How to Choose Cedar Deck Sealer Perfectly

Choosing the right sealer for the deck is pretty easy. Keep a few things in mind and you are good to go. That few things includes different types, ease of use, protection capability, etc. In this very section, we will walk you through a detailed overview of each of those factors so that you pick the right sealer on your own.

So here we go!

How to Choose Cedar Deck Sealer


Well, there are different types of deck sealers and different types serve differently. And that makes having an idea about each type mandatory.

  • Clear Sealer

As the name suggests this sealer is completely clear, which means it comes with no pigment. However, that being said some clear sealers do come with little amount pigment though that doesn’t make much of a difference. The primary purpose of a clear sealer is to protect the wood from all kinds of water. It prevents water from penetrating inside the wood and as a result, doesn’t matter how badly it rains, the deck wood will remain good.

Most homeowners use a clear sealer on the cedar deck and that is due to the appearance of it. Clear sealers are completely transparent, it doesn’t come with any tone. So when applied to the wood, the naturally beautiful wood grains are through the sealer and that looks really amazing.

  • Wood Toner

Wood toner sealers are a little like clear sealer since the wood grains can be shown through it. But unlike clear sealer, the wood toner sealer enhances the wood grain color and makes it look really classy. That being said, when it comes down to the protection, wood toner sealers don’t shine much because they cannot protect the wood as well as clear sealers and others. Though this sealer prevents water from penetrating inside the wood but it prevents the wood from splitting and cracking.

  • Semi-transparent Sealer

If you want little transparency on the deck and at th

e same you want the sealer to add a little bit of color as well, then semi-transparent sealers are the right choice for you. They add their color but do not cover the visibility fully, the natural wood grains will still be shown. They offer decent protection as well from moisture, mildew, UV-ray, and water.

  • Solid Sealing Stain

This is more like a stain and less like a sealer. It works like paint. You should opt for this type when the deck wood has no good color and the wood is damaged. Applying solid stain will change the color, it will be improved. No wood grain would be shown this will change the color of the wood grain.

Plus, this stain is extremely long-lasting compared to other sealers. In some cases, this stain even lasts over 5-years. Along with that, the protection this sealer offers is amazing too.

Ease of Use

Water-based and oil-based sealers are the easiest to apply. However, the ease of applying sealers on the wood depends on the wood surface. If the wood surface isn’t dry then sealer application wouldn’t be appropriate because that will leave a tiny bubble which wouldn’t look good at all. So before you apply any sealer make sure the wood surfaced is dry enough.

And when the surface is smooth, applying an oil-based sealer will very satisfying. Water-based sealers are pretty easy and comfortable to apply.


Sealers come with volatile organic compounds that are harmful to the environment and for humans as well. But water-based sealers don’t come with many VOCs, they have very little chemical solvent and that makes them pretty safe to use.

Clean Up

Cleaning is a concern because the deck always needs to be cleaned. Some sealers make cleaning a little hard and some make it easy. For example, you cannot clean some sealers with soapy water such as oil-based sealers. But when used water-based sealers, it can be clean with soapy water. For an oil-based sealer, you will be needing a paint thinner or any solvent like that to clean it.

Drying Time

Some sealers take 48-hours to dry and some take a few hours. Through fast-drying, sealers are the favorite of everyone but late drying sealers like oil-based sealers are way too protective and long-lasting. Water-based sealers dry within 3-4 hours and offer decent protection as well.


Not all sealers will last for long period. Some sealers wouldn’t be able to withstand harsh weather conditions, so it would be best to stay away from such kinds of sealers. Oil-based sealers are highly protective and extremely durable as well.


Before sealing and staining any wood, that wood needs to be prepared so that stain or sealer will sit better. By preparation we mean, sanding or stripping the wood. But now the manufacturers have produced some sealer and stains which could be applied without any kind of preparation. Those are both money and time savers. If you don’t want to get through the struggle of sanding the wood then get yourself one of those sealers.


We would suggest not compromising the quality because of the price. Good products will come with a good price and that is so obvious. Just to save a few bucks do not go after cheap sealers, in the long run, you will end up spending more bucks.


This is a must for any sealer. Some sealer gives incredible color but they lack the protection ability. Since decks are exposed to different weather, you will have to make sure you choose a sealer that will prevent the water from penetrating inside the wood. There are some polyurethane sealers which protects the wood from snow, mildew, rain, etc.

And there are some sealers that come with properties that can kill mildew fungus. Mildew can cause the wood to swell and rot. So ensure you are picking a sealer that will protect the wood from all of these.


The ultraviolet ray of the sun can damage the wood heavily day after day. UV-ray causes the wood to fade badly and causes cracks as well. Not all sealers can protect the UV-ray. For example, clear sealers cannot prevent the UV-ray from penetrating inside the wood. Stain or sealers that are dark, only they can fully prevent the UV-ray from damaging the wood.

So if you live in an area that is always sunny, then consider getting a sealer that is capable of blocking the UV-ray.

Coat Layer

Most of the sealers require a couple of layers of coating for optimum protection but there are some sealers that are so top-notch that only a single coating does the job nicely. They are surely more expensive than others but they worth the price.

Frequently Asked Questions


Does Cedar Decking Need To Be Sealed?

Whether it is cedar or any other wood, when it is exposed to the weather, it needs to be sealed so that it would remain protected from UV-ray and water.

How Do You Protect A Cedar Deck?

The simplest way to protect the cedar deck from all kinds of threats is to seal it with a top-quality cedar sealer. A good sealer will penetrate deep and will prevent water and UV-ray to penetrate inside the wood and damage it.

When Should I Seal My Cedar Deck?

In our opinion, you should seal the cedar deck at the very beginning. A lot of people wait for a while to see if the wood requires a sealer, do not do it. When you see any change in the color of the wood, that means it has started to get damaged and this could be later to restore that. So apply the sealer on the very first day, or in the first week.


Choosing the best sealer for cedar deck isn’t hard at all. Just keep a few things in mind and you will get your hands on the right one. If you have gone through the buying guide section, you know what exactly you need to keep in mind before buying. Hope that helps.

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