Features of water stain

Stain – a wood tinting agent that penetrates deep into the material, adds color and maintains the natural grain pattern.

Water stain protects the wood from fungus and insect damage, thereby extending the service life.


Stain differs from varnishes and paints in that it does not form a surface layer. The pigment penetrates into the material, so it is not afraid of scratches and chips, while maintaining the natural structure of the wood.

There are two types of stain. The first group is water-soluble – it can be sold as a ready-made solution or in the form of a powder. Water stains are safe – they can be safely used for treating children’s furniture. They do not have a pungent unpleasant odor, penetrate deeply into the texture of the wood, have a low price and can be made independently..

Stained wood has the following qualities:

  • increases the surface resistance to abrasion;
  • the surface is less susceptible to mold damage;
  • reduced porosity of the material, which additionally protects against moisture.

Color density directly depends on the number of layers. The water-based stain lifts the outer grain of the wood during painting, therefore after this, mandatory grinding is required. If wood products are outdoors, then for additional protection, it is recommended to cover the top with a transparent varnish.

A subtype of water stain is the acrylic version, which is an emulsion. It has a wider range of colors and is resistant to sun fading. There is also a significant difference in price: acrylic is 6-7 times more expensive.

Non-aqueous stains include alcohol, oil and wax stains. Alcohol versions are made on the basis of aniline dye. They dry quickly but can stain. Oil stains are sold as a powder, diluted with a solvent. They dry quite quickly, thanks to the oil base, they allow you to mix different dyes, which is often used in decoration.

The wax materials create a protective layer, but do not penetrate deeply into the structure. After using them, the surface must not be varnished or treated with polyurethane..


Water-based stain has an extensive color palette that imitates all woods: from light beige to black. If you need a different color, for example, green, then you need to look for it among the non-water stains. To create a rich shade, it is necessary to apply several layers or add more dry component when making a solution..

All manufacturers accompany their products with samples of wood stains. When buying, you can easily choose the right tone. However, it is important to know that the same color will look different on different types of wood. For example, the shade indicated on the sample, which is often pine, will turn out to be darker on oak or poplar furniture, and reddish on mahogany, but on maple it will hardly change, since the material is quite dense.

The stains themselves can be mixed for a personalized finish. To obtain unusual effects, the basic tone is first applied, then with different strokes – a stain of a different color.

You can make the stain yourself. Combinations of various natural ingredients give certain shades. Changes in proportion lead to a change in shade.

The red color of the stain will give a decoction of the following ingredients:

  • larch bark;
  • onion peel (shade closer to orange);
  • crushed walnut shells with the addition of potassium dichromate solution.

Brown and mocha colors are obtained during the preparation process:

  • Decoction of bark in equal proportions of willow and oak with the addition of alder earrings. The saturation of brown will give crushed walnut shells.
  • Decoction of walnut shells and bark.
  • Strongly brewed natural coffee.
  • Brewed black tea, the strength of which affects the color.

Black and ebony can be obtained using:

  • decoction of oak and alder bark;
  • decoction of willow and alder bark.

The color of black ebony will give a solution of iron corrosion – for this, small glands need to be poured with vinegar and left to infuse in a dark place for two days. Black color can be obtained if you insist them much more, but not more than a week..

A gray color is obtained if, after staining with walnut broth, wipe the surface with vinegar essence. If you boil unripe buckthorn fruits, you get a yellow stain.

Cherry color will give a solution of potassium permanganate – this requires diluting 25 g of manganese in 0.5 liters of water. After processing, immediately wipe the surface with a soft hygroscopic cloth. To obtain a rich shade, apply several layers.

White wood furniture looks interesting. Instead of staining it, you can whiten it with a stain, for which it is better to purchase a ready-made white composition from the manufacturer. Most often it is found in an oil base, but it can also be found on a water base. Stain clogs the pores, thereby brightening the wood, while not coloring the pattern itself.


Among the well-known brands of stain can be distinguished “Novbytkhim”, “Latek” and Trae Lyx. St. Petersburg products company “Novbythim” has a wide palette of shades that mix well with each other. Stains are inexpensive in price, odorless, easily removed from the skin of hands and stained surfaces. They are quickly absorbed, making it easy to achieve a uniform layer. Used exclusively for interior work.

Consumers report rapid wiping off and color fading. The moisture resistance declared by the manufacturer, unfortunately, does not correspond to reality – spilled water or drops leave ugly light spots. But all the flaws in the process of work are easily erased. The colors are translucent, so many coats are required for a good saturated shade..

Against this background, water stains of another Russian company “Latek” look better. They improve the durability of the wood, thereby increasing the service life. After applying the stain, a special vapor-permeable film forms on the surface. Among the shortcomings, users note a significant difference in the color of the stain on the test sample from the result.

Swedish stain by Trae Lyx do not form stains during application and allow tint of previously painted surfaces. They mix well with each other. Among the palette of shades, you can find a white stain on a water basis..


Stain is easier to work with than paint, but smudges and stains can occur. If the tree has any defects or smeared cracks, then such imperfections will become clearly visible..

Stain application algorithm:

  • The surface must be clean. If there is exposed wood resin or oil stains, then they must be sanded and degreased..
  • Some wood species absorb moisture well. To reduce the consumption of stain, you can pre-moisten the surface. This technique will also help reduce hairiness after staining..

  • The stain must be shaken or mixed thoroughly. If the diluted composition turns out to be cloudy, then it should be filtered through a dense cloth or cotton wool filter..
  • You can apply the stain with a brush, foam rubber, roller, spray or cotton swab. It is necessary to stain along the fibers. If you “pour” a lot of liquid, then ugly smudges may remain. When painting a vertical surface, it should be applied from top to bottom..
  • If there are several layers, then each subsequent layer should be applied after the previous one has dried (after 4-12 hours). The finishing layer dries up to a day.

If a large hairiness has formed on the surface, then it can be sanded. The surface must be dry..

When it is necessary to process a large area, you can first use a cheaper composition, and for the finishing layer you can purchase a higher quality stain, thus saving on price.

If spots and smudges have formed, then they should be washed off with water or gently wiped off with acetone.. In some cases, only grinding will help. After that, apply another 1-2 layers of stain.

When the product is assembled from different types of wood, then after staining the areas may differ in color, even if initially there were no drops on them. This must be taken into account, otherwise you can damage the product. In some cases, it is better to use paint or varnish instead of stain..

Acquired shade may differ from sample when applied. To predict the result, you need to apply the stain on a bar similar to wood, and at the same time choose the desired shade and determine the number of layers. If there is no bar, then it can be applied to an area where it will not be visible. For example, when working with a wooden chair, you can use the space under the seat or the inside of the leg.. A poorly chosen color can always be corrected with a darker shade..

For more details on how to work with water stain, see below..

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