Using Gel Stains Instead of Liquid Stains

Carpenters and home furnishers love the look and feel of real wood furniture and accessories, which can add a touch of beauty to any room. One of the big benefits of using wood is that it can be stained to achieve a desired color and finish. These days, there are a host of different staining products on the market. One common choice is between a gel stain and a liquid stain. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the two different types of wood stain.

Advantages of gel stains

Less likely to create a mess-The thick consistency of a gel stain makes it generally much easier to use than a liquid. Liquid stains are easy to spill, creating a lot of mess and potentially damaging other items and surfaces. If you apply a gel stain on a vertical surface, it is much less likely to cause a mess. If you knock a container of liquid stain over, you are probably going to be clearing it up for some time.

Easier to apply-Gel stain is also easier to apply, due to its thicker consistency. It's much easier to manage a specific quantity of gel stain on a paint brush or on a cloth, and it is less tricky to apply to small or large surfaces. When using a liquid stain, you have to keep stirring it to ensure a consistent finish, as the color pigment will otherwise settle in the bottom of the container.

Disadvantages of gel stains

Unsuitable for crevices-Gel stains aren't suitable for certain jobs. If you are applying a gel stain to a chair, for example, it can be difficult to get the right amount onto the surface where the leg meets the top. Gel stain quickly accumulates in these crevices and can quickly spoil the effect that you are looking for. Similarly, gel stain will become concentrated where there are knots in the wood or defects on other surfaces. This, again, will create a difference in color in these places.

Produces toxic fumes-Liquid stain does not normally produce strong fumes, but gel stain can produce highly toxic fumes. That means that you must always work in a large, well-ventilated space, and the smell can still be quite strong for some time after you have finished working. It can be dangerous to use gel stains around pets and children. While you can wear a mask during the process, this can be cumbersome and unwieldy.

Less penetration of wood-The consistency of a gel stain is less likely to deeply penetrate wood. This means that the color effect and depth can be quite different to that of a liquid stain. A liquid stain is likely to achieve a darker color, especially if you apply multiple coats.

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