10 Best Fence Stain in 2021 – Reviews and Buying Guide

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Best Fence Stain

Your wooden fence is an important part of your home. It can serve as a privacy fence or a perimeter fence. It can protect your kids and pets from getting too close to the roads. It can also add appeal and charm to your home. 

However, a fence that looks like all beaten up can do the opposite to your home. That’s why you have to spruce or brighten it up with the best fence stain. Moreover, you can use stains to change the color of your wood deck or accentuate the wood grain. Or spruce up the railings on your stairs or change the color of your furniture. 

It’s very versatile. And embarking on this project is easier than painting! Keep scrolling to see our top picks.

What Is the Best Brand of Exterior Stain? Our Top 10 Picks

A fence can be hard to maintain. Wood fences are susceptible to damage, molds, wear, and tear. And these can also make your fence look less than appealing. As a homeowner, you don’t want a damaged wooden fence to greet your visitors. Our list of the best fence stains can enhance the look of your fence. So it can keep your front yard looking fab, rain or shine.

1. Deck Stain- Best for Damp Wood

It’s a sealant and stain for your fence. It even works on damp wood. 

Moisture can damage your fence and wooden deck. Ths, you need a sealant and a stain to protect the wood from moisture damage. This product is a multipurpose tool that can be used for both. Use it as a sealant to prevent liquid from seeping through the wood. Then add a lovely coat to your fence at the same time too.

This fence stain is suitable for your softwood fence and floor. Though you can also use it for hardwood fences, it requires more maintenance. And it needs more application of the fence stain too.

You’ll love how natural this fence stain looks. It just doesn’t look flat, the lovely grain finish shows through. And since it’s a water-based and semi-transparent stain, clean up is a breeze. You don’t have to worry if you accidentally have splattered on the ground.

Features

  • Comes in 5 color options
  •  Premium Semi-transparent
  • Stain and sealant in one
  • Suitable for several softwood types such as cedar, fir, and redwood

Pros

  • Contains less VOC
  • Multipurpose
  • Easier to apply
  • Easy to clean
  • Lovely grain finish
  • Can be used on damp wood

Cons

  • Can’t be used on oily new wood

Why you should buy this fence stain

It can make your life easier. It’s easy to apply and easy to clean should there be a mess. Most of all, it will make your fence look lovely with natural grain finish peeking through the semi-transparent fence stain. 

2. DEFY Extreme- Best Long-Lasting

It’s a low maintenance fence and deck stain. You don’t even have to reapply yearly.

Water-based fence stains are better since they are easier to apply. they also contain less VOC. But some brands need replication every year. So if you’re not up to this type of maintenance, the DEFY Extreme is for you.

It lasts longer compared to other brands. One feature that stood out is nano zinc technology. And no, we’re not talking about food or beauty products here. But it functions just like that 

 This is sunscreen for the wood. It prevents wood from premature graying and darkening. 

So you can enjoy that lovely cedarwood fence longer without the need to apply another coat now and then. All you have to do is freshen it up with a brightener and it’ll look brand new.

Features

  • Water-Based
  • Cedar tone
  • 100 % acrylic
  • Semi-transparent
  • With zinc nanoparticle technology

Pros

  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to apply
  • Low VOC
  • UV resistant 
  • Fade and dark resistant

Cons

  • You have to work faster since it dries quickly

Why you should buy this fence stain

DEFY is a fitting word. It doesn’t darken nor fade easily. And you don’t even have to do maintenance reapplication of the stain.

3. Olympic Maximum- Best for Hardwoods

If you’re looking for a sealant and stain for your hardwood fence, this is it. 

The Olympic maximum is also weather resistant. You can readily use it on your fence within 8 hours of a rain shower. It can be used on damp wood. The extra UV protection and waterproofing ensure that your fence stays resistant to the sun’s harmful rays. 

It’s easy to apply, it’s also easy to stir. And the coverage is pretty great. 

Features

  • Semi-Transparent
  • Suitable for hardwood fence
  • Stain and sealant in one
  • Weather ready formula

Pros

  • UV resistant
  • Available in 8 color options
  • You can also buy this stain in a transparent, solid, or clear finish
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Some find it quite thin

Why you should buy this fence stain

If you’re looking for a sealant and stain for your hardwood floors and fence, this is it. 

4. KILZ – Best Budget

This lovely redwood stain goes great on your fence, patios, railings, decks, and furniture.

Give your fence and other furniture a lovely redwood pigment This stain also provides great waterproofing and UV protection, so it’s quite versatile. And with a 5-year warranty on your fence application, you’ll be getting the most value for your money. 

It also has a very nice price tag. So when coupled with the warranty, it’s a good deal. What’s best is that it only takes one coat, so it’s economical too.

Features

  • Redwood stain color
  • Semi-transparent
  • 100 % acrylic
  • 5-year application warranty

Pros

  • Mold and mildew resistant 
  • Provides UV and moisture protection for your fence
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable price
  • Great warranty

Cons

  • The 5-year application warranty may require a lot of prep work

Why you should buy this fence stain

It’s affordable and quite economical too. You only need just one coat for good coverage. 

5. Cabot Australian Timber Oil Stain – Best for Exterior Application

Derived from a combination of oil, this can liven up your patio fence.

The Cabot timber oil again is made from tung oil, long oil, and linseed oil. This concoction can enhance the look of your fence, patio, and railings. 

And if you’re looking for a saint with superior UV protection, this is it. It’s mainly made for exterior application. So it can give your wooden fence a protective sun barrier 3-4 times better than other brands,

It’s also ideal for stubborn hardwood floors as it can penetrate wood rather well. A single coat of this oil can freshen up your fence.

Features

  • Comes in 5 wood-tones
  • Exterior stan
  • Oil-based

Pros

  • Great coverage
  • Also suitable for use as decking stains
  • Superior protection against the sun
  • Natural finish

Cons

  • Since it’s oil-based, it’s not for interior application

Why you should buy this wood stain

This oil-based fence stain can brighten up your fence. It can also provide better UV protection.

6. PPG Proluxe- Best for Red Cedar Fence

This clear wood stain can enhance the beauty of your cedar fence.

Cedar fences are lovely on their own. You don’t even need a solid stain to make it attractive. But with wear and tear, it needs to be brightened up a bit. And a clear stain is perfect for this type of wooden fence. It can brighten up the fence without covering its natural beauty.

The wood grain finish of your fence will still shine through. But your fence will look brand new. It also gives the wood protection from the elements. 

Features

  • Clear
  • Semi-gloss

Pros

  • Brightens up your tired fence
  • Protect from the elements
  • Natural finish

Cons

  • Have some smell on the first application

Why you should buy this fence stain

It’s a transparent fence stain that can brighten up your cedar wood fence without covering its beauty. 

7. Eco-Safe- Best Eco Friendly

This fence stain has the lowest VCO on our list. Hence, it’s safe for pets and kids.

With fewer fumes and VOC, this fence stain is one of the most eco-friendly stain brands on our list. It’s also the safest around kids and pets. In addition, it gives the protection of your fence from molds, mildew, dry and wet rot, and even fungus.

And since it’s non-toxic, it’s suitable for use on fences for your vegetable garden. And despite its nontoxic formulation, all your wood fence needs is just a single coat. 

Features

  • Eco Friendly
  • Silver or brown aged finish
  • Works best with a pump sprayer

Pros

  • Safe for pets and kids
  • Indoor and outdoor application
  • Very low VOC and almost no fumes
  • Economical

Cons

  • It changes the color of your wood. So it’s not for you if you just want to brighten up your fence.

Why you should buy this wood fence stain

It’s non-toxic and safe around kids, animals, and plants.

8. BEHR Premium white base solid – Best for the Old White Fence

This solid white stain is perfect for refurbishing white old wooden fences.

This white stain color can make your old white fences look brand new. It also protects the wood from the elements. Thus, it can enhance the overall curb appeal of your fences. No one will be able to tell that it is several years old already.

Another great feature of this fence stain is that it offers 25 years of fence application warranty. That’s the most generous warranty any fence stain brand has. It perhaps has the best one. And with such a warranty, you can be sure that this wood fence stain can last for years.

Features

  • Stan and sealer
  • Acrylic-based 
  • Solid white color
  • 25-year application warranty

Pros

  • Easier to clean
  • Long-lasting
  • Enhance the look of old wood fence

Cons

  • Comes in solid white color only

Why you should buy this fence stain

If you need to refurbish your old white wooden fence, this is one of the best stain brands on the market. 

9. Flood- Best for Pressure-Treated Wood

This oil-based fence stain can penetrate pressure treated wood well.

The problem with treated wood is that it’s hard to penetrate. A regular stain won’t cut it. This type of wood is also prone to chemical leaching So you need a wood stain that’s up to the job

Flood is an oil-based stain that’s specifically designed for such wood. It has trans oxide pigments that help the stain to penetrate the treated wood. Also, it gives the wood protection from UV rays and mildew too. 

It’s best applied with a wide brush or a sprayer. And even though it’s oil-based, this stain is one of its kind. It’s easy to clean. You only need water and soap to remove the stain from your hands. 

Features

  • Semi-transparent
  • Infused with zinc oxide
  • Acrylic oil-based

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Gives protection from the elements and mildew
  • Long-lasting

Cons

  •  Some customers experience a problem in the consistency of the color

Why you should buy this fence stain

It can give your pressure-treated wood a rich and nice finish.

10. Ready Seal- Best Goof Proof

It’s a long-lasting and durable stain that takes 14 days for it to achieve its true color. 

Like most brands, it does not readily show off its true colors. Most brands need some time to cure, so to speak. it can improve your fence color and appearance.

Make sure not to use this stain over a newly stained fence. It won’t be able to penetrate sealed surfaces. 

Features

  • Stain and sealer
  • Comes in 8 color options
  • Meets VOC level
  • Biodegradable when comes into contact with soil

Pros

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Protects wood against UV rays and moisture
  • No need for wet line application
  • Even stain

Cons

  • Might need two coats on a surface

Why you should buy this fence stain

It’s a goof-proof stain that can highlight the grain of the wood.  

How to Choose the Best Fence Stain (A Buying Guide)

Before heading to the store, keep this in mind when buying a fence stain for your project. 

1. Wood types

Softwood

Softwoods can absorb liquid better since they also have large pores. That’s why you have to use oil-based softwoods such as cedar and pine. Using water-based ones can make the wood blotchy.

Hardwood

Hardwoods such as oak and ash have smaller pores and will best benefit from water-based. However, there are more stubborn hardwoods such as birch and ma[ple. There are brands on our list that can penetrate hardwood easier. And most of them are water-based too.

Other woods

There are other types of wood that don’t need staining. Cherry, mahogany, and walnut have very minute pores. This makes it very difficult for the stain pigments to penetrate the wood. Thus, they’re better off left alone. Also, you don’t need to do much since these woods have an inherent ability to deter moisture.

2. Change stain color or brighten up an old fence?

Some of the best stain brands can change the color of your existing fence. So you can choose from a variety of stain colors. But if you just want to spruce up an old fence, a transparent stain will do. And you can get away with just a single coating. 

Oil Vs Water-based Stain- Which Is the Best?

Which is better? Well, it depends on what you want to achieve. And there are also several considerations.  

Oil-based

Oil-based work on both hardwood and softwoods. They penetrate the wood pores better. Thus, they can give better protection from the UV rays. But, their mold and mildew protection is inferior compared to water-based ones.

Also, do consider that this type of stain takes more time to dry on the surface. Even if it takes a while to dry, it can result in a brighter finish. But also consider that some brands may leave a hint of chemical smell. 

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Water-Based

These are best for hardwoods. It’s not advisable to use this type of stain on softwoods since they have more water. This can make the wood look blotchy.

Several advantages, however, is that it’s easy to clean. If you cause splatter or have stains on your hands, it’s easy to wash it off. This type of stain also takes quicker to dry. But since it cannot penetrate deep into the wood, it can result in an uneven finish. Another cons is they offer less UV protection compared to oil-based ones. But they can protect your fence better from molds than oil-based stains.

Advantages of Fence and Deck Stains

Why stain your fence? Here are several reasons why.

  • It can improve the appearance of your fence and add curb appeal. Moreover, you can also use stains to change the color of your wooden deck. 
  • It can extend the life of your fence. 

Stains offer more protection from the elements, mold, mildew, and harmful UV rays.

  • You can change the overall look of your fence or deck without the need to repaint it.
How Do Wood Stains Get Their Color
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How Do Wood Stains Get Their Color?

Stains come in a variety of colors. And some have different levels of opacity too. So what makes up a stain color?

Like paint, they get their color from pigments. These are finely ground colorants added to the mixture. These can be either natural like iron oxide. But some pigments are man-made.

But not all pigments are the same. There are cheap pigments and automotive grade pigments. Cheap pigments do not last long. So if you want your fence stain to stay vibrant for longer, choose brands that have automotive-grade pigments

The best fence stains on our list have automotive grade pigments. Moreover, this can result in a more even finish and offers more UV protection. 

What’s the Difference Between Wood Stain and Paint?

 The paint just coats the top surface. A fence stain, on the other hand, penetrates deep into the wood. 

There are several reasons why most homeowners prefer staining their wooden fence rather than repainting them

  1. Paint is more expensive than stains.
  2. It’s easier to apply stains since they are thinner. Paint always needs a primer before applying it to the surface. You can apply stains directly.
  3. It’s easier to recoat stains than paint. You have to chip off the paint first. Stains, on the other hand, naturally wears off.
  4. The beauty of stains mostly lies in the quality of the wood.
  5. Paint comes in an array of sheen while stains are mostly flat.
  6. You might need to apply additional layers of stain over a highly absorbent material. 

FAQs:

Can stains be used as deck stains? 

Yes. you can use the best fence stain on fences, decks, patio, and even furniture.

Is it better to stain or seal a fence?

A stain and a seal have different functions. A seal can protect your fence from molds, mildew, and moisture. While a fence stain can change the color of your fence or brighten it up. Stains also offer UV protection for your fence. So it’s better to seal a fence then stain it. Luckily, the best fence stains on our list serve as stains and sealants, so you don’t have to buy two separate products. 

Which is the best fence stain- oil or water based?

It depends on the wood type. Acrylic oil based stains are the best choice for softwoods while water based ones are a great choice for hardwoods. 

Why are semi transparent stains better?

Unlike solid stains, semi transparent stains allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine through. 

The best fence stain can make your fence or deck look brand new. A fence stain is an inexpensive way to spruce up a tired fence. And choosing a suitable stain can make your project a successful one.