The 8 Best Pine Wood Stains for Floors, Fences and Woodworking

Got a pine project that needs some stain? Learn all about pine wood stain, important considerations when shopping and our recommended products.

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As far as woodworking materials go, pine offers a lot of advantages. It’s cheap and plentiful and its naturally bright color and interesting grain patterns really stand out after applying some stain. But before you dive into staining pine, it’s important to understand how wood stains work.

Technically, there’s no such thing as pine wood stain. All wood stains work well on different woods, pine included. But staining pine isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Here are some factors to take into account before starting your pine wood stain journey.

Miller also mentions that testing a stain before application is always the best way to ensure you have the right shade, consistency and transparency. “The same color stain may look different when applied to different types of wood. If you’re not ready to commit to a stain color, it’s a good idea to test it in an inconspicuous area before fully applying it to ensure you’re happy with the color,” he cautions.

  • Stain Transparency: When staining wood, it’s crucial to choose the right transparency for the project. “Stain transparency refers to how much a wood stain allows the natural wood grain to show through after application, and it significantly impacts the final appearance of your project,” says Miller. “Transparent stains showcase the wood’s grain and texture for a rustic look, while solid or opaque stains completely cover the grain for a uniform color.”
  • Stain color: “The best color stain for pine depends on your personal preference and the look you want to achieve,” notes Miller. “Many people opt for lighter stains to enhance the natural beauty of pine’s grain. Darker stains can also work well if you want a more dramatic or rustic appearance.
    If you’re conside­ring a stain color for pine, it’s important to take into account its light color and distinctive grain patte­rn.”
  • The 8 Best Stains for Pine

    1 / 8
    Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain via merchant

    Best Overall Wood Stain

    Varathane Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain

    When looking for the best stain for pine, oil-based stains might not spring to mind. Many oil-based stains dry slowly, are difficult to apply and rarely come in light colors. This product from Varathane shatters those stereotypes. It dries noticeably faster than most other oil-based stains and comes in many wood colors, including light and bright ones. For pine surfaces, opt for a stain a shade or two lighter than desired to account for increased absorption.

    “I purchased this stain for some DIY home decor projects and there isn’t anything I disliked about the product,” writes Amazon reviewer Bridget H. “The stain is easy to apply, I used one of my husband’s old t-shirts and dries quickly. My first project was a porch sign. I did not sand the boards I used and the stain was absorbed without any issues. Another plus, the color blends perfectly with our other decor and furniture. Do I recommend this product? Yes!”

    Pros

    • Offers a large selection of shades
    • Dries quickly
    • Minimal prep required

    Cons

    • Thick consistency not suitable for some projects

    2 / 8
    General Finishes Oil Base Gel Stain via merchant

    Best Oil-Based Stain

    General Finishes Oil Base Gel Stain

    This oil-based gel stain from General Finishes gives vibrant, professional-looking color. It’s easy to apply and unlike many oil stains has a scant smell. Combining the durability of oil-based stains with the easy application of gels, this stuff will make your pine wood project shine.

    “Buy this gel stain!” writes reviewer Bill. “We have light, builders-grade banisters in our house that I have hated since the day we moved in and match nothing else in the house. I really wanted to refinish them but I was scared to wreck them. Well, after reading four million reviews, videos from everyone I could find, endless pictures comparing colors, I went for it and I couldn’t be happier. I ended up only needing one coat of the Antique Walnut and a few touch-up areas.”

    Pros

    • Minimal chemical scent
    • Lustrous finish
    • Only requires one coat for most colors

    Cons

    • Pricier than other options

    3 / 8
    Rust Oleum Danish Oil Wood Finish via merchant

    Best Stain for Furniture

    Rust-Oleum Danish Oil Wood Finish

    The best wood stains let the natural beauty of the wood grain show through while adding rich color to the workpiece. This dark oil stain and sealer combo does both exceptionally well. You’ll need several coats of this product, but a little patience and TLC will make your indoor or outdoor woodwork look stunning.

    Reviewer David K. uses it on both new and old wood and enjoys the look on both. “This is the real deal. This is very easy to apply to existing furniture or new wood. If you use it on new wood, it is best to use wood conditioner before you apply the Watco wood Danish oil finish. The conditioner will give you a more even stain on new wood. The wood finish leaves a glow on older furniture after it dries. My furniture looks like new.”

    Pros

    • Combines both stain and sealer
    • Protects against spills, abrasion, chipping and peeling
    • Warm glow enhances woodgrain

    Cons

    • Not recommended for floors

    4 / 8
    Storm Stain Protector via merchant

    Best Exterior Stain for Pine

    Storm Stain Protector

    This outdoor-rated oil-based stain and sealer offers some of the best protection and beauty for a pine deck, fence or outdoor furniture. It absorbs deeply into the wood fibers while forming a protective seal on the outside, so it lasts much longer than most other outdoor wood stain products.

    “This stuff is amazing. I have never stained wood before believe it or not, and I have no experience using a product like this before and I am thoroughly impressed with the outcome,” writes verified purchaser Jon M. “I did a lot of research on different wood stains and sealers and I finally landed on this one based on the reviews. This one did not disappoint!” Learn how to lighten stained wood.

    Pros

    • Combines both stain and weather-resistant sealer
    • Adds waterproofing and UV protection to wood
    • Thin consistency compatible with sprayers

    Cons

    • Doesn’t dry down if left unwiped

    5 / 8
    Tried & True Stain And Finish via merchant

    Best Stain for Pine Ceiling

    Tried & True Stain and Finish

    One step is all it takes to have a glossy, gleaming pine ceiling finish with Tried & True’s stain and finish. Because it boasts both a stain and finish, it’s perfect for areas that potentially see moisture like ceilings and window frames. As a bonus, it’s free of harmful VOCs and other chemicals, so it’s safe to use on things like cutting boards and food prep areas.

    Reviewer Bob S. used the stain on his windows, reporting that “Tried and True gives good moisture protection to the inside of the windows and will never cause them to stick shut. Very pleased how it came out.”

    Pros

    • No fillers or solvents
    • Sealant mixed into the formula
    • Food safe

    Cons

    • Dries slowly

    6 / 8
    Ready Seal Exterior Stain And Sealer via merchant

    Best Stain for Pine Fence

    Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer

    The best thing about Ready Seal stains is that they apply in any temperature, making them ideal for outdoor areas like patios and fences. “Goof-proof” application means there’s no need to worry about blending, priming or sealing—using the stain is as simple as applying, wiping and allowing to dry. After 14 days, the stain lightens to the permanent color, so be sure to wait a full two weeks before adding another coat.

    “Just had a new fence installed and we used this to seal it,” writes verified purchaser Jon B.” Beautiful color. The new fence looks so much better with this product on it. Your new fence will definitely turn heads with this product on it. Even had people stop and ask what I used because they loved the color of it. I highly suggest this sealant. And the best way we found to apply it was with a medium size foam roller and foam brushes and to keep the roller nice and saturated with sealant.”

    Pros

    • Doesn’t require primer
    • Applies using sprayer, roller or brush
    • Water-resistant and UV-blocking

    Cons

    • Some reviewers report needing more product than usual

    7 / 8
    Saman Interior One Step Wood Seal, Stain And Varnish via merchant

    Best Stain for Yellow Pine

    Saman Interior One Step Wood Seal, Stain and Varnish

    For stubborn yellow pine, try a gray shade from Saman Interior’s catalog of stains to neutralize the tone. The odorless stain is safe to use around pets thanks to minimal odor and low VOCs. Because it’s less transparent than other stains, it covers yellow pine in just a coat or two and easily matches existing wood stain.

    “I used this to stain some 2×12 inch maple boards being used as shelf risers inside of a cabinet,” says Amazon reviewer J.C. “Honestly, I just bought this product because it was the cheapest all-in-one stain I could find. I was pleased with the result. The color was exactly as pictured in the Amazon listing, a dark warm walnut. I put on four coats and waited two hours in between each. It is a milky color when it’s wet but dries clear. You definitely need multiple coats to get a rich color. This product worked well for my small project. The color ended up matching the stain inside my cabinet perfectly.”

    Pros

    • Odorless and low VOC
    • No sanding or stripping required
    • Over 20 colors to choose from

    Cons

    • Dries quickly, so work fast

    8 / 8
    Minwax Complete 1 Step Floor Finish via merchant

    Best Stain for Pine Floors

    Minwax Complete One-Step Floor Finish

    Don’t worry about following up a floor stain with floor finish. Minwax floor finish and stain is a one-step solution that adds color, seals and protects high-traffic areas from scuffs and stains. It comes in gloss and satin finishes and a few basic stain shades. Apart from the limited prep needed, the finish works on finished floors. There’s no need to strip the wood with sanding before application.

    Verified Amazon reviewer Jodi B. writes, “We had hardwood floors that had been covered by carpet for at least 30 years. Thought we’d pull the carpet up and the floors would be immaculate just like all the reno shows on TV. Well guess what? We were severely wrong! This was so easy to use, fast to apply and the results are amazing! We applied this product right over the poly (no additional sanding) and couldn’t be happier with how this came out.”

    Pros

    • Goes on bare wood or over an existing finish
    • Prior sanding not required
    • Protects floors from scuffs and stains

    Cons

    • Limited color choice

    Why You Should Trust Us

    As a DIY expert, I grew up on a rural self-sufficient homestead property where I learned the skills to build my own home from the ground up. I work with wood, stone and metal to find practical DIY solutions to many everyday problems.

    Emily Way is an associate shopping editor for Family Handyman with experience researching products and recommending the best designs to consumers. She researched and updated this piece. Way consulted Brandon Miller, product manager at Rust-Oleum for Varathane. Fine furniture makers, professional contractors and DIYers alike trust Varathane for premium wood-finishing products that are specially formulated to make every step of the process simple and successful.

    How We Found the Best Pine Wood Stain for Every Application

    Wood stain for pine is available at almost every home improvement store, meaning that narrowing down the selection takes serious research. That’s why we consulted with home improvement experts and DIY enthusiasts. We learned what to look for in a pine stain, what to avoid and how pine stain needs differ between projects. We scoured Amazon’s top sellers, narrowing down our list to the top 15 pine stains on the site. After that, we combed through user reviews to see what real folks like and dislike about each wood stain and whether the price reflects the results. We are confident that these are the best stains for every pine project, from fences to floors.

    Robert Maxwell
    Robert Maxwell has been a passionate DIYer since the mid-1990s, when he received his first childhood tool set. His rural upbringing gives him a lifetime of experience in all things DIY, from carpentry and fine woodworking to welding and vehicle repair, all of which he practices regularly from his self-built cabin in the woods in Northern Ontario, Canada. Robert has been a regular contributor to Family Handyman since 2020, where he writes from firsthand experience on a surprisingly wide variety of DIY topics.