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Wood Stain or Varnish: Which Does Your Fence Need?

Hercules Fence of Washington D.C. Wood Stain Varnish

If you’re doing maintenance on your wood fence, it’s important to know the difference between wood stain and varnish so you can choose the best product for your needs.

If you have a wood fence, you already know that while it provides countless benefits to your and your family, it does require a fair bit of maintenance. One of the most important maintenance tasks for a wooden fence is the periodic work of painting or staining and sealing it to protect it from the damaging effects of sun, weather, and time. If you don’t want to paint, a stain is the most common option. But if you go that route, do you use stain or varnish? What is the difference between varnish and wood stain? Let’s dive into those questions and investigate.

What is Stain?

The purpose of stain is to change the color of the wood. The stain is a liquid that soaks into the wood and stains it (hence the name) to change the color. Wood stain does not provide any protection for the wood. Stain is an aesthetic treatment, not a preservative or protective one. If you choose to stain, you still need to do something else to seal the wood and protect it from moisture and other threats. Stains can be water- or oil-based. Newer stains are also available as a gel so that they are easier to apply.

What is Varnish?

Varnish is a specific type of protective coating, but the word is often used to mean any type of protective coating (shellac, lacquer, wax, and other finishes). It is usually clear, and it sits on the surface of the wood. The coat of varnish on the surface protects the wood from dirt and moisture, sealing it. Varnishes might have a slight (usually warm) tint to them, but they don’t change the look of the wood excessively. The most they do aesthetically is to add shine or sheen (depending on the level of gloss: glossy, satin, or flat). Protective finishes can be water- or oil-based (or wax-based), and if you are applying both stain and a finish, you should use the same type.

Combo Products

There are many products on the market that combine both stain and varnish into one. If you know that you want to change the tone or color of the wood, choosing a combo product is an efficient choice. Some people don’t like them, but generally they work as intended. They don’t actually soak the color into the wood, but they do change the overall look and provide important protection.

Residential Fences from Hercules Fence DC

Hercules Fence DC has been providing property owners with quality fences for over 50 years. We are well equipped to meet your needs, whether they are residential or commercial. We have extensive experience working with families and pet owners to keep the most important members of their home safe, so call us today about installing a new pet fence for your family. Contact us by giving us a call at 301-441-1600 or visiting us online. To see examples of our work, follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Flickr.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 23rd, 2022 at 11:02 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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