Natural wood finishes enhance rather than cover the grain of the wood. Learn more about the different finishes to help you choose the right one for your home.
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Subtly enhances natural color or evens out shades on different pieces of wood. Dyes can be mixed to match an existing color. Gives a matte finish. Water-based and oil-based types are available.
Only for interior use unless specified, or protected with exterior varnish. Apply as a finish or beneath varnish or wax. Covers 400 to 750 square feet per gallon. May need several coats. Apply with a brush for the best finish.
Transparent or translucent decorative finish; some types can be buffed to a high gloss. Feeds and protects the wood but will not penetrate a sealed surface. Both water-based and oil-based types are available.
For interior use only. Apply to bare wood or over unsealed finishes such as dye. Apply with a cloth. Brush-on waxes are also available. Needs several coats and regular maintenance.
Transparent finish that nourishes and protects wood. External surfaces lose their finish but stay protected. Buff to achieve mid-sheen finish. Will not penetrate a sealed surface.
For interior or exterior use. Must be applied to unsealed wood. Covers 400 to 750 square feet per gallon. Apply with a brush or cloth yearly. Highly flammable.
Prevents rot and insect damage. Available clear or colored with a matte or a semigloss finish. Both water-based and oil-based types are available.
Exterior use. Used alone, or as base coat for another natural wood finish or paint. Covers 400–1,000 square feet per gallon. Apply in sections as for stain or as specified.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009