Top 10 Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding and an Easy DIY Guide 2021

Best exterior stain for cedar siding

The cedar sidings, floors, and decks are prone to water and sun damage. And without proper protection, these will become worn out in time. And it will also affect the value of your homes.

The best exterior stain for cedar sidings can revamp, enhance and protect these wooden fixtures. And you do need to repaint, it’s just too expensive and troublesome. Wood stains on cedar can improve the aesthetics of your homes at a fraction of the cost.

We have handpicked the best ten products that can help you protect and beautify your cedar wood floors, sidings, and decks. 

Quick overview

  • Ready Seal Natural Exterior can give you the best value for your money. This transparent stain needs only one application and no prep work.
  • Thompson’s Waterseal can give extra protection from water damage. 
  • If the sun is making your sidings dull and gray, use the Olympic Stain Elite. It can offer advanced protection from sun damage.
  • Worried about VOCs and their impact on the environment. The Restore A Deck is a greener option since it has lesser VOC compounds. 
  • If your cedar floors and siding need a complete overhaul, the Cabot Oil stain can give it a vibrant almost new look

Top 10 Picks for the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding: A Product Review

Product nameCedar Siding wood stain colors Volume ApplicationOil or water based Requires primer Shops
Ready Seal Natural Exterior 11 color options Transparent finish5 gallonsRoller, brush or sprayerOil basednoCheck Latest Price
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Thompsons watersealtransparent1 gallonBrush or rollerWater basednoCheck Latest Price
Read Full Review
Olympic Stain EliteRed cedar1 gallonBrush , roller or sprayerOil basednoCheck Latest Price
Read Full Review
Restore-A-Deck9 color optionsSemi transparent finish2.5 gallonsBrush , roller or sprayerWater basednoCheck Latest Price
Read Full Review
Cabot semi solidSemi pigmented cordova brown1 gallonBrush , roller or sprayerOil basednoCheck Latest Price
Read Full Review
KILZ exterior stainSemi transparent finish1 gallonBrush , roller or sprayerAcrylic basednoCheck Latest Price
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DEFY Extreme exteriorSemi transparent finish1 gallonBrush , roller or sprayerWater basednoCheck Latest Price
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Saver’s system5 color options Semi transparent available 1 gallonBrush , roller or sprayerWater basednoCheck Latest Price
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Cabot australian timber oil.25 gallonBrush , roller or sprayerOil basednoCheck Latest Price
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Penofin red label10 color options transparent finish5 gallonsBrush , roller or sprayerOil basednoCheck Latest Price
Read Full Review

Stains are more economical options than paint. It’s also easy to do a DIY project on staining. But hold your horses, not all stains can give you the best results. Check out our top ten stains for cedar siding

01. Ready Seal Natural Exterior – Best value for your money

This is a sealer and stainer in one. It offers great value for your money,

You can make great savings with our top choice, the Ready Seal Exterior stain. Since it’s a 2 in 1 sealer and stainer, you don’t need to have a primer. So that saves you the cost of buying a separate product.

Thus, you also do not need to make multiple coats to achieve the best results. And since this product comes in a larger gallon case, it’s perfect for larger applications. You don’t need to do several buckets so it can also save you on moolah.

We love how the beauty of the cedar wood shines through this transparent stain. And you can choose from several color options. 

You will be able to see the full effect in 14 days.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: ‎12 x 12 x 13.75 inches
  • Brand: Ready Seal
  • Weight: ‎1 pounds
  • Size: 5 Gallon
  • Color: Natural Cedar
  • Material: ‎Oil based
  • Pattern: ‎Stain and Sealer


  • Offers protection from mildew, molds, and ultraviolet rays
  • It’s transparent so the beauty of your cedar wood will still shine throughIt’s transparent so the beauty of your cedar wood will still shine through
  • A 2 in 1 sealer and stainer
  • Does not require dilating and thinning. It can be used straight from the package
  • Resistant to temperature changes
  • Doesn’t require sanding for reapplication


  • Not available in smaller packages

02. Thompson Water Seal– Best Water-Repelling Action

If your cedar sidings need extra protection from water damage, this is the best option.

Thompson Water Seal can give more protection from water. In addition, it also provides enough protection from molds and mildew. This can also be used in various temperatures and it will stay stable. It also offers ultraviolet protection for your expensive cedar sidings.

This wood stain on cedar is a transparent sealer and stainer in one so you don’t have to buy a separate product. But take note that it kind of has a bit of brownish hue, but you can still see the beauty of the cedar wood through it. It can revitalize the color of your cedar slidings and old decks. Thus, it can create a vibrant hue and make it look newer than it really is.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: ‎7 x 4 x 10.6 inches
  • Brand: Thompson’s Water Seal
  • Weight: ‎9.33 pounds
  • Color: Woodland Cedar
  • Model Number: ‎TH.041851-16


  • Revitalizes the colors of cedar floors and sidings but you can still see the wood grain through the stain
  • It has potent water-repelling protection
  • It can alps protect from mold, mildew, and ultraviolet rays
  • It’s a sealer and stainer in one so you can make more savings
  • VOC content is low but the product is stable in all temperatures
  • Can be applied on both damp and dry surfaces


  • You need to prep the area to be treated so that it will not peel off

03. Olympic Stain Elite– Best Exterior Stain for Sun Protection

This wood oil stain can protect your cedar sidings from sun damage with just one application.

It can create a vibrant hue and at the same time, it can give potent protection from water, molds, mildew, and ultraviolet rays.

It’s also a sealer and stainer in one. So you can protect the integrity of your cedar sidings pretty well. Water damage and fading are the least of your problems. Thus, it will work best in areas where there is extreme sun exposure.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: ‎8 x 7 x 7 inches
  • Brand: Olympic Stain
  • Weight: ‎9.35 Pounds
  • Color: Red Cedar
  • Material: Woodland Oil Stain
  • Size: 1 Gallons
  • Style: Woodland Oil


  • Sealer and stain in one
  • It only needs one application and creates a vibrant hue
  • Offers present protection from water, mold, and mildew
  • Perfect for sun-exposed areas


  • Exact VOC content not disclosed

04. Restore a Wood Deck– Best Eco-Friendly Choice

This water-based eco-friendly stain and sealer in one can lessen your carbon footprint and make your cedar sidings gorgeous at the same time.

Oil stains can create a vibrant hue with just a single coating. But it may also contain more VOCs that are harmful to the environment. So if you need to lessen your impact on nature, this eco-friendly water-based stain is a great choice.

It can prevent your cedar sidings and deck from peeling too. Ultraviolet rays, molds, and mildew will no longer damage your investment. We also love how it quickly dries up. There is no stickiness and cleanup is very easy too.

Product Description:

  • Brand: Restore-A- Deck
  • Size: ‎2.5 Gallons
  • Color: ‎Cedar
  • Material: ‎Water based
  • Quantity: ‎1


  • Eco-friendly option
  • It’s water-based so clean up is very easy
  • It dries up quickly and no sticky residue
  • Offers protection from fading, ultraviolet grays, molds, and mildew


  • The surface is to be cleaned and dried thoroughly before application
  • Consistency is a bit thin so the application may be more challenging

05. Cabot Semi-Solid– Best Semi Pigmented Stain

This is one solid stain that can give your cedar floors, decks, and sidings a dramatic change.

If you’re looking to enhance the overall look of your cedar floor, decks, and sidings, you might want to add a bit of pigment to it, this is it. This stain can enhance the overall look and color of your cedar wood by adding more color pigments to it.

And all it needs is just a coat. It can also protect the cedar wood from fading and scratches.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: ‎6.5 x 6.5 x 7.75 inches
  • Weight: ‎9.38 pounds
  • Model Number: ‎140.0017437.007
  • Size: ‎Gallon
  • Color: ‎Cordovan Brown
  • Style: ‎Low VOC Semi-Solid Deck & Siding
  • Package Quantity ‎1


  • Adds color to renew the look of your old cedarwood
  • It has a lower VOC content
  • You only need a single coat
  • It can penetrate the wood well and offer more protection from fading


  • Not sold in bigger gallons

06. KILZ Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain– Best Exterior Stain with Long Lasting Protection

This acrylic-based stain can offer the best protection for winter and harsh elements

If you need an extra layer of protection for your cedar floors, decks, and sidings, you need this acrylic-based stain. It can repel water and offers better protection during the winter season.

It can also deter molds and mildew. Thus it can persevere the integrity and the beauty of your cedar sidings longer. Even winter will not be able to damage the wood. It can also give protection from the sun’s harmful rays, thus it has an anti-fading effect.

And out of the stains on our list, this offers more long-lasting protection for your decks and sidings. 

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: ‎6.63 x 6.63 x 7.65 inches
  • Weight: ‎9.3 pounds
  • Model Number: ‎L832111
  • Size: ‎1 Gallon
  • Color: ‎Cedar
  • Style: ‎Semi-Transparent
  • Material: ‎Acrylic Based
  • Package Quantity: ‎1


  • Offers longer protection for cedarwood
  • It can repel water better than the competition
  • It has mold and mildew protection
  • It also protects from the sun’s harmful UV rays and has an anti-fading effect


  • Some find the consistency a bit rich and thick

07. DEFY Extreme– Best Anti Fading Stain

What makes this product stand out is that it has zinc nanoparticles for extra fade protection.

In addition, the zinc nanoparticles offer potent protection from molds, mildew, and ultraviolet rays. Not only that, this stain and sealer in one is friendlier to the environment since it’s water-based.

It has a semi-transparent finish. So it can improve the tone of your cedar woods but the wood grains can still shine through. So this is also a perfect choice for old and worn-out cedar woods that need a bit more amp.

Furthermore, it is highly resistant to fading even with the lower VOC content.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: ‎‎7.25 x 7.25 x 7.75 inches
  • Weight: ‎9.13 pounds
  • Model Number: ‎300158
  • Size: ‎1 Gallon
  • Color: ‎Cedar Tone
  • Finish: ‎Matte
  • Material: ‎Water Based
  • Package Quantity: ‎1


  • Potent anti-fading and anti graying effect
  • It has lesser VOC content and is friendlier to the environment
  • Perfect for worn-out cedarwood


  • Needs more than one coat

08. Saver’s System– Best Semi-Transparent Exterior Stain

This semi-transparent stain can make your worn-out fences, deck, and cedar sidings brand new again.

Since it’s a semi-transparent stain, it can add beauty to your old floors and siding. But that’s without covering the lovely wood grains. Thus, it can make an old cedar wood brand new without having to shell a lot of money.

It can also be easy to apply over any stain. So it is very convenient and easy to use. You also get additional protection from the sun and the heat.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 4 x 12 inches
  • Weight: ‎9.09 pounds
  • Size: ‎1 Gallon
  • Color: ‎Cedar
  • Finish: ‎Flat
  • Material: ‎Water based
  • Package Quantity: ‎1

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  • Add a bit of pigment to improve the color of old and worn out cedar woods
  • It’s easy to use and can be applied over other stains
  • Has an anti-fading fast effect and can repel ultraviolet rays
  • Offers protection from molds, mildew, and water damage


  • Not for those looking for a clear and transparent finish

9. Cabot Australian Timber Oil– Best Oil Based Stain

If you need a luxurious and rich finish to your cedar sidings, this is a great choice.

This made-in-the-US Australian Timber oil can make your cedar decks, floors, and sidings very sophisticated and luscious. It can deeply penetrate into the wood thus giving it a very rich finish.

It also has a semi-gloss finish and can make your old cedar wood looking brand new. It can even make cheap wood look more expensive. The glossy finish can also last for months. 

It needs only one coat but you’re sure to get good coverage. It can also protect from molds, milder, water damage, and the UV rays of the sun.

Product Description:

  • Dimensions: 4.25 x 4.25 x 4.75 inches
  • Weight: ‎1.95 pounds
  • Model Number: ‎140.0003400.005
  • Size: ‎Quart
  • Color: ‎Natural
  • Package Quantity: ‎1


  • Has a low VOC content than other oil-based stains
  • Provides good coverage and need only one coating
  • Can give a glossy rich finish
  • Has the protection from molds, mildew, water, and sun damages


  • Not for those looking for a matte finish

10. Penofin Red Label– Premium Choice

When It comes to sun damage protection, this oil-based stain can offer serious protection.

It can offer up to 90 percent protection from sun damage and fading. This stain can penetrate deep into the wood. Mold and mildew will not also thrive.

It’s easy to use and has great coverage. You’ll also save moolah because it’s long-lasting and can give longer protection for your cedarwood. But take note that though it is labeled as a transparent color, it might give off a bit of yellowish tint and hue. So if you have a dry-aged cedar this is a perfect oil stain.

Product Description:

  • Manufacturer: ‎Penofin
  • Color: ‎Western Red Cedar
  • Package Quantity: ‎1


  • Can revive old worn-out cedar sidings, floors, and deck
  • Provides 90 percent sun damage protection
  • Has extra protection from mildew


  • It May have a light yellowish tone so it’s not for you if you’re looking for a crystal clear finish

What to Consider when Buying the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding: A Buying Guide

best exterior solid stain for cedar siding

There are some factors to consider when buying a stain for an exterior application. For best results, consider these.

Types of finish:

 You often have to choose between two types- transparent and semi-transparent finish.

A semi-transparent finish may give off a bit of a hue and color pigment. It can be brownies or yellowish. And this type of stain can change the look of worn-out cedarwood. Some brands may even be able to dramatically change the overall look of the cedarwood.

But if you want to retain the color of your cedar sidings and emphasize the beauty of the wood grains, a transparent finish is the better option.

The grain of the cedarwoods:

Either you want to enhance the pattern of wood grain or totally mask it is up to you. A transparent finish will be able to just enhance the natural wood grains. 

Some semi-transparent stains can mask them and change the overall look of the wood. Though we also have semi-transparent stains on our list that can improve the color of the cedar wood without covering the wood grains. 

Water or oil-based:

For DIY projects and if it’s your first time staining, it is advisable to use water-based stains since they are easy to clean. On the other hand, oil-based stains may give longer protection for your cedar wood sidings.

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Safety Tips When Using the Best Stain for Cedar Sidings

Staining can be a DIY job. And with the best stain for cedar sidings, it is easy to do this project by yourself. But before staining, here are some safety essentials that you have to have on hand.

Respirator or cotton mask:

Either water-based or oil-based, stains will have VOC. And if you’re going with an oil-based stain, it can have a higher VOC content. But using water-based stains doesn’t mean that you can skip the mask. 

Even the more eco-friendly stain option will still have VOC. And they can have adverse health effects

So to prevent yourself from inhaling these toxic fumes, always wear a mask or respirator when working with stains.

Leather or nitrile gloves:

Stains are made up of chemicals that can dry or damage your skin. To protect your skin by using leather or nitrile gloves.

Safety glasses:

Whether you’re using a brush, a roller, or a sprayer, stains can easily get into your eyes. And these harmful chemicals can irritate your eyes and may cause more problems in the long run. To protect your eyes from splashing stains with safety glasses.

Advantages of Staining over Painting

Caught in between painting or staining? Well, we say staining is a better choice. And here are the reasons why.

01. Stains are more durable than paint:

And for areas that have high traffic such as patio floors and decks, it’s better to stain than to paint. Stains can also last longer and don’t peel off easily compared to paint. 

02. Stains are more water-permeable:

Stains allow water to pass through the wood but will not store it. Thus, it will not cause water damage, molds, or mildew. Paint on the other hand is not. And as soon as it peels off, your cedarwood will already be exposed to the elements. 

03. Staining can protect your cedarwood better from tough weather conditions: 

Stains can offer more protection from sun damage and water damage. These applications can also last longer when properly used. 

Three Easy Steps On Staining Your Cedar Sidings

Are your rollers and brushes ready? But wait, heed our advice first on how to stain properly to finish this DIY project with flying colors.

01. Choose your stain:

There are two types of stain finishes that we have mentioned above. Choose one that suits your preference. And also don’t forget to choose deep penetrating stains since cedarwood is a softwood.

02. Clean the area:

Before staining, ensure that you start off on a clean slate. Remove dirt, debris, mold, or mildew. Some stains may recommend sanding the area before the application. different stain brands may require different prep work. Follow what is advised on the label.

03. Use painter’s tape to seal the edges:

Make sure to cover the edges and so you’ll just be staining the areas that need to. This will make up for easier cleaning and less mess. 


Is staining a DIY thing?

Yes, it can be. The best cedar stains on our list can be easily applied with the use of a brush, roller, or sprayer. It’s take the necessary precautions when applying them yourself. Though you also have an option to commission an expert if you’re not sure how to go about it. 

Why is my wood not soaking up the stain?

Different stain brands have different directions on how to apply them. Some may require pre-prep such as sanding to ensure that the stain will adhere to the wood. Some can be used on damp wood while other brands are supposed to only be applied on dry wood. So follow the instructions on the package that you bought for the best results.

What is the best color for cedar staining?

Semi-Transparent stains are often preferred since this can enhance the look of old worn-out cedarwood. It can also make it seem as if it has aged beautifully. Additionally, you may also use transparent stains over sanded cedar woods to remove worn-out layers of wood. 

What makes my cedar siding gray?

Your cedar siding can fade, become dull and turn gray if it was not treated before the installation. The combination of water damage and the sun’s harmful rays can dry the cedar wood fast.


The best exterior stain for cedar siding can also make your homes look expensive and updated. A worn cedar wood deck, floor, or siding is such an also tells of how you take care of your home.

And our top picks are very eyes to do a DIY with. You’ll be impressed with the results too.