Interior and Exterior Wood Stains

Following is a comparison of exterior wood stains on expensive redwood and cheap douglas fir.

Exterior Stains and Sealers

  • Olympic WaterGuard Sequoia Red Transparent Wood Stain and Sealer
  • BEHR Premium Clear Transparent Waterproofing Exterior Wood Finish
  • Varathane Clear Gloss Oil-Based Exterior Spar Urethane

For the redwood, I didn’t want to change the color of the wood so I went with a transparent solution. However, I did want to accentuate the natural color and the grain. I also wanted a glossy look. Of all the sealers tested, the Varathane sealer looked the best to me. It also looked good on Douglas fir (cheap construction wood) as it also brought out the grain lines.

Here’s another look at the Varathane oil-based stain on redwood and douglas fir. Of course, the vibrancy of the color will differ in different lighting.

For interior wood, I find that the Minwax oil-based stain in the Gunstock color produces nice red results with clear grain lines followed by triple-thick glossy polyurethane.