Wood stain or varnish: what are the differences ?

In interiors, wood is a very popular material for creating a warm and authentic atmosphere. As wood is a living material, it deteriorates when it comes into contact with external aggressions (humidity, stains, repeated use). Stains and varnishes are common products for protecting interior wood. In this article, we will present the characteristics of these products before discussing the differences between stains and varnishes.

WHAT IS A WOOD VARNISH ?

wood stain or varnish

WOOD VARNISH: WHICH PROTECTION ?

Wood varnish is used indoors. By forming a light film, it protects the surface from daily aggressions such as stagnant water, grease stains and wear. Thanks to this protective film, water and stains will remain on the surface of the film and will not penetrate the wood. A simple wipe with a sponge will be enough to remove them.

WHAT FINISH ?

From an aesthetic point of view, it preserves the natural aspect of the wood by letting its grain appear. Within our range, you will find different clear varnishes such as the Worktop Varnish VPT500 or the Furniture Varnish VM500 as well as a coloured varnish (the Colour Wood Varnish VBC500). All our varnishes are manufactured in aqueous phase to respect the health of the applicator and the environment. Unlike solvent-based wood varnishes, water-based varnishes do not release toxic substances during application and drying.

POSSIBLE EXTERNAL USE ?

We do not recommend the use of wood varnishes outdoors. These products tend to flake off under the effect of the weather.

 

WHAT IS A WOOD STAIN ?

WOOD STAIN : WHICH PROTECTION ?

Woodstain is used to protect vertical wooden surfaces from various aggressions (moisture, fungi, insects, etc.). Within our range, you will find glazes for interiors such as the Interior Wainscot Wood Stain LL500 and the Beam And Carpentry Wood Stain LPC500. The stain cannot be used on horizontal surfaces such as parquet.

WHAT FINISH ?

From an aesthetic point of view, stains are available in colourless or tinted versions. For the coloured versions, the more coats you apply, the more intense the colour.

Possible outdoor use ?

Unlike varnishes, tinted stains protect the wood from UV rays and can therefore be used outdoors. We do not offer exterior stains. Although the resistance of exterior stains is high, the maintenance of a stained exterior surface is difficult and requires sanding with each new coat of maintenance. Indoors, the surfaces are smaller and can be easily sanded. On the other hand, on a terrace or a cladding, sanding quickly becomes expensive in terms of time and energy.

difference between stain and varnish

 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STAIN AND VARNISH ?

Both are film-forming protective products. The differences between varnishes and woodstains lie in their use.

To differentiate between a varnish and a stain, you need to look at the film created by the product. In the case of a stain, the film formed on the surface of the wood is thinner than that formed by the varnish. The thickness of the film will allow you to identify a stain or a varnish. Indoors, woodstain is not designed to withstand repeated use or traffic. Wood varnish is more suitable for protecting heavily used wooden surfaces (dining room table, worktop). Thanks to its robust and waterproof film, it is more effective against stagnant water and grease stains.

Interior wood stain are best used on surfaces that are not subject to much stress and require protection against pests (fungi, termites). In contrast to varnish, the composition of a woodstain contains additives that provide protection against micro-organisms. It is recommended for use on beams, frames, panelling or interior doors, which are not subject to regular use but may be exposed to micro-organisms.