blocks of wood in different stains
Photo: Courtesy of Cabot
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The Four Major Types of Stain

Semisolid
Has less pigment than a solid-color stain, so it only partially obscures the wood's grain. Leaves no surface film; can't peel. Recoat every 2 to 4 years.

Clear Toner
Finely ground iron pigments called transoxides block the sun without obscuring the wood's grain and impart a warm tint. Leaves no surface film; can't peel. Recoat annually.

Solid Color
Looks like a flat paint; hides the wood's grain but not its texture. Forms a film that can peel if not properly applied. Recoat every 5 to 7 years.

Semitransparent
Contains enough pigment to change the wood's color but not enough to obscure its grain. Leaves no surface film; can't peel. Recoat every 2 to 3 years.

Bare Wood
Destined to turn gray and rot unless you cover it with stain.

Shown: Cabot solid color, semisolid, and semitransparent in New Redwood; Clear Solution Wood Toner in Cedar; cabot.com
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