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When Should You Use Water-Based Stain?

Posted on December 19, 2019

When Should You Use Water-Based Stain? December 20 2019

When we think of wood stains, we often assume that all stains will be oil-based, and not water-based stain.  The art of staining wood is centuries old. The original stain used natural pigments and dyes from plants and minerals. These were often essentially thinned paints that rendered opaque colors and tones Even though stains have been in popular use for about a hundred years, it was first mass-produced and marketed in America around 1920 as an oil-based product.

More recently, water-based and alcohol stains have gained popularity as they are considered more environmentally friendly. Oil-based stains have more restricted disposal policies because they could contaminate water supplies.

If you’ve been staining wood for many years, you may be accustomed to oil-based stains, but there are many reasons to use water-based stains for your next staining projects.

Some of the advantages of water-based stain over oil-based include:

  • Dries more quickly

When you’re doing a simple woodworking project, especially one that requires quick drying time, a water-based stain is your best bet. It can dry in as little as 30 minutes through upwards of 1-2 hours is generally a more realistic drying time. Remember... oil-based stains take much longer.

  • Water-Base has much less odor or fumes

Oil-based stain comes with an expected strong odor. When using oil-based stain you can expect to suffer the fumes. It’s not a great experience as staining requires dust-free environments, so you may be locked into space where you cannot escape the fumes. These can actually be harmful, and the odor tends to linger.

  • It is not flammable or combustible

When you use stain from Aqua Coat, you can trust our waterborne wood finishing products to provide an environmentally safe alternative to hazardous and flammable solvent finishes and products. Good air movement helps minimize odor and speeds up dry times because temperature and humidity play a big part in the dry time.

  • Makes cleanup easier by using only soap and water
  • Water-based stains allow air to move in and out of the paint so that
    the stain doesn’t trap water and cause decay.

Water-based stains typically emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are compounds that easily become vapors or gases and are released from burning fuel such as gasoline, wood, or coal or from certain solvents. Water-based stains can be cleaned up with soap and water. However, avoid stains that contain glycol ether solvents, which can be toxic.

This is a big time-saver and makes this kind of project much easier.

The stain is a combination of dyes and pigments suspended in a solvent. These dyes dissolve incompatible solvents like oil, water, or alcohol any of which will allow the grain to show through the stain. As these pigments which are finely ground coloring materials don’t completely dissolve in the solvent, stains need to be mixed frequently so that the pigments remain evenly dispersed. Different solvents affect the way the stain looks as it’s dispersed on the surface of the wood.

Wood-tone stains are used to enhance the natural grain or add depth or tone to the wood you are working with. Whether you are trying to change the appearance of the wood to match something in a home or office or are trying to hide some flaw or unattractive grain in the wooden object, the stain will be able to accomplish the task. At Aqua Coat, we offer stains in a variety of wood tones, including very light, semi-transparent stains to dark, nearly opaque stains. We have over 20 different stain color hues available, however, an infinite range of colors can be made by mixing two or more Aqua Tone stains and/or tinting colors to produce custom colors. Standard colors can be thinned with Aqua Tone “Natural” Stain to produce lighter stains.

Aqua Coat offers a variety of eco-friendly, water-based wood finishes. All of our finishes are water-based, non-flammable, non-combustible, low odor, and eco-friendly. They are easy to apply and clean up. You don’t need to be an expert when using our products. Even if you have been using oil-based stains for many of your past projects, we know that once you try our water-based products, you will be pleased to see how much easier they make the job and how beautiful the results will be in bringing out the wood’s natural beauty.