected.

Paint is thicker than stain. So, it will be best to have a clean rag and water bucket at hand so that you can easily clean any excess stain and accidental drip. You can also apply a second coat once the first coat has dried up.


Pieces of outdoor furniture are not eternal. They will eventually succumb to the constant buffeting of the harsh elements of the outdoors. As such, you need to maintain them and protect them from these harsh elements if you want to extend their usability. 

One way to give them longevity is by way of staining them. Knowing the abovementioned best stains for outdoor furniture and the essential factors to consider when selecting a stain brand will help you zero in on the right stain for your furniture.

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