Thompson water seal deck

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Thompson’s WaterSeal Finish Review 2.4/5 (255)

This post was updated on February 5, 2021

Thompson’s WaterSeal Review 2021

Thompson's WaterSeal

Thompson’s WaterSeal

We would love to hear from you if you have used Thompson’s WaterSeal. Please post a rating in the Consumer Star Ratings below. Thompson’s WaterSeal has clearly not been a consumer favorite with deck sealers. Mainly as it does not offer any UV protection and it grays in a few months.

If you have any pictures of your experience with Thompson’s WaterSeal you can add them in the comment area with a detailed description.

Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Waterproofer Plus Clear Wood Protector is designed for all exterior wood and decking surfaces. This protection includes: Water repellency, prevents water damage, maintains natural wood grain, all while resisting mold growth. Thompson’s® WaterSeal® claim to fame is the ability to waterproof your exterior wood.

We tested the Thompson’s® WaterSeal® in the Clear finish.

Thompsons Deck Stain

Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Rating (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

– Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Clear did not alter or change the appearance of the wood. After full drying, we tested the ability to repel water. Water did bead on top of the finish and did not absorb into the wood.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark:1

– As far as we can tell, Thompson’s® WaterSeal® does not prevent UV graying at all. This is a huge disappointment as preventing UV graying is the number one reason to stain your exterior wood and decking.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

– Thompson’s® WaterSeal® penetrates deep into the wood. There was no peeling or wearing. We would have given it a 10 if the product still repelled water but it did not.

Cost Per Square Foot:9

– Thompson’s® WaterSeal® is a very inexpensive product to purchase and coverage is exceptional. Unfortunately the saying “you get what you pay for” applies here as the Thompson’s® WaterSeal® offers no UV protection whatsoever.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae:2

– After 2 years the entire deck was covered in black mold. It seems that the oils used in Thompson’s® WaterSeal® feed and promotes the growth of mold spores.

Ease of Application:8

– Since this is a clear product, Thompson’s® WaterSeal® applies extremely easy without the need to back wipe. Just apply with a pump sprayer or stain pad. This finish does not show overlap marks.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years:7

– We would say that Thompson’s® darkens in color since there was a good amount of mold growing in the finish.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 6

– A heavy cleaning would be needed to remove all the graying and mold from the surface.

Overall Score Thompson’s® WaterSeal® at 2 Year Period:6.125

– Overall Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Clear Plus wood finish is a “clear” disappointment. Any finish that offers zero ability to prevent UV graying should not be considered for your deck or exterior wood.

Thompson’s Deck Stain Photo Issues

Product Information:

Cost: $24.99 per Gallon
Stain Type: Clear Water Repellent
Available Colors: Clear
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 1 coat for most scenarios
Coverage Per Gallon: 200-300 Square Feet
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 48 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in all States
More Info:Product Data
Manufacturer: Thompson’s

Test Deck Stats:

Deck Wood Type: Teak Decking
Deck Square Footage: 400 Square feet
UV Exposure: Full sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 

*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take into consideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.


How to Seal a Deck With Thompson's WaterSeal


  • Deck cleaner
  • Thompson's WaterSeal deck sealer or stain
  1. Prepare the Area

    Spray plants, grass, and other vegetation below or near the deck with water. Cover the plants with a tarp or plastic sheeting to protect them from the deck cleaner. Also cover windows, walls, or other surfaces directly below the deck to protect them from dripping sealer or stain.

  2. Prepare the Deck for Cleaning

    Sweep the deck thoroughly to remove all loose dirt and debris. Shake or stir a deck cleaner product, such as Thompson's 3 in 1 Wood Cleaner, as directed by the manufacturer. Pour the cleaner into a garden sprayer.

  3. Clean the Deck Railings

    Spray a small section of deck railing and balusters with deck cleaner, using the garden sprayer. Plan to clean small areas at a time so that you can scrub and rinse all of the wood before the deck cleaner dries. Do not let cleaner dry on the wood. Let the cleaner sit for 10 to 15 minutes, or as directed. Scrub the railing and balusters with a stiff, synthetic-bristle scrub brush to remove dirt and discoloration. Immediately spray the area with clean water, using a garden hose and sprayer. Repeat to clean the rest the of the railing.

  4. Clean the Deck Boards

    Clean the deck boards, using the same techniques used for the railings, cleaning about 10 to 15 square feet at a time. Scrub the boards with a long-handled synthetic-bristle deck brush. Work backwards from one far corner of the deck, finishing at a door or stairs, so you can exit the deck without walking over the cleaned areas. Let the deck dry for at least 48 hours. If you covered grass or other plants, remove their protective covers while the deck dries, to prevent killing the plants.

  5. Check for Loose or Raised Fasteners

    Inspect the entire deck for loose or raised nails or screws, and drive the fasteners below the surface of the wood with a hammer and nail set or a drill. Also remove splinters or other potential hazards, using a sharp utility knife or sandpaper. Wipe away all sanding dust thoroughly. You can perform this step while the deck is drying after cleaning.

  6. Seal or Stain the Railings

    Apply sealer or stain to the deck railings, following the product directions; application methods vary slightly by product. A paint pad works well for the broad faces of railing and the balusters, while a paintbrush is best for corners and tight spots. You can also apply a sealer or stain with a garden sprayer. Apply an even coating of sealer or stain to all surfaces, working in small areas and maintaining a wet edge (do not let the sealer or stain dry before moving to the next area). After completing each area, inspect the finish for drips or pooling, and redistribute or wipe up all excess with your application tool or a clean rag.

  7. Seal or Stain the Deck Boards

    Apply sealer or stain to the deck boards, using the same techniques used on the railings and your choice of applicator: paint pad, paint roller, paintbrush, or garden sprayer. Apply the finish to 10 to 15 square feet of boards at a time, then wipe up any excess with a rag or your applicator. Work from the far corner of the deck to an exit point. It's usually best to cover a few boards at a time, working down their entire length, then working on the next few boards in the opposite direction. Let the sealer or stain dry for 24 to 48 hours (or as directed), depending on the product and conditions, before using the deck.


Deck sealers and stains may contain solvents that can cause rags to spontaneously combust. Dispose of soiled rags in a sealed, water- and detergent-filled container or through another safe disposal method. Oily rags left in direct sunlight can catch fire.

Can Oily Rags Really Catch Fire on Their Own?

Deck Sealing and Staining Tips

Thompson's WaterSeal products typically need only one application, but you can apply a second coat of stain to darken the wood, if desired. However, you must wait for the first coat to dry (typically about 2 hours) and apply the second coat within 4 hours of applying the first coat.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for refinishing your deck every one to three years, as needed. Deck wood stays in much better shape if it is regularly maintained. Letting it go for an extra year or two usually results in permanent damage that shortens the life of the wood.

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The ABC's & D's of Deck Care


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Round Up Tools and Products

Here are the tools and products most commonly used for a deck staining project. All of these items are readily available at any home improvement store.

Personally, we don't recommend a power washer unless you know how to use one. You can actually damage the wood if the pressure is too high. Even if you use a power washer, begin with a ready-to-use deck cleaner and use the power washer for extra rinsing muscle, keeping it at 1,200 - 1,500 PSI. 

Choosing a Deck Cleaner

Remember when we "assessed" what was on the deck? That will guide you in choosing a deck cleaner. If there is dirt and stains from mildew but no coating, then a general purpose cleaner like Thompson's® WaterSeal® 3 in 1 Wood Cleanerwill work on any type of wood.

If there is an old peeling coating, you have two options - Thompson's® WaterSeal® Heavy Duty Deck Cleanerwill remove anything but a solid deck stain. Thompson's® WaterSeal® Maximum Strength Deck Stripperis the strongest option and will remove any coating - even a solid stain. If your deck is made of redwood or cedar,Thompson's® WaterSeal® 3 in 1 Wood Cleanerwill help restore those wood's natural color.

Tools for Staining

Here are the additional tools you will need for your deck staining project:

  • Painter's Tape - tape off any areas of the house that are right up against the deck
  • Paint Pad - this will go on the end of the same pole used for scrubbing the deck
  • Brush - for railings or tight areas
  • Paint Pan - to hold the stain

Many deck stains clean up with soap and water, but check the label instructions and pick up paint thinner for clean-up, if needed.

And of course ...

A waterproofing coating. Thompson's® WaterSeal® offers several choices, from a clear waterproofer to a solid deck stain. A clear waterproofer does not change the wood's natural color. A transparent stain adds a hint of color and shows the most wood grain. A semi-transparent stain adds medium color and shows medium wood grain. A solid stain adds the most color and shows the least wood grain. Thompson's® WaterSeal® Waterproofing Stainscombine stain and sealer in one - there's no need for an additional sealer or protective coating over the stain.

Selecting the Perfect Color

It's a matter of personal choice if you want a light or dark shade of deck stain, but we like to suggest that you try to contrast with the color of your house. If your siding is light-colored, it will look great with a darker shade of deck stain.

Applying the Stain

You can use a roller or a brush to apply deck coatings, but we recommend the pad on the long pole. This keeps you from getting down on your hands and knees. Some - not all - deck coatings can be sprayed on, but if you use a sprayer, be sure to go back over the deck stain with a paint pad, brush or roller to work it into the wood and help keep the color uniform.

DON'T FORGET TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS on your product! Not all products work exactly the same, so be sure to read and follow the instructions found on your can.

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How To Apply Thompson Water Seal to a Wooden Deck

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