Types of Timber Stains and Finishes
There are a variety of surface finishes on the market that offer protection and enhancement to timber while preserving its natural look.
Dye Stains give a beautiful result on pine and whitewood furniture, cupboards, doors and panelling. Pigment Stains add colour without hiding the grain - they're available in decorator colours as well as timber tones. Clear Pine Finishes are intended for new, untreated pine.
Clear Polyurethane Finishes
These are commonly used to seal and protect stains, although the gloss, satin or matt polyurethane finish is attractive in its own right, especially on floors, benchtops and drawer units.
Wax finishes offer the simplest of finishes, giving a natural sheen to bare or stained woods. Not hard-wearing but easy to maintain.
Exterior Oils are similar to Scandinavian Oils. These penetrating oils produce a soft, lustrous 'hand-rubbed' finish on doors, panelling and furniture. After waxes, they are the easiest to apply and maintain because the finish is in the surface and not on top of it. You may need to apply more coats of an oil than you would have to apply of a polyurethane.
Exterior Timber Stains
These are used for gables, weatherboards, windows, fascias, pergolas, decks and fences. These stains are lightly pigmented yet semi-transparent, allowing grain and texture to show through.
These are recommended for areas exposed to strong sunlight. The tough, flexible finish of a good product such as Dulux Timbacryl gives protection to a surface and needs less maintenance than a stain.
Pick your Colour
When choosing stain colours, remember that the shade may be slightly different to that shown on the colour chart. This is due to the colour and porosity of the timber. As a general rule, the lighter the stain colour, the more it will be affected by the colour of your timber. Additional coats will intensify the colour. Most stains darken as they dry.