The Difficulty in Matching Wood Stains

11 . 03 . 2019

Natural timber can be a stunning addition to any home, bringing a sense of warmth and luxury that not many other materials can deliver. With the use of stains and oils, you can ensure any timber will complement the colours already found within your home – whether you’re undertaking a DIY project, an extension, or you’re just updating old furniture. However, the difficulty comes when you attempt to match your new timber to previously stained pieces, especially if you don’t remember the previous wood stain you used. Whilst it can be difficult for everyone – including the experts – understanding what makes it so hard can help you choose the right colours for your home.

  • Timber Species
    If you’re new to the timber game, you will be forgiven for thinking that all boards are simply brown – that couldn’t be further from the truth! With a huge range of variation, from light butters and honeys to deep reds and mahoganies, and even dark chocolates.

    Not only will the base colour of the timber have a huge effect on the end result, different species of wood can react differently to the stain, even if the colours are originally similar! Where possible, we recommend investing in the same timber as the furniture or floorboards you’re trying to match.
  • Grain Direction
    Not only do you have to be sure that the timbers are a match, but the grain patterns and direction can also play a huge role in the finished product – even when you’re using the same species. The grain patterns are affected by the direction that the lumber was cut, and the difference in patterns is magnified when theis applied. This can be difficult to get right, so we recommend speaking with the experts at your lumber yard if your project allows it.
  • Humidity Levels
    If you thought there was nothing else that could affect the outcome other than the timber itself, we’re sorry to say that isn’t the case. The humidity in the air and in the wood will determine the amount of is absorbed. If you’re wanting a deeper colour, then you need to use a drier lumber – depending how much preparation time you have, consider bringing the timber indoors or using a commercial drier to dry it out.
  • Stain Intensity
    This comes down to the skill and knowledge of the user – the stain intensity can be hugely affected by whole host of factors. For a deeper , leave the colour to absorb for a longer period, and apply a generous amount to the timber. However, to ensure the colours match, experience is necessary to understand what conditions the original stain was used under.

Lastly, it’s important that you understand that the wood stain will never be 100% perfect – not if you’re attempting a DIY project. If you want an exact match with your timbers (at least, to the naked eye), then we recommend working with the experienced team of commercial painters at Living Colours. With over 40 years’ experience, we’ve bought dreams to life all across Melbourne. 

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