If a wooden surface looks like it already has been finished with a product it is always a good idea to find out what that finish is as it may affect which product you should apply to the wood. For example, you could not really apply an oil over a varnished floor, but an existing floor that has been oiled can be re-coated with an oil (once it has been cleaned of course!). Here's a few pointers to find out what your wood has been finished with:
The main advantage of oil is that they are the easiest of all wood finishes to repair. A patch repair, for example, where a drink's stain has occurred can easily be removed by simply sanding just the affected area and applying more oil.
A wax looks really nice, with more of a sheen than a gloss. It can be re-waxed as many times as you like and buffed until the required sheen level is obtained or indeed not buffed if a low sheen is preferred.
It is hard wearing and easily wiped down with damp cloths.
No, the trade tend to refer to them as "lacquers" and the public tend to refer to them as "varnishes".
How do you choose the right wood stains for the job? It's something we're asked all the time. Thankfully there are some awesome products specially designed to cater for different wood types, finishes and situations. How do you choose? To give you a helping hand, our product pages make it nice and clear which products are suitable for what type of wood and project. We've also written a useful blog post about choosing the right kind of wood stain.
By using a product from the same range on each type of wood, that needs to be matched, you can obtain a closer colour match. Where possible, it is best to use a clear coating on the darkest wood and a coloured coating on the lightest wood. Oil is a good option because it penetrates well into the wood, colouring it and protecting it at the same time. With an oil, you can also apply a second coloured coat if the match is not close enough after the first attempt. Hard wax oil is a superior oil that is also available in colours. For example, to match new pine to old pine use 1 part whiskey hard wax oil to 1 part clear hard wax oil on the new wood and just clear on the old wood.
Extra tough clear varnish or hard wax oil offer a clear alternative to the wax products. The difference is that they will slightly darken the colour of the wood, applying a little water to the wood will give you an indication of the final finish. We have had samples of varnishes that claim to keep the wood "Looking exactly as it is before applying the varnish" but they don't actually work. If you know of a product that does keep the wood looking the same but protected then we would love to hear from you. N.B. There is a product called Bona Naturale that is as clear as you can get but it is well over £100 for a 5L tub which will cover about 3 coats on an area that is 15 square metres. We can obtain this product if it interests you. Roughly speaking it will make your wood look somewhere between how it is before anything has been applied to it and how it looks once it has been wetted with water.
Essentially there is no difference between a stain and a dye, they are both coloured liquids that don't offer a sheen or protection, they simply colour the wood. Our dyes are very concentrated and are available in the primary colours. Sometimes a product may have the word stain in its' title even though it is a protective coating also. However we believe that a stain should simply stain the wood and not do anything else because a better result will be achieved if clear coats are applied on top of a stain.
They are well priced and very easy to apply. They have very little smell and a large range of colours are available.
They are quick drying (about 5 minutes) and the grain of the wood is not raised.
In short - no, but it is a question of personal taste. The grain doesn't feel rough to the touch, it's more of a textured feel. In other words the pattern of the wood can be felt through the wood finish. Some customers really like to be able to feel the wood. If several coats of varnish are being applied then grain raising is not really an issue because the varnish tends to seal over the grain that has been raised, thus creating a smooth surface.
White wood finishes can be varied in terms of the type of white, along with intensity, ranging from a subtle white wash where the wood is still clearly visible, through to a solid opaque white finish. There are a number of products available to help achieve the desired look, details of which can be found in our blog post about interior white wood finishes.
Black wood finishes can differ greatly in terms of how black and how opaque the final look will be. There are a wide range of products for both interior and exterior wood to help achieve almost any look, details of which can be found in our blog post that covers interior and exterior black wood finishes.
How long is a piece of string? The better you look after your wooden garden furniture, the longer it'll last. Why not check out our blog post about exterior furniture maintenance?
Disclaimer: Whilst every attempt has been made to give information that is as accurate as possible, it is not fair to say that any advice can apply to every wood finishing situation. All woods have a different make up and influence top coats in their own way. For example a species of wood that is new will colour differently to the same species that has been cut for 2 years and one that has been cut for 2 years will colour differently to one that has been cut for 10 years so wood finishing advice is always a guideline only.