Choosing the stain that will work best for a particular project depends, in large part, on the wood you decide to use. When applied to wood, stain changes its color. So, the same color stain you use on a light oak, for instance, will appear very different than it would on a darker wood like walnut or cherry.
There are also different stains designed for use in different environments, such as interior and exterior. For example, oil-based stain – which is easy to revive with a fresh coat and penetrates deeply, leaving rich color in its wake – is mildew-resistant and environmentally friendly; whereas high shine, fast drying lacquer, which is often a sprayed topcoat, provides an exceptional protective finish for items such as cabinets, molding and trim.
Although water-based stains won’t penetrate wood as deeply as oil-based stains, they are fast-drying, provide easy clean-up and you can get a similar result by applying additional coats. Oil-based stains will work wonders on furniture and large surfaces, as they provide an even finish. Gel stains provide a consistent finish while allowing the unique features and grains of wood to show through. Oil-based polyurethane, a synthetic alternative to more difficult to use varnish, is resistant to scratches, heat and chemical exposure, making it an excellent stain choice for projects such as floors and railings.
If you have more questions about which stains will work best on which woods, the lumber experts at M & M Enterprises, your local, family-owned lumber yard, will be more than happy to help.