10 Best Exterior Stains for Pine: Reviews & Comparison

The stain you choose for pine furnishings and wooden surfaces will determine how beautiful they look and how well they are protected.

With so many pine staining products on the market, each claiming to give you an edge over the other, how do you choose the best stain?

Here is our list of tried and tested staining pine products to help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Best Exterior Stain for Pine Reviews

The following list will present our top picks for the best stains for pine wood. In addition to presenting the key features of each product, we have also included the pros and cons for each. Let’s begin by learning why you might want to stain pine.

See our Stain for Pine Comparison Table

Why Use Stains on Pine?

It is evident that we have many types of pine wood finishes, and you may be wondering why you should use wood stains. Well, if you love pine, staining it is one of the best ways to preserve its natural beauty.

The following are some other benefits associated with staining pine;

  • The wood is prevented from rotting, making it long-lasting.
  • The wood’s natural beauty is brought out by it.
  • Colors can be adjusted to suit your taste.
  • Darkening the pine will give it a classical appearance
  • The stained pine wood is protected from the scorching sun and moisture 
  • Maintaining and using it is simple
  • Restaining an object will take some time, depending on the type of stain and climate in the area.
  • Unless the paint peels off, destroying the deck’s appearance and exposing it to harsh weather, it is a cheap and durable option for walking surfaces. 

1. DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, Redwood 5 Gallon

DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent Wood Stain

Defy extreme wood stain tops our list of the best wood stains for a good reason. It brings out the natural beauty of wood surfaces.

It is highly environmentally friendly, dries pretty quickly, and can be used on fences, playsets, outdoor patio furniture, siding, wood decks, etc.   

Snow, dry summers, and rain will not damage the wood stain.

For best results, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using Defy extreme wood stain. The wood stain might go on lighter than you expected, but it will darken as time passes. 

If you have to apply another coat, do so within twenty minutes of applying the first coat, depending on where you live. Applying wood stain in direct sunlight will cause the stain to dry faster before penetrating the wood. 

Whenever possible, apply pine stain on cloudy days. Once you start staining pine, don’t stop until the entire length has been stained.


  • It does not repel against itself when it dries up
  • Easy to apply
  • It can last for up to two years or more before you need to re-apply


  • It is expensive
  • No shortcuts when applying to minimize failures.

2. Ready Seal 510 Exterior Stain and Sealer

Ready Seal 510 Exterior Stain and Sealer

The semitransparent Ready Seal stain highlights the texture and wood grain of pine, bringing out its natural beauty.

There is no better stain and sealer for exterior wood stain for pine than this oil-based, semi-transparent wood stain. It is a one-of-a-kind formula that penetrates the wood to prevent mold, mildew, and harmful UV rays.

This semi-transparent stain doesn’t require a primer. It will be very dark when applied for the first time.

It is not recommended to apply ready seal exterior stain to freshly stained pine surfaces because the sealed surface prevents penetration of the stain. 

The oil-based wood stain can be applied with rollers, brushes, or sprayers: no wet-lining or backbrushing is required.


  • You can apply it at any temperature range.
  • Dries evenly with no runs if you apply using a small spray tip.
  • Easy to apply even with no prior experience
  • You will be happy with the results whichever stain color you pick
  • It is affordable
  • It also seals the wood. 


  • Blemishes may show through the stain- so, wash the deck thoroughly before application
  • Not friendly to the environment 

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3. Saman Interior Wood Stain

Saman Interior Wood Stain

Saman is a high-quality water-based stain that enhances the beauty of wood while protecting it from fading.  All wood surfaces can be easily cleaned with it without the need for any additional tools, even by first-timers.

It’s easy to clean after you use it on cabinets, furniture, wood panelling, or any other wood finish. You don’t need a conditioner and it leaves no overlapping marks.

With this stain, you can choose the color of your dreams, or mix two colors for a natural look.


  • Easy to apply
  • It covers up the grain
  • It is odorless
  • You do not need a conditioner 
  • It is durable
  • You only apply one coat, and you are good to go
  • Friendly to the environment and pets
  • Dries up very quickly
  • You can use different colors to get the shade you want
  • Cleaning up this stain is simple, and you won’t require any harsh solvents.


  • It is expensive, but you get the best value for your money since it is durable.

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4. Varathane 262005 Premium Stain

Varathane 262005 Premium Stain

The Varathane stain highlights the natural wood grain to showcase the beauty of pine unlike light stains. It can be used to stain doors, furniture, paneling, cabinets, trims, and doors as well as any interior wood furniture.

If you are applying oil-based stain, use a one-use foam brush and put on nitrile gloves. 

A paper towel will remove the pine wood stain after a minute. The dye penetrates the wood surfaces quickly and dries quickly, giving you a beautiful uniform color. 

The floors should be covered with old newspapers when painting the cabinets to avoid stains. Also, sand down any sticky things or grease that may be on the cabinets. 


  • It is easy to apply even with no prior experience, and you get the exact color you are looking for.
  • It is available in different colors
  • Dries up in record time
  • Best dark stain for pine
  • It is odorless


  • After drying up, it can be sticky to the touch
  • Sometimes it can be a challenge to get the color you are looking for in your wood finish.
  • Has no return policy

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5. Minwax Penetrating Wood Stain, Dark Walnut 70012444

Minwax Penetrating Wood Stain, Dark Walnut 70012444

Dark Walnut is the top wood finish used in America for staining hardwood floors, cabinets, furniture, moldings, trims, etc. You can use it on plain or stripped pine surfaces to give them a fresh look. 

Stains bring out the grain of the wood, so be aware that different types of pine will take paint differently, so the appearance may differ. 

For your interior wood projects, make sure you do your research thoroughly before choosing a pine wood stain. The color will darken after application, but the results will be the same as the paint on the can. 

Use a microfiber cloth to apply stain after lightly sanding the wood with 220 grit. 

You should condition the wood surface first before applying stain to avoid getting a rustic look. Minwax penetrating wood stain is the best stain for pine decks. 


  • Quite easy to apply
  • It’s available in twenty-eight colors. So, you’ll have lots of colors to choose from.
  • It is easy to dry.
  • You’ll not go wrong as the final colors look exactly like the one on the can.


  • It is expensive
  • For internal staining DIY projects, the drying time is longer, but you get a nice deep color. 

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6. General Finishes New Pine Gel Stain

General Finishes New Pine Gel Stain

This gel stain from General finishes can be used on cabinets, hardwood floors, furniture, stairs, trim, and more. You will love this product from the first use. 

Use a disposable foam brush or a sock to apply the gel stain to achieve excellent results. You should apply three coats and lightly sand between each coat. Apply generously and wipe it off after about four minutes. Don’t let it soak in. If you do, you may have to spend two hours trying to remove it with steel wool. 

Even when applied vertically and overhead, this gel stain self-levels. Polyurethane will prevent the gel stain from fading or peeling, but give it a few days to dry. Spots will appear under different lighting and from different angles.


  • Easy to apply
  • It does not drip or run, so you can achieve a consistent color
  • It is  versatile
  • It has minimal smell
  • It gives you the exact colors you are looking for
  • It does not run or drip, so you do not have a lot of clean up to do


  • You have to sand in between the coats to prevent lifting.

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7. Rust-Oleum Premium Wood Stain

Staining pine with Rust-Oleum Varathane may make you look like a professional, even if you are an amateur. In some cases, you will only need one coat to get your desired color if you apply it correctly. 

Start with a 150 grit sandpaper and finish with a 180 grit sandpaper for excellent results. Sand with the grain and clean the dust from the wood with a dry clean rag between sanding. When you are ready to apply the stain pine, stir it thoroughly and open it. 

If you are staining a large wood surface area, start with a manageable portion and let it sit for five minutes before wiping off any excess paint. 

Stain the entire area and let it sit for two hours before sealing it with the topcoat of your choice.


  • Easy to apply
  • It dries up quickly
  • It gives you the exact color you want 


  • It may take a long time to dry, depending on the temperature and humidity in your area.

8. Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks

Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain for Decks

Aside from preventing graying and protecting against color fade, a good exterior stain for pine will also highlight the grain’s natural beauty while adding rich color. If we are going by standards, the #1 Deck Premium wood stain fits the bill.

You can use this stain on any pressure-treated softwood, including pine, fir, cedar, and redwood, to protect your deck from the elements.

Hardwoods should not be painted with this product since it will need to be repainted frequently. It also seals the wood after adding color, preventing water damage. There are five semi-transparent colors available, which dry to a natural finish. 

In most cases, I use several coats of this product to achieve my desired look. Additionally, it is an eco-friendly product with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), making it safe to use.

Additionally, you can easily clean up with soap and water and stain damp or moist wood. Once your wood has dried, you can begin staining. This reduces the time between cleaning and staining.


  • Easy to apply
  • Environmentally friendly
  • It is odorless
  • It is durable
  • Easy to clean
  • It is fast-drying


  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t work on hardwoods

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9.  ZAR 10912 Wood Stain, QT, Colonial Pine

ZAR 10912 Wood Stain, QT, Colonial Pine

The Zar oil-based stain is ideal for staining previously painted or varnished surfaces without stripping. In addition to offering superior coverage, it can be used to stain interior pine wood furniture, including doors, stairs, cabinets, paneling, and trim.

As well as acting as a stain, this polish also seals the wood exterior to protect it from extreme environmental elements. The natural wood grain effect enhances the daintiness of pine. 

The finish eliminates the need to stain with one product and seal with another, making it an ideal option for those trying to save time. The ZAR Oil-Based Interior Wood Stain wipes on like furniture polish to produce a rich, even color.

The application process of this finish is seamless, and it dries fast. With its controlled penetration formula, this wood stain brings out the natural beauty of wood without leaving streaks or lap marks. 

It is also possible to achieve an ornate color tuning and faux finish using this oil-based finish other than wood.


  • It is fast-drying
  • Easy to apply even without prior staining experience
  • Works on multiple porous surfaces
  • Easy to clean without using solvents


  • Produces odor
  • Harsh to the environment

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10.  Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain + Polyurethane Finish

Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain + Polyurethane Finish

This product is manufactured by Minwax, a leading producer of wood finishes and wood care products in America.  An all-in-one oil-based stain and polyurethane finish enhances the natural wood grain of pine.

To ensure the longevity of your wood exterior, it combines beautiful color with polyurethane protection. 

Its unique formula allows you to apply it over polyurethane finishes without removing the existing finish whenever you wish to change the color of an exterior surface. Additionally, you can use it on bare wood to create a beautiful and unique look. 

Featuring a dark brown satin finish, this wood stain can be used on furniture, doors, cabinets, and other woodwork. 

It is recommended that you sand the surface lightly before applying Minwax PolyShades and remove any sanding dust. Allow the coat to dry, then watch how effective it will be at transforming your wood projects.

Apply the finish with a high-quality natural bristle brush for excellent results.


  • Works on bare wood
  • Offers adequate protection against the elements
  • It also seals the wood
  • Easy to apply


  • Streaks may show through
  • Produces odor

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Best Stain For Pine Buyer Guide

By staining your wood surfaces, you can make them more durable, protect them from getting wet, and prevent scratches. 

Therefore, it would be best if you got it right from the start. Now that you know what the best stain for pine is, let’s see what to look for when buying a wood stain. But before that, let’s see what a pine stain is. 

What is a Pine Wood Stain? 

The pine stain is a unique type of paint that enhances the natural beauty of wood. 

As well as improving the natural beauty of pine, wood stain also protects it from scratching and from getting soaked, making it more durable.

In spite of the fact that wood stains might not offer the same level of protection as varnish, they still give the wood a more natural appearance. 

How to Stain the Pine

The darker stains on wood look terrible. Apart from the blotchiness, the softer parts between the grain lines absorb the stain, giving it an unnatural appearance. Follow these tips to keep your pine wood looking great:


  • Tack cloth
  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Pre-stain Wood Conditioner
  • Wood Stain
  • Facemask

Step 1: Prepare The Wood 

Using 80-grit sandpaper, sand the wood surface to smooth it out. Since the stain is transparent, any uneven surfaces or spots will show through.

Step 2: De-nibble the Wood

Remove any trapped particles from the sanded wood using a brush or a dry table cloth.

Step 3: Condition the Wood 

Use a disposable foam brush or a clean cloth to apply a Pre-stain wood conditioner. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Stain the Wood

The stain should be opened and stirred well before being applied. 

Brush or rag dipped in the stain should be rubbed on the wood surface following the grain.

Step 5: Wipe off Excess Stain with a Rag

To be safe, wait at least twelve hours before applying a second coat of paint. The waiting time depends on the humidity and temperature of your location. 

Step 6: Finish the Wood

When applying the topcoat, use long, light strokes to avoid blotching. Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area. Let it sit for a while. Run your hand along the wood surface to check whether it has completely dried.

It is best to use a foam brush or rag when staining pine doors so that you have more control over the color and can manipulate it to get a nice, even coat.

In some cases, you may need to seal the wood. In this case, you should look into how to treat pine for outdoor use.

What is the Best Finish For Pine?

Pine accepts epoxy and polyurethane products just like any other type of natural wood. You can also use oil-based stains and finish with clear topcoats such as shellac. 

What to Consider when Choosing the Right Stain For Pine

Getting the right stain for your pine will make it look like new even if you have used it for years. Getting the right stain for your pine can make it look like brand new even if you have used it for years.

Even if the wood is brand new, you can stain it to give it a natural appearance. 

You should consider the following factors when selecting a pine stain. 

1. Stain Type

It is important to consider the stain type when choosing the right kind of stain. However, we will discuss what stain looks best on pine later on. 

2. Wood Color 

Different types of wood are available on the market today, such as soft woods and hardwoods. Wood types differ in density, grain, color, and finishing.

A good stain for pine can be picked based on its color. Also, if you know the type of wood used for your furniture, you’ll determine its actual value in the market when you decide to resell it.

You would be wise not to rush into staining pine furniture to avoid regrets. To be safe, check every piece of furniture carefully before applying stain.

It should be made from pine, rosewood, maple, cherry, mahogany, or any other unique wood that doesn’t need to be stained. 

If the wood is light and has an average grain, staining it might do it justice.  

Ash, poplar, beech, gum, and birch are among the woods you can stain before finishing. 

No matter how they are stained or unstained, oak wood is beautiful.

3. Wood Grain

Depending on the type of wood you use and the stain you use, your finished item will have a different color and shade.  

The wood-stained finishes will differ organically because each piece of wood is unique. 

Choosing the right wood and stain is crucial to getting the right results. 

Boards with highly porous wood grain and more porous parts soak up more stain, resulting in a darker finish.

It is sometimes necessary to seal the pine before staining it because fine wood grains have tiny pores through which colorants can attach themselves. 

 4. Coats 

A pine’s color depends on how many coats you apply when staining it.

It is usually sufficient to apply one thin coat of stain to the wood to enhance its beauty and provide protection.

The excess stain should be wiped off thoroughly and consistently following the grain direction to achieve a uniformly stained pine surface.

To achieve a darker or deeper stain color, wait 24 hours after the first coat has dried before applying the second one.

4. Type of Project

To get the right stain for your pine, first think about what you want to use it for. Are you staining pine doors, furniture, decks, trims, cabinets, or fences inside your home? Different DIY wood projects might require different types of stain

5. Stain Usage – Indoor or Outdoors

The stain can be either water-based or oil-based. If you’re staining cabinets, you might want to use water-based paint because it dries up faster and doesn’t smell. So, you’ll still be able to live in your home. 

Oil-based stains can, however, be used to stain your deck or fence, since it doesn’t matter how long it takes to dry. 

Once you have completed applying the paint, you can duck inside to escape the pungent smell coming from the stain for a while.  

6. Stain Blending and Stain Intensity

You can determine the result by the type of wood, the stain shade, and the painting procedure.

The final product will look more polished if the stained pine is sanded gently, sealed, and then topped. 

Types of Stain to Use on Pine Wood

Wood stains serve a variety of purposes:

Water-Based stains

You can use these stains on pine to add color and pomp, while protecting it from the elements. They are odorless, dry faster, and are easier to clean.  

Varnish Stains

Stains such as these harden along the outer section of pine. Some are colored to enhance the color of the stained pine. They make the wood more durable, and you use them in areas prone to wear and tear. 

Sealer Stain 

The sealer is also known as a wash coat, and you apply it on sustained wood or over the stain. Porous wood needs several layers of sealer to cover imperfections and to make the surface more uniform. 

NGR Stains (Non-Grain Stain )

A spirit-based wood dye developed to give superior depth of color to wood stains on almost any surface indoors. 

Stains made from organic compounds such as coffee, tea, and berries are known as organic/natural wood stains. 

Wiping Stains 

Wiping stains can be used on surfaces such as metal, fiberglass, and wood, especially stained pine, birch, poplar, cherry, and maple. 

FAQs on Pine Wood Stains

In this day and age, people turn to Google for answers to their questions. Below is a list of questions people ask when wanting to learn more about wood staining. 

How to Stain Pine Dark Brown?

In order to conceal orange and yellow grains in pine, use a wood conditioner and dark brown stain colors.

Interesting: Alder stain colors

How Many Coats of Stain on Pine?

For pine wood, two coats are sufficient to control blotching. It is very important to keep the surface wet as you work until you are able to wipe it well. The number of coats of wood stain you use depends on what you want and the type of wood stain you are using. The staining procedure is also very important.

Do You Need to Sand Between Coats When Applying Wood Stains 

While sanding between coats is not necessary, denibbing with a pad may help reduce surface flaws.

Does Pine Stain Well?

As pinewood grain is unevenly dense, it can be tough to stain. Most wood stains reverse the wood grain, so they can only penetrate the porous earlywood and not the dense latewood.

If you’re working with maple furniture, here’s the best stain for maple that I recommend. Other wood species, such as cherry, birch, and maple, are more difficult to stain.

Can you stain pine wood?

Pine wood is possible to stain, but it is notoriously difficult to do. Because of its unevenly dense grain, if you’re staining a board with a nice grain pattern, you might end up with dark, splotchy areas. If you follow the right steps, however, you can prevent blotchiness and stain it just as well.

What Stain Looks Best on Pine Wood?

In order to help you choose the best stain for pine, we went to great lengths to show you the best products. 

We believe DEFY Extreme Exterior Wood Stain is the best all-inclusive wood stain for pine regardless of your budget.  

The semi-transparent formula preserves the natural beauty of wood while providing broad coverage.

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