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Staining wood is a great way to improve the aesthetic appeal of your wooden porch or picnic table. The process of staining wood is simple, straightforward, and easy for just about anyone.
Aside from the visual benefits of staining your outdoor wooden surfaces, you also get to relax knowing your deck or patio has an added layer of protection. A healthy coat of wood stain doesn’t just look great; it helps to preserve the wood itself too.
What Is Wood Stain?
Wood stain is a type of paint that you can apply to wooden surfaces to add color. There are several different types of wood stains available, including oil-based, water-based, and gel-based.
Each type of stain works better for different applications. For example, a gel-based stain works better for adding deep color because of its application process and longer drying time, while a water-based stain dries quickly, preventing the stain from penetrating as deeply into the wood.
How Staining Wood Protects It From Damage
When it comes to keeping wooden surfaces looking nice and fresh, there are two main things that you need to protect it from: water and sunlight.
When unfinished wood gets wet, it absorbs the water and penetrates the wood’s surface, but that’s not when the damage actually takes place. As the wood dries back out, it begins to shrink, leaving behind cracks and opening the door for even more moisture to get in and potentially create problems with mold and mildew.
The UV rays from sunlight bleach the color right out of unfinished woods, so it’s important that you add a layer of protection to any wooden structures on your property (porches, swing sets, benches).
When you stain wood, you’re adding a protective barrier between the natural wood and the elements, which prevents water from seeping in.
Also, most wood stains are designed to reflect UV rays, helping to protect and preserve the color.
How to Stain a Wooden Surface
Staining a wooden surface isn’t difficult. You just need a little bit of time and patience. The first thing you need to do before ever applying a coat of wood stain is to remove any old paint, lacquer, or varnish from the surface. Wood needs to be open and clean in order to absorb wood stain properly.
It’s usually best to use a paint stripper because other methods can damage the underlying wood if you’re not careful. If you’re stripping a surface with intricate, hard-to-reach carved spots, a paint stripper is definitely the way to go.
Simply apply the paint stripper by following the instructions on the packaging. If you need to remove multiple layers of paint, try using a chemical paint remover.
Sanding wooden surfaces should be reserved for smaller projects only. Sanding removes a layer of wood from the surface. If you’re not extremely careful, you can end up sanding unevenly and creating dips and gouges in the surface.
Application is slightly different for each type of stain, so you should carefully follow the instructions on the packaging. Make sure to wear old clothes, use rubber gloves, and keep a dry cloth handy for quickly wiping up accidents.
Jeff Sommers is a vibrant and experienced professional, having been at the helm of ESP Painting, Inc. for 27 remarkable years. As President, he has become an esteemed leader in the Commercial & Residential Construction industry in Oregon, United States. His experience has seen him gain valuable insight and knowledge, making him an invaluable asset to ESP Painting and its customers. With a bubbly personality and upbeat attitude, Jeff always looks ahead to the future as he continues his leadership journey toward success.