For many DIY enthusiasts and home carpenters, constructing your own wood furniture, outbuildings, and even patios for the backyard is a great way to pass the time and build something useful for the entire family.
But have you ever noticed your wooden creations beginning to look dull or weather-beaten after they have sat outside for a while? This is a common problem for all types of wood installations, including fences, decks, sheds, and furniture.
Damage from the weather and humidity can make your wood warp and shorten its overall lifespan. So to guarantee many more years of service and preserve that lovely, fresh woody look, you need to apply an outdoor wood sealant.
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Best Outdoor Wood Sealer Products
By applying a good wood sealer to any wooden items or structures that you have outside, you can prevent rot and ensure it looks its best.
Applying sealer to newly installed wooden items will keep them looking fresh and beautiful, while a sealant stain can refresh older wood and help color match your entire yard.
But with all the options for outdoor wood sealers available on the market, including paint, stains, and other waterproofers, where should you begin? Read on for a comprehensive ranking of the best outdoor wood sealer products available to spruce up your wood.
Minwax Water Based Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor
Specially formulated, crystal clear finish, ideal for light-colored woods and stains. Forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture, containing UV blockers, helping to reduce fading effects.
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Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer
Effectively seals any porous materials, preventing any damages. Specially developed formula for protection against all weather conditions. Designed for multi-surface, waterproofing of small objects.
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Eco Advance Exterior Wood Siloxane Waterproofer
Easily applicable, ready to use formula, ideal for woodworks. A non-toxic, water-based product, creating long-lasting protection against multiple damages for almost any wood surface.
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Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil
Advanced product, providing maximum protection against any weather or sun damage. Fast drying and easy to use, ideal for any boats, pools, or wood furniture, with warm golden color.
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Roxil Wood Protection Cream
Effective, long-lasting protection for up to 10 years, reducing water uptake and improves resistance. Fast and easy, single coat application, for any wooden structure.
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Rainguard Water Sealers Wood Sealer
Ready to use and cost-effective, specially formulated product for preventing water and salt damage, without harming or altering the surface appearance.
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Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Satin Aerosol
Containing special oils forms a protective barrier against any moisture or rain. Additionally covers the materials with UV blockers to reduce the fading effects from the sun.
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1. Minwax Water Based Helmsman Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane — Top Pick
Style: Water-based liquid gloss
Size: 1 quart
Treatment Area: Approximately 50 sq. feet
Great for use on either your indoor or outdoor wood, Minwax’s Helmsman Spar Urethane sealant forms a strong, protective barrier around the wood. This barrier works to preserve the original appearance of wooden items and safeguard them from moisture and rain.
Additionally, this sealant utilizes UV blockers to prevent your furniture, fencing, or patios from appearing gray or dull from time spent in the sun.
As seasons change and outdoor temperatures fluctuate, specially formulated oils in this sealant allow the product to expand and contract along with the wood for a flawless and proactive finish.
This finish easily withstands weather of all kinds, including snow, ice, hail, and heavy rains. In fact, users have had great success with this product in a variety of climates, from cold and snowy conditions to hot and arid zones.
No matter what wooden item you want to seal, this product dries fast and with minimal odors, making it safe for your family to be around. Plus, with a water base, any sealant spills can be cleaned up quickly, easily, and without leaving behind a mess or stain.
Use Minwax’s Helmsman Spar Urethane sealant for a clear gloss finish on a variety of your wooden home and backyard goods, including bathroom cabinets, bar tops, doors, furniture, trim, and windows.
- Low odor
- Cleans up with just soap and warm water
- Protects against the UV rays of the sun
- Non-ambering formula
- Crystal clear finish
- Great for both indoor and outdoor use
- One coat is sufficient for a full seal
- Ideal for sealing many different wooden products
- Needs to be carefully applied to prevent flaking or peeling
- Can adhere wood furniture to other surfaces, so be cautious when applying
- The product’s container has been known to leak
2. Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer — Runner Up
Our Runner Up Pick: Thompson’s WaterSeal Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer is a great Aerosol spray that will effectively seal any porous material against damage. It is also a Clear waterproofer.
Style: Aerosol spray
Application: Spray can nozzle
Size: 12 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: Approximately 20 sq. feet
Offered in a convenient aerosol spray, this product is great for a variety of outdoor wood applications. With a formula that seals and protects against water damage, you can rely on this product to prevent warping or swelling.
This clear waterproofer can be used on its own, or it can be used in conjunction with solvent-thinned to provide an under-seal. This protects any painted wooden objects from the elements, and prevents the paint from bubbling or peeling.
In addition to offering full protection for painted wooden surfaces, Thompson’s Waterseal Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer keeps any stained wood looking as brand new and fresh as the day the stain was applied.
With such a wide variety of uses, you can rely on this waterproofer for just about any project, including fences, bird feeders, sheds, and furniture. Just spray and allow to dry, then watch as the water beads or pools on the surface instead of soaking in and damaging the wood.
And because this spray will effectively seal and waterproof any porous material, even if it’s not wood, you can expand its applications to other areas of your home and backyard. This includes brick, concrete, plaster, and stone.
Users have even had success in weatherproofing paper attached to outdoor posting signs with this product, including garden and pool signage and mariner notices.
- Satisfaction guaranteed
- Dries with a clear finish
- Convenient and easy to use
- Great for a variety of other surfaces in your home or backyard
- Useful to seal painted wooden surfaces
- Causes rain and other water to bead and run off of surfaces
- Can leave a sticky residue behind
- Spraying the product at too close a range can lead to over-application
- Not for use on fabric or canvas surfaces
3. Eco Advance Exterior Wood Siloxane Waterproofer — Best For Safe Yard Applications
The Best For Safe Yard Applications: Eco Advance Wood is Ready to use commercial grade formula that can be easily applied by using a standard garden pump sprayer. It contains Water-based, non-flammable and non-toxic formula which is a great eco-friendly deal
Style: Ready-to-use liquid
Application: Spray-on with a standard garden pump sprayer or pressure sprayer
Size: 128 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 240 sq feet
If you are looking for an outdoor wood sealant that is safe for use around people, plants, and pets, this might be the product for you. Water-based, non-flammable, and without toxic chemicals, this is a great option for safe yard use.
Eco Advance’s Exterior Wood Siloxane Waterproofer uses eco-friendly and biodegradable chemical alternatives in its formula to create a safe, high-performance product for your backyard projects.
Whether you are looking to seal a playground fence or your raised garden beds, this non-toxic waterproofing liquid is safe for your family and the environment. And as a commercial-grade water-repellent, it has many uses for your yard.
After application, this waterproofing sealer not only prevents water seepage into your wooden items, but also uses vapor transmission technology that allows substrates to cure and repel moisture.
Rely on Eco Advanced’s waterproofer for long-lasting protection on a variety of outdoor wooden objects and projects, including decks, pergolas, fencing, siding, shingles, and more. It can be used successfully on new wood installations or on existing objects.
And it doesn’t just protect against the weather. Eco Advanced’s waterproofer also protects your surfaces from water and environmental damage, de-icing salts, oil spills, food stains, mold, mildew, and pool chemicals, providing year-round coverage from just about everything!
- Eco Friendly guarantee
- Safe for use around garden plants, pets, and people
- Excellent waterproofing protection
- Great coverage for the cost
- Ideal for a variety of exterior wooden items
- Will not make wooden surfaces slippery
- Easy to apply with a sprayer
- This product cannot be tinted with dyes or stains
- Can seal in mold if applied overtop
- Only for use on wooden surfaces
- Outdoor application only
4. Star Brite Premium Golden Teak Oil
Style: Oil polymer liquid
Application: Paintbrush, sponge, or clean cloth
Size: 16 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 105 sq. feet
A great option for an all-in-one sealer, preserver, stain, and finish for wood surfaces, Star Brite’s Premium Golden Teak Oil is fantastic for your outdoor furniture and other objects.
With a formula that is specially tailored to block out the sun’s UV rays, which can be harmful to wooden surfaces, this product stands up to fading, graying, and other weathering. Star Brite uses an advanced tung oil polymer that also enhances the natural wood properties.
And because it is ideal for guarding against harsh weather and saltwater exposure, this product can even be used on the wooden portions of marine vehicles. Proven to last even when battered by wind and sea, this product has more than just backyard applications.
This sealant oil lasts for years after application, giving your wooden surfaces a longer life span and providing you with peace of mind. Delivering a professional-grade finish, even when applied by first-time users, this sealant is easy to apply and dries within four to six hours.
Use this sealer on teak and other fine wood types for a gorgeous finish and ultimate protection, including for your furniture, fencing, siding, and more. Leave your wood safe and with a lovely, syrupy golden color, by enhancing the natural wood itself.
Other woods that benefit from the application of this oil sealant include acacia, ash, redwood, maple, beech, and walnut. On a variety of wooden surfaces, Star Brite’s Teak Oil causes water to simply bead or pool safely, without damaging the wood.
- Easy to apply and maintain
- Enhances wood grain and natural color
- Ideal for all fine wood types
- Fast drying time
- Long-lasting protection
- Matte finish that can slightly darken over time
- Three coats are required for a bare wood surface
5. Roxil Wood Protection Cream
Style: Cream formula
Application: Paintbrush or roller
Size: 1 quart
Treatment Area: 45 to 55 sq feet
Rely on Roxil’s Wood Protection Cream to protect your wood surfaces for up to ten years or more with just one coat. This product’s silicone cream emulsion formula protects your wood from moisture, including warping and even the growth of moss or algae.
With easy application by paint brush or roller, your wood will absorb the product and benefit from the protection of an invisible waterproof barrier that guards against wood degradation. This includes on furniture, fencing, patios, sheds, and more.
This cream product works to protect a variety of popular outdoor wood types, including softwoods and weathered hardwoods like Douglas fir, red cedar, larch, oak, and pine. So no matter the wood type of your outdoor project, you can protect it effectively.
And because it works to retain and enhance the natural appearance of your wood surfaces, there is no visible change to the wood’s appearance or texture. In fact, due to the cream nature of the product, users find it easier to apply to tight and narrow spaces.
Using a special formula that maintains natural wood breathability, you can effectively reduce the risk of warping or cracking with one coat. This increases the structural integrity of your wooden goods by minimizing the chance of expansion and shifting.
Watch rain showers or hose water will bead on treated wooden surfaces and simply run off of them without harming it after an application of Roxil’s Wood Protection Cream.
- Effective for multiple wood types
- Easy to apply and fast to dry
- A splash-free, no-drip formula for effortless cleanup
- Vastly reduces the water uptake of wooden surfaces
- Offers instant waterproof protection
- Ideal for use even on weight-bearing objects like furniture
- A colorless formula that enhances the natural wood tone
- Does not completely prevent the wood from turning gray
- Coverage for cost is not ideal
6. Rainguard Water Sealers Wood Sealer
Style: Ready to use liquid
Application: Hand pump garden sprayer or airless sprayer
Size: 16 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 25 sq. feet
An outstanding wood sealer that will protect and restore the quality of your wood surfaces, Rainguard’s Water Sealers Wood Sealer uses a water-based mixture of silane and siloxane to repel water and guard your outdoor wood items.
By using this wood sealer, you can prevent yellowing and protect against rain showers and gales. It also guards against the propagation of mold, mildew, and rot on your wooden surfaces, preventing freezing and thawing damage at the same time.
By using a premium waterproofing formula, Rainguard’s Wood Sealer creates a strong molecular bond and a hydrophobic barrier for your wooden structures. This will eliminate the damage caused by weathering, dirt, salt, and temperature fluctuations.
This product is great for use on vertical or horizontal wooden surfaces, including decks, pergolas, patios, and porches. Use on structures that are habitually battered by gales, storms, and wind-blown rain to see a real difference in your wood’s quality.
In most applications, the wood sealer will dry within one hour of application for an almost immediate layer of protection. And for easy cleanup, just use soap and warm water to wipe away excess product after the application is completed.
- Uses Micro-Lok for a chemical bond that repels moisture
- Ready to use spray for easy application
- Water-based for hassle-free cleanup
- Resists mold and mildew
- Prevents rot and efflorescence
- A clear, colorless formula that does not alter surface appearance
- Dries within one hour of application
- Has limited application options
- Does not come with a sprayer
- Size amenable primarily to small projects and touch-ups
7. Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Satin Aerosol
Style: Aerosol spray
Application: Spray can nozzle
Size: 11.5 ounces
Treatment Area: 20 sq. feet
Like the Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane liquid gloss previously discussed, this formula is great for a variety of outdoor and indoor wooden surfaces. This includes doors, furniture, fences, patios, and gazebos, as well as cabinets and countertops inside the home.
Special oils within the formula allow the wood to expand and contract with changes in moisture and temperature during all seasons, which means this product protects your wooden surfaces from warping or cracking.
This aerosol spray boasts a fortified alkyd resin that is specially manufactured to settle quickly after application into a satin-smooth finish and prevents any chipping or peeling that might come with a more brittle finish.
If your wooden surfaces are painted with oil-based paint, this product will still provide a great layer of protection that keeps the color vibrant and weather-proofed, while also guarding the wood underneath.
If you want to guarantee a long-lasting finish and full coverage, it is recommended to use more than one layer of the spray. Keep in mind that you need to apply each coat within one and a half hours of the previous coat to prevent puckering.
- Easy to use spray for simple application
- Produces a finish that is resistant to chipping and cracking
- Fast drying
- Satin-smooth finish
- Can be used over oil-based paints
- No odor when dry
- No need to sand between applying coats
- Product size more amenable to small projects or touch-up applications
- Drying times can vary above 77℉
- Needs ventilation as it generates potent fumes during application
Sealing your backyard wooden surfaces is essential for their lifespan and external appearance, so selecting the best outdoor wood sealer is key. This includes decks, patios, pergolas, and furniture, as well as smaller items like bird feeders or garden beds.
But what else do you need to know about sealing your exterior wood objects and protecting them from the elements? Read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to outdoor sealants and wooden surfaces.
How Do You Waterproof Outdoor Wood?
There are three main ways in which to waterproof your outdoor wood surfaces. This includes using a sealant oil, a resistant lacquer, or finishing the wood with a waterproof stain.
Each method has its own inherent advantages and disadvantages, including drying time, length of protection, and value for money. These are important aspects to consider when determining which waterproofing product to choose.
In general, waterproofing outdoor wood with sealant oil works best when the formula is based on tung, linseed, or walnut oil. These offer great natural elemental protection and water wicking properties for all types of wood, including finer strains like acacia and pine.
Many water-based wood sealers are available as lacquers or varnishes, and can be labeled for use on specific outdoor structures, such as deck sealant, fence sealant, furniture sealant, etc.
They are also available for marine applications to protect against salt and weather, so if you have a boat, choosing a lacquer might be for you.
By selecting a waterproofing stain, you can easily refresh older wood surfaces with an easily applied semi-transparent stain. Stains for sealing your outdoor wooden projects typically require several coats for a fully comprehensive finish, but will also last for years once applied.
What Is Best To Protect Wood Outside?
While you can opt for a protective wax for your outdoor wood surfaces, most people would agree that a specially formulated sealant is the best way to protect your wood. These sealer products typically are separated into two categories: penetrative treatments, and exterior coating systems.
Penetrative Wood Treatments
Products of this type work by soaking deep into the wood surface and providing comprehensive protection from both the surface and within. Typical sealants that use this method include deck oils and fence treatments, among others.
These products are incredibly easy to apply and maintain, making them ideal for first-time users. And if the surface of the wood begins to look dull, you can simply reapply the product to refresh its appearance and protective layers.
Exterior Coating Systems
These products provide a flexible and durable finish to your wooden surfaces, and are ideal for areas that have tight corners or narrow angles, including doorways, window frames, and furniture.
The flexible nature of the finish means that your wood will not crack or peel due to any expansion or shifting of the surface during temperature changes or weather variations. Applications of these products also last for a long time without needing to be replaced or retouched.
How Do You Keep Wood From Rotting Outside?
For most outdoor wooden projects, you can stop rot from occurring by preventing the spread of moisture through the wood and into the joints of the structure.
And a great way to protect against moisture in any outdoor wooden structure is with a proper sealer that repels water and guards the wood itself against any warping or cracking that might let in even a small amount of moisture.
From furniture to windowsills, fences to gazebos, you can prevent wood rot in your external fixtures by applying an outdoor wood sealer.
From furniture to windowsills, fences to gazebos, wood sealer can also be used successfully in combination with caulking or weatherstripping. This practice is particularly effective on sheds or the outside of your house.
The combination of outdoor sealer and caulking will help prevent water from seeping into the joints of the structure, while the sealer safeguards the wood surfaces themselves, fully preventing wood rot from taking place.
How Long Does Exterior Wood Sealer Last?
Depending on the quality of the wood sealer product and its chemical compound, most seals will last between one and three years before a reapplication is necessary.
However, this also depends on your location, the structure’s weather exposure, and the changes in temperature that your area experiences. The more extreme the elemental buffeting your wooden structure experiences, the more likely you will have to reapply your sealer to keep it safe from damage.
How Long Does Water Seal Last?
Though the lifespan of a good water seal can vary between brands, most products that provide a water seal to your outdoor wooden structures will last between five and ten years.
For example, the water seal created on wood surfaces by the Thompson’s brand of wood sealer that was discussed previously will often last for ten years of waterproofing protection.
Shopping for wood sealers that offer the longest protection is an important way to reduce unnecessary yard maintenance and ensure that your furniture, fencing, and other structures last for as long as possible!
Buyer’s Guide For the Best Outdoor Wood Sealer
There are plenty of products on the market that are specially designed to guard wood against the sun’s harmful UV rays, weather, and even temperature fluctuations that could lead to cracking or warping of your wood.
And amid the veritable jungle of options, it is easy to become a bit overwhelmed when trying to select the perfect product for your outdoor wood items.
But if you take a moment to ask yourself some key questions about its application, you can choose the best outdoor wood sealer for any of your projects!
Where Is Your Project Located?
Most wooden surfaces that require sealing are already located outside, but it’s important to establish what kind of exposure your project will have to the elements.
Is the wood partially protected by trees, the roof, or your house itself, or is it fully exposed to weather and the sun’s rays? Answering this will help determine the required hardiness of the sealant.
Additionally, what is the weather typically like in your area—do you live in a northern or southern location, or does the temperature tend to fluctuate between both extremes quite easily? This reveals how pliable the sealant’s finish needs to be once it dries, to accommodate for the wood’s expansion or shrinkage.
In general, if your project will be in a more temperate climate without extreme weather systems, you will likely be able to rely on a less rigid sealant. However, if your yard is battered by wind, rain, and experiences a range of temperature extremes, a more specific formula is probably a better choice for your location.
How Big Is Your Project?
Depending on the size of your project, you might want to opt for a type of sealer that covers more surface area to save some money.
For example, aerosol sealant sprays typically only cover 21.5 square feet per 13.5 fluid ounces of product. This can cover a space equivalent to a room that is just over 5’ by 5’, or a small to medium-sized application.
Alternatively, if your project is on the larger size, like an entire fence or a 5-piece patio furniture set, you might want to opt for liquid sealant sold by the quart or gallon instead, as a one-gallon can of sealant can cover 200 to 400 square feet of space.
If you are unsure of how much sealant your project needs, try using an online spray coverage calculator or wood sealer coverage chart to help determine a number closer to the real amount than a simple guesstimation would provide!
What Kind Of Wood Is It Made Of?
While you can get outdoor wood sealers for a variety of wood types, you might want to choose a sealant that can be applied to more than one for later use.
Additionally, some wood sealers are specially formulated for softwoods, hardwoods, or finer types of wood like redwood, cedar, or teak. Make sure the sealer that you choose has a formula that will protect the type of wood you are using for the project to ensure long-lasting protection.
What Is The Color?
Some sealers come as stains that can tint your wood or refresh an older wooden surface, but a vast majority are formulated to dry with a clear finish. So, it’s important to determine the final color outlook of your project and if you want to alter it at all.
For example, deck stains are a popular method of sealing your porch or patio, whereas furniture sealants can be semi-transparent and contain special oils that naturally enhance the existing color of the wood.
In terms of future use and the project fitting in with the rest of your yard’s color scheme, make sure to read the product carefully and see what kind of hue—if any—it contains.
What Is The Method Of Application?
Paintbrush, sponge, roller, or hand-pumped garden sprayer, outdoor sealers can be applied to your wood surfaces in a variety of ways. It’s up to you to decide what method will work best for the intricacies of your project and the location it’s in.
For controlled, full-surface coverage, some prefer a brush or roller to layer on as much sealer as required. This method is also good for wide, smooth wooden surfaces that do not require corner work or sealer application in narrow areas.
However, if you have a more intricate project with many pieces and angles, such as a pergola or a complex piece of lawn furniture, you might want to opt for a sprayer or aerosol applicator. This allows you to get into the corners and smaller apertures with ease.
How Long Will The Sealer Last?
Unless you are comfortable with replacing the sealer every few seasons to maintain its effectiveness, it’s advisable to select a product that will offer protection for several years at a time.
Replacing your old wood sealant is possible, but typically requires sanding down the entire item to remove any patches of the previous product before you can reapply the new sealer. Save yourself some time and hassle by opting for one of the many products that have up to ten years of environmental and waterproofing coverage.
Not only will this eliminate the need for premature sealant replacement and the stress that can accompany the entire process, but you will also have the peace of mind that your wooden surfaces will be protected for many years to come.
Spar Urethane Or Polyurethane?
Liquid or lacquer types of outdoor wood sealers are typically split between having a spar urethane or polyurethane makeup. As such, understanding the differences and choosing between the two is important for purchasing the correct sealer for your project.
The key differences between spar urethane and polyurethane sealer products lie in their natural resistance to water and weather, according to each chemical compound, and their individual drying times when it comes to applying finish to your project.
Specially designed to withstand water submersion and battering by the elements, many people not only use spar urethane sealants for their outdoor furniture and fencing, but also for marine applications.
Ideal for waterproofing and weatherproofing your wood surfaces, spar urethane compounds also contain additives that successfully disperse ultraviolet light and protect wooden structures from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays.
Spar urethane sealer products are typically a thicker consistency than polyurethane ones, which can make their application somewhat finicky. However, spar urethane sealants also dry much faster when exposed to air circulation, and can produce fewer fumes.
Typically, outdoor wood sealers with polyurethane come as water-based or oil-based products that provide high resistance to water, fungus, and mildew on a variety of surfaces, including wood.
Polyurethane itself is a clear, synthetic resin with a molecular compound that resists abrasion and is naturally hydrophobic, which makes it perfect for use in a variety of outdoor wood sealant applications.
Though it has a thinner consistency, polyurethane sealants do take longer to dry than a spar urethane sealant. Depending on how many coats are necessary for your project, you might find yourself only able to apply two coats of polyurethane sealer in one full day due to the length of drying times.
Because wooden surfaces do require some sort of protection to last outdoors, it’s important to select the best sealer product on the market for your project.
Even the hardiest type of wood can warp and become faded when it spends time outside, particularly if you live in a location where the temperatures fluctuate or the weather can be unpredictable.
Whether you want to protect your fence from the rain, keep your raised garden beds from being overrun with moisture damage and rot, or simply want to weatherproof your wooden patio furniture set so that it lasts longer, an outdoor wood sealer is a great option.
By choosing the best outdoor wood sealer for your structure, you can extend its lifespan and keep up the natural appearance of the wood. By applying just a few coats of wood sealer, you can improve the look of your entire yard and all the structures in it!