Best Exterior Woodstain to use on your home

Updated Feb 13, 2024 | Posted Apr 18, 2020 | Product Review, Paints | 12 comments

As a professional decorator I quite like using exterior woodstain. Some may think it’s a little old fashioned, but I love giving timber a new lease of life without taking away its character. There are so many brands out there, how do you know which is the best exterior woodstain to use on your property? The thing is, I can’t just point to a product and tell you it’s the best. It completely depends on what you need the stain to do. Use this blog as a simple and honest guide.


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 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.

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.

You can pick this product up at any Dulux Decorating Center, or click here to see online prices.


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. It is worth mentioning Sadolin have a great reputation for longevity and although I haven’t tested these products side by side and left them to weather, 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.

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. You can pick this product up at any Crown Decorating Centre, or click here to see online prices.


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. Click here to see online prices.



Water-Based Woodstain Alternatives


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.


Osmo Oil Review


I didn’t know whether to include Osmo Oil or not. It isn’t a stain, but it is very popular for exterior timberwork and can look good. It is used on cedar as the soft wood tends to absorb the oil well. There are a few limitations. Osmo oil can’t be applied over previously sealed wood unless it was sealed with Osmo oil. You will need to apply extra coats when going over new timber to help with longevity. Plus, you have to re-coat every couple of years because it just doesn’t last. Only apply thin coats or the product will fail and try to work it into the timber. Click here to see online prices.


Final Thoughts


So sorry, I wish I could have just put one product forward and named it “the best exterior woodstain”, but as I said, it isn’t that easy. I hope this blog has helped you out though. I still love using all of the above woodstains for different reasons, and they all have their place.

One more point I’d like to make, the best brush for woodstain is, in my opinion, the Kana Tank. It’s a specialist brush, developed specifically for stain, varnish and oil. Well worth checking out. Click here to see online prices.

Best Exterior Woodstain – by Mike Gregory

Updated Feb 13, 2024 | Posted Apr 18, 2020 | 12 comments

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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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