Ready Seal Stain Review

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Matt Stone

Ready Seal Exterior Stain

image of a ready seal stain can close up

Product Description

This is a review of Ready Seal brand fence stain.

We highly recommend Ready Seal exterior wood stain. Most fence stains require special care to avoid uneven color from lap marks and runs.

Ready Seal uses a long drying oil that avoids these issues and makes an even color possible every time.

Ready Seal’s transparent stain colors highlight new wood beautifully. The color options are limited with this brand. The colors they do carry are the most popular fence stain colors. If you want something unique though, you may need to look at another brand.

Overall Score: 8.2/10

Single Gallons

Five Gallon Buckets


Very Easy to Apply

Will Not Peel or Flake

Protects From Moisture and UV Rays


Takes a Long Time to Dry

Not Recommended For Decks

Read below for the full review.

Ready Seal brand stain was the first brand that I used in my professional staining company. I really appreciated how easy it was to apply. It was a great option to use as a beginner stainer. That is why it is one of my top recommendations for homeowners and DIY fence staining. It won the top spot in our article on the best oil-based fence stains.

Product Overview

Ready Seal Stain on cedar boards
Ready Seal: Light Oak color on a cedar fence.

Product Ratings

Ease of Application9
Initial Appearance8
Average Rating:8.2/10
ready seal natural cedar on a gazebo
Ready Seal natural cedar color on a gazebo.

Ease of Application

One of the best qualities of Ready Seal is how easy it is to apply. The company calls it “good proof.” They say this because the oil used in this product avoids many of the issues that make other stains a challenge to properly apply.

The long-drying oils in their product allow any excess stain to level and even out. If there are areas where the stain was put on too heavily the stain will drip off or eventually soak into the wood. This is opposed to most other fence stains. If these others are put on too heavily they will dry in a sheet on the surface and eventually flake off.

Also, most fence stains require you to keep a wet edge while staining. This means that you cannot let the stain you are working on dry before you are finished. If fresh stain is overlapped onto some that is already dry, the spot where they overlap will be darker. These darker spots are called lap marks.

Both of the issues mentioned above, flaking and lap marks, are eliminated by using a slow-drying stain like Ready Seal. You can stain part of a board one day and finish it the next and you will not see a lap mark once everything has a chance to dry.

There are still a couple of things to keep in mind when using this brand. Your main goal when putting Ready Seal on your fence is the get enough oil and pigment on each board. This requires 3 main steps

  1. You must make sure that the stain is very thoroughly mixed before you begin. I recommend turning the unopened can upside down and shaking it to mix up the pigment from the bottom of the can.
  2. You must make sure the wood is dry. The most accurate way to do this is to measure the moisture content with a moisture meter. You want a reading of less than 12%. If this is not available, you should wait at least several weeks after installation and 3 days after any rain to give the fence time to dry.
  3. You must apply enough stain to the fence. Ready Seal recommends applying a first heavy coat followed by a lighter second coat if the first one soaks in.

Failure to follow these three steps will result in a fence without adequate oil or pigment on it. This will cause the stain to fade early and your fence won’t be protected. For more information, see our guide to staining a fence.

Application methods: brush, roller, pump sprayer, airless paint sprayer

Requires back brushing: No

Requires keeping a wet edge: No

Initial Appearance 

two stained boards from the Ready Seal application test
Cedar boards stained with Ready Seal in our application test.

One thing to keep in mind is that it takes Ready Seal 7-14 days to reach its final appearance. Because it uses slow-drying oils, the fence may appear wet or uneven in color for the first week or two. This is normal as the oil slowly works its way into the wood. I have had good results with Ready Seal giving an even color on new fences.

As mentioned above, the Ready Seal colors are pretty transparent. They will highlight wood grain and enhance the natural beauty of cedar. Their colors will also work on pine but the results won’t be quite as stunning. Read more on how to choose a fence stain color.


Ready Seal uses paraffin oils in their stain. These oils are made to fully penetrate into the wood. They will not pool up and form a film on the surface if they are applied too heavily. This eliminates the possibility of flaking or peeling for this stain. This is a benefit of Ready Seal vs Cabot stain or other varieties.


Ready Seal is a premium stain and comes with an above-average cost. I recommend buying it in 5-gallon buckets if you are staining a fence. The cost per gallon will be much lower this way.

Ease of Reapplication

Ready Seal uses the same process to reapply as it uses for the first application. The old stain does not need to be removed. The new stain can be spread right over it. 

The manufacturer recommends staining fences every three to four years to maintain the look and protection of the stain. While many people ask how long does Ready Seal last on a deck, we don’t recommend using this product on decks. A more appropriate product would be Cabot Australian Timber Oil.

If a fence has been neglected for longer than this amount of time and has gray color starting to appear on the pickets the boards should be bleached and washed prior to staining.

Resistance to Peeling

Ready Seal does not have issues with peeling because its oils cannot form a film on the wood. This is a great benefit of Ready Seal vs Behr stains because the Behr product tends to peel.


Ready Seal warranties against any defects in the original product. They do not give a warranty for a certain duration on the fence. Their warranty reads in part:

“Ready Seal warrants the quality of the contents of the container, so if it is determined that there is a defect in the product itself, replacement product or refund of purchase price will be provided at Ready Seal’s discretion. Labor costs are not covered by this warranty.”

Read the full warranty.

Product Information

Stain Type: Oil-based, fully penetrating

Color Options: 8 

Application temperatures: any

Recommended coats: 2 unless the wood is smooth

Coverage: 125-175

Dry Time: 24 – 48 hours

Cleanup: Mineral Spirits

Data Sheet 

Manufacturer: Ready Seal Incorporated

Alternatives to Ready Seal

A Very Similar Alternative to Ready Seal is Wood Defender fence Stain. It has the same ease of application and offers full protection to your wood. The main reason you may consider choosing Wood Defender over Ready Seal is if you like one of their color options better. Read the full Wood Defender Transparent Fence Stain Review.

Our Verdict

We highly recommend Ready Seal brand fence stain for homeowners, DIY enthusiasts, and professionals. The ease of application is second to none. It looks great on new fences and it is easy to keep it looking good.

Check out the prices on Amazon.

How long does Ready Seal Last?

Ready Seal should be reapplied every 2 to 4 years depending on the exact conditions of your fence.

Does Ready Seal require two coats?

The makers of Ready Seal recommend applying a first coat and then testing to see if a second is needed. After the fence has an hour to soak in the stain, apply a test second coat to an area of fence. If that second coat doesn’t soak in, the fence does not need a second coat.

Is Ready Seal good for fences?

Yes, Ready Seal is a great option for fences. It is one of our top recommendations.

How Much Stain Do You Need?

Want to know how much stain to buy for your next fence stain project?

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Author: Matt Stone
Matt has worked as a professional painter for over 10 years. This includes much experience with all types of wood stains. He loves to write about wood stains to help others make good choices to protect their homes and make them beautiful.