The Difference Between Water-based and Oil-based Stain Here’s a quick checklist when deciding which stain to use. You read about water (or soy) based stains that are all natural and environmentally friendly and then you read about oil stains and it can all be very confusing. And if you’re holding a can in your hand wondering if it’s oil based vs water based stain, then you’re not alone. 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. That doesn’t clear things up at all. A longer drying time is expected, but this actually allows the stain to accomplish a more even finish. "The sun and water beat down on a … You can identify water-based stains by their thinning and clean-up solvent: water. That can present a problem with window/door detailing. The correct method of application is first to rub the stain into the wood using a circular motion, then to wipe it with the grain to get rid of any marks. Oil Based Stain & Sealer vs Water Based. Oil Based vs Water Based. Unlike paint, which remains on the surface, deck stains are designed to penetrate the wood, protecting it from the elements. I am not a fan of gel stains, too messy and difficult to get even coverage. Your water-based woodstain may start to flake after a year or so, particularly if the previous coating was oil-based… By treating your wood fence with water-based stains, you can enjoy the rich color of your fence for a longer period of time. The brilliant colors associated with water-based stains last longer than those produced by oil-based products. Oil vs Water Based Deck Stain Sponsored by Sashco Sealants Which stain is best? Water-based stains work well on woods that have natural oil, or wood that has previously been stain with oil-based products. Is an oil-based stain better than a water-based stain? Selecting a stain or sealer for your wood deck, siding or furniture can be a daunting task. Oil Based vs Water Based Stain. No wait minute, we meant to say oil based stain. Oil Based Deck Stains. Water-based Stain Water-based stains use water-based finish as the binder and replace most of the organic thinner with water. Adhesion between new and previous coating can on occasion be poor. There are also a few negatives with water-based stains opposed to oil. Whether you’re a homeowner, woodworker or DIYer, at some point your going to end up using wood stain. Oil-based deck stains tend to work better in hot or cold extremes, and with most woods. We’re sure you’ve seen at least five different answers to the same question. Oil Based Stains & Sealers vs Water Based Stains & Sealers. O great now you have us confused. Oil vs. Water Stains (Sealers) You want to stain (or seal) your new patio furniture and the first thing you read is that you have to use water based stain. Generally, water based stains require a bit of sanding after application, as the water raises the wood grain some. 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