How many years does stain last?

Author: Prof. Sierra Goldner V  |  Last update: Thursday, November 9, 2023

Oil-based stain can be kept for 1 year if the cans have been opened, but unopened cans will last 2 - 3 yrs. Water-based stain will last 1 year, if opened, and 2 years, if unopened. Oil-based varnishes will be good for 1 year, opened or unopened.

How can you tell if stain has gone bad?

A change in texture is the biggest visible sign that something has gone wrong. Traditional wood stain should still be a liquid. Gel stain should still be a pudding-like texture. Any indication that the stain has separated, turned stringy, dried up, or had any other change in texture is a sign that it's gone bad.

How long does outdoor wood stain last?

The best stains should last three to five years on a deck and even longer if applied to siding or fences, which don't get as much abuse.

Is wood stain permanent?

Wood stains permanently change a wood's appearance, often adding colour. Unlike paint, wood stain allows the grain patterns of the wood to remain visible, highlighting the natural beauty.

What happens to wood stain over time?

Typically a deck stain does fade over the years from UV exposure but this varies based on the stain brand and type of stain that is being used. Most penetrating deck stains that are of high quality will fade lightly through the years and that is normal.

How Long To Let Stain Dry Before Polyurethane

Does stain get too old to use?

Oil-based stain can be kept for 1 year if the cans have been opened, but unopened cans will last 2 - 3 yrs. Water-based stain will last 1 year, if opened, and 2 years, if unopened. Oil-based varnishes will be good for 1 year, opened or unopened.

What happens if you stain over old stain?

Staining over stain is easy and works beautifully if you're applying a dark stain over a lighter stain on the wood. Remember, it's the same principle as dying your hair! This rule applies to oil-based stains, water-based stains, and gel stains.

Can I stain over stain?

Depending on your project, you will not need to remove old stain before restaining. If you want to darken the stain on your wood project, then removing the existing stain is not necessary!

Do you have to seal wood after staining?

After the stain has dried, it's time for the first finishing coat. Remember, you put the stain on unfinished wood, so you need to seal the stain to protect it.

What wood stain lasts the longest?

Clear and transparent stains need a touchup every year or two. Semi-transparent last 2 to 3 years. Semi-solid stains are good for 2 to 4 years of protection. Solid stains on decks may protect up to 5 to 7 years.

How long will stain protect wood?

Stain can last anywhere from 1 to 8 years, depending on how opaque the stain is. Transparent stain lasts a short time, while an opaque stain lasts longer. Paint lasts up to 10 years if it is properly applied and the right type of paint is used. It's important to apply high-quality exterior-grade paint.

Do you have to stain wood every year?

Typically, homeowners should restain horizontal surfaces such as decks every two to three years.

Is it OK to stain a deck every year?

The health and longevity of your deck depend solely on the maintenance gameplan you have set in place. As a general rule, your deck should be stained every 2-3 years. This can change, however, if you are in an area of high-humidity or especially volatile weather.

Can you stain over old stain without sanding?

Using most gel stains, you can darken wood furniture, or stay the same color, without sanding off the old stain. But, I usually use General Finishes Gel Stain because the finish always looks beautiful. Don't forget to Save or Share these steps for how to stain wood without sanding.

What makes a stain worse?

Rubbing. Frantically rubbing a stain can make it spread further and also damage the weave of the fabric. Try gently dabbing the stain away first.

Does stain last longer than paint?

Paint tends to last a little longer than most stains, coming in at around 8-12 years before you will likely have to repaint. Stain, on the other hand, typically has to be refinished every 5-10 years.

Should I polyurethane over stain?

While staining creates a rich, deep color that highlights natural wood grain, it does not provide long-term protection. Without a protective top coat, wood can be damaged easily due to contact with water, food, or sharp objects. A polyurethane top coat protects the wood from scratches, stains and water damage.

Is it better to stain or seal wood?

Although a wood stain is more expensive than a sealer, it can last up to 5 times longer and looks more professional. So you certainly get your money's worth.

Which is better water based or oil based stain?

Oil-based stains are not easily penetrated by the elements and are much more durable than water-based stains. These types of stains require less long-term maintenance. While oil-based stains dry more slowly, they maintain a more even finish, making the stain look nicer in the long run.

Can you put too much stain on wood?

With staining, you'll know if you've over-applied your deck stain because there will be sticky patches or puddles that just aren't drying—the wood has absorbed all it can, so the remaining stain has nowhere to go.

How many coats of stain should you do?

We always recommend two coats of stain for any wood project, but you should only apply as much stain as the wood can absorb. Extremely dense hardwoods may only be able to absorb one coat of wood stain. The general rule of thumb is to apply only as much deck stain as the wood can absorb.

What stain can go over stain?

PolyShades® will work over stained wood (meaning it does not have a clear protective finish) or wood top-coated with a polyurethane-based finish. Proper surface preparation is necessary to ensure adhesion, so make sure you follow preparation tips provided in this Guide.

Does wetting a stain make it worse?

Resist the urge to run it under the hot tap. “Don't add hot or even warm water to a stain, as this can end up having the opposite effect of setting it permanently, particularly if the stain is protein-based, like milk or blood,” says Verity. “Always use cold water for the safest result, but avoid over-wetting it.

What happens if you let stain dry without wiping?

No, the sticky stains will not dry after some time, which is why it is important to wipe off the excess wood stain. If you don't, your work will end up sticky because the stain did not dry properly. You will have to use mineral spirits, more stain, or sandpaper to fix the mess.

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