Best Exterior Woodstain to use on your home

Updated Jul 18, 2024 | Posted Apr 18, 2020 | Product Reviews, Paints | 12 comments

Choosing the best exterior woodstain for your home isn’t as easy as it sounds. The answer changes depending on a few variables, including the condition of your wood and the weather conditions when you’re applying the woodstain.

As a Professional Decorator, I have used a wide variety of different exterior woodstains. I’m going to take you through the best options in this blog, and link to a website you can buy them from.

I hope you find it useful.


Dulux Ultimate Exterior Woodstain Review


Dulux ultimate woodstain has by far the best opacity out of any on the list. This product dries faster than the other oil-based alternatives too. Unfortunately, these plus points come with a downside. Dulux Ultimate Woodstain doesn’t level off very well and you can often see brush marks.

That isn’t to say it’s not a great product, because it is. There is a time and place when Dulux Ultimate Woodstain comes into its own.

If you aim to restore and recoat previously stained timber work that has taken a battering or has a few chips, then Dulux Ultimate is perfect. As part of your prep you should die any bare wood within the chips on the timber. Then because Dulux Ultimate covers so well, it tends to blend everything in again and make it look solid. Even though this is an oil-based stain, it’s very quick drying, which really helps when you’re working on windows and need to close them later that day.

All you need to do is take care when laying off to avoid those dreaded brush marks. It isn’t very good for large panels such as doors.

Dulux Ultimate Woodstain

 Sadolin Extra Durable Woodstain Review


Sadolin Extra Durable is an easy woodstain to write about. Great finish, but very slow drying!! For bare timber you should build up the depth if colour with another product such as Sadolin Classic woodstain. On its own, Sadolin Extra dosn’t have great opacity. This makes it a poor choice for coating old, battered wood.

It is worth mentioning Sadolin has a great reputation for longevity and although I haven’t tested these products side by side, Sadolin Extra is the one I think would outperform the others against the test of time.

This is the woodstain I use on the exterior of my own house because the finish is lovely and I know it will last.

Do not make the mistake of using this product inside. Without good airflow it simply takes way too long to dry. We’re talking days!! The drying times are enough of a problem when using it on the exterior of a property unless you’re using it in winter.

sadolin extra woodstain for use on exterior timber

Sikkens Woodstain Review


Good old reliable brand of woodstain, Sikkens is now owned by Akzo Nobel who also own Dulux. Sikkens Filter 7 Plus is the exterior stain you need; however, it has poor opacity so it is best using it to recoat previously stained timber, or to topcoat over Sikkens Centol HLS Plus. So, for bare timber you need to apply two different products.

Although the opacity can be a pain, the overall finish of Sikkens Filter 7 plus is to die for. You will find it slow drying, so it is best to apply the stain on a warm day.

Brush marks level off nicely and you will be left with an even, rich glossy colour over your timber. Honestly, the finish is stunning.

Not surprisingly, this product is available from Dulux Decorating Centres, as well as a wide range of other stockists. I think I’m right in saying they are the market leader in wood stains.

Sikkens Woodstain

 The Best Water-Based Woodstain


Every brand I have mentioned up to this point comes with a water-based counterpart. These do come with certain benefits; They are quick drying, easy clean up, better for the environment and a lot easier to use. In fact, they fly on (it does look a bit dodgy before the stain is dry).

There are also a few negatives with water-based stains opposed to oil. Adhesion between new and previous coating can, on occasion be poor. Your water-based woodstain may start to flake after a year or so, particularly if the previous coating was oil-based, or your prep wasn’t up to scratch. Even if it does adhere, your finish won’t last as long as an oil-based would.

That being said, it is still a viable option and can look great. Ronseal is probably the best water-based woodstain on the market, but they are all similar.

the best water-based woodstain

Best Exterior Wood Oil


I know we’re getting a little bit sidetracked from the topic of the best exterior woodstain for your home, but oil is becoming increasingly popular. The craze started with Osmo Oil in 2010 or 2011 and has grown since.

Now we have different wood oils available and some better than Osmo in my opinion. They all do the same sort of thing; you can’t use them on previously sealed timber, and you will need to apply a maintenance coat every year or two.

On paper, oil is a faff compared to woodstain, but the finish is gorgeous. It sinks into exterior wood, giving it a richness and bringing out its grain. I really do get an amazing sense of satisfaction when I’m using it.

The best exterior wood oil is probably Barrettine Armourflex Ultimate UV Protection Oil. I chose this one just because it’s hydrophobic, so it repels water and better protects exterior wood.

It’s also easy to use, looks fantastic, and remains microporous.

Barrettine Armourflex Ultimate UV Protection Oil

Best Tool to Apply Woodstain


Hopefully I have now provided all the information you need to choose the best exterior woodstain for your home. I thought it might also be useful if I provided information on the best tools for the job.


A Recent Job

A wooden building with rich woodstain applied to the walls, windows and doors.

This isn’t one of my jobs. It was completed by Cal’s Decorating. I wanted to show it because it’s clear that the guys at Cal’s Decorating have a great understanding when it comes to the best woodstain products available.

There is a lot of work that has gone into this. They had to sand everything back with dust-free sanders before they could apply any product at all. All the wood was then vacuumed and then rubbed with a tack cloth to remove dust.

The main areas of wall were coated with two coats of Sikkens Centol HLS Plus to build up the colour, followed by two coats of Sikkens Filter 7 to protect from UV. Four coats rather than two means this property has a better colour, is better protected, and the finish will last longer.

However, the trim (doors, windows etc) were coated four times Dulux Ultimate Woodstain. This is because it’s easier to achieve a more solid colour when using Dulux Ultimate. Sikkens is slightly translucent, so it wouldn’t have had the same level of contrast.

This shows a high level of product expertise on the part of the Decorators. It isn’t enough to just think about using a good quality woodstain. It’s about looking at what you want to achieve and choosing the best woodstain for that task.

woodstain on house
stain on buildng
wooden building
wooden building

Updated Jul 18, 2024 | Posted Apr 18, 2020 | 12 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.
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  1. Terry cane

    Sikkens is by far superior if your starting from new and you want to show the grain of the wood as it’s more translucent. The longevity is s also much better. I would only use anything else if the timber is of poor quality and let go to long before redec

    • Trevor Henson

      Yes filter7 on hardwood is the best. been using it since it arrived in U.K. in 5 gallon drums. but Sadolin is the one I use for softwood when timber is weathered.

    • Terry Roch

      Have used Sikkens HLS with Filter 7 as a topcoat. Gives a lovely finish but lifespan only 3 to 4 years.

  2. richard

    Johnsones oil and water stains are a nice competitive priced alternative. Used many times and no problems. Better than Dulux for brushmarks definitely.
    The opaque finish is a copy of sadolin superdec and far better recoat times.

  3. Charlie

    Our carpenter has replaced the sof wood at the front of the exterior of our house and has applied a primer coat of light paint. We are wanting to stain the wood ebony, would we need to strip the wood of the primer before doing so?

  4. Charlie

    Our carpenter has replaced the sof wood at the front of the exterior of our house and has applied a primer coat of light paint. We are wanting to stain the wood with Saolin extra durable ebony, would we need to strip the wood of the primer before doing so?

  5. Steve

    I bought an engineered front door from LPD with oak veneer. They expressly say no oils, waxes, water based finishes. I used Sadolin Classic light oak as a base and intended to finish with Sadolin Extra, Natural as I wanted to keep the light oak colour. It turned out awful. Colour was glossy and almost orange. I have had to strip off the Extra and have been advised to use Sikkens Filter 7. Trouble is they only have colours so I’m worried the door will finish up darker than I want. Is there no clear finishes (solvent based)?

    • Glen Cotney

      I’d use osmo UV hard wax oil.
      Keeps the natural look and comes in different sheens.

      The whole range is highly recommended

  6. Stuart king

    Hi mate
    I have an external bar and the bar itself is scaffold boards sanded down , we want a oak type finish thats wipeable , what would you recommend please ?

  7. P. Rawson

    Unfortunatetly yet again it seems the object of discussion is crappy external paint which is definitely not a wood stain. When it eventually falls of (as it will after a comparatively short space of time) the wood underneath looks as though it has never had anything on it.

    My gripe is that the manufacturers of this crap falsely call it stain rather than paint. Very close examination of the data sheets is required to establish what is genuinely a stain that soaks in like a tea or coffee stain as opposed to a transluscent coating.

  8. Piere

    what would you recomend for painting outside decking

  9. shirley prendergast

    old pine windows being mended and stripped back- south facing full sun.
    Dulux Trade Ultimate Opaque /or Sikkens Cetol HLS been suggested-
    any thought please?


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