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Types of Wood Stains: A Guide to Wood Stain Colours

If you’ve just installed a new deck or have bought a home with an existing one, you may be wondering what types of wood stains make the best timber match. In today’s article, we thought we’d take a look at the most common wood stains and the suitable applications for each one.

Types of wood stains

Oil based wood stain

Of the types of wood stains, oil is the most common stain used. This is because oil has strong penetrative qualities and staying power, and dries slowly, which ensures a much more even finish. Because oil attaches to timber so easily, oil stains usually results in less lap marks and requires less effort. Oil stains also create a beautiful, glossy look, which is hard to replicate with other types of stains.

Best suited for: Most woods, but exotic wood such as Balau and Teak may be too oily for this type of stain.

Water based wood stain

Though often a little more expensive than oil-based wood stain, water based is much friendlier to the environment as it contains lower volatile organic compounds. These types of wood stains offer high UV resistance and have a natural resistance to mould, mildew and other fungal growths which may affect the appearance and health of wood.  The only major drawback of water-based stains is that more care needs to be taken for an even application– but you’ll be reward with a gorgeous colour that lasts longer.

Best suited for: Most decking timber but will have a less dramatic effect on colour than oil.

Gel based wood stain

Gel stains work differently to water and oil, as they dont soak into the wood, instead forming a layer that works similarly to paint. This type of stain is good if you’re trying to mask a colour, as it offers strong coverage and won’t run due to the thick, syrupy consistency. Gel stains do take longer to dry and aren’t a good option if you want to highlight wood grains as the coverage is too thick. Wood stain colours can appear blotchy if painted too haphazardly, which is why it’s advised beginners stick to oil or water based.

Best suited for: Timber furniture and interior woodwork.

Lacquer wood stain

Popular amongst wood workers, lacquer wood stains can be applied quickly and dries in a short amount of time. This is because of the high amount of volatile organic compounds, which means it can dry in as little as fifteen minutes. However, due to the increased chance of developing air bubbles, builders tend to avoid using lacquer for flooring and other large scale timber projects.Best suited for: Timber furniture and interior woodwork.

Water soluble dye stain

Easy identifiable by their powder form, water soluble dye stains penetrate deep into the wood to create a warm, rich colour. By simply adding the powder to a water-soluble concentrate, you can create wood stain colours can be darkened the more powder used. This gives users a wide variety of colours to choose from, without having to purchase separate stains. The only one major drawback of water-soluble dye stain is that it doesn’t fair well against UV, meaning it’s not the best option for decks.

Best suited for: Timber furniture and interior woodwork.

Varnish stain

Varnish stains are great at enhancing the natural colour and grain of wood and can be used by beginners as you won’t have to worry about smudgy brush strokes. However, care needs to be taken when mixing varnish, as not stirring correctly can cause bubbles to appear in surface. You’ll also need to do some research into the types of wood that hold well with varnish, as some wood won’t be suitable.

Should I use wood sealants?

Though wood stains tend to be more expensive than wood sealants, they can last up to five times longer and provide a more polished look. However, if your deck is made with mahogany, teak or cedar, a sealant can enhance the natural beauty by bringing out the colours and grains.

Best suited for: Facades, structures, frames, and internal parts.

Interested to Learn More?

Need more advice on the best type of wood stain colours for your project? Contact Versace timber yard Brisbane today by calling 07 3266 9000 or emailing [email protected] and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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