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Ready Seal Review

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My unbiased review of Ready Seal Stain and Sealer

I’m going to kick things off here with a product review of Ready Seal Wood Stain and Sealer. I want to try to do more of these types of reviews when I find things I like. This content is not sponsored—I just found the product and purchased it!

I’m hoping my review helps someone quickly and easily make a decision about whether or not they want to use this product. So I found Ready Seal because I was looking for a quick and easy solution for the outdoor table and benches I am working on.

There was once a day when I would do a normal stain to get the perfect color and then several coats of an outdoor sealant. Not now, folks. I’m working during nap time, so I needed an all-in-one solution. Ready Seal Professional-Grade Wood Stain and Sealer is that solution.

I read some reviews online, and they made it sound pretty easy. The can says no laps, streaks, or runs. UV blocking, water proofing, and mildew resistance. So I ordered a can of Dark Walnut, the darkest color it comes in.

Ready Seal can of stain

Ready Seal review overview

  • Stain and sealer with a good color variety; fast re-coat time.
  • Affordable and offers an easy application, even with no previous painting skills.
  • Minimal odor compared to other stains and finishes.
  • A true transparent stain; sinks into wood, does not sit on top of it.
  • Great option for outdoor furniture in fences; tested application using a brush, roller, and sprayer with success.
Ready Seal can of stain

Applying Ready Seal to an outdoor table

So for the table and benches, I was working with non-pressure-treated pine. It wasn’t terrible looking, but it wasn’t the good stuff, either. Here’s what it looked like before. The second pictures shows it with one coat of the stain on half on the top.

unfinished table parts
applying ready seal stain to pine

I applied the stain with a chip brush on the benches and with a small foam roller on the table since it had a bigger surface area. Both are equal options, in my opinion. The roller was faster, but I did end up having to whip out the brush to get in to some of the nooks and crannies.

Since I’m cheap, I use brushes and rollers multiple times for one project. I like to avoid washing out things that don’t just have an easy soap and water cleanup. To keep the brushes and rollers from drying, I wrap them in aluminum foil.

chip brush

Things I liked about Ready Seal

I’ll outline the four things I liked the most about using this product below.

  • Great coverage with a decent variety of colors; first coat dries quickly.
  • I can order it on Amazon and it’s a pretty good price for a gallon can. The can goes a long way, too. I used it for a large table and two benches and barely made a dent in a can.
  • Much easier to apply than a water- or oil-based polyurethane. You can have absolutely no painting or finishing skills and use this without messing it up. It really is goof-proof.
  • Not a terrible odor like some stains and finishes have.
finished table stained with ready seal

And things I didn’t love about it

First, the Dark Walnut color wasn’t really a dark walnut. I picked the darkest color they had because I wanted a darker stain for this set. But Dark Walnut had a much more golden brown tint to it than I’d expected. A second coat didn’t make a difference.

And second, the first coat sunk in and was dry to the touch within a few hours. The can says to wait at least 45 minutes for a second coat and 48 to 72 hours to dry completely. But the second coat took days to dry at all and was still a bit oily. At first I thought I’d put it on too thick, but I don’t think I did.

I ended up wiping the piece down with a cloth and putting it outside in direct sun/breeze to speed up dry time. That did help a lot. Considering this stuff is really made for fences and decks, I didn’t mind setting the pieces outside as long as there wasn’t rain or snow in the immediate forecast.

The verdict for this project

I definitely recommend it! The ease of acquiring it and applying it made up for the fact that the color wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped for and that it took longer than I’d expected to dry. I’m happy with it!

finished table stained with ready seal

Applying Ready Seal to a fence

After using the product on an outdoor table, I decided to use it on our wooden fence. And it turned out absolutely fantastic. It was everything I was looking for in a fence stain.

I decided to pressure wash and stain my fence after it was about 2 years old. I had never sealed it. I did a ton of research, and after comparing Ready Seal Stain and Sealer with Behr’s transparent outdoor stain and sealer, I decided that this was preferable for my fence.

Why? Because this stuff is just so easy to use! You don’t really have to fuss with drips, and the stain soaks into the wood. It isn’t something that’s going to crack or peel in the future. Plus I had experience with it, so it wasn’t a total unknown. Below is the fence before.

fence before pressure washing and staining it
Before pressure washing

What color did I use?

Of course I agonized over the color. If you go on Ready Seal’s website, they will send you a nifty sample pack of all of their stain colors. I tried them all on two different pieces of wood. Then I picked my two favorites and tried them on an inconspicuous part of the fence.

Of course the fence wood was much more porous than the scrap pieces I had in the garage, so the color was a bit different. But the test pieces in the garage told me where to start, and I settled on the shade “Natural,” which is the lightest shade. You might see it referred to as “light oak.”

testing all of the ready seal stain colors

Process for applying the stain

Since our fence is a board-on-board design, the thought of painting the entire thing with a brush or roller made me want to die. So I ended up using my paint sprayer, and it worked amazingly. The stain is so thin, and I didn’t need to thin it out at all—just dumped it in the paint sprayer can. I have an article all about how I applied Ready Seal using my paint sprayer—check it out!

I was very happy with how this stain and sealer went on with my sprayer. Absolutely no drips or issues. I did one thorough coat on the fence, front and back. Then a few hours later I did a second coat. It made such a difference in how our fence looked. The color you see in the finished photos below did fade a tad as the stain settled in and dried over a few weeks, but it still looks lovely.

Staining a Fence with ReadySeal Natural Light Oak
Staining a Fence with ReadySeal Natural Light Oak
beautiful stained fence using Ready Seal stain
beautiful stained fence using Ready Seal stain
beautiful stained fence using Ready Seal stain
beautiful stained fence using Ready Seal stain

In conclusion…

I hope this article helps you if you’re looking for a good Ready Seal review and are wanting to use this on a fence or piece of outdoor furniture. I am extremely happy with my experience using it, and I definitely recommend it!

Pin my Ready Seal Stain review!

collage that says ready seal stain and sealer unbiased review

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  1. Jenn Meyers says:

    Oooh love the color! I am usually a dark stain kind of girl too, but this looks amazing – very outdoorsy :).


    • Brittany Goldwyn says:

      Thanks Jenn! Agreed. I can’t wait to get it all out there and see how it looks in the space (but it’s a windchill of 19F out there right now..soooo…..)

  2. Lisa McBride says:

    Good morning! My name is Lisa, and I am with Ready Seal. Thank you so much for your thorough review of Ready Seal. Glad to see you have discovered the Goof Proof advantage of this product– it is so easy to apply, easy to maintain, and your table looks awesome! I am sorry there were some things you didn’t love, and I wanted to briefly answer those concerns on the two points you mentioned so that you and your readers can have confidence in our product on future projects. 🙂

    First, you correctly recognized that the Dark Walnut wasn’t as dark as you’d hoped. The reason for this is that it was applied to a brand new white wood (non-treated pine). Ready Seal is a semi-transparent penetrating stain, not a solid paint or coating that sits on the surface. It is designed to penetrate into the wood and enhance the natural beauty and color of the wood, any wood that your choose. Dark Walnut will look different on pine than it will on oak or cedar wood. I have Dark Walnut on my rough-cut cedar fence at home, and it is a rich, dark brown shade. The lighter woods will yield a lighter result than a darker wood, and the red woods will also affect the final color as well. If you visit the photo gallery on our website, you can preview various colors on different kinds of wood to get a good idea of what your results will be.

    Second, your experience with the second coat not drying is very normal and not unusual on brand new wood. Wood is a natural fiber that has pores that change and open up over time. Brand new, smooth-milled wood like the pine you used for your table, is very dense and the pores of the wood have not opened fully. So your project will only take a single coat of Ready Seal right now. A second coat has nowhere to go since the wood pores have not fully opened up yet, so you are right– it will just sit on the surface and won’t dry. We generally recommend two coats on rough-cut wood or older wood that is being refinished, because the wood will absorb two coats and will give you the maximum sealing protection. For brand new wood and/or smooth-mill wood, it may take a few years for that to fully open up to where it can receive a second coat. If there’s ever an oily residue left on the surface after Ready Seal application, that means the wood can not absorb any more product, and you can run a rag or mop with mineral spirits on it over the surface to remove that residue. It should dry fairly quickly, and you should be left with a matte surface.

    There are some other application tips and information you can find on our website, or anyone is welcome to call our office during normal business hours if you have additional questions (888.STAIN.4.U). The most important tip to remember when using Ready Seal is that the wood needs to have any previous coatings or products completely removed AND it must be completely dry (internal moisture content of the wood needs to be 12% or less, as gauged by a moisture meter). If these two steps are followed, Ready Seal will go on beautifully!

    I’m sorry for the lengthy comment, but I hope it helps answer any questions anyone has. We’d love the chance to earn the business of your readers. Thanks again for reviewing Ready Seal. Love your table and all the other projects on your blog!

    • Brittany Goldwyn says:

      Hi Lisa! Thank you SO much for taking the time to comment! This info is very helpful to me—and I bet everyone else who is reading. Since this project only put a dent in my can, I’ll definitely be using it again on future projects and incorporating your tips. I will post and tag you guys! Thanks again for stopping by 🙂

  3. Veronica Roske says:

    First of all I would like to say welcome back! Thank you for the information. I have a few wood projects coming up and it helps to have information available on stains. I actually really love that the wood grain shows like it really popped with the stain. I know it may not have been as dark as you hoped for but that tells me that I really need to be mindful at looking at finished results when I look for wood stain. Thank you!

    • Brittany Goldwyn says:

      Thank you Veronica! I love that the wood grain popped, too. I typically don’t really do “rustic” pieces, but I like the way this one turned out for our outdoor space. Everything’s a little more rustic outdoors 🙂

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