Best Oil Based Deck Stains

The 7 Best Oil Based Deck Stains Reviews with Buying Guides

As a homeowner, you want to retain your deck clean and new all through the year. Over time, your favorite decks have lost their aesthetic looks due to rain, direct sunlight, foot traffic, UV rays, mildew, and other outdoor hazards.

With regular maintenance, giving new coats to the deck can prolong their life largely. Out of many types of deck stain, the oil-based deck stains are a handy option that can penetrate the wood more deeply than other stains hence your home appearance increases a lot.
Today, we will introduce you with 7 best oil based deck stains that work smartly against any harsh weather and retain your decks’ shining looks years after years. Let’s explore the reviews with their in-depth buying outlines!

Best 7 Oil Based Deck Stains

For your easy findings, we’ve reviewed here 7 top oil-based deck stains. Just go into the details and pick that one which suits your requirements!

Cabot Australian Timber Oil Based Stain

Begin with the first pick of our list that is Cabot Australian Timber Oil. Cabot is a well-known and industry-leading brand for wood care. This stain gives a good coating to protect woods from harsh weather. Let’s see several important features of this oil stain. This oil stain is originally formulated from a unique blend of oils that serve different purposes. It has superb linseed oils that allow maximum penetration. These resin-rich woods bring out the natural wood depth.

Cabot Timber Oil also contains long-oil alkyds that ensure fast dry time and maximum longevity. Additionally, the pure South American tung oil enhances water repellency and color depth.

Besides, it comprises complex translucent iron oxide pigments that protect the wood surface from fading out and gives more than 3 to 4 times UV protection. Another great feature is that it dries to a flat and provides a translucent-style finish.

Cabot oil-based stain can be applied to decks, railings, siding, and other outdoor furniture. This will allow you to choose the right color according to your need.

Special Features
  • Ensures deep-penetration to wood grain
  • Allows 3-ways oil protection
  • Lasts long and easy to use
  • Maximize water repellency and color depth
  • Provides extreme UV protection
  • Retain up to 1-2 years

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Ready Seal 512 Natural Cedar 5-Gallon Stain and Sealer

Our second choice is the Ready Seal Natural Cedar Wood Stain and Sealer. It is a great semi-transparent oil-based stain that can penetrate wood deeply and gives the natural looks. Indeed, this works simultaneously as a stain and sealer.

When you apply this, the wood will be darkest first but it reaches its original color within 14 days. By using a brush, roller, or sprayer you can easily apply this to the wood surface. Moreover, no primer or dilution is needed to complete the staining process.

This top-rated oil-based deck stain allows it to use it on a large range of temperatures. No matter where you live either in a cold or high-temperature region. Besides, it won’t leave any laps, runs, or streaks.

This can be applied to decks, fences, patio covers, log homes, and other exterior wood surfaces. The Ready Seal Stain is available in different colors and allows easy application. You needn’t worry about VOC, this oil-based stain maintains VOC level.

Special Features
  • Penetrates woods deeply
  • No primer is necessary
  • Don’t leave any runs, laps, or streaks
  • Works for a wide temperature range
  • Best oil-based deck stain and sealer
  • Follow VOC standard level

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Varathane 269394 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain

If you need a decent and pocket-friendly product then Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain will be the great one. This is available in approximately 26 trending colors. It is a super-fast dry oil-based wood stain that dries within an hour that is more than 3 times faster than other stains.

Varathane Polyurethane top-coat is a convenient choice for long term wood protection and durability. The 1-Quart covers more than 275 square feet. This contains nano pigment particles that penetrate deeply to everywhere of the wood surfaces and seals all wood pores nicely.

While using it, you don’t need any wood conditioner. This is ideal for use for almost all interior wood projects including cabinets, doors, furniture, trim, and paneling. One-coat of Varathane oil-based formula wood stain will give a premium color to the wood project. You can apply this stain with a brush or any lint-free cloth.

Special Features
  • Polyurethane stain ensures durability
  • Fast dry oil-based stain
  • One-coat creates the perfect color
  • Covers 75% bonus area than usual stains
  • Ideal for interior wood projects

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General Finishes Liquid Oil Based Wood Stain

There is no need of replacing your outdated deck when you own the General Finishes Wood Stain. It is a top-coat liquid oil-based wood stain that performs greatly for raw wood surfaces. This is designed from top-notch oils, resins, and wonderful pigments. It is a good stain for interior wood products.

The liquid oil penetrates the wood grain and ensures reaching everywhere on the surfaces evenly. This top-coat staining is easier to apply than other available stains. Just a brush and clean rag will coat the surface and turn wood as a new one.

It gives a flat finish to the surface that can soak all the directed light and makes the surface non-reflective. This oil stain resists streaking and blotching that creates beautiful and bright surfaces. It needs 8 hours to dry this stain.

General Finishes stains come with varieties of color options. You can also choose from them according to your need from Half-Pint or Quart.
Highlighted Features:

Special Features
  • Clean up with the mineral spirit
  • Prevents streaking and blotching
  • Greatly works for raw wood surfaces
  • Recommended for interior use
  • Provides flat finish

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Superdeck DPI-1901-4 Transparent Oil Stain

Back to back come with another heavy penetration oil system deck stain Superdeck Transparent Stain. This transparent wood stain ensures warm glow and full proof grain clarity. One coat of application makes great looks to wood.

The Superdeck DPI-1901-4 is a three-oil system stain that contains tung oil that provides deep penetration of the woods for long. This Linseed and Tung Oils of the stain can repel any kind of mold, fungus, and water.

In the same way, transparent oxide pigments resist UV rays coming from the sun for a long time. So, your outdoor woods will retain wood projects for years.

This is an excellent choice for exterior wood coatings such as decks, siding, shingle shakes, hot tub skirting, fences, outdoor furniture, and much more. It seems Superdeck is a little bit expensive but the quality is worth the expense. This also maintains 250 VOCs according to the EPA.

Special Features
  • Three oil system ensures maximum grain clarity
  • Transparent oils highlight wood grains
  • Resists mold, mildew, water, and UV rays
  • Ideal for exterior wood projects
  • One coat application retains woods for years

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Old Masters 13016 Oil Based Wiping Stain

Our next favorite pick is the Old Masters 1306 Wiping Stain. This stain is a rich, and thick that ensures superior color. This is a great choice for wood graining over prior stained surfaces. It also maintains an antique glaze of the surfaces for a long time.

Old Masters Oil-based stain permits half an hour of open time. If you are looking for an interior as well as exterior usable stain then this will be a convenient choice. Keep in mind, while using the exterior wood projects, use a top coating with a protective finish.

The top oil-based stain gives even staining and does not create an unusual mark on softwood or other hard surfaces. Its spreading rate is huge considering other regular oil-based stains.

American Walnut is easy to apply and allows for use for all types of wood products. The stain can be applied to wood, metal, fiberglass, and composite surfaces.

Special Features
  • Great stain for using over painted surfaces
  • Perfect for interior and exterior woods
  • Capable of staining metal, wood, fiberglass projects
  • Does not make a spot-on softwood or hardwood
  • Ensures deep and superb color

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Storm Protector Semi-Transparent Sealer & Stain

We will wrap up our reviews with the 7th position deck oil stain that is Storm Protector Sealer and Stain. It is a perfect semi-transparent oil-based deck stain that improves woods’ natural wood grain.

Whether the weather is rainy, windy, or sunny, this stain keeps your wood projects from all adverse conditions. Storm Protector supplies almost all types of wood species compatible colors.

You can easily apply this stain using a brush, spray, or roller. It gives a lap-free application. It enters deep into the timbers and adds shield against all adverse weather and UV rays. It dries within 24 hours.

This is a perfect stain and sealer that gives maximum protection to the decks, siding, fences, and other outdoor wood projects for long. You can stain around 125 to 175 sq feet smooth surfaces by its one gallon. Moreover, it maintains the EPA AIM, CARB, Canada AIM, and other VOC compliance.

Special Features
  • Works simultaneously as sealer and stain
  • A convenient choice for expensive woods
  • Adds maximum protection to woods
  • Ensures lap-free application
  • Follows VOC compliance

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Is It Better to Stain or Seal A Deck?

The main function of the sealer is to prevent growing moisture and wood rot in wood surfaces. The sealer is transparent and works nicely for making the wood surface waterproof. But it has limited UV ray’s protection, that’s why the deck’s color lasts 3 to 6 months only. You needn’t be an expert to apply sealers.
Unlike sealers, stains work against moisture. Moreover, stains create thicker coating than sealers that ensure maximum protection against weather and UV rays. It also sustains more than 5 to 6 times than sealers.

If you are looking for a cheap wood glaze then a sealer is the right option. On the other hand, the stain is more expensive than the sealer. Stains and sealers both contain pigments and create a wonderful wood surface. Normally, all deck stains work as sealers but all sealers are not the stains.

Is Oil Based Deck Stain Better Than Water Based?

Oil-based stains can protect most of the woods for decades. They include both natural and synthetic oils. The ingredients of oil-based deck stains make them easier to apply than water type. It also penetrates wood deeply and gives back the natural grain.
On the other hand, the recently developed water-based technology is getting popularity due to its top performance. Even it works better in wood graining than the oil type in a few cases. This provides a solid color and contains fewer VOCs that make it environmentally friendly. You can apply water formula stain quickly as they are not as sticky as the oil stain.

Both deck stain types prevent the wood surface from weather and UV deterioration and provide a long-lasting finish. Oil-based stains need less effort than water-based stains but they do not last long as the water stain. So, it’s up to you, which one you choose between them.
However, if the wood projects go directly exposed to sunlight, rain, wind, or other harsh weather then the oil-based stain will be the best choice.

How Long Does Oil-Based Deck Stain Last?

Typically, the good quality oil-based deck stains last up to 5 years. For instance, a semi-transparent oil-based stain can retain your deck’s appearance for 3 to 5 years. Deck stains have to fight against sunlight, rain, and many more environmental factors.

If you apply deck oil in an area where there is a lot of rain, you will see the deck stain is going to decay within 2 to 3 years. When intending to stain your decks, don’t forget to call a pro to apply oil stain to the decks. The professional applying largely enhances both deck and stain life expectancy.
Factors Need to Consider While Choosing the Best Oil Based Deck Stain

Before getting the oil-based deck stain, it’s important to know the main buying factors regarding this. This is not a hard task but you need to consider the points below.


Oil-based deck stains may come with either non-drying or drying type. Drying oils are referred to as curing oils sometimes and they dry on the top or just below the surface. The non-drying oils never dry actually but they provide deep conditioning to the wood.

You need to consider between transparent or semi-transparent types also. Transparent oils highlight natural color. They don’t contain any pigments hence can’t protect UV rays rightly. But they have water-repelling properties.

Semi-transparent oil stains are good for such decks that were treated with a transparent stain before. They provide greater coloring than transparent type and ensure all types of protection.


Deck stain color selection is a vital thing as it enhances outdoor appearance. You can choose the oil deck stain color matching with the exterior color or wood’s color. Several popular oil formula deck stain colors are mystic white, gray, pine, natural cedar, etc. Many popular oil-based decks stains offer plenty of color options.

Volatile Organic Compounds

All oil-based stains contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are considered extremely hazardous to human health as well as pets. These components might be a reason for short-term and long-term diseases like headaches and severe damage to the kidneys and nervous system.
That’s why you should pick the oil-based wood stain that passes EPA or similar standards VOC level.


It is important to choose that oil-based stain which is particularly designed for the region you are living in. For example, some deck stains work better in the cold area whereas others might be suited for hot zones. So, pick the right one according to your region.

Does Oil-Based Deck Stain Go Bad?

Every deck stain has a shelf life of around 3 years. However, life can be shortened or extended depending upon your way of storing. Unlike other deck stains, oil-based stain also goes bad without adequate preservation.

Most open cans oil-based deck stains remain fine around a year. Alternatively, the unopened cans will retain its properties for 2 to 3 years.
If you want to store oil stain for future use, keep it in the airtight container. Never let the containers at a very high or low temperature. This will prone to go bad the stain soon.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is the Right Time to Apply Oil Based Stain on Deck?

You should apply a stain when both air and wood surface temperatures vary between 10 to 30°C and the optimal temperature is around 20°C. Never, apply stain on the deck when the temperature is too high or low as well as in the little humid weather.

Also, check out the weather forecast and make sure there is no possibility of rain in the next 2 days. The professional painters recommend late spring and early to mid-autumn as the most perfect time for deck staining.

Can I Stain over the Previously Stained Deck?

Well, this depends on the situation. If you are going to restain the deck with a lighter color over a darker color then the answer is no. Generally, we don’t do so, as the bottom color will be visible and makes an ugly look.

But, when the new stain is the same or darker than the existing color, then you can go for retaining the deck without removing the old stain. This method is cost-effective and convenient options to choose from.

What Happens If It Rains on Deck after Applying Oil Based Stain?

If it rains on the freshly applied oil-based deck stain within 24 to 48 hours or less than that water will displace the stain and resulting splotchy surface. The situation gets worse when rains come just after you complete the staining. Heavy rain may damage the finish completely.


Staining extends decks’ life extremely and makes them glazing like new ones. The result will go better when you use the oil types. They can penetrate evenly everywhere on the wood surface and give back decks’ natural beauty. Luckily, they are budget-friendly and available in different colors.
Hopefully, you enjoyed the best oil based deck stain reviews and found the right pick from the list. Now call a pro or stain the deck as a DIYer. Happy deck staining!