How Long Does Thompson’s Water Seal Last in the Can? Tips for Maximum Shelf Life

Have you ever wondered how long does Thompson’s water seal last in the can? As someone who has dealt with outdoor projects, I know how important it is to have a product that provides long-lasting protection against water damage. So, I decided to do some research to find out more about Thompson’s water seal and how long it can last in the can.

Thompson’s water seal is a well-known brand that offers high-quality water-resistant solutions for outdoor wood and masonry surfaces. Its water seal formula can prolong the life of your outdoor structures like decks, fences, and even concrete. But, what about the shelf life of the product itself? How long can you store it in the can before it loses its effectiveness? Well, the answer might surprise you.

Based on my findings, Thompson’s water seal can last up to 2 years if stored properly in its original container, away from heat sources, and in a cool, dry place. As with any product, the shelf life can vary depending on several factors like the storage condition and exposure to extreme temperatures. But, by following some simple storage guidelines, you can ensure that your Thompson’s water seal stays effective for years to come.

How Thompson’s Water Seal Works

Thompson’s Water Seal is a water-based formula that is designed to penetrate deep into the pores of wood and masonry surfaces. The formula creates a barrier that prevents water damage by trapping water inside the wood or masonry surface, preventing it from penetrating through to the other side.

Thompson’s Water Seal is a hydrophobic coating, which means that it repels water. The coating is made up of millions of microscopic particles that bond together to form a protective layer. The size and shape of the particles determine how well the coating works. Larger particles will form a thicker coating that is more effective at repelling water, while smaller particles will form a thinner coating that is less effective.

  • The coating is breathable, which means it allows moisture to escape from the wood or masonry surface. This prevents the surface from becoming moldy or rotting due to trapped moisture.
  • The formula is designed to be applied to both new and weathered wood and masonry surfaces. It can be applied using a sprayer, brush, or roller.
  • Thompson’s Water Seal is available in several different formulas, including clear, tinted, and waterproofing stain.

The formula is designed to last for several years, depending on the type of surface it is applied to, the amount of direct sunlight the surface receives, and the amount of foot traffic or other use the surface experiences. Generally, Thompson’s Water Seal can last up to three years on horizontal surfaces and up to four years on vertical surfaces. However, it is important to note that these are general guidelines and that the lifespan of the coating can vary depending on many different factors.

The table below shows how long different types of Thompson’s Water Seal formulations last:

Type of Formula Lifespan
Clear Formula Up to 3 years
Tinted Formula Up to 3 years
Waterproofing Stain Up to 4 years

Overall, Thompson’s Water Seal is a highly effective formula that protects wood and masonry surfaces from water damage, and can last for several years under the right conditions. It is important to take into consideration the type of surface, amount of sunlight, and use the surface experiences when determining how long the coating will last.

Different types of Thompson’s water seal

Thompson’s Water Seal is a well-known brand that provides outdoor protection for various surfaces against moisture. It offers a wide range of water sealants to cater to different surfaces and materials. Below are some of the different types of Thompson’s Water Seal:

  • Thompson’s Water Seal Original: This is the classic formula of Thompson’s Water Seal designed for wood protection. The formula is proven to penetrate deep into the wood, forming a barrier against water and mildew damage. It is ideal for use on decks, fences, and outdoor furniture made of wood.
  • Thompson’s Water Seal Advanced Natural Wood Protector: This formula offers all the benefits of the original Thompson’s Water Seal, along with an added feature. It contains natural oils that provide better protection against UV rays. This makes it an excellent choice for use on natural wood surfaces that are exposed to sunlight, such as cedar and redwood.
  • Thompson’s Water Seal Fabric Seal: This formula is designed to provide water protection to outdoor fabrics such as patio cushions, awnings, and umbrellas. It penetrates deep into the fabric fibers and creates a barrier that protects against water damage and mildew. It is also UV resistant and helps to prolong the life of the fabric.

How long does Thompson’s Water Seal Last in the can?

The lifespan of Thompson’s Water Seal in the can varies depending on several factors. If stored correctly, the product can last up to two years from the date of manufacture. However, once the can is opened, the exposure to air can shorten the product’s lifespan.

It is essential to keep the can tightly closed when not in use, store it in a cool, dry place, and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. Additionally, it is always best to check the expiration date before application to ensure the product’s effectiveness.

The Bottom Line

Thompson’s Water Seal is a popular choice for those looking to protect their outdoor surfaces from moisture damage. From the classic protective formula to the advanced natural wood protector and fabric seal, there is a product that caters to various materials. Remember, proper storage and regular checks of the expiration date are crucial to ensure that the product is effective when applied.

Product Name Surface Features
Thompson’s Water Seal Original Wood Protects against water and mildew
Thompson’s Water Seal Advanced Natural Wood Protector Natural Wood Protects against water, mildew and UV rays
Thompson’s Water Seal Fabric Seal Outdoor Fabric Protects against water, mildew and UV rays


Instructions for Application of Thompson’s Water Seal

Thompson’s Water Seal is a popular wood sealer that offers long-lasting protection from water damage. Here are the instructions for applying it:

  • Clean the Surface: Make sure the surface you’re sealing is clean and free of debris. If necessary, use a pressure washer to remove stubborn dirt and grime.
  • Let it Dry: Allow the surface to dry completely before applying the sealant.
  • Mask Non-Target Areas: Cover any areas you don’t want to seal, such as windows or trim, with plastic before starting.
  • Apply the Sealant: Using a brush, roller, or sprayer, apply the sealant evenly in the direction of the wood grain. Be careful not to leave any puddles or thick spots.
  • Wait for Drying: Allow the first coat to dry for 24 hours before applying a second coat (if necessary).

It’s important to note that Thompson’s Water Seal is a penetrating sealant, which means it needs to soak into the wood to be effective. Therefore, it’s not a good choice if you want to change the color or appearance of the wood. Also, avoid applying it in direct sunlight, as this can cause the sealant to dry too quickly and not penetrate the wood properly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Applying Too Thickly: When it comes to Thompson’s Water Seal, more is not better. If you apply too much sealant, it can’t penetrate the wood properly and will just sit on the surface.
  • Not Letting it Dry: Make sure the surface is completely dry before applying the sealant. If you don’t, the sealant won’t be able to penetrate the wood and won’t be effective.
  • Applying in Direct Sunlight: As mentioned earlier, applying in direct sunlight can cause the sealant to dry too quickly and not penetrate the wood properly.

Performance of Thompson’s Water Seal

Thompson’s Water Seal comes in two formulas: water-based and oil-based. The water-based formula is a bit easier to clean up and has a lower VOC content, making it a better choice for the environment. The oil-based formula is a bit harder to clean up, but it tends to last longer and provides better protection from UV rays.

Water-Based Formula Oil-Based Formula
Application Easy to apply Slightly harder to apply
Clean up Easier to clean up Harder to clean up
VOCs Lower VOC content Higher VOC content
Protection Good protection from water and mildew Better protection from UV rays
Durability Lasts up to 2 years Lasts up to 4 years

Overall, Thompson’s Water Seal is a great choice for protecting your wood from water damage and mildew. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully and avoid the common mistakes listed above.

The Importance of Surface Preparation Before Applying Thompson’s Water Seal

It is crucial to prepare the surface before applying Thompson’s Water Seal to ensure the best possible application and longevity of the product. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Clean the Surface: Remove any dirt, dust, debris, grease, oil, or other contaminants from the surface. Use a pressure washer, stiff bristle brush, and/or a commercial cleaner to prep the surface.
  • Repair Any Damage: If there are cracks, holes, or other damage to the surface, repair them using appropriate sealants or patching materials.
  • Allow It to Dry: After cleaning and repairing, allow the surface to dry completely. Wait at least 48 hours before applying Thompson’s Water Seal.

By following these steps, you ensure that you have a clean, dry, and smooth surface that will maximize the effectiveness of Thompson’s Water Seal. Skipping these steps may result in a weaker bond with the wood, a shorter lifespan of protection, and incomplete coverage.

The Benefits of Surface Preparation

Prepping the surface before applying Thompson’s Water Seal offers a multitude of benefits:

  • Prevents water damage: By preparing the surface, it ensures that water cannot penetrate into the wood or other surfaces, thus protecting it against water damage and rotting.
  • Enhances durability: A prepared surface helps Thompson’s Water Seal adhere better and form a stronger bond, making it more durable.
  • Ensures uniform application: Without surface preparation, the coating may blotch or appear uneven, which is not only unsightly but leaves some parts of the surface exposed to moisture and damaging environments.
  • Extends the lifespan of the coating: Proper preparation extends the life span of the protective coating, providing long term protection and saving on maintenance costs.

In summary, surface preparation is critical to maximizing the lifespan and effectiveness of Thompson’s Water Seal. A well-prepared surface provides an even, durable, and strong bond, protecting your surfaces against water damage, mold, mildew, and rotting.

Effectiveness of Thompson’s Water Seal Over Time

When properly applied to a well-prepared surface, Thompson’s Water Seal can last for several years. The length of time depends on various factors, including the amount of sunlight the surface receives, its exposure to moisture and weather elements, and the quality of surface preparation.

Factors Affecting Thompson’s Water Seal: Effect on Longevity
Sun Exposure Shortens lifespan
Preservative Qualities of the Wood Lengthens lifespan
Quality of Application Affects durability and longevity
Surface Preparation Strengthens bond and prolongs lifespan

By following proper surface preparation and maintenance guidelines, Thompson’s Water Seal can be an effective solution for preserving and protecting your surfaces for many years.

How often to apply Thompson’s water seal

Thompson’s Water Seal is a highly effective waterproofing agent that creates a barrier that keeps water away from your wood surfaces. While the sealant can last for a long time, it eventually wears off and will need to be reapplied. Here are some things to consider when deciding how often to apply Thompson’s Water Seal:

  • The type of surface – The application frequency depends on the type of surface. Some surfaces such as fences, decks, and siding withstand more weathering, and thus, require more frequent application compared to furniture or smaller items.
  • The climate – The frequency of application depends on the climate of your location. Areas with colder and wetter climates usually require more frequent application than areas with dry and hot climates.
  • The product used – The frequency of application depends on the type of Thompson’s Water Seal product used. Some products offer long-term protection that only requires reapplication every few years, while others require annual reapplication.

The company generally suggests that you should reapply the sealant every one to three years, but the factors mentioned above should be considered as well.

It is also vital to keep in mind that factors such as UV rays and foot traffic can reduce the lifespan of the sealant. Therefore, in high traffic areas or under direct sunlight, you may need to apply the sealant more frequently.

If you are not sure when to reapply your Thompson’s Water Seal product, you can check if the surface is in need of protection by doing a splash test. Splash some water on the surface and observe if the water beads on the surface or gets absorbed. If the water gets absorbed, then it is time to reapply the sealant.

How to store Thompson’s water seal to extend shelf life

Thompson’s Water Seal is a great product to use on various surfaces to protect them from water damage. While the sealant typically has a long shelf life, it’s important to store it properly to keep it from hardening or losing its effectiveness. Here are some tips on how to store Thompson’s Water Seal to extend its shelf life:

  • Store in a cool, dry place: High temperatures and humidity can cause the sealant to harden or even become unusable. Store the can in an air-conditioned room or a cool basement to maintain its quality.
  • Seal the can tightly: Make sure the lid is secured tightly to prevent air from getting in and oxygenating the product. This can cause the sealant to thicken and become unusable.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight: UV rays can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of the sealant. Keep the can in a shaded area to avoid direct sunlight exposure.

Following these tips can help extend the shelf life of your Thompson’s Water Seal. Additionally, it’s important to note that even if the sealant is stored properly, it may still have a limited shelf life. Here’s a table that shows how long Thompson’s Water Seal typically lasts in the can:

Product Type Shelf Life (Unopened Can)
Clear Multi-Surface Waterproofer 24 months
Advanced Natural Wood Protector 24 months
Waterproofing Stain 36 months

It’s recommended to use the sealant within the given shelf life for optimal effectiveness. That being said, if the sealant appears to be in good condition and has been stored properly past the shelf life, it may still be usable.

The dangers of using old or expired Thompson’s water seal

Thompson’s water seal is a popular waterproofing solution that many homeowners and DIY enthusiasts rely on to protect their outdoor spaces from water damage. However, using old or expired Thompson’s water seal can lead to a variety of problems that can compromise its effectiveness. Here are some of the dangers of using old or expired Thompson’s water seal:

  • The sealant may not work as intended: One of the most significant dangers of using old or expired Thompson’s water seal is that the sealant may not work as intended. Over time, the chemicals in the sealant can break down, lose their potency and become ineffective. As a result, using an expired Thompson’s water seal can lead to water seeping through the treated surface, causing damage that could have been prevented.
  • The sealant can become a fire hazard: When Thompson’s water seal is exposed to heat or sunlight, it can release flammable vapors. If the sealant is too old, these vapors can build up inside the container and become a fire hazard. It is crucial to store and dispose of the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The sealant can cause skin or eye irritation: Old or expired Thompson’s water seal can also cause skin or eye irritation if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. The chemicals in the sealant can be harmful and cause a rash or a chemical burn. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, when applying the sealant to avoid any contact with your skin or eyes.

It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life for Thompson’s water seal. Typically, the sealant should be used within two years of purchase. Also, always check the expiration date on the can before using the sealant to ensure it is still effective.


Using old or expired Thompson’s water seal can lead to a range of problems, from water damage to dangerous chemical exposure. It is essential to follow proper safety protocols and ensure the sealant is within its recommended shelf life. Remember, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to protecting your outdoor spaces from water damage.

How to dispose of Thompson’s water seal properly

When you’re done using a can of Thompson’s water seal, you should dispose of it properly to prevent any harm to the environment. Here are some steps you can follow:

  • First, check with your local waste management facility or recycling center to see if they accept Thompson’s water seal cans. Some facilities may consider it hazardous waste and require special disposal methods.
  • If the facility does not accept the product, check if there are any hazardous waste collection events in your area that accept Thompson’s water seal. These events are usually held once or twice a year and allow you to dispose of hazardous household items safely.
  • If none of the above options work, you can try to use up the leftover water seal by applying it to other surfaces. However, make sure you do not apply it on surfaces that come in contact with food or water.
  • Once you have used up all the water seal from the can, you can dispose of the empty can with your regular household recycling.

It’s important to note that you should never pour Thompson’s water seal onto the ground or down any drain. This can contaminate soil and groundwater, leading to serious environmental effects.

If you’re unsure about how to dispose of Thompson’s water seal properly, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult with your local waste management facility or recycling center.

Below is a table outlining the material composition of a Thompson’s water seal can:

Material Percentage
Steel 95.5%
Plastic 4.3%
Other 0.2%

Knowing the composition of the can can help you make an informed decision on how to dispose of it properly.

Common mistakes to avoid when applying Thompson’s water seal

Thompson’s Water Seal is a highly recommended waterproofing solution for wood surfaces like decks, fences, and patio furniture. It is designed to protect these surfaces from the sun and water damage, expanding their lifespan. However, applying this sealer requires some expertise, and many homeowners make mistakes that can compromise the effectiveness of the product.

  • Failure to clean the surface: One of the most common mistakes that homeowners make is applying Thompson’s Water Seal without cleaning the surface. This leads to uneven coverage, and the product may not penetrate deep into the wood.
  • Inadequate application: Applying too little Thompson’s Water Seal will not give you the required protection against water and UV rays. On the other hand, applying too much can lead to surface film, which can peel, crack, and bubble over time.
  • Applying in the wrong weather: Applying Thompson’s Water Seal during rainy or humid weather conditions will compromise the effectiveness of the product. The temperature should also be considered because if it’s too hot, the sealant can dry too quickly, leading to brush strokes and lap marks.
  • Ignoring manufacturer’s instructions: Following the manufacturer’s instructions is essential. You should apply the sealer in thin coats and allow adequate drying time before applying additional coats. Failing to follow the instructions will affect how well the Thompson’s Water Seal seeps into the wood, and its longevity.
  • Application of old/solidified product: Applying an old or solidified Thompson’s Water Seal won’t give you the desired results. A perfectly preserved sealant can last up to five years. Still, an old or solid product that’s been exposed to moisture or extreme temperature changes will lose its effectiveness, and applying it will be a complete waste of your time and money.
  • Not using enough sealant: Using too little sealant will not penetrate the surface adequately; using excess sealer will leave a sticky residue and cause the surface to become tacky. Wiping off excess sealant ensures that the surface is fully covered and allows the sealant to penetrate deep into the fibers.
  • Poor preparation: Prepare the surface well before applying Thompson’s Water Seal. Many homeowners ignore the importance of preparation, and their sealer often flakes off within a year. Start by thoroughly cleaning and sanding the surface; this will ensure the sealant adheres correctly.
  • Not protective enough: Thompson’s Water Seal is the go-to waterproofing solution for most homeowners. However, if you’re often exposed to wet environments or in areas that are frequently exposed to extreme temperatures, the product might not hold up for long. Consider getting a more robust sealant for longer-lasting results.
  • Not using protective gear: Using personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, and appropriate clothing are essential when applying Thompson’s Water Seal to avoid getting it on skin or clothes. Splashes can cause skin and eye irritation, while inhaling the fumes can lead to respiratory problems.


Thompson’s Water Seal is an excellent solution for protecting wooden surfaces from water and UV light damage. However, applying it requires expertise and proper preparation. By avoiding the common mistakes highlighted above, you’ll ensure that your sealer lasts for a long time while maintaining your surface’s beauty and value.

Mistake Consequence Solution
Failure to clean the surface Uneven coverage and insufficient penetration into the wood Clean the surface thoroughly before application
Inadequate application Not enough protection from water and UV rays Apply enough sealer to fully cover the surface without leaving any residue
Applying in the wrong weather Compromised effectiveness of the product Choose a dry and cool day for application
Ignoring manufacturer’s instructions Poor sealer penetration and reduced longevity Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines
Application of old/solidified product Inadequate protection Use a fresh product that’s been adequately preserved
Not using enough sealant Inadequate penetration of sealant into the wood Carefully apply enough sealant to cover the surface without leaving any residue
Poor preparation Peeling off the sealer within a year Thoroughly clean and sand the surface before application
Not protective enough Insufficient protection in high-wet or extreme temperature environments Consider a more robust sealant
Not using protective gear Skin and eye irritation or respiratory problems Use protective gear when applying the sealer

Use the table above to identify the mistakes, consequences, and solutions to avoid when applying Thompson’s Water Seal.

Alternatives to Thompson’s water seal for wood protection.

Thompson’s water seal is a popular choice for wood protection due to its effectiveness and ease of application. However, there are several alternatives available in the market that provide a similar level of protection to wood surfaces. Here are some of the most common alternatives to Thompson’s water seal:

  • Penetrating Oil: Penetrating oil is a popular alternative as it seeps into the wood pores and forms a protective film. this film protects the wood surface from water and UV rays.
  • Wood Stain: Wood stain is another excellent alternative to Thompson’s water seal. It not only protects wood surfaces from the weather but also enhances its natural beauty by highlighting the grain pattern.
  • Clear Sealer: Clear Sealer is another popular alternative that provides a protective layer on the wood surface without changing its natural appearance.

Although these alternatives may be more expensive than Thompson’s water seal, they can provide a longer-lasting protective layer that can withstand harsh weather and UV rays. It is important to consider the time and effort required for application when choosing the alternative that is right for you.

Comparison Table: Alternatives to Thompson’s water seal.

Alternative Pros Cons
Penetrating Oil Seeps into the wood pores, good for UV and water protection Highly combustible, can be expensive
Wood Stain Enhances natural beauty, protects from weather and UV rays May change wood color, can require frequent reapplication
Clear Sealer Does not change the wood appearance, provides good protection May require reapplication more frequently than other alternatives

In conclusion, Thompson’s water seal is a popular choice for wood protection, but there are numerous alternatives available that provide similar protection. These alternatives may be more expensive but can provide longer-lasting protection that can withstand harsh weather and UV rays.

How Long Does Thompson’s Water Seal Last in the Can?

Thompson’s Water Seal is a popular brand of waterproofing sealant used for protecting outdoor wood surfaces. If you’re planning to buy or store a can of Thompson’s Water Seal, you might have some questions about its shelf life. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers:

1. How long does Thompson’s Water Seal last in an unopened can?

Thompson’s Water Seal can last up to 5 years in an unopened can if stored in a cool and dry place. However, be sure to check the expiration date before using it.

2. Can Thompson’s Water Seal expire?

Yes, it can. The shelf life of Thompson’s Water Seal can be shortened if it’s exposed to heat, moisture, or humidity. Additionally, the sealant can start to break down after a certain period of time, even if it’s unopened.

3. Can you use Thompson’s Water Seal if it has expired?

No, you shouldn’t. Using an expired Thompson’s Water Seal can lead to poor adhesion and compromised protection.

4. How long does Thompson’s Water Seal last once opened?

Once opened and partially used, Thompson’s Water Seal can be stored up to 2 years if tightly sealed and kept in a cool and dry place. However, the quality of the sealant might deteriorate over time, so it’s recommended to use it as soon as possible.

5. What happens if you use an expired Thompson’s Water Seal?

If you use an expired Thompson’s Water Seal, you may notice poor adhesion, flaking, and peeling. The sealant may fail to protect the wood and could require reapplication sooner than expected.

6. How to store an opened can of Thompson’s Water Seal?

If you have an opened can of Thompson’s Water Seal, make sure to seal it tightly and store it in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight, moisture, and heat sources.

7. What are the signs that Thompson’s Water Seal has gone bad?

If the sealant has changed in color, texture, or consistency, it might be a sign that it has gone bad. Additionally, if there’s a foul smell or mold growth, it’s best to avoid using it.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know how long does Thompson’s Water Seal last in the can, you can make informed decisions when buying and storing it. Remember to always check the expiration date before using it and to store the sealant in the recommended conditions. Thanks for reading and visit us again for more tips and guides!