A cedar siding could be one of the best features of your home.

It gives your house a classic and sophisticated appearance that you would love to safeguard for as long as you can.

Unfortunately, cedar,  just like most types of wood, is not immune to the elements that might ruin its beauty and durability. 

Therefore, you need the best outdoor stain for cedar to maintain its beauty and protect it from factors such as rain, snow, mold, mildew, and rot.

So, if you are looking for the best exterior stain for cedar siding, we got your back. We have compiled a detailed list o the same to help you pick the ideal one for your project. 

Our Top Picks

Best Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding

Cedar Siding Stain Reviews

To come up with the best exterior stains for cedar siding review and guide, we considered the type of stain, coverage, different climates, budget, and types of wood.

We’ve also included exterior wood stains that are made with all-natural ingredients, so you can feel good about using them around children and pets.

1. Best Overall Semi-transparent Stain – DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain

DEFY Extreme 1 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain,...
  • Water-Based Semi-Transparent Wood Stain – This water-based deck stain allows the wood grain to show through with a beautiful semi-transparent, natural matte finish. It's great for staining wood decks, fences, siding, playsets, outdoor patio furniture, and more.
  • Fortified With Zinc Nano-Particle Technology – It’s like sunscreen for your wood. Tiny zinc particles dispersed throughout the stain reflect damaging UV rays, preventing premature graying and color loss.
  • Durable Quality That Lasts – DEFY Extreme wood stains are made with the highest quality resins available that have better resistance to fading and darkening.

Defy extreme could be the stain you need to breathe new life into your aging exterior cedar. With a simple application process, you can turn rough boards into a practically new outdoor space that’s water repellent and withstands sun damage.

Defy Extreme is made with Zinc Nano-Particle Technology, which gives it the same UV rays protection as sunscreen for your cedar wood siding. It’s the only semi-transparent wood stain for cedar with several layers of protection from mold, mildew, and decay.

This product is suitable for staining acacia wood decks, fences, siding, playsets, or any other type of exterior furniture you’ve got outside, whether it’s your balcony railing up top or that teeny tiny bench down below on the ground.

It is the all-time, hands-down leader of exterior wood stain with low VOC content. The Defy Extreme also protects your cedar wood from ultraviolet rays. You can feel confident that your cedar siding will look gleaming for years to come.

There is no need to spend hours or days priming or prepping the surface when it’s time to do a maintenance coat. 

Defy Extreme Wood Stain is available in three different colors to match any style. Just brighten the wood with a wood brightener and apply one maintenance coat of this exterior cedar stain.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s affordable
  • It’s friendly to the environment and the pet
  • One of the best stains for outdoor wood.
  • It’s simple to maintain
  • It is easy to apply

What Could Be Improved

  • Since it’s oil-based, cleanup might be a challenge. 

2. Best Transparent Stain for Exterior Red Cedar– THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.041831-16

THOMPSONS WATERSEAL TH.041831-16 Transparent Waterproofing...
  • Color: Sequoia Red
  • Transparent
  • Wood sealer and stain, all in one

Thompsons Waterseal is a low-cost, simple-to-use waterproofing stain and sealer that is resistant to UV radiation, aging, mold, mildew, and weathering.

Thompson’s is superior to the industry norm for waterproofing, and it is composed of cutting-edge polymers that are specifically formulated to be extremely resistant to the elements.

It’s ideal if you want to match your furniture with your cedar siding. This stain’s ability to adhere well to damp wood is one of its most impressive features.

This makes it superb for climates where the summer and winter months never appear to be completely dry.

The results are excellent, and your siding surface will have a gorgeous gloss.

So, it’ll completely protect all your cedar sidings and cover all of the problems that damp wood can bring along, such as mildew. Apart from that, it will provide excellent UV ray protection.

Even if you have neglected your cedar siding for many years, this product will make you the envy of your neighbors, who’ll then be on your neck wanting to know your secret. And you’ll be happy to reveal it.

What We Liked Most

  • The best Waterproofing stain
  • It protects the wood from fading and mildew, and harmful UV rays. 
  • You can use it on both dry and damp wood
  • It dries quickly

What Could Be Improved

  • Sometimes it’s unavailable in the market
  • It might darken the wood surface

3. Best Affordable Stain For Exterior Siding – Krylon K03603000

Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain,...
  • Premium, durable stain
  • Water repellent and UV fade protection
  • Fast, even coverage

Add that extraordinary touch to your deck or cedar wood with this beautifully designed, long-lasting exterior semi-transparent stain.

It can give your wood siding a new look without the use of heavy chemicals. This semi-transparent wood stain will revitalize and refresh your cedar deck or porch, transforming it into a work of art!

Krylon’s rustic Brown may be the perfect color to bring out the natural beauty of any type of wood. It protects the siding from weathering while maintaining its appearance for several years.

So you can enjoy it outdoors all season long without worrying about fading or unsightly peeling paint.

It is an excellent exterior cedar siding stain that is quick to dry and offers complete coverage. It protects the wood surface from everything- water, dirt, sun–and provides a non-toxic finish. 

This long-lasting finish will not crack even when exposed to temperature extremes like ice or heat! Plus, with its beautiful range of colors, you can find the perfect tint for your next project.

You’ll love this Premium durable semi-transparent wood stain in Rustic Brown color for its sturdy protection against the elements.

It goes on fast and offers uniform coverage with minimal effort, and you’ll not struggle with brush strokes.

The best part about it? It dries to an easy-to-clean finish that locks in gorgeously vibrant color without fading in sunlight—and it won’t peel off when you’re redecorating in 5 years! All you need is one coat for maximum shine.

What We Liked Most

  • You get a uniform coverage
  • It allows the wood grain to shine through
  • It offers maximum protection 
  • It goes on smoothly, just like a dream

What Could Be Improved

  • The nozzle is a little bit weak.
  • It can clog easily, so you have to shake the can before use. 

4. Natural Cedar Tone Stain – Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain

Ready Seal 512 5-Gallon Pail Natural Cedar Exterior Stain...
  • Requires no primer. Ready Seal is darkest when first applied. It reaches its true color in approximately 14 days. Do not apply Ready Seal over painted or newly stained surfaces. Sealed surfaces inhibit penetration.
  • May be applied using sprayer, roller or brush onto the woods surface.
  • Requires no back brushing and will nerver leave runs, laps, or streaks.

Ready Seal 512 is an oil-based, semi-transparent stain and sealer in one. This affordable, quality exterior wood stain is perfect for anyone looking to protect and preserve their cedar siding in a sustainable way while still maintaining the natural color and beauty of the grain pattern.

It’s designed specifically for cedarwood, so you can rest assured that it’ll look great in your house.

This exterior cedar stain is easy to apply with the included brush so you can get it done quickly without having to worry about the preparation or multiple coats of application.

Ready seal 512 has been tested for water resistance and UV rays protection so your cedar wood will stay looking fresh for years to come.

What We Liked Most

  • Low VOC content
  • Natural Cedar Stain color
  • Mold and mildew protection

5. Best semi transparent stain for cedar siding – #1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

#1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks,...
  • Protects wood from damaging UV rays
  • Acts as both a stain and sealer for your wood
  • Available in 4 beautiful semi-transparent finishes that dry to a flat, natural looking finish

This stain could be perfect for prepping your deck, fence, or siding for the upcoming season. The semi-transparent deck stain works on pressure-treated wood, cedarwood, Firwood, and most softwoods.

You’ll get years of protection against water and UV rays, color fade, and gray with this high-quality, premium coated deck stain. It’ll also protect the wood from mold and mildew.

It goes on smoothly, and it is easy to apply. #1 deck premium provides powerful protection from sun exposure and moisture damage caused by the unforgiving elements.

It’s one of the best stains for cedar available in the market. If you have a cedar wood siding, fence, or siding that needs to be stained but doesn’t need to stay stained forever.

Also, if you live in an area with six months of great weather and the other six are rough, this Semi-Transparent exterior wood Stain is just what you need.

It blends into wood surfaces nicely for decks and fences while also adding clear protection against water damage on said surfaces.

Plus, this clear coat for cedar is easy to clean up with soap and water once the perfect color has been achieved.

What We Liked Most

  • It doubles up as a stain and a sealant. So, it saves you money
  • It’s semi-transparent, so it allows the wood grain to show through
  • It’s friendly to the pet and the environment and is durable.
  • It gives you beautiful nic colors. 

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s not ideal for new wood siding.

6. Best All-Weather Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding – Olympic Stain 56500-04 Maximum Waterproofing Sealant

Olympic Maximum Wood Sealer For Decks, Fences, Siding, and...
  • Weather-ready application allows you to clean and stain on the same day in temperatures down to 35 degrees fahrenheight, deck is ready for rain in 8 hours
  • Penetrating formula delivers enhanced protection; clear waterproofing deck and fence sealant
  • Easily clean up with soap and water

You could give your natural cedar the protection it deserves with Olympic’s stain sealers. This clear, maximum waterproofing sealer makes wood strong and beautiful for years to come.

It will help you avoid worrying about rain or winter weather when it comes time for staining. With its weather-ready application, Olympic stain is specifically formulated to allow you to stain on your designated day without relying on the weather outside.

It’s also designed with easy cleanup in mind if needed! That’s why it’s one of the best stains for cedar.

The Olympic stain can take on the elements, despite their best efforts. This tough sealant will give you that good old-fashioned protection against the weather!

One gallon of wood stain will cover about 250-350 square feet, adequate for a small or a medium deck. It should also be able to protect both sides of a 25-foot-long fence or several pieces of furniture.

Two gallons of this wood stain should be suitable for a regular deck project or a fifty-foot-long fence. It has excellent coverage, and you’ll be happy with the results.

The stain will be ready after only eight hours so that you can continue using the deck as usual in no time. 

What We Liked Most

  • You can use it in any weather and get professional results
  • It protects the wood from cracking
  • It dries up very fast
  • It has superb coverage and beautiful colors

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s not a clear coat.

7. Best Durable Stain for Cedar Siding – KILZ L832111

KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain, Exterior, Semi-Transparent,...
  • WATERPROOFING WOOD STAIN: KILZ Waterproofing Wood Stain is a semi-transparent exterior stain that offers long-lasting UV protection and waterproofing that helps maintain the integrity and beauty of wood in variable outdoor conditions.
  • ADVANCED FORMULA: Our 100% Acrylic formula protects wood from rain, snow and sun damage. This stain is warrantied up to 3 years on decks and up to 5 years on fences and siding
  • MULTIPLE USES: Use on properly prepared new to moderately weathered and unsealed exterior wood surfaces (0-10 years exposure) including decks, shingles, wood patio furniture, railings, siding, shakes and fences.

Keep your outdoor wood surface looking good, no matter the climate. KILZ L832111 is an exterior waterproofing wood stain that will keep your home in tip-top shape for quite some time to come.

It’s a mildew-resistant finish with anti UV additives, so you can enjoy its look without worrying it won’t last when the sun comes out.

It comes in an attractive semi-transparent, Cedar color that offers excellent protection for your outdoor wood siding.

This semi-transparent stain is a hundred percent  Acrylic formula protecting wood from rain, snow, and sun damage.

The stain has a warranty of up to three years on decks and five years on fences and siding. This stain is perfect for both experienced craftsmen and weekend warriors. Better yet, it’s so easy to apply!

Stained cedar sidings are pleasing to look at or bump into because they give off an enduring natural beauty that everyone appreciates. It has excellent coverage.

The first coat can cover up to 250 square feet, while the second coat can cover 500 square feet.

To get the best results, give the paint a good shake or mix before using it, and let it cure for at least 24 hours before applying it.

Remove any leftover wood fibers or fluff with light sanding. Use a pad applicator, nylon/polyester brush, or a good pump sprayer to apply the product.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s an excellent product for the price.
  • It will work exceptionally well even if you skip the prep
  • It’s durable and has nice colors
  • You can use it on a previously stained surface

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s not transparent. 

8. Best Marine Stain For Exterior Surfaces – SEAL-ONCE MARINE

Seal-Once Marine Premium Wood Sealer - Waterproof Sealant -...
  • MARINE SEALANT: Our liquid formula creates a UV-stable coating for protection against the elements, saltwater spray, and water damage. Marine is a great protector for outdoor furniture, thermally modified wood, and boat docks. Marine is safe for use over open water and is non-hazardous to aquatic life.
  • DECK STAIN: It's water-based, ultra-low VOC, great for enhancing the extended life of your flooring, siding, and porch. The paint forms a water-resistant shield around wood fibers at the cellular level to help preserve the natural color.
  • WATERPROOF WOOD SEALER: The wood used on boat docks, decks, and retaining walls near rivers, lakes, oceans, and ponds is subjected to constant moisture. We crafted a sealer, remove stain, and finish all in one, specifically for these installations.

If you want to protect your wood surface from an environment with high moisture, you could go with this marine formula.

It provides superior protection against water damage and decay than any of the other exterior stains out there.

This will keep your boat docks, piers, retaining walls, outdoor furniture looking great for longer. This exterior stain and sealer work like magic on everything it touches, and it’s a great idea to give it ago.

This exterior stain and sealer is the kind of water-based stain that will have you saying, “Hey, this stuff works!” If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to replacing your deck, Seal-Once Marine Waterproofer could have the solution.

Whether you’re working on a new development space for your business, some outdoor furniture or siding for your home, enhancing an already existing yard, or refinishing that porch floorboard that had seen better days, Marine could get the job done.

With eleven tinted choices and clear formula available, it’s hard to go wrong with this sealant. From Oak to Siberian Larch, it could have the perfect shade and hue you’re looking for.

Seal it up and fix those leaks. Do you have a leaky boat, swing set, deer stand, or doghouse?

You can protect your treasures from corrosion caused by rainfall or dampness with 1 Gallon of SEAL-ONCE MARINE water sealer today!

What We Liked Most

  • It works as just as advertised if you follow the instructions keenly
  • It’s durable
  • It goes on easily

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s pricey

9. Best cedar siding sealer– Storm Protector Penetrating Sealer & Stain Protector

Storm Protector Penetrating Sealer & Stain Protector - Deck...
  • Wood deck protector - A true oil-based semi transparent stain and sealer meant to protect and highlight the natural beauty of the wood grain.
  • Storm Wood Stain Protector is a semi transparent sealer that penetrates deep into the wood for added protection against Mother Nature.
  • Compatible with any wood species. Great for wood staining Mahogany, as a Mahogany sealer, Cedar sealer, Cedar fence sealer, Redwood, Pine wood stain, Douglas Fir, Spruce Stain, Cyress, and Pressure Treated.

With StormPro, you can say goodbye to splinters, peeling paint, and stained wood.

This penetrating stain is different from wiping stains because it penetrates deep down into the pores of your beautiful deck or siding so that Mother Nature’s wrath can’t damage your hard work. 

You can use this stain and sealer to protect and maintain the beauty of your cedar wood siding. It is easy to apply and boosts the natural beauty of the wood grain.

This exterior stain and sealer Protect against rain, spills, and other outside elements that can cause damage, such as termites or mold.

You’ll love how this protectant makes outdoor areas look new again, even if you’ve had them for ages.

You spend so much time getting your red cedar siding and fence ready for the weather only to have it ruined by water damage or harsh sun rays after a few short months of investment.

Storm Protector is an oil-based semi-transparent wood stain that provides extra protection for any type of wood surface that you might be dealing with.

It penetrates deep into the wood grain to keep it shiny and strong no matter what Mother Nature throws at you!

The good news is that you can use it on any type of wood and still get professional results. The stain is easy to apply using a roller, high-quality brush, or a paint sprayer.

You won’t have to deal with brush marks or lap marks when you use this product. If you want beautiful, durable stain for your deck, fence, and sides, then don’t hesitate to try the Storm protector.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s compatible with all types of wood siding
  • It has an excellent coverage
  • It goes on quickly and looks gorgeous
  • You get value for every penny invested

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s a bit thicker than other stains. 

Exterior Stain for Cedar Siding Comparison Table

How to Choose the Best Finish for Exterior Cedar Siding

Just a quick Google search on the best exterior stain for cedar siding will yield hundreds of results in seconds, leaving you more confused than ever.

You feel like you’ve opened a bottomless pit of information, some of which you can’t verify.

To get the best stain for your cedar siding, you have to know what you want in a stain. Consider the factors below to help you pick the correct stain for your wood. 

Also see: Best sealer for cedar

Is the Stain Water-based or Oil-based?

Before buying any stain, it’s essential to consider whether it is a water-based or oil-based stain.

Water-based stains provide a deeper hue of color than oil or latex-based stains. It has no harmful odor and is not flammable. Cleaning water-based products is more straightforward with just water and soap.

On the other hand, the oils in oil-based stains make them more difficult to penetrate by the elements.

They dry slowly and maintain a smooth finish, which means you won’t have to do as much upkeep down the road! Oil-based stains are also far more durable than water-based ones.


You don’t want to stain your cedar sidings and then run out of stain and have to wait more than a day to get more paint. That can cause problems with the way it dries.

Generally, 1 gallon will cover 200-300 square feet of cedar sidings, but you should measure first before staining.

How many coats you need depends on two factors. First, how dark or light your new color is compared to the old one will determine whether a single coat can cover it up or if multiple coats are necessary for full coverage. 

You also need to know how much stain you’re going to use. Many penetrating stains only require one coat which might be easier on your budget, but sometimes colors change significantly, so you might need to buy more paint.


Before starting with stains, it’s essential to know what the different types of stains are available. Stains come in clear or solid color stains, and knowing this beforehand will help make your job go smoothly.

Do you want to amplify the current color or create a new look? Let’s see the options available to determine which choice would be appropriate for your project. 

a) Transparent

Double-checking what’s included with the transparent stain is critical, as some have tinted stain colors while others are clear.

In both cases, though, they showcase the natural color and beauty of the wood grain and can be used for those who only want slight changes in tone.

b) Translucent 

If you want to change the color of your siding drastically but still show off wood underneath, this is a better option.

The clear and transparent stains don’t provide as much protection against the elements like this one does.

c) Solid Color Stain

If you want to change the color, use the best exterior solid stain for cedar siding. The stain conceals the wood. It provides more protection than other types of stains.

However, solid color stain is not easy work, given how thick and difficult it can be when in use.


Temperature and humidity can have a significant impact on how your stain dries. Stains can triple in drying time if the weather is too wet or cold.

In severe cases, the paint or stain will simply remain wet until the humidity or temperature increases.

In contrast, if the temperature is too high, the stain will dry quickly, potentially resulting in lap marks or ununiform penetration.

Read: Douglas Fir Stain Examples

VOC Content

Low Voc Content Stains are a better choice as they offer the same level of performance without leaving stains on your surface or causing damage to it.

With low VOC content stains for cedar, there is no need for protective clothing and masks which lowers cost but also reduces personal exposure to chemicals if used correctly.

How to Stain Exterior Cedar Siding

A well-maintained cedar siding can last 50 to 60 years or longer. Neglected wood siding can degrade in less than ten years. Once the bark is removed from the tree, the wood has no way of defending itself.

The harmful effects of whether on exposed wood can begin instantly. Rain, melting snow, and morning dew are easily absorbed by unprotected wood, causing it to swell. The sun’s heat causes drying, which causes the wood to rot.

Your wood warps split, cups, and cracks due to these cycles of wet and dry, freezing and thawing, swelling and shrinking.

There’s also the issue of algae and mold wreaking havoc. Mold is detrimental as it grows roots into the wood and feeds on it.

Mold also prevents the wood from drying, and when wood does not dry, it rots, all of which leads to shortened wood life, costly repairs, and premature replacement.

Keeping your wood siding clean and staining your cedar is the best way to extend its life and keep it looking fantastic.

Here’s how to stain cedar siding.

Step 1- Prep the Wood

Start by prepping the wood. If the wood has a previous old stain on it, you need to remove it, here’s why? If the wood doesn’t have a coating or stain, apply a wood cleaner.

Step 2- Clean the Wood

Begin cleaning the wood with low pressure. Using strippers and cleaners means that you don’t have to scrub so hard as cleaners will do the bulk of work. Here’s how to clean wood better before staining.

Step 3- Neutralize the Wood

Apply a neutralizer that doubles up as a wood brightener. Neutralize the wood to a base of seven to certify that the stains adhere to the wood.

Wait for it to dry. This process could take a day or two, depending on the weather.

Step 4- Confirm the Wood is dry

Ensure the wood surface is dry by using a sophisticated moisture meter 

Step 5- Stain the side using an airless sprayer

Apply the stain consistently and generously to allow a heavy uniform coat of paint on the siding. 

Use an oil-based stain that will defend the wood from rain and snow without flaking or peeling.

Staining the wood is the only way to protect the wood from the damaging effects of the sun. Keeping the wood clean and stained is the only way to prolong its life and keep it fantastic for decades.  

Read: Log cabin stain reviews

Best Cedar Stain FAQS 

Below are some of the questions people ask Google frequently regarding the best exterior stain for cedar siding. 

What Kind of Stain Gives the Perfect Finish for Cedar Siding?

Many stains give a superb finish for cedar siding. It depends on whether you want to go lighter or darker as they are available in different shades and tints. 

How Long Should I Wait for the Stain to Dry After Application?

It largely depends on the climate and the type of stain you are using. Water-based paints dry faster than oil-based stains, regardless of the climate.

What exterior colors look good with cedar wood siding?

Brown and red tones enhance the natural beauty of cedar.  You can use these warm colors alone or combined with lighter tans and yellows, though dark blue and green hyphens make eye-catching accents.

Here’s a quick guide on staining wood blue if you’re going with dark blue.

Is Semi-Transparent or Solid Stain Better?

Choose clear, transparent, or semi-transparent stains for newer wood to allow some grain to shine through. Semi-solid stains are a better option for decks that have seen a fair share of barbecues. Woodgrain will still be visible, but you’ll conceal more of the depreciation on your patio.

Related Article: Best Porch and Floor Paint

Exterior Cedar Stain Summary

Thank you for making it to the end of this detailed list of the best exterior stain for cedar siding.

Our top pick for the best exterior stain is the DEFY Extreme 5 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Redwood.

It protects the wood surface from harmful UV rays,  snow, rain, mildew, and decay. It’s durable and easy to work with.