Wood projects are beautiful and long-lasting, with a charm that is timeless. Whether indoors or out, protecting the wood and keeping it both strong and attractive is a worthwhile investment. There are many options available that fit the aesthetic and budget of your project. By first applying a wood stain to your desired color and then a wood sealant to coat and protect the wood, you’re ensuring a clean and beautiful finish that will prolong its life.
Wood stain does exactly what its name implies: it stains wood grain a certain color. By penetrating into the wood before other impurities can, stain ensures an even color to your wood project. If dirt, oil, paint, etc., are allowed to come in contact with a raw wood surface they soak into the open grain, causing unsightly blemishes. The only method to remove them is by sanding out the problem area, a time consuming solution. Prevention is better, and wood stain comes in so many colors that customizing your look is easy.
The exception to this rule is when your project uses pressure-treated wood. Check with the retailer first if it needs a chance to age before stain can be applied. Pressure-treated wood is made by submerging boards into a preservative liquid and then placing them into a pressurized chamber that forces the liquid deep into the wood. These chemicals fill the grain and often need a chance to release before there is room for the stain to soak in and adhere to the wood.
Wood sealant, unlike stain, sits atop the surface of the wood, protecting it from the elements. This means that water, dirt, your kid’s chalk – they all hit that coat of sealant and are unable to penetrate to the wood grain. This protects the wood from rotting away from moisture or being stained by impurities. The sealant works by binding to the wood and filling in the pores, creating a smooth surface. If your project is outdoors, such as a fence or deck, it will be necessary to reapply a sealant every couple of years. The effects of foot traffic and constant exposure to nature wear away the layers of sealant over time, once again exposing the wood.
Wood sealant can come pre-tinted, making staining and sealing your deck an easy, one-step project. There are also different options for the finish, which is how shiny the wood will be after application. Which sealant you should use depends on the project and its location. For instance, wipe-on polyurethane is more than sufficient for a coffee table that will spend its life indoors, but a porch will need a stronger sealer. In general it’s easy to find the right type for your needs in any hardware store. Porch and deck sealants are usually labelled as such or are marked as outdoor use.
Wood that hasn’t been stained and sealed is always easy to spot. When it’s fresh and new, the color of the wood is light and fresh, but as it ages the wood develops a grey, run-down appearance. Outdoors you’ll notice the grain getting swollen with water and lifting apart and deep dirt stains in the wood itself. All of this could have been prevented with a coat of stain and sealant. This is where the flooring expert comes in to deliver the best laid Solid Wood Floors in your interior living spaces.
Wood stain and sealant are the final steps in finishing your wood project. They play a vital role in the beauty and strength of the wood. Their ease of application and usefulness make them important tools in the overall success of wood working and achieving a desirable aesthetic.