What is the Best Redwood Sealer for Fences and Decks? (2023)

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Redwood isn’t just any wood; its unique grain brings a touch of elegance to fences and decks. But, just like a fine piece of art, the wrong frame (or, in this case, stain) can diminish its allure. 

Fear not! I’ve rolled up my sleeves and put the top brands to the test, hunting for the ultimate redwood sealer. Ready to unveil the champion? Keep reading!

Premium Option
TotalBoat Clear Penetrating Epoxy Wood Sealer Stabilizer
Editor’s Choice
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
Budget Option
Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealers
TotalBoat Clear Penetrating Epoxy Wood Sealer Stabilizer
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer, Weatherproofs
• Effectively restores and repairs the wood
• Extends the lifespan of the wood
• Excellent waterproofing
• Offers maximum protection
• Highlights the redwood grains and patterns
• Works as a stain and a sealer
• No need for thinning or diluting
• Dries faster
• Gives complete protection to the wood
• Extend the longevity of the wood
• Water-resistant
• Low maintenance
Premium Option
TotalBoat Clear Penetrating Epoxy Wood Sealer Stabilizer
TotalBoat Clear Penetrating Epoxy Wood Sealer Stabilizer
• Effectively restores and repairs the wood
• Extends the lifespan of the wood
• Excellent waterproofing
• Offers maximum protection
Editor’s Choice
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood
• Highlights the redwood grains and patterns
• Works as a stain and a sealer
• No need for thinning or diluting
• Dries faster
Budget Option
Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealers
Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer, Weatherproofs
• Gives complete protection to the wood
• Extend the longevity of the wood
• Water-resistant
• Low maintenance

Reviews of the Top Redwood Sealers

1. Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

The latest offering from Ready Seal is genuinely a game-changer. Imagine giving your wood a makeover that highlights its authentic charm and intricate patterns. If you’re looking to breathe life back into redwood or pressure-treated lumber, this is the go-to product.

Another remarkable feature of Ready Seal is it doesn’t require priming the wood, which sets it apart from other oil-based stains in the market. Although it will darken the wood as you apply it, don’t worry because the actual color will come back after two weeks.

Actually, the Ready Seal 520 is an excellent semi-transparent deck stain. But it also works as a great sealer that provides maximum protection against UV rays, mildew, and mold.  

What i Like

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2. TotalBoat Clear Penetrating Epoxy Wood Sealer Stabilizer

If you’re working on a wood restoration project, this epoxy wood sealer stabilizer from TotalBoat can help you reinstate the rotten wood back into its good condition. 

It has a powerful formula that utilizes adhesive to permeate through the wood and stop further deterioration by solidifying the rotten wood and bonding it to the surrounding stronger fibers. Though it cures slower, this process saturates the epoxy thoroughly, ensuring to seal, protect, and preserve the wood against mildew, mold, and water damage. 

Also, the TotalBoat Clear Penetrating Epoxy Wood Sealer Stabilizer has no powerful and unpleasant odor and fumes, unlike most epoxies. This product can truly restore the beauty of your wood and extend its lifespan. 

What i Like

What i Don't Like

3. Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer

If you’re looking for an economical product for your bigger project, this waterproof clear sealer from Roxil is what you need. In just one coating, your wood is completely protected that can last for 10 years without repainting. 

Not only that, but you can also save a lot of money with this product since its one gallon can already cover 200 square feet of wood surface. Since it’s water-resistant, it can protect your exterior wood structure and outdoor furniture from the destructive effects of rain and moisture. 

The Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer also has a cream formula that doesn’t alter the color of the wood but gives a sparkling wet-look finish you’ll surely love. 

What i Like

What i Don't Like

4. HOPE's 100% Pure Tung Oil, Waterproof Natural Wood Finish and Sealer

For those diving into DIY or just starting out, I can’t recommend this natural wood finish and sealer enough. Simple to use, yet the results? Nothing short of professional. Its magic ingredient? Pure tung oil. This ensures your wood not only feels smooth but also boasts a radiant shine.

Tung oil possesses a remarkable ability to deeply penetrate the wood and seamlessly integrate within its fibers. As it dries, it undergoes a transformative process, becoming an integral part of the wood itself.

This product is highly durable and resistant to water, moisture, oil, and alcohol, giving long-lasting protection to the wood surface. It has no toxic chemicals, so you can use it on many items inside your home, including your wooden kitchenware.  

What I Like

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5. Rain Guard Water-Based Water Sealers

If you want to preserve the natural beauty of your wood without altering its color, this water-based sealer is the perfect choice for you. The Rain Guard Water-Based Water Sealer has a natural clear finish and will not have any trace of surface film, maintaining the original appearance of the wood. 

You can rely on this product to restore, protect, and extend the lifespan of the wood. Its unique formula helps your wood to withstand harsh UV rays, temperature variations, and molds. Another good feature of this product is it’s easier to maintain due to its water-based formula. You just need to clean the surface with soap and water, and your project is complete!

What I Like

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6. Thompsons Waterseal TH.041821-16 Transparent Waterproofing Stain

This waterproofing stain from Thompson’s has a superior formula that can completely protect outdoor wood. This product is infused with special polymers that shield against the sun’s harsh UV rays, ensuring your wood retains its vibrant color even after prolonged sun exposure. 

Plus, its finishing coat acts like a protective barrier against mold, mildew, and wild weather swings. Also, you can enhance the appearance of the wood as you can avail it in various colors, such as maple brown, woodland cedar, sequoia red, and acorn brown. 

With the Thompsons Waterseal TH.041821-16 Transparent Waterproofing Stain, you can easily achieve a beautiful finish in one coat. But how can you apply Thompson’s water seal using a sprayer? Check this guide!

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. KILZ Waterproofing Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain

The KILZ Waterproofing Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain has excellent coverage, completely hiding the wood surface imperfections. Aside from preserving the integrity of your wood, it also gives the wood surface an outstanding finish.

Crafted for enduring defense against water and sun damage, this formula is your redwood’s best ally. For optimal results and extended lifespan of your wood, I recommend a minimum of two applications. 

However, you must wait two days for the first coat to fully dry prior to applying the subsequent coating. This way, your outdoor structures, and furniture can last for more than five years without repainting. This allows you to save even more time and money.

What I Like

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8. Dapolp 100% Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain & Natural Sealer

If you’re working on intricate redwood surfaces, this tung oil can help you protect the wood grains and achieve a flawless natural finish. The Dapolp 100% Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain & Natural Sealer stands out from the rest as it gives sparkle to your redwood surface and makes it look natural.

This sealant offers a richer and glossier overall look to your redwood fences and decks in just a single coat. The tung oil penetrates the wood thoroughly and does not leave any unpleasant residue on the surface. 

It’s easier and straightforward to use, so you will not have a problem working with it even if you’re not a professional. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Redwood Sealers: Buyer’s Guide

There are many factors you need to consider in choosing the best redwood sealer for your project. The success of your fence and deck projects depends on the following essential aspects:

Indoor or Outdoor Use?

The first thing you must consider is where you’re going to use the wood, either outdoors or indoors. If it’s for indoor use, you better buy a fast-drying sealer. 

Also, you must ensure that it has non-toxic chemicals or a low level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), so it won’t cause health hazards to the people living in the house.

deck painted with Thompsons Waterseal

Meanwhile, choose a waterproof and mold-resistant sealer for outdoor use. This will protect the wood against the extreme climate and harsh environment. Opt for eco-friendly sealers and make sure they are safe for your pets and surroundings. 

See Also: Top-Rated Waterproof Paints for Wood 

Redwood Type

There’s an appropriate sealer for the type of wood you will use on your project. Essentially, redwood has beautiful grains that you want to preserve by using the correct type of sealer. Below are the three types of redwood you can use for fences and decks.

Giant Redwood

Generally, Giant Redwood is a tall tree with a massive and fibrous trunk, reddish-brown bark, and dense branches with needle-like leaves. It has a cone-shaped structure towards the tree top. 

sandblasting Redwood deck

It’s almost similar to Coast Redwood except that Giant Redwood has only one type of leaf.

Dawn Redwood

The Dawn Redwood is a type of evergreen tree that produces small circular cones ranging from 1/2 to 1 inch. When it’s young, it has a tidy pyramid shape, which eventually develops into a more rounded crown. Like most trees in fall, its dense leaves turn reddish-brown.

Coast Redwood

This type of redwood is known as the tallest tree species in the world. Normally, it can grow from 280 feet to 325 feet. But it can be as tall as 360 feet. Its trunk can be as big as eight feet to fifteen feet.

Formula/Main Ingredient

The wood sealer composition is crucial as it determines how long the wood will last and how well it can withstand the elements. For instance, a wood sealer that is made of pure acrylic provides complete protection to the wood against rain, snow, moisture, and UV rays.

Other types of sealers, such as oil-based sealer is ideal for outdoor use since it’s more durable. Meanwhile, a water-based sealer is more suitable indoors as it’s eco-friendly and easy to clean.

Ease of Usage

If you’re a DIYer or a beginner, it’s essential to opt for a sealer that’s easier to apply on various types of surfaces. Always refer to the application method on the product label prior to purchasing a sealer. 

Most sealers can be applied using a simple paintbrush or a roller. But some may require a more sophisticated tool like an airless pump for a better finish. 

Also, it is more convenient to buy a sealer that you can use in any weather conditions to ensure that you can finish your project on time. 


Opacity is simply the level of visibility of the wood grain on your redwood after applying stain. This transparency is determined by the stain formula you used. It is necessary to consider the level of opacity as it will affect the overall look of your wood. 

Below are the four opacity levels of sealers available in the market.


Toner is the most basic and straightforward kind of sealer. It will not change the appearance of the wood.

staining kitchen counter top with HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil


Opaque is the preferred sealer of most woodworkers since it offers optimum protection and extends the longevity of the wood as compared to other types of sealer. It also has the highest level of pigment. 


The semi-transparent sealer is also popular among woodworkers since it can enhance the color of the wood surface but will not completely hide the wood grains. Instead, it will just add value to the aesthetic appeal of the wood. 


The semi-opaque is a semi-solid sealer. It has high pigment content, which can conceal the wood pattern, making the wood looks richer and more vibrant.


Your safety is most important. So, when choosing the best redwood sealer for your project, you must consider the level of toxic chemicals that can harm your body and the environment. 

Determine the product’s Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) content prior to buying it. Avoid buying a sealer that has high VOC content since it emits strong fumes that are hazardous to your body and surroundings. 

Amount & Application Method

When buying a sealer, choose a product size that can cover your entire project and no content will go to waste as much as possible. Most sealer brands are available in various sizes, such as one gallon, five gallons, and up.

To know how much sealer you will need, measure the surface area you’re working on. Essentially, the standard can cover the first coat of 250 to 400 square feet. If you need to apply a second coat, you must get another sealer can of the same size. 

spraying Thompsons Waterseal TH.041821-16 on fence

With regard to the application method of your sealer, refer to the instructions on the product label. The procedures vary depending on the product formula and the type of redwood. 

Sealer Type

Generally, redwood is easy to work with and various types of sealers are compatible with it. Therefore, you will have a lot of options to use in your project. 

For instance, an oil-based colored sealer is a preferred option for your new redwood fence or deck as it can penetrate thoroughly into the wood grains, giving the wood maximum protection. However, it may alter the wood’s beautiful color.

Therefore, your choice should depend on your desired output for your project. Nevertheless, you can use latex, acrylic, or water-based sealer and still have professional output since redwood is already a beautiful piece of wood. 

garden bench treated with Roxil Wood Protection Cream Instant Waterproofing Clear Sealer

So, just pick a high-quality sealer that offers protection for your redwood but is still affordable and within your budget.   

Do You Need to Seal Redwood? What are the Benefits?

The answer is yes, you need to seal the redwood to extend its longevity and highlight its superb color. More importantly, sealing your redwood can prevent rotting and cracking, especially if it’s exposed to harsh environmental conditions. 

Below are the benefits of applying sealer on redwood.

Sealing Redwood in 3 Steps

Before you start sealing your redwood, it is necessary to read the product label and follow the application instructions for best results. 

Typically, it is ideal to apply the sealer during a windless day at room temperature or not below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve a great finish.


Step #1: Sanding the Wood

When prepping fresh wood, always give it a good sanding. This not only smoothens the surface but also opens up the wood’s pores, ensuring your sealer sinks in nicely. 

For the best results, grab a piece of sandpaper between 120 to 220 grit. And remember, always sand in the direction of the wood grain.

Meanwhile, if you’re sealing old wood, you must pressure wash the wood or use a deck stripper to scrap the old finish, so that the sealer can easily penetrate through the wood. Allow the wood to dry completely.

staining materials and gears

Step #2: Picking Your Sealant

Choosing a sealant for your project depends on the overall look you want to achieve. If you prefer a natural finish without altering the wood characteristics, pick an oil-based sealant. 

On the other hand, if you want to achieve a more uniform and flawless finish, we suggest you choose a semi-transparent sealant. 

Step #3: Applying the Sealer

You may use a roller or a paintbrush with four inches of bristle to apply the sealer on the wood. You may also use an airless sprayer for easier application. Ensure to apply the sealer at full board length and avoid overruns.

Allow the wood to fully dry for at least 48 hours prior to using the wood.

Sealing vs Painting Redwood

Most woodworkers prefer sealing the redwood to painting for many good reasons. One of these is to preserve the natural beauty of the wood. Redwood is popular for its magnificent color and unique grain patterns, so you don’t want to cover that with paint. 

Consequently, you want to highlight its beauty and allow the natural color to stand out. This is how sealing the redwood can help you the most. 

Unlike paint, a high-quality redwood sealer can deeply penetrate through the wood, sealing the fibers and making the wood more durable. 

Meanwhile, painting the redwood will only protect the surface and will not entirely preserve the wood grains. Also, the paint will not be as durable as a sealer on high-traffic surfaces as it will crack, chip, and peel off easily, exposing the surface to harmful environments. 

If you need to repaint the redwood, you must prepare the surface meticulously to achieve a smooth finish. Scraping an old painting can be difficult and will take a longer time. 

On the other hand, stain with sealer slowly wears off and you can recoat the surface without the tedious preparation, saving you a lot of time and effort. You can also save more money with sealer as it is cheaper and has low maintenance compared to paint. 

Therefore, it’s recommended to use a sealer rather than paint for your redwood. 

What’s the Best Time To Seal Your Redwood Deck?

If you’re working on a fresh redwood, you need to wait for at least three weeks before sealing it to give it enough time to dry and adjust to the environment’s conditions. 

deck painted with Rain Guard Water Sealers

If you don’t wait for the redwood to fully dry before sealing it, the wood’s moisture will be trapped inside, which can cause the wood fibers to deteriorate prematurely. Once you are sure that the redwood is dry, clean the wood thoroughly using oxalic acid before sealing it. 

Finally, use a high-quality sealer that can penetrate through the wood fibers to protect them from moisture and other harmful elements, extending the lifespan of your redwood. 


What is the best finish for redwood?

The best finish for redwood is tung oil as it can highlight the wood’s color, grains, and patterns, which enhance the overall appearance of the wood. However, you can choose any high-quality finish that can protect the wood from UV rays, mildew, and water damage. 

What are the ideal redwood preservatives?

The ideal redwood preservatives are stains and sealers, which are often combined into one product. Stains can permeate through the wood while the sealer protects the surface against extreme weather and environmental conditions. 

Can you use Danish oil and linseed oil on redwood?

Yes, you can use Danish oil on redwood as it can protect and highlight the wood’s natural beauty. However, you can’t use linseed oil [1] on redwood since it attracts mold that can cause deterioration of the wood. 

Next Read: Best Wood Sealer for Cedar Wood

My Top Pick for a Sealer for Redwood:
Ready Seal 520 Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood

After testing the most popular sealer products in the market, the Ready Seal 520 is undoubtedly the best redwood sealer. I’m genuinely impressed by its uncanny knack for reviving the rich hues and showcasing the distinct grains of the redwood, truly bringing out its natural splendor. 

Plus, it doesn’t just make your redwood look good—it also shields it from the elements, ensuring it stands the test of time. So, rest easy knowing you won’t be patching up or parting with your prized redwood anytime soon.

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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