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This section contains general information on stains and preservatives, and their uses. Most exterior stains contain mildewcide to help resist the growth of mildew. The greatest thing about stains is they never crack or peel, which reduces the surface preparation work needed for restaining.

Exterior Clear Water Repelling Stains and Preservatives
Exterior clear water repelling stains and preservatives are made of oils, paraffin wax, and silicates, which provide hardening, to protect against moisture and provide a natural wood finish. Initially, they have a relatively short life expectancy, and depending on weathering conditions, should be applied every six months to two years. Water repelling stains and preservatives allow moisture to enter and exit wood while the oils extend the life of the wood. The term “sealer,” sometimes used to describe water repelling stains and preservatives, do not allow moisture to enter and exit wood surfaces because they seal surfaces. Most water repelling stains and preservatives contain a mildewcide to resist the growth of mildew. All purpose water repellents and sealers should never be used on wood surfaces because they are designed more for masonry.

Exterior Semitransparent Stains
Exterior semitransparent stains contain the same characteristics as water repelling stains, but contain a small amount of colour that allows the grain of the wood to show through. These stains are recommended for exterior wood siding and decks.

Exterior Solid colour Stains
Exterior solid colour stains have the same characteristics as Semitransparent Stains and cover wood surfaces with a variety of colours. They provide a painted look finish while allowing the texture of the wood surface to come through. These stains can be used on siding and deck railings. Priming new wood surfaces with an alkyd based stain primer or oil stain will greatly enhance the durability of any exterior solid colour staining project.

Exterior Bleaching and Weathering Stains
Exterior bleaching and weathering stains are similar to clear water repelling stains, except they allow wood surfaces to keep a weathered and gray look while acting as a water repellent. These stains can be recoated with the clear water repelling stains and preservatives.

Interior Stains
Interior stains have many of the same characteristics as penetrating exterior stains, except they are primarily used to give depth and clarity to the characteristics of interior wood surfaces. These stains come in a variety of colours and should be coated with at least two coats of a clear polyurethane or varnish. A clear polyurethane or varnish will provide protection from abrasions, water, food, and other common elements.