Staining Exterior Wood: A How To Guide

If you are looking into staining exterior wood you have come to the right place! In the guide below we will discuss the correct preparation techniques, and the best wood stain exterior solutions available on the UK market today.

What Are Wood Stains?

We have many people that want to colour their exterior wood. There are many exterior wood paint solutions on the market including wood paints, wood stains, wood varnishes and wood oils. Wood stains are a penetrative coating. They work by soaking into the wood fibres allowing for the beauty of the wood grain to show through the finish. Because wood stains are penetrative, they do not suffer from the same typical failures that regular paint can. Therefore, wood stains will not crack, peel, flake, or blister.

Also, wood stains are much better at moisture regulating than other wood coatings. Exterior wood expands and contracts when wet. If not prepared correctly, wood paints or varnishes can bloom and delaminate due to the moisture content of the timber. Moisture regulating, microporous wood stain finishes are consequently ideal for wood.

A good exterior stain will become part of the wood substrate. The application of a coloured wood stain means the colour is now integral to the wood. This means it is not easy to sand off and therefore easier to repair. Using a wood stain can enhance the beauty of the grain. It is understandable why quality wood stains are so popular!

Wood stains are the ideal solution for all exterior wood such as fences, pergolas, cladding, gates, decking and balustrade. You can even apply wood stain to wooden planters, summerhouses, garden offices, patio doors, window frames, French doors, wooden conservatories and privacy screens.

How To Prepare External Wood Before Staining

Firstly, thoroughly clean the wood. We recommend using a product such as Centrecoat Eco Cleaner and Degreaser. After cleaning, it is always best practice to further treat exterior substrates with a fungicidal wash. Products such as Centrecoat GS36 work by eliminating any microscopic moss and green growth particles before they grow.

If your exterior wood already has a previous coating on it, we also recommend the above process. There are a few important factors to consider prior to applying a new coating. For example, if the previous coating is oil-based you can use a water-based wood stain over the top. However, make sure you do not use an oil-based stain over a water-based previous coating. If your original exterior wood coating was varnish, you will need to fully sand the coating prior to application of a new coating.

How To Prepare Exotic Wood For Staining

Always ensure to check your wood stain is suitable for the wood species you are intending to apply the product to. Various types of wood are more resinous than others. For example, cedar is very difficult to recolour or stain without the proper preparation. Much like timber, tannins and resins need to escape from the wood fully before application of a coating. We usually recommend cedar to be left to weather for 12 months before treating. If you rush into coating resinous or exotic woods you risk the coating causing a reaction to the wood’s surface. Patchy discolouration can lead to undesirable finish.

However, you can speed up this weathering process. Our technical team would suggest the use of Owatrol Prepdeck to attempt to draw resins/tannins out. After use of Prepdeck, Owatrol Net-trol must be used to neutralise the wood before staining.

Customers regularly give us outstanding feedback about the combination of these two innovative products on wood.

Promain’s Best Wood Stains

You may have found this article because you were looking for wood stain colors exterior or Liberon extreme wood stain. Although we do not sell Liberon stain we do have a range of professional solutions for the UK market. We supply only the very best exterior wood stain UK and European manufacturers produce. Professional wood product solutions are available from Owatrol, Centrecoat, Osmo, Jotun, Tikkurila, Teknos and more.

Below we would like to introduce some of the best wood stains available:

Owatrol Textrol

Owatrol Textrol penetrating oil finish is one of the most popular wood oils for exterior and interior application. This wood stain is a deep penetrating oil suitable for both vertical and horizontal timber surfaces. Textrol penetrates the timber saturating the fibres without leaving a film on the surface.

Owatrol Textrol is available in 7 natural wood colours including weathered grey.

Alternatively, Owatrol Textrol HES is an upgraded one coat penetrative stain that provides added UV protection.


Solignum Architectural is a microporous, flexible coating that allows the timber to breathe. It resists green mould growth as well as protecting the timber from harmful UV rays. Available in both Solvent Based and Water Based variants. Solignum penetrates deep into the timber providing quality adhesion properties. This means you do not require a separate primer. Solignum’s unique formulation stops the surface from flaking or cracking.


Centrecoat R25 Wood Protector

Centrecoat R25 is a wood protector that will enhance your wood’s UV protection leading to durable long lasting finish. This wood protector will protect against decay, makes the wood easier to clean.

Centrecoat R25 innovative coloured protector binds with the wood fibres making them water repellant. This allows the wood to be resistant to stains.


Regardless of the wood stain you decide on, always ensure the stain you are applying is good for your circumstance. Some wood stains are only suitable for horizontal or vertical exterior wood.

As long as your preparation and application were correct in the first place, you can easily apply following maintenance coatings after minimal cleaning and preparation.


We hope you found this waterproof wood stain article informative. However, if you have any questions regarding treating wood, please contact our technical team. Promain are fully trained for to specify for a huge range of home and garden coating solutions. No matter how trivial or technical your question is please do not hesitate to ask.

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