Everything You Need to Know About Wood Stains

Woods are among the most important construction materials. In most cases, a wood is colored for aesthetic purposes. This is where wood stains come in handy. Wood stains comprise a colorant which is either dissolved or suspended in a vehicle. In this case, a vehicle is the better term used in place of solvent. Different types of wood stains are listed below; read on.

• Gel stain
• Pigmented stains
• Dyes

Pigment Stains

When coloring the wood, pigmented stains deposit fine particles of color solids on the surface of the wood. These particles are not absorbed, but rather they adhere to the wood simply because the stains contain a binder. Typically, a bidder is clear and thin wood finish with an oil or water base. Normally, the pigments tend to accumulate more in the irregular parts of the wood such as the pores. Hence, these parts tend to be more stained or appear darker than the rest of the wood.


In dyes, the color particles are smaller than in pigmented stains. Additionally, these particles are dissolved in alcohol or water. The color molecules are absorbed by the wood hence producing uniform color since they are small. Dyes can even out the color differences in a wood. To achieve a suitable tone, it is prudent to mix different dyes. Usually, dyes are in ether liquid concentrate or powder form.

Gel Stains

Gel stains are pigmented stains which are designed to be much thicker. To control the amount of stain left on the wood, gel stains are often wiped on and off. Normally, this type of stain can be used to blend wood color since it stays on the top wood and its thickness can be controlled.

In most cases, wood stains do not necessarily change the feel or look of the wood, but they enhance the natural beauty of the wood. It is imperative to first consider the type of wood before staining it. First, decide whether your wooden surface is a hardwood or softwood. Essentially, you should first buy a wood conditioner before you even consider staining a soft wood. The next step is deciding whether you should go for oil based or water-based stains. You should keep in mind that both the water-based and oil-based wood stains have unique advantages and disadvantages.

Wood Stains Application

Ensure you always apply a thin coat of wood conditioner 15 minutes before applying the wood stain. Oil-based stains are more common than water-based stains. Therefore, always stir the stains thoroughly because the pigments and dyes are mixed with minerals in oil-based stains. Stirring thoroughly ensures that you get the full color from the stain. In addition, you should wipe all the excess stain in the direction of the wood’s grain to ensure the stain gets into the wood.

Comparison between oil-based and water-based

Oil-based stains emit fumes. Therefore, if you wish to avoid fumes it is imperative that you go for water-based stains. Additionally, water-based stains have a wide variety of colors compared to oil based.

Wood surface preparation affects the amount of stain that remains on the wood. Consequently, experts recommend that you sand close-grained woods, especially when using pigmented stain. Most commercial contain both pigments and dyes. However, the latest innovation in stain industry is the gel stains. These have high viscosity, hence more recommendable.


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