Oil Based vs. Water Based Decking Stains
Whether you want a deck stain that is more natural looking or one with a bit more color it's important to protect the wood with some type of water repellant wood stain. All types of wood decking are subjected to harsh weather conditions that can cause UV fading, water damage, and mold/mildew issues. One of the main choices you will have to make when choosing a decking stain is whether to go with an oil based or water based stain.
Oil Based Decking Stains
Oil based stains are used for all types of wood projects such as decks, fences, gazebos, and outdoor furniture. Both synthetic and natural oils are used in oil based stains. The more common oils used are Linseed, Tung, Paraffin, and Rosewood Oil.
Oil decking stains penetrate wood very well and provide excellent protection. Oil molecules are smaller than water molecules so it penetrates better in comparison. The better a wood decking stain penetrates the better it performs and lasts.
By nature, oil based deck stains are easier to apply than water based. They are perfect for the do-it-yourselfer because they are user friendly and can give you professional looking results. Oils stains are normally more natural looking than water based stains. They enhance the beauty of the wood by allowing more of the wood grain to show through.
Most oil based stains have a strong odor and can expect to have longer drying and curing times compared to water based deck stains. Though a longer drying time can be inconvenient it actually assists the stain to accomplish a more even finish.
Water Based Decking Stains
Water based decking stains have become increasingly popular in recent years due to stricter VOC laws in many states. Water based stains can retain their color better than oil based but they are not as user friendly.
Water based deck stains also dry much quicker and have far less odor. In comparison to oil based, they do not penetrate as well and lack in performance but there are some exceptions.
Where an oil based stain will fade over time and be easier to maintain, a water based decking stain will normally peel or flake off once it fails and is considerably harder to maintain. Water based wood stains clean up easily with warm water and soap and they are also environmentally friendly.
Select a wood decking stain that fits your needs best. Consider factors such as stain longevity, ease of application, appearance, and maximum protection.
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