7 Best Stain for Exterior Wood Door 2023: Staining Made Easier

The feeling of staining wood is different from anything else. Once you apply stain on natural wood, you start to notice the wood grains popping up. You won’t know how great it is unless you see it for yourself.

But the problem appears when you try to choose a stain. With hundreds of products in the market, it’s hard to decide which one would be the best stain for exterior wood door.

Here I’ve talked about exterior stain for cedar siding in details.

That’s why we came up with this well-researched list of products. We handpicked these products making sure they are the best in the market.

Moreover, we tested these out ourselves. Well, that’s a lot of chitchats. Let’s start and you’ll know what we mean-

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for Best Stain for Exterior Wood Door

If you’re in a hurry, you can jump straight into our top picks (these are the best exterior wood stain that most people buy).

Minwax Wood Finish 227644444 – Best Exterior Black Stain

minwax true black 274

The Minwax true black 274 Wood Finish isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It gives a completely black wood stain. So, this one is for people who are in love with black.

However, it has other features too. The best thing is, you don’t need any extra tools to apply the stain. Simply grab a piece of clean cloth and start applying. 

After 4 hours you’ll find that completely dried and ready for another coat. Although it’ll start penetrating the wood after 14 to 15 minutes. 

However, we would’ve been a bit happier if it had less drying time.


  • True black stain
  • Gets a nice color with only one coat
  • Can be easily applied with a piece of clean cloth
  • Starts penetrating the wood after 15-20 minutes


  • Drying time could’ve been a bit less

Grab this one here of Amazon.com

Rust-Oleum 1904A Wolman (Woodlife) CopperCoat- Best Wood Preservative

best wood preservative

Next up, we have the Rust-Oleum 1904A Wolman (Woodlife) CopperCoat Green Wood Preservative. This is more of a preservative than a stain.

But it gives out a green color that works great as a stain. In terms of protection, this protection is a lot better than other products. 

The wood won’t get any kind of rot. Also, you don’t worry about mold and mildew when you’ve got this product as a coat.   


  • Protects from rot
  • Prevents all kind of mold, mildew, and fungi
  • Moisture damage won’t settle in
  • Gives out a transparent green color


  • You’ll need protective equipment for applying it

Grab this one here of Amazon.com

Rust-Oleum Corporation Zinsser 00903 Clear – Best Wood Preservative

zinsser wood preservative

Guess what? Another product from RUst-Oleum. This product is for those people who love to keep the natural color of the wood. 

Well, this product will maintain that color. Moreover, it’ll work as a protector. No matter how much water abuse you put it through it still won’t budge.

In fact, it’ll prevent any kind of swelling or warping of the wood. Simply apply the clear coat and wait for it to dry. After it’s dried out, you’ll notice an exterior wood door protection layer over the wood, nothing else.

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  • Makes the wood water resistant 
  • Gives out a natural color of the wood
  • Protects from fungi, mold, and mildew
  • Won’t let the wood rot


  • The thinness of the fluid makes it harder to apply

Grab this one here of Amazon.com

Minwax Tung Oil Finish Best For Exterior Wood Door Oil

minwax rubbing oil stain and finish

The Minwax 47500000 Tung Oil Finish is the first exterior wood door oil on our list. It’s a great finish for already stained for the best for exterior front doors. 

You see, it penetrates old that’s old and dried out, giving it a new vitality. So, you can refinish the best stain for front door anytime you want.

All you have to do is, grab a sponge brush, and start applying. Other than that, it dries quite fast. In fact, it’s the fastest drying product on our list with a whopping 5 to 10 minutes of drying time.


  • Makes wood water resistant
  • Dries incredibly fast(5-10 minutes)
  • Provides a natural finish
  • Mold and rot can’t do anything to it


  • Contains cobalt

Grab this one here of Walmart.com

100% Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain -Best Oil for Wood Furniture

tung oil for outdoor furniture

At number 6, we have a product that’s 100 percent tung oil. This oil is great for giving your wood a nice antique finish. It’ll also cover all the tiny gaps. I mean, that’s what tung oil is famous for the best oil for wood doors .

Other than that, it doesn’t have any type of additives or exterior door varnish. The tung oil does all those jobs for you and it does it quite well. 

In fact, it’ll even create a moisture-resistant layer for keeping any kind of moisture. So, protection from rot- check!


  • Works on any surface
  • Dries faster than other oil-based products
  • Contains 100 percent pure tung oil
  • Creates a moisture-resistant layer


  • Has a slight odor to it

Grab this one here of Amazon.com

OLD MASTERS Wiping Stain


As our last entry, we have the OLD MASTERS 12304 WIP Stain. Simply because we placed this product at the end, doesn’t mean that it’s a product for the best exterior wood stain.

You’ll be amazed to know this stain offers up to 18 different colors. So, you can really get into the colors and select the perfect one for you.

When using indoors, you don’t need any kind of extra protection for it. Simply apply the stain and that’s it. 

However, when using it for outdoor furniture, it needs protective layers. So, you’ve guessed that it has no water protection. That’s the main reason it’s at the end of our list.


  • Offers 18 exterior door stain colors
  • Easy to apply
  • Doesn’t require any kind of protective equipment
  • Can be used on any surface


  • The fume is harmful

Grab this one here of Amazon.com

Kilz Interior/Exterior Wood Stain –best stain for exterior wood door

We’re starting off our list with the KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior. This manufacturer has been making a premium-grade exterior wood stain for more than 40 years. 

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But did it manage to hold it’s quality over the years? Well, if it wouldn’t be on the top of our best high hiding primer list if it didn’t.

This has one of the best smooth finishes you’ll ever see. It’ll fill up all the tiny spores and gaps. Moreover, it has little to no odor so there’s no risk of getting side effects.


  • Little to no odor
  • The right amount of consistency
  • Dries in only 1 hour. 
  • Can be cleaned with water and soap


  • Needs a perfect surface for applying evenly

Things to Consider Before Buying Stain For Exterior Wood Door

So, that’s all we had about the best stain for exterior wood door. But this is not the end. You still have to know how you can choose the stains. In fact, there are a few criteria you have to look at.

Let’s start, shall we?

What type of wood do you have?

This is the very first thing you should figure out. You see, different woods have different reactions. Softwoods such as pine can absorb stains quite easily. In fact, you can make pinewood look dark with only one coat of stain. 

On the contrary, hardwood like oak and cherry isn’t like that. You have to put multiple layers of stains just to get it into a medium-dark color. 

So, how do you figure out what type you have? For the most part, it’s not that hard. All you have to do is look closely at the grains of the wood. 

For instance, hardwood will have consistent grains throughout the piece. On the other hand, a softwood-like pine won’t have it like that. You’ll notice the grains aren’t consistent enough and feel kind of blotchy.

What kind of protection do you need?

This is an obvious thing. No matter what type of wood you have, you should choose stains that have the best protection layers. 

Simply look at the products and choose the one that has the most advanced protection features. That’s all.

What type of exterior stain should you buy?

You need to look at two factors when buying exterior stains. First, you should know what type of quality you want.

Let’s say you’re working on outdoor furniture. 

These things need to have the best stains there are. People are going to look at it constantly. So, it deserves the best.

However, outdoor decks and fences don’t need those things. You can go with any kind of stain you want. It’s highly unlikely that people are going to look closely at your decks.

Secondly, the protection and resiliency of the stain. When you’re thinking of staining outdoor furniture, they need to have all kinds of protection. 

Waterproofing is a must for these projects. Also, it’s better if you get a stain that has UV resistance and mold protection. 

The better choice is to go for combination products that can do it all. Although some combination products aren’t that good. So, if you buy a cheaper product, you can look for a good quality sealant. 

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How should you prepare the wood?

Softwoods work better with some kind of pre-layer. These woods have inconsistent grains and a blotchy feeling to it. So, applying a pre-stain product will allow a nicer finishing. 

Other than that, it’s quite important that you sand the wood. This way it’ll have the even level you’ll be wanting.

Moreover, sanding the wood gives it more time to absorb the stain. As you already know, softwoods absorb stains very quickly. So, giving more time to absorb will actually offer a lighter color.   

At the end of the day, you’ll have a darker surface that’s also dark.

What do you need to stain?

The tools you’ll need will depend on what type of project you’re doing. If you’re staining your decks, you need a couple of wide brushes. 

On the other hand, you’ll need a foam brush or a normal brush, a pair of protective gloves, and a couple of rags. But make sure that the rags are not that big unless you want to splash the stain all over the place.

What should you look out for when staining?

These are not really precautions but tips and tricks. Following them will help you do the job easily. 

Sponge brush

Sponge brushes (link to Amazon ) all always absorb some of the stains. But don’t think that they go to waste. You see, using a sponge brush will allow a more even finish. 

Protective gloves

Stains can be quite difficult to remove from hands. So, it’s always on some kind of protective gloves. You can buy latex or vinyl gloves from your local stores. 

Open area

The fumes released from stains are quite strong. Unless you want to get side effects from these, you should work in an open environment that has a lot of ventilation. 

Comparison of Top 7 Products

ProductWeight Type of color
KILZ Premium High-Hide Stain Blocking Interior/Exterior11.8 poundsTransparent 
Minwax Wood Finish 2276444449.6 ouncesTrue black
Rust-Oleum 1904A Wolman (Woodlife) CopperCoat Green Wood Preservative2.25 poundsTransparent with a green coat
Rust-Oleum Corporation Zinsser 00903 Clear Wood Preservative7.75 poundsTransparent 
Minwax 47500000 Tung Oil Finish1.03 poundsTransparent
100% Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain & Natural Sealer for All Types of Wood2.4 poundsTransparent
OLD MASTERS 12304 WIP Stain3.17 ounces18 different colors available 

Question: How many coats of stain should I use?

Answer: Usually it’s advised to put 2 layers of coat. But depending on the hardness of the wood, it can be one-time too.

Question: Should I sand between coats of stain?

Answer: No, you shouldn’t sand the wood between coats of stain. However, you should sand with 220/240 grit sandpaper after the whole process is done.

Question: Can you stain over already stained wood?

Answer: If the wood already has protective layers it won’t hold another layer of stain. Although you’ll find exterior polyurethane stains for blending in another color.

Question: How can I lighten wood stain without sanding?

Answer: Rub a cloth soaked in mineral spirits to lighten the wood stain. It’ll lighten the stain but won’t remove it.

Bottom Line

So, that’s been it. We hope you could find the best stain for exterior wood door. Despite our best efforts, there might have been something we missed.

The comment section is always open for you. Share your experience with us. Happy staining!

Here is a nice video on how to stain wood door.

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