Timber Stains

Different Types of Timber Stains Available

What is a Timber Stain?

A timber stain is a fluid, which is used to color a surface by penetrating into the substrate without obscuring it.

Timber stains are generally applied to bare timber to enhance the beauty of the grain markings and improve the appearance of inferior grade timbers to imitate higher-grade timbers.

It can be used to color match different types of timber to create a harmonious look. There are many different types of timber stains.

Water Stain

This more traditional type of timber stain comprises of vegetable dyes dissolved in boiling water. The modern type uses acrylic resin. The water stain is useful for emphasizing the grain in softwoods, but it has a disadvantage of raising the grain.

Spirit Stain

This comprises spirit soluble dyes in a solution of industrial alcohol. This form of timber stain evaporates rapidly and careful application is required to produce an evenly colored substrate.

Oil Stain

An oil timber stain consists of ground semi transparent pigments mixed with linseed oil and thinned with turpentine. It is slow drying and requires at least 24 hours to dry. Its composition is similar to that of scumble.

Varnish Stain

This product is a pigmented hard varnish, which when applied leaves a coating on the substrate surface. Professionals do not commonly apply it; the home handyman generally uses it.

In General

Exterior oil based timber stains are designed for exterior weatherproofing.
They should not be used as a stain under a clear coating. Using one coat of timber stain doesn’t substitute for one coat of varnish. Timber stains are designed to color a surface, varnish is designed to seal it.

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