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The Advantages of Oil-Based Stains Over Water-Based Stains for Fence Stain

The Advantages of Oil-Based Stains Over Water-Based Stains for Fence Stain

When it comes to protecting and beautifying your fence, the type of wood fence stain you choose is very important. While water-based stains have gained popularity in recent years and you find them at the big box stores, oil-based stains offer several advantages that make them the preferred choice for many homeowners and professionals. Let’s explore the benefits of using oil-based stains for your redwood or cedar fence and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Advantages of Oil Based Stains instead of Water Based

  • Better Protection
  • Longer Lasting
  • Enhanced Definition and Beauty
  • Better Bonding
  • Better Application Process
  • Excellent Coverage if Re-Staining

7 Biggest Advantages of Oil Based Stain For your Fence Project

1. Deeper Penetration and Superior Protection

One of the primary advantages of oil-based stains is their ability to penetrate deeply into the wood. This deep penetration helps to protect the wood from within, providing a more robust and long-lasting defense against the elements. Water-based stains, on the other hand, tend to sit on the surface, which can lead to quicker wear and a need for more frequent reapplication.

Oil-based stains are especially effective in protecting against moisture, a critical factor for outdoor structures like fences. By deeply embedding into the wood fibers, these stains create a barrier that prevents water from seeping in, thereby reducing the risk of warping, cracking, and rotting. This makes oil-based stains particularly suitable for climates with high humidity or heavy rainfall.

2. Exceptional Longevity

Due to their deep penetration and protective qualities, oil-based stains typically last longer than their water-based counterparts making this the best solution. This durability means fewer reapplications over the years, saving time, effort, and money in the long run for many homeowners.

3. Rich and Natural Finish

Oil-based stains are known for their ability to enhance the natural beauty of wood. They provide a richer, deeper finish that highlights the wood’s grain and texture, giving your fence a more vibrant and natural look. Whether you are using a semi transparent stain or a semi solid colored stain, both offer a sealing advantage for your wood fence.

In contrast, water-based stains can sometimes appear flat and less vibrant. While they offer a range of color options, they often lack the depth and richness that oil-based stains provide. For those who appreciate the natural look of wood and want to enhance its inherent beauty, oil-based stains are the way to go.

4. Better Adhesion to Wood Fence

Oil-based stains adhere better to exterior wood surfaces compared to water-based stains. This strong adhesion ensures that the stain remains intact even in harsh weather conditions. The enhanced bonding also means that oil-based stains are less likely to peel or flake over time, maintaining the fence’s appearance and protective qualities for longer periods.

5. More Forgiving Application Process for a DIYer

The application process for oil-based stains is generally more forgiving than that of water-based stains. Oil-based stains tend to spread more evenly and are less prone to lap marks, which can occur when areas of the stain overlap and create darker patches. No matter if you are staining with a brush, roller, or sprayer oil based stain is more forgiving for a DIY enthusiasts who may not have professional-level experience in staining.

Additionally, oil-based stains usually have a longer drying time, allowing for adjustments during the application process. This can be particularly beneficial when working on large surfaces like fences, where maintaining a wet edge can be challenging.

6. Ideal Choice for Re-Staining

If you are looking to restain an older fence, oil-based stains are generally more compatible with existing coatings. They can penetrate through old finishes, rejuvenating the wood underneath without the need for extensive stripping or sanding. This makes restaining projects more straightforward and less labor-intensive compared to using water-based stains, which might require more preparation and priming.

7. Excellent Performance in More Extreme Temperatures

Oil-based stains perform well in a wide range of temperatures, making them suitable for various climates. They are less sensitive to temperature fluctuations during application, which means they can be applied in cooler or hotter conditions without compromising the finish quality. Water-based stains, however, are more temperature-sensitive and may not cure properly in extreme conditions, leading to potential application issues.

Disadvantages of Oil Based Stain for Fence

While there are many advantages of oil based stain over water based stain, there are two notable disadvantages to bring to your awareness as well.

·       Oil based stains emit higher VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which have a fairly harsh smell for a little while and are worse for the environment. Currently there are some new ultra-low VOC professional oil based stains available to check out.

·       Slower speed to dry can also be a challenge in some installation situations because it is common for oil based stains to take up to 48 hours to dry.

Where to Purchase Fence Stain

Oil based stain is available at most big box stores and paint stores in a variety of size form 1 gallon to 5 gallon buckets, but if you are looking for a stain the professionals trust check out these two brands:

Expert Stain and Seal

Wood Defender

Fence Stain Summary

While both oil-based and water-based stains are both popular, oil-based stains offer several key benefits that make them an excellent choice for fence staining. It’s deep penetration, enhanced durability, rich finish, and better adhesion provide the best protection and aesthetic appeal for your fence. Additionally, their forgiving application process make them a practical and reliable option for homeowners and professionals alike.

When choosing the best stain for your fence, consider the specific needs of your project and the advantages that oil-based stains offer. With their proven track record of performance and longevity, oil-based stains remain a top choice for achieving a beautiful, durable, and low-maintenance fence.