Top 9 Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding Reviewed

Cedarwood sidings look great, their color makes the exterior of the house look very pretty. However, cedarwood can lose its beauty with time if not cared for properly. Daily sunlight, rain, dust can damage the wood badly and if you don’t want to let the beauty fade away, you got to something to protect that.

And what is that? Stain!

Stain can enhance the overall look of the wood and it protects the wood from water, sunlight, and dust. Not any stain, in order to get the best result, you will have to look for the best exterior stain for cedar siding.

It is hard nowadays to find the best exterior wood stain since there are hundreds of different models. But don’t worry, that is exactly why we are here.

In this very guide, we are going to walk you through some of the top-notch exterior stains of the market that works best with cedarwood. So without further delay, let’s dive into the reviews.

Our 5 Favorite Screws For MDF

[amazon bestseller=”Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding” items=”5″ template=”table”]

Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding Reviews

1. Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain

[amazon fields=”B00MDVLOBS” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

Have a look at the best-selling exterior stain of the market the KILZ L832211 exterior stain DEFY Extreme wood stain Ready Seal 512 5 exterior stain. It is a stain and at the same time, it is a sealer as well which is a money saver. Plus, it is priced very reasonably.

It is an oil-based exterior stain and it is transparent so the original beauty of cedar wood will be shown. The best thing about this stain is, it improved the color of the wood. This is something that everyone wants and this stain comes in more than 5 classy colors, that allows you to choose according to your siding color.

It is a 2 in 1 formula exterior stain that will provide the wood protection from mildew, UV rays, and moisture. Since the manufacturer has designed this stain for the exterior, it can withstand weather abuse very easily.

When applying this one, you won’t need any primer. After you apply, the color will be darky but don’t worry, with time it will reach its true color. To reach the final color it might take around 14-days. Another thing you need to know, this stain dries very slow. It can take around 2-days to get dried completely.

You can apply this stain with a roller, or sprayer, or brush, and no back brushing is required. There won’t be any streaks, runs, or lap. Unlike some, there isn’t any temperature range, can be applied at any temperature properly. And for re-application, you won’t need to do any kind of sanding or stripping.

Overall, we think this one is a pretty great exterior wood stain. Though the dry time is a little long but it is worth waiting for since it provides good protection to the wood.

The Pros

  • Super easy to apply.
  • Can be applied under any temperature range.
  • It is a sealer as well and doesn’t require any primer.
  • Comes in 5 cedarwood colors.
  • It is a transparent and enhanced wood color.
  • The manufacturer has priced it reasonably.
  • Protects wood from UV rays, mildew, and moisture.

The Cons

  • It takes 14 days to reach the actual color.
  • Takes 2 days to get dried properly.

[amazon fields=”B00MDVLOBS” value=”button”]


[amazon fields=”B00IKVLXYI” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

Thompson isn’t a very old brand but that didn’t reflect on this Thompsons TH 041851-16 stain. It is one of those high-quality exterior wood stains that lives up to the user’s expectations. It is a 2 in 1 formula, apart from the stain, this is a sealer as well. And comes in 5 different colors, each color looks good and users can choose the color according to the old wood.

This stain exceeds the ASTM D-4446 industry standard. It protects the wood from Sunlight and water. Heavy rain or heavy sunlight heat won’t be able to damage the wood as long as that is stained with this stain. Not only that, this stain makes the wood mildew or mold-resistant as well.

However, it isn’t a transparent stain, so do not expect that. That being said, wood grain might be shown a little bit but do not expect that. Some might see it as a downside but we don’t think so.

As we have mentioned before, it comes in 5 different colors. Acorn Brown, Woodland cedar, Maple brown, Harvest gold, and Sequoia red. Each of these colors looks extremely good, so we don’t think transparency should matter majorly.

This stain is made of advanced polymers and the color this stain delivers is fade-resistant, unlike most. Let’s come to the applying process. Before you apply this stain, you will have to clean the wood surface. The surface needs to be completely cleaned and dried, otherwise staining wouldn’t be effective.

Compared to other exterior stains, this one dries pretty faster. After applying you will see a dark color but don’t be afraid, that isn’t permanent, within 10 to 14-days it will reach its true color.

The Pros

  • Comes in 5 classy colors.
  • Effortless applications.
  • Can be sprayed or brushed.
  • The color is fade-resistant.
  • It is a sealer as well.
  • Protects wood from UV rays and water.
  • Makes the wood mold or mildew-resistant.

The Con

  • The surface needs preparation before you apply this stain.

[amazon fields=”B00IKVLXYI” value=”button”]

3. DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

[amazon fields=”B0061OIK4M” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

Presenting another best-selling exterior wood stain of the market right now, the KILZ L832211 exterior stain DEFY Extreme wood stain. It is a very popular wood stain and there are several reasons behind that, we will take you to all of them one by one.

It is a water-based wood stain and is extremely environment-friendly. If you will be using this stain on cedarwood, that is going to look incredible since it is semi-transparent. The best part of transparent and semi-transparent wood stains is, the wood grains can be seen and it looks excellent. Plus, this stain improves the wood color as well.

Apart from the sidings, this stain can be used on most outdoor wood pieces such as fences, railings, playsets, decks, furniture, etc. This stain comes with a technology called Zinc NanoParticle technology, it works as a sunscreen for the woods. Because of this technology the stain can prevent UV-ray. And that prevents early graying or color fading.

It is a very long-lasting stain if applied properly. The manufacturer has used top-quality resin in the construction that makes it fade-resistant and durable. If you need to do recoating, this stain wouldn’t require you to sand the first coat, just apply it.

You will find 7-colors in this stain and every color is eye-catchy. And it can be applied with a brush, sprayer, and roller. Lastly, the color will be dark at the beginning but with time it will reach its true color.

The Pros

  • Very high-quality stain for cedarwood.
  • Improves the wood color.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Protects from UV-ray and water.
  • Comes in 7 nice colors.
  • The color it offers is fade-resistant.

The Con

  • According to a few users, this stain doesn’t last long.

[amazon fields=”B0061OIK4M” value=”button”]

4. Olympic Stain 79551 Maximum Wood Stain

[amazon fields=”B07BTLLS6Z” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

It is a 2 in 1 formula exterior stain that is ready to get on work right out of the box. It doesn’t require preparing the wood before using it, just open the can and apply it to the wood. And as we said this is a 2 in 1 formula, it is a stain and a sealer as well. You can spray it, or brush, or roll. But for the best result we would recommend you to use the paint roller, it stains every area evenly.

This stain comes with good waterproofing properties since it comes with a sealer as well, which will prevent water to get inside. Not only water, with this stain the wood will get protection from UV rays as well which causes the most damage to wood.

Applying this stain is pretty easy and it dries pretty fast as well compared to some stains of the market. And unlike some, there isn’t any temperature range for applying this stain, you can do it in any weather. On fences and sidings, this stain can last more than 8-years. And on decks, it will last over 6-years.

However, there is something you need to know, if you are looking for a clear coat, then this wood stain wouldn’t be the right for you, because it doesn’t give a clear coat. You will get a dark honey color.

The Pros

  • Very easy to apply.
  • Doesn’t require wood preparation before applying.
  • It is a sealer as well.
  • Water and UV ray-resistant stain.
  • Dries quickly.

The Con

  • Doesn’t give a clear coat.

[amazon fields=”B07BTLLS6Z” value=”button”]

5. KILZ L832211 Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain

[amazon fields=”B01M2CAG2F” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

For long-lasting wood protection having a top­-notch stain is a must and this KILZ L832211 exterior stain is something like that. It is highly waterproof, mildew or mold-resistant, and also protects the wood from UV rays thanks to the 100 Acrylic formula. It has everything that an ideal exterior wood should come with.

It is a semi-transparent stain and after applying it enhances the wood color, in other words, it makes the wood look very good. Not only sidings, but this stain can also be used on railings, siding, furniture, decks, shingles, shakes, and fences as well. According to the manufacturer, this stain can last for over 3-years on decks and on fences and sidings, it lasts more than 5-years.

Not only the manufacturer but some users are also saying that this stain offers very long-lasting protection. Applying is very easy, you use anything like brush, sprayer, roller, etc. After applying you will need to wait for 24-hours so that it can dry properly.

Before you apply make sure to clean the wood surface properly so that the stain will sit properly. Though some users said, this strain didn’t require them to clean or sand the wood surface before applying. But still, we would suggest cleaning and dry the area and then applying the stain, you will get the best result.

It is a 1-gallon stain and with this, you can cover around 250 square feet area if you are doing the first coating. And for the second coating, it can cover up to 500 square feet since the second coating doesn’t require thickness.

KILZ isn’t a new brand, they have been in the market for more than 39-years and they are well-known for their premium-quality products like paint, primer, stain, etc. So we don’t think you would regret getting this stain.

The Pros

  • Protects wood from UV rays, water, and mildew.
  • Very easy to apply.
  • Delivers long-lasting protection.
  • It is semi-transparent.
  • Enhances the color of the wood.

The Con

  • Requires surface prep before application for the best result.

[amazon fields=”B01M2CAG2F” value=”button”]

6. Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain

[amazon fields=”B0719RBZRD” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

The Wood Defender Transparent Fence stain is made of Ultra-fine Trans Oxide Pigments that is specialized in highlighting the wood grain. In other words, this stain makes the wood look amazing. The trans oxide pigments in this stain are very well-ground and offer incredible protection from the UV-rays.

Not only UV-resistant, but this very stain is also resistant to Mold, mildew as well. Plus, the color if gives will not fade soon like most stains, it will easily last more than years. Like most stains, this one also can be applied using spray, brush, or roller.

The applying process is very easy but this stain comes with a hard odor so if you are sensitive to odor, then make sure you wear the proper mask when applying it. It is a very long-lasting stain, should last on fence and siding for over 2-3 years easily.

5 gallons of this stain will cover around 625 square feet. However, before applying this stain you will have to make sure that the wood is cleaned properly. That needs to be properly dried as well. This stain wouldn’t seat well on dirty and wet woods, as result, they wear off very soon.

The Pros

  • Very long-lasting wood stain.
  • UV rays and Mildew-resistant.
  • The color is fade-resistant.
  • Very easy to apply.
  • Can be applied by spray, or roller.

The con

  • Comes with a strong odor.

[amazon fields=”B0719RBZRD” value=”button”]

7. Cabot 140.0019202.007 Wood Toned Deck & Siding Stain

[amazon fields=”B007MDBHLY” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

This Cabot wood stain is formulated with a mixture of resin and oil, this mixture makes this stain give an incredible finish to bare wood. Some wood grains look very beautiful, this stain will enhance the wood color which will make the wood grains look way too beautiful, in other words, very eye-catchy.

It comes in 5 different color tones so that can choose according to your need. The colors are not going to face away soon, it will last more than years if applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. This stain gives incredible protection from the water, doesn’t let water get inside the wood regardless of how bad the weather is. Moreover, this strain delivers decent protection from the UV ray as well.

Once you apply this stain on the wood, it will become mildew-resistant. You can use anything to apply this stain, it could a brush, roller, or spray. Applying is very easy as other stains on this list.

If we talk about the coverage, this stain gives good coverage. How bigger the area a stain will be able to cover depends half on the porosity of the wood surface. However, if the surface is very smooth, one gallon of this stain should cover around 250 – 350 square feet. It can be used on sidings, fences, roofs, shakes, shingles, and trim.

The Pros

  • Improves the wood appearance.
  • Protects wood from water.
  • Very easy to apply.
  • Comes in 5 different colors.
  • It is mildew-resistant.

The Con

  • This stain is a little expensive.

[amazon fields=”B007MDBHLY” value=”button”]

8. PPG ProLuxe Log and Siding Wood Finish

[amazon fields=”B007QDUE14″ value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

This is a fully transparent wood stain, if you want the wood grains to be shown clearly then go forward with this PPG ProLuxe Log and siding wood finish. It is a translucent exterior stain that makes the wood grain look even better, makes wood looks very premium thanks to the two-coat satin finish. Not only that, it offers great protection to the wood in the long run.

With this stain the wood will be completely protected from weathering, whether it is UV rays or water, nothing would be able to penetrate inside the wood. It can be used in sidings, fences, garage doors, cedar, pine, fir, trim, and logs. With one gallon of this stain, you will be able to cover around 350 to 450 square feet area.

The Pros

  • Easy to apply.
  • Makes wood look premium.
  • Protects from UV rays and water.
  • Transparent stain.
  • One gallon covers 450 square feet.

The Con

  • It dries very slow.

[amazon fields=”B007QDUE14″ value=”button”]

9. Sikkens Proluxe Log & Siding Stain

[amazon fields=”B007QDWEYE” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]

And finally, we are at our last wood stain and that is also from the Sikkens. Here we have the Sikkens ProLuxe Log and siding stain, as the name suggests, this stain was designed mainly for Log and sidings. It gives the wood very rich and saturated vibrant colors, the color looks very eye-catchy. If you are one of them to whom appearance matters a lot, then here is your thing.

It delivers two coats of a satin finish that looks just great. Not only look at what this stain offers, once applied properly, but this stain also comes in one of the most durable and long-lasting stains. Provides decent protection from the water and UV-ray. That being said, if it is raining heavily then this stain might not be able to prevent water from going inside the wood.

Let’s talk about the coverage now, When the wood surface is very smooth with one gallon of this stain you will be able to cover 300 to 400 square feet easily. And when the wood surface isn’t smooth, it can cover around 150-225 square feet.

The Pros

  • Gives good coverage.
  • Long-lasting stain.
  • Easy to apply.
  • Offers a rich premium look.
  • Decent protection from UV-ray and water.

The Con

  • Cannot protect the wood from heavy rain.

Also Read more on Best Clean Cedar Finish for Outdoors

[amazon fields=”B007QDWEYE” value=”button”]

How Do You Stain Exterior Cedar Siding?

Staining exterior cedar siding is very easy, you just have to keep a few things in mind and you are all set to go. Have a look below we have shown the exact process.

Protect the Surrounding 

When staining, it is very common that stain spatters are all over the place. And if you want to save the other area from the stain spatter the very first thing you will need to do is cover the area with a drop cloth. So the stain spatters would be on the cloth.

Then you would want to stick blue painter’s tape on the areas that you are not going to stain, the tapes are basically for reminding you.

Wherever you are staining, if that has outlet covers or switch plates, it would be best if you remove them and then stain them. You will get a good finish in that way.

Choose The Right Place

Weather can affect the wood staining and painting process badly. Rain, heat, sun, humid conditions play a major role. In other words, the weather under which you are staining or painting, that will determine how long the stain and paint going to last.

If you are applying a stain under direct sunlight, there is a high chance that the stain will flake. When there is too must humidity that will catch too much moisture and won’t let stain or paint sit better. So these kinds of things matter a lot.

However, when you are planning to stain or paint, choose a place that is shady, not exposed to direct sunlight. Because sunlight will heat the wood surface and the stain will get dry too soon not being able to penetrate inside the wood. The early morning we think is the best time for staining or painting since the sun doesn’t heat much at that time.

Use A Good Quality Brush 

It is not that you can’t use a sprayer or roller to apply the stain but a brush is more effective. When you move the brush back and forth that helps stain to penetrate inside the wood fiber which will result in better looking long-lasting coating.

Brushes are made with natural bristles or acrylic and they cover a larger area at once. However, when choosing a brush, pick a natural brush if you will use an oil-based stain. And for others use acrylic bristle brushes. Use an angled trim brush if you need more control when staining the edge.

Leave it for 24 hours or so

Some stain dries faster and slower. For exterior wood projects, it is suggested to choose oil-based stain since they are very lasting. Though they take a long time to dry but still it is worth waiting for. Anyways, after you are done with the staining, leave that to dry completely for 1-day or so.

How to Choose the Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding?

Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding

To be honest, there isn’t much to consider when you are buying an exterior wood stain. These are a few things that you need to understand and only then you can end up choosing the right stain for the job. There are different types of wood stain which work differently such as oil-based stain, water-based stain, gel, and varnish stain.

Stains make the wood look good, in other words, it improves the color of the wood. Apart from them, stain also protects wood from UV rays and Water. The complex thing is, it is hard to find a stain the will offer both. Some stains are good at improving the color and some are best at protecting the wood.

In order to clean the confusion and give you a better understanding of each type of stain, we have created this buying guide where you can rely on it. So let’s get started!

Oil-based Wood Stain

This type of stain dries very slow which is one reason why some people don’t like using this. But the best part of this stain is, once it gets dried properly, it survives for really long. Apart from that oil-based stain penetrates deeper in the wood and improves the color of the wood grain. For exterior woods, an oil-based stain is the most suitable one due to its long-lasting coverage.

Water-based Stain

Water-based Stain

Water-based stains are for indoor applications, this stain comes with little VOCs and doesn’t have much odor. Compared to oil-based stains, water-based stain dries way too faster but if we talk about the life span, the water-based stains aren’t as long-lasting as an oil-based stains. That being said, cleaning and applying a water-based stain is extremely easy.

Varnish Stain 

The way this stain is developed can be used in the interior and exterior as well. However, it is better suited to the exterior. Varnish stain is not only a stain, it is a sealer as well. A 2 in 1 formula, in other words, varnish stains is a money saver. This stain is made of pigments, resins, solvents, and oils. The mixture of all these ingredients dyes the wood and at the same, they harden the coating.

Since varnish stain comes with solvent, it has high VOCs so make sure to use this stain in an area that is highly ventilated. This can be applied using brush, spray, or roller. For interior wood projects, it is suggested to use a brush. And for exterior projects spraying would be okay because spraying sometimes causes tiny bubbles and in exterior big sidings or fences, the bubbles won’t be noticeable.

However, when applying ensure you coat the surface uniformly and carefully in order to prevent discrepancies. And for cleaning up this stain you will be needing solvents like turpentine.

Gel Stain

Compared to oil-based and water-based stains gel stain is less messy. Like those, gel stains wouldn’t drip or splatter easily. It is made using whipping oil, pigment, solvents, and all these together create a thick smooth consistency that wouldn’t separate easily. When using a gel-based stain you will have to use a well-ventilated area since it also comes with high VOCs. Plus, the temperature needs to be between 50 to 80-degree Fahrenheit. For cleanups use mineral spirit or turpentine.

Check for Temperature Recommendation

Some stains do better at different temperatures. Whenever you are picking a stain check the gallon or can, there should be a temperature range under which you should apply the stain for the best result. However, some stain doesn’t need any specific temperature range. If the can or gallon don’t have the temperature range, then it would be wise to ask through customer service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Sealer For Cedar Siding? 

Well, there are a bunch of exterior sealers that work great with cedar sidings, and naming only one would be hard for us. But still, we would give a few names that would be ideal and you can go with them undoubtedly. Here are they,

  • KILZ L832211 exterior stain
  • DEFY Extreme wood stain
  • Ready Seal 512 5 exterior stain

Does Cedar Siding Need To Be Stained?

Yes, they do! Sidings are always exposed to direct sunlight and rain, and these can damage any wood, some get damaged faster and some slower. By staining then you can ensure a longer life span of the wood. The stain coating protects the wood from the UV ray and also from water. Some make the wood mildew-resistant as well. All of these together increase the wood’s durability.

Should You Paint Or Stain Cedar Siding? 

The paint will make the wood look good but the stain will improve the natural wood grain color which looks extremely classy. Along with that, the stain will protect the wood from UV rays, water, and mildew, in other words, the stain will increase the life span of the wood. So we think you should go with the stain.


If you are looking for the best exterior stain for cedar siding, you can pick any of these 9 wood stains. A lot of users have used these and so far most of them are pretty satisfied with the performance.

Leave a Comment