Choosing the right Stain for the job!

Posted by Pierre van Vuuren on 19th Aug 2021

Currently it might be a bit confusing as we have a few different timber stain/paint and sealer products available for sale on our biosymph website, well that’s for good reason as different substrates and applications require different products and applications.

It is quite a simple task to select the right product for the job if you ask the right questions.

Okay let’s start by looking at the objective, what do you want to achieve?

  • Do you want to change the colour of the timber structure?
  • Do you want to waterproof the timber structure?
  • Do you want to preserve and protect the timber structure?
  • Do you just want the timber structure to look aesthetically good?
  • Do you want to prolong the life of the timber structure?
  • Do you want to introduce a different property into the timber structure (i.e. making it chemical resistant etc.)?

Now let’s take a look at the substrate.

  • What do you want to coat? Is it a fence, deck, roof, building, framework, furniture etc..
  • Is it new or old timber?
  • Is it soft or hardwood?
  • Is the timber treated or not?
  • Has it been painted, stained, oiled or waxed before?
  • Is the timber wet or dry?
  • Do you need to remove moss and lichen or prep the timber first?
  • Do you need to do repairs or modifications first?
  • Will the timber be planted in ground?
  • Will the timber be submerged under water?

Now let’s look at the difference between a stain and a paint, as both have a specific place and application, and one is not necessarily better than the other.

1.Timber stains are used to change the colour of wood. For instance, you have a pine deck, and you want the pine to look like kwila timber instead. A stain can also be used as a means of incorporating other properties into the timber. For instance, the stain can be an oil-based stain containing oils that will penetrate and be absorbed by the timber, leaving it hydrophobic (i.e., it will repel water) making the timber semi-waterproof and hence prolonging the timber life. The stain can be a water-based stain that contains some chemicals to stop the growth of moss and lichen and stains can also incorporate preservers that will preserve timber and stop rotting etc.

2.A Paint on the other hand typically relies on forming a film on the surface that will change the colour and incorporates chemicals etc. for specific properties. The paint relies on a polymer to bond the paint to the substrate and form a skin (film) over the substrate. Paint also comes in two flavours, water and oil based. Timber paints are typically, but not always water based. Paints can give the timber a hard-wearing surface, waterproof surface and even fire and chemical resistant surfaces can be obtained by some speciality paints.

Our website products on offer under our Timber Coatings can be divided into four groups. I will highlight three products in these groups as the other products are pretty obvious and we want to choose the right Stain for the job remember! So, the three products in question are BitPost, StainDex and Water Based Fence Stain.

Deck Stains, Paints & Sealers:

  • StainDex – Deck and Outdoor Stain
  • Water Based Fence Paint
  • Pale Boiled Linseed Oil
  • Raw Linseed Oil

Fence Stains & Preservers:

  • BitPost – Timber Stain and Preserver (Brush-on Grade)
  • BitPost – Timber Stain and Preserver (Spray Grade)
  • StainDex – Deck and Outdoor Stain
  • Water Based Fence Paint

Water Proofing & Sealers:

  • Pale Boiled Linseed Oil
  • Raw Linseed Oil
  • GilsoFlex – Roof Sealer and Paint
  • FlexsoTar – Epoxy / Bitumen Sealer
  • Seron Clear Varnish Range

Clear or Stained Varnish:

  • Seron-Construction Varnish
  • Seron-EHP General Purpose Varnish
  • Seron-MDX Marine Varnish

BitPost - Timber Stain and Preserver

This product is an alternative for creosote or carbolineum. (Creosote is a by-product from refineries and was used as a timber preserver worldwide for many years. Most countries have stopped the use of creosote as it contained heavy metals and other undesirable chemicals that can contaminate water supplies and be harmful to humans and animals.)

Our BitPost is a black bituminous oil-based emulsion / polymer stain product and is manufactured in Hamilton, New Zealand. Bitumen gives the stain its rot-resisting and disinfecting effect, BitPost is ideally suited for the preservation and staining of wooden structures such as Post and Rail fences, Retaining walls and Construction timber framing etc. It is also suitable to preserve in-ground planted posts.

This stain is a very popular and cost-effective product for the agricultural sector as farmers use it to stain and preserve there post and rail fences, out buildings, sheds, stables and retaining walls etc.

  • The Bitumen additive prevents horses from nibbling on coated fence rails and stalls
  • Reduces the risk of red mite infestations – perfect for chicken coops
  • Non-flammable
  • Non-corrosive to metals

BitPost contains linseed oil that will make the timber water resistant, but it also slows down the drying time of BitPost and it will rub-off for a couple of weeks until it’s properly dry and cured.

So, it’s not recommended to be used on decks or on timber structures, furniture, and other surfaces where people will interact with the timber. It can also not be used over previously painted surfaces as stains relies on penetrating and being absorbed by the timber.

BitPost is available in two grades. Brush-on which can be applied with a paint brush, roller, or airless sprayer.

BitPost Spray-grade is intended for smaller projects (like a vegie planter box) where you can spray the product with a knapsack sprayer. For bigger projects we do recommend the brush-on grade as it can also be sprayed using air assisted or airless spray equipment and it’s more cost effective.

StainDex – Deck and Outdoor Stain

StainDex is an oil/solvent-based co-polymer timber stain with linseed oil as a timber preserver. This stain is available in a wide range of colours and we can match a specific colour for you if required.

  • StainDex will retard distortion, movement and splitting of timber, due to weather exposure
  • StainDex is non-corrosive to metals
  • Can be used on other wood structures
  • Will penetrate the timber rapidly
  • For best results apply to dry timber
  • Suitable on soft and hard wood timber

StainDex is ideally suited for:

  • Decks and handrails
  • Outdoor Furniture: As it will not rub - off on clothing.
  • Fences and retaining walls

StainDex is a quick drying stain and can be used on surfaces where people will interact with the timber. Some farmers prefer to stain their fences with BitPost but then stain their gates with StainDex as it will not rub-off on their hands while opening and closing the gates.

StainDex can also NOT be used over previously painted surfaces as stains relies on penetrating and being absorbed by the timber.

Water Based Fence Paint

Our Superior quality Water based Fence Paint is an innovative aqueous, alkyd emulsion binder based, wood paint and coating formulated and designed specifically for the New Zealand climate. It has an excellent balance of water resistance and mechanical properties, providing long lasting wood protection against the effects of weathering damage with a good balance of dry film properties.

Because of its rot-resisting and disinfecting effect, our Water Based Fence Paint is ideally suited for the preservation and coating of wooden structures such as domestic urban fences, post and rail fences, retaining walls and other timber structures etc. This is a low odour, Formaldehyde and Alkyl phenol ethoxylate (APOE*) free product.

At present this paint is only available in a deep pitch, jet mat to semi-gloss VANTA black colour. Very BLACK!

Our Water Based Fence Paint CAN be used over previously painted surfaces because it is a paint and not a stain. This product was developed specifically to be used for applications where our other products like BitPost and StainDex are not suitable.

  • Our Fence Paint will retard distortion, movement and splitting of timber, due to weather exposure.
  • Excellent surface properties. This is a hard-wearing product!
  • Our Fence Paint is water based so clean-up is with water
  • Can be used on all wood structures
  • Environmentally safe and nontoxic product with little to no unpleasant odour
  • Exceptional coverage, easy application and require one coat only!
  • High viscosity to minimise any over spray when applied with spray equipment.
  • Contains biocides to eliminate moss and lichen growth.
  • Can be applied over existing stained or painted substrates

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to either Email or phone us as we are more than happy to assist where we can. Also have a look around our website as there are a lot of information available on our products.