Ready Seal Vs Cabot Fence Stain: A Comparison

Photo of author

Matt Stone

When it comes to finding the right stain for your fence, two names often come up: Ready Seal and Cabot. But, when comparing “Ready Seal vs Cabot”, which one really comes out on top?

Ready Seal, known for its easy application, is a popular choice for those working with new fences. On the flip side, Cabot offers a wide range of products including Australian Timber Oil, Cabot Gold, and Cabot semi-transparent. These traditional stains cover more diverse needs, but they also require a bit more effort to apply.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at both of these well-known stain brands. We’ll dig into their features, discuss their pros and cons, and help you decide which one is the best fit for your fence staining project. So, whether you’re a first-time DIYer or an experienced pro, stick around as we dive into the “Ready Seal vs Cabot” debate and help you find the perfect stain for your fence. Let’s get to it!

Ready Seal Overview

A can of Ready Seal stain in front of two fence pickets that have just been stained.

Ready Seal is a prominent brand in the world of wood stains, recognized for its user-friendly application process and high-quality results, especially when it comes to new fences. Here are some of its notable features:

Ease of Application: One of the most attractive features of Ready Seal is its ease of application. The brand prides itself on its “goof-proof” application process. It’s designed so that it can be applied easily without the need for back brushing or maintaining a wet edge, which are required for traditional stains. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners and those who want a fuss-free staining process.

Consistent Finish: With Ready Seal, achieving a consistent and even finish is relatively straightforward. Thanks to its unique blend of oils and quality pigments, it evens out as it dries, eliminating the risk of runs, laps, or streaks in your final result.

Ready Seal light oak stain on a cedar fence.
This is Ready Seal light oak stain on a cedar fence

Suitable for New Fences: Ready Seal is particularly well-suited to new fences. Its oil-based formula penetrates deep into the wood, providing not just a beautiful finish, but also long-lasting protection from weathering and UV damage.

Moisture Repellant: As an oil-based stain, Ready Seal acts as a great moisture repellant. It protects your wood from water damage and prevents the growth of mildew, adding to the longevity of your fence.

Easy Cleanup: Another bonus of using Ready Seal is the clean-up process. If you spill or overspray, the stain can be easily cleaned off of non-porous surfaces using a rag and a bit of mineral spirits.

Color Variety: Ready Seal offers eight different color choices, providing enough variety to suit most tastes. However, keep in mind that these colors tend to be relatively transparent, allowing more of your wood’s natural grain to show through.

In summary, Ready Seal stands out for its straightforward application, consistent results, and suitability for new fences. Its features make it a solid choice, especially for those who are new to fence staining or prefer a hassle-free application process.

Cabot Stain Overview

a can of Cabot semi-transparent stain and sealer.

Cabot is a time-honored name in wood stains, offers a broad variety of stain products and delivers exceptional results, particularly for seasoned woodworkers and professionals. Here are some of its standout features:

Wide Range of Products: Cabot boasts a diverse range of stain products, each catering to different needs and aesthetic preferences. Among its top offerings are the Australian Timber Oil, Cabot Gold, and semi-transparent stains, allowing customers to choose the perfect stain for their specific project.

Australian Timber Oil: Known for its deep-penetrating blend of oils, Australian Timber Oil is ideal for outdoor furniture and decks exposed to harsh weather conditions. It shields the wood from water damage and UV rays, prolonging its life.

Cabot Gold: If you’re after a furniture-like finish, Cabot Gold is the product to choose. It gives your wood a rich, golden glow, replicating the appearance of finely crafted indoor wood furniture.

Cabot Semi-Transparent Stains: Offering a balance between color vibrancy and textural detail, Cabot’s semi-transparent stains reveal some of the wood’s grain while providing a stronger color than transparent stains.

Traditional Application Process: Unlike Ready Seal, Cabot Stains require a more traditional application process. This involves back brushing and maintaining a wet edge to prevent lap marks and ensure an even finish. While this might be a challenge for beginners, professionals should be familiar with this process.

Durability: With their rich pigmentation and high-quality formulation, Cabot Stains are known for their durability. They resist fading and stand up well to weathering, ensuring your fence or deck stays looking great for longer.

Color Variety: Cabot Stains offer a wide array of colors, providing more options than Ready Seal. This allows for greater customization and ensures you’ll find a color that perfectly matches your vision.

Australian Timber Oil offers four very rich looking color options.

In a nutshell, Cabot Stain shines with its diverse product range, traditional application method, and wide color variety. Its superior durability and customized finishes make it a top choice for experienced DIYers and professional contractors alike.

Comparison of Ready Seal vs Cabot Stain

Ready Seal vs Cabot stain cans side by side ready to be compared.

When comparing Ready Seal and Cabot, both stains bring their unique strengths to the table, making them suitable for different scenarios and user needs. Here, we highlight the core attributes of each and see how they stack up against each other.

Ease of Application: For novices or those wanting a simple, fuss-free application process, Ready Seal is the clear winner. Its no back brushing, no lap mark characteristics make it very user-friendly. Conversely, Cabot requires a more traditional approach, involving back brushing and maintaining a wet edge.

Product Range: Cabot takes the lead with its wide variety of stain products. Whether you need a product for harsh weather conditions (Australian Timber Oil), desire a furniture-like finish (Cabot Gold), or want a balance between color and wood grain visibility (Cabot Semi-Transparent Stains), Cabot has you covered.

Suitability for New Wood: Ready Seal’s ability to deeply penetrate and nourish the wood makes it particularly beneficial for new fences. It helps protect the wood from the get-go and maintains the integrity of the wood’s natural appearance.

Color Options: For a broader color palette, Cabot offers a wider array of colors than Ready Seal. This ensures a greater degree of customization and the ability to achieve a specific aesthetic.

Durability: Both stains offer excellent durability, with Ready Seal’s resistance to peeling and Cabot’s color retention. However, Cabot’s range of specialized products, such as the Australian Timber Oil, are specifically formulated to provide extra protection against harsh weather conditions.


Ready Seal Natural Cedar on an arbor

In the world of wood staining, both Ready Seal and Cabot have carved their niches, each offering unique benefits to cater to a wide variety of needs and preferences. While the decision between Ready Seal vs Cabot largely hinges on your individual project requirements and personal preferences, it’s clear that each brand brings something valuable to the table.

Ready Seal stands out for its simplicity and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those who wish to work with new fences. Its ability to soak deep into the wood, combined with a hassle-free application process, promises a beautiful, natural-looking finish without much effort.

Cabot, on the other hand, offers a diverse array of products, each catering to specific needs and aesthetic preferences. From the weather-resistant Australian Timber Oil, the furniture-grade Cabot Gold, to the semi-transparent stains, there’s a Cabot product for virtually any wood staining project. Coupled with a wider color palette, Cabot shines for those who seek a high degree of customization.

Ultimately, whether you’re a professional, an avid DIYer, or a homeowner looking to spruce up your outdoor living space, both Ready Seal and Cabot offer reliable and high-quality solutions. With a better understanding of each brand’s offerings, you’re well-equipped to make an informed decision that best suits your wood staining needs.

Ready Seal vs Cabot Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Ready Seal take to dry?

Ready Seal typically takes two to three days to dry to the touch. Even after this it is possible to feel a slightly oily residue for a couple more weeks.

Can I use Cabot stains on new wood?

Yes, you can use Cabot stains on new wood. However, it is generally recommended to wait a few months for the wood to dry out and weather slightly, which allows the stain to penetrate more deeply and evenly.

Does Cabot or Ready Seal require a separate sealer?

No, Ready Seal and Cabot stains are a combination stain and sealer. This two-in-one product eliminates the need for a separate sealing step, saving both time and effort.

How often should I reapply Ready Seal vs. Cabot stain?

The frequency of reapplication will depend on the specific Cabot product used and the amount of exposure to the elements. However, on average, Cabot stains should be reapplied every 2-3 years. Ready Seal should be applied again two years after the initial application and every 2-3 years after that.

Is Ready Seal or Cabot stain water or oil-based?

Cabot offers both water-based and oil-based stains. The choice between the two will depend on your specific needs and preferences, as well as the type of wood you’re working with. Ready Seal is only offered in an oil-based formula.

How Much Stain Do You Need?

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

Photo of author
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.

6 thoughts on “Ready Seal Vs Cabot Fence Stain: A Comparison”

  1. Your overview and comparison were truly helpful. I am leaning toward the Cabot Australian Timber Oil for the cedar posts on my new patio cover. However, I am unsure what to use on the pine ceiling! Your input would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hey Regina, The ATO would work just find for the pine as well. Since pine ceilings don’t get as much sun or weather exposure they tend to last longer than other exterior stained surfaces. I often stain pine ceilings every other time we stain the rest of a porch for this reason. There will likely be a color difference between the pine and cedar no matter what brand of stain you use since the two woods will absorb the stain differently. Using a less transparent color will help with this if you prefer a matching look. Hope this helps!

  2. I’ve got a redwood semi transparent stain made by Landscapes on my house ..they went out of business…now I’m trying to match a stain similar to it’s color …any suggestions. Thanks Sam..

    • Hello Sam, I am unfamiliar with the Landscapes brand stain. Do you have an old can of it from a previous stain job? Mostly I would want to know if it is water based or oil based in order to make a recommendation.

  3. Hi Matt, great article! My house is 52 years old, with cedar shakes on the front. My husband always used Cabot Timber Oil 3460 (Jarrah Brown) on them. Since my husband passed, I haven’t stained them. The last time they were done was 2015. NOW, the painting contractor I’m working with tells me Cabot Timber Oil has been reformulated and it’s not good. The new “water reducible” won’t absorb the same and it won’t last for more than 18 months before it starts to fade and mildew. He’s suggesting Benjamin Moore Arborcoat. I have not heard good things about the Arborcoat. CAN YOU PLEASE OFFER ME SOME ADVICE??? THANK YOU

    • Hey Donna, I will need to do some more research on the new formula. It seems like the old oil based formula may still be availible but only in certain states that don’t have strict VOC regulations. Keep in mind, arbor coat is also a water-based product. If all the old stain has pretty much worn off, a product like Ready Seal would be an option since the old stain would not interfere with it absorbing into the wood. There is also a product called TWP that is an oil based stain similar to Australian Timber Oil.


Leave a Comment