How to Choose the Right Wood Stain

ECOS 07/24/2014

Having trouble deciding on what wood stain to pick? Not sure if the color is going to work? The last thing you want to do is pick the wrong stain and then have to strip or sand it off before applying a new one. Save yourself the headache by checking out our tips on how to choose the right wood stain below!

1. Know Your Wood: Every type of wood has a natural hue to it and different densities (meaning they “take” or “don’t take” stains in different degrees). Knowing the natural color and hardness or softness is vital for understanding the final color.

2. Stain Color Essentials: This is probably the most important question people want help with -- what color stain should you pick? There’s no easy answer, but here are a few points to consider.

Coats: The number of coats you apply will affect the color. When staining, it's important to remember this: the first coat of a two-coat system will usually go on darker than the second coat. The second coat will tend to be ”smoother“ and will reflect the light source more uniformly.

Light Source: Every source of light has a different color. For example, incandescent bulbs tend to be warmer and yellower than fluorescent lights. Indoor surfaces that are near a window may also be affected by both interior and exterior light sources. Exterior light can change dramatically during the course of a day. Sunset light tends to be golden; evening light is often bluish. When you’re comparing colors, consider the lighting conditions.

Try a Few Hues: Choose one or two colors and then pick a few different shades to test out.

3. Testing 1, 2, 3:  Make sure you test out the stain before applying it to the whole surface. Use a piece of scrap wood from your project or find an inconspicuous spot on the finished project to test the stain. Also, colors change as they dry so make sure you wait.

Hope you found this helpful and you’re feeling confident about tackling your project! Check out our designer selection of stains & varnishes - all of which are zero-VOC** and non-toxic*. Let us know in the comments if you have any further questions, we’re happy to help!

*Conforms to ASTMD-4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation, and respiratory effects.
 ** Formulated without harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and toluene which can cause sickness, irritation, and respiratory issues.

CATEGORIES exterior|interior