Oil-Based and Water-Based Staining
When you are choosing the stain that you want to use for an indoor or outdoor wood project, there are many factors that you have to consider. There are two main bases that are used in stains for wood and that is oil and water. Each is best in different situations and each provides a different level of protection and coverage. The protection and coverage that is achieved by either type of stain will have to do with the type of wood that is being used, previous wood treatments, and weather exposure.
Water Based Stains
Water based stains are best used on woods that are naturally resistant to rotting. These stains will dry quickly and keep their color for a long period of time. Water based stains provide richer colors and do not produce harmful odors or fumes. The stain is breathable and is not flammable. Water based stains are famous for their easy cleanup, requiring only soap and water. These stains are often chosen because they are resistant to both mildew and molds.
Oil based stains will require more time to dry, but that is a part of their process. This dry time allows the stain to provide a more even finish. An oil-based stain will penetrate the wood more deeply and is very durable. An oil-based stain provides a thicker seal on wood and requires much less long-term maintenance than a water-based stain. These stains work best when used on wood that is not resistant to rot.
Previous Wood Treatments
When you are considering refinishing or re-staining wood flooring, it is important to determine what previous treatments have taken place on the wood. If there were previous layers of paint or stain, then there are certain steps that should be taken to achieve an even and protective layer. If the previous layer of stain that was used is an oil-based stain, then a water-based stain will adhere better and will last longer. Although it can be difficult to determine what the previous treatment consisted of, especially if it occurred before you were taking care of the flooring, it is worth doing a little extra digging so that the proper treatment can be applied.
Whether or not your wood flooring will be exposed to certain types of weather will also play a determining factor in the kind of stain that you should use to protect your wood flooring. If the wood will come into contact with wind, rain or sunlight, and oil-based stain will provide the most protection. Oil based stains are generally more durable than water-based stains and provide a more complete and protective layer against the elements.