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Whether it’s a wooden patio deck, a piece of old furniture, or your home itself, there is always the question of “should you stain or seal your wood?” Those who have never built too many things from wood might not understand the need to protect it from the elements, or the desire to stain it for maximum effect. However, these processes are very important for many different purposes.

With any wooden surface, the answer to this question will depend mostly on your needs and situation. Bear in mind that staining and sealing are two completely different processes with completely different results. While one is intended to enhance the natural beauty of the wood, the other is designed to protect it from rot. Bear in mind also that it is completely possible to do both of these things. So you don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other.

Basics Of Wood Staining

The purpose of wood staining is to color the natural surface of the wood. Stain preserves the grain of the wood while giving it a more appealing color. You begin by preparing your surface with a little sanding. Remove any dirt, grime, sticky muck, or old paint that might be present, so that you have a clean, uniform surface. Then, you simply apply the stain with a paintbrush.

Wood stain is thinner than paint so that it might feel a little different. It is also important to make sure that you apply the stain evenly, not allowing it to pool up. The smoother and more even the coating, the smoother your results will look.

Basics Of Wood Sealing

Wood sealers are an entirely different beast. While staining is meant to provide beauty, the sealer is meant to provide longevity and strength. It does this by sealing the wood (hence the name) in a clear, waterproof substance like polyurethane. This keeps the wood from rotting and prevents moisture from seeping in through condensation, where it can gradually cause cracks.

In the winter, this problem is especially bad, because water can get into the cracks of untreated wood, where it then freezes and expands. This is why you must use sealer on any wooden construction that is designed to be exposed to the weather.

You can use a sealer on virtually any wood surface, whether it is bare or stained. Like a stain, you can just brush a sealer on with a standard paintbrush. Some prefer to use a foam brush for this kind of thing, but that is personal preference. It is worth noting that a sealer will still darken a wooden surface very slightly, but it won’t make much of a difference.

Definitely, if you want to protect the wood from rotting and moisture rather than give it a color then getting the best wood sealer would be a good decision.

In the end, every project is unique. You need to figure out what you want as well as how much time and money you have available for your job. Once you know those two things, it becomes a lot easier to decide on the type of sealant that will work best for your needs! If this has been helpful or if there’s anything else we can do to help with your construction projects, please feel free to reach out. We would love nothing more than to chat about how we can make sure that everything goes smoothly from start to finish! Call Ivan’s Painting at (760) 507-9980 today for a free estimate.