Types of Wood Stains

Wood stains come in many forms. Selecting the proper type of wood stain is a matter of matching the features of each type to your project.

Film-forming Vs. Penetrating
There are two ways that wood stains bond to wood, film-forming stains and penetrating stains.
Film-forming wood stain forms a protective layer over the surface of wood. These wood stains create a strong, high-gloss finish. Unfortunately, it can be expensive and will have to be stripped from the wood if re-staining is required.

Penetrating wood stain seeps into the pores of the wood, extending protection beyond the surface. Penetrating wood stains make great exterior wood stains, combining color with ultraviolet and mildew protection.

Oil or Water?
Wood stains are based on two types of material: oil and water.

Water-based wood stains are made up of tiny particles of pigment and resin that bond tightly to each other as the water evaporates. Water-based wood stains are easy to use and clean up and don't leave strong odors.

Oil-based wood stains chemically fuse their particles to form a sheet-like coating that creates a hard finish. Oil-based wood stain is easy to work with, and its long drying time is very forgiving of mistakes.

Bringing Color to Wood
Wood stains use two methods to add color: pigment and dye.

Pigment-based wood stains combine tiny particles of color with binders that hold the finish together. Pigment based wood stains can create striking color effects but will hide the grain of the wood.

Dye-based wood stains use semi-transparent materials to enhance the color of wood. Dye-based wood stains are perfect if you're trying to showcase the grain of the wood in your project.

Wood Stains For Indoors Or Out
Wood stains can be formulated for interior or exterior use.

Interior wood stains typically need a clear, protective coat applied after the stain has dried. Exterior wood stains, on the other hand, have protective additives that don't require additional coats or materials.

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