Do you have any unfinished wood projects that are just sitting around your house? If so, why not give them some new life with stain? Staining can help protect the wood from outside elements such as sun and rain and create a richer color.
But does stain go bad? Yes, stain can go bad. Opened stain lasts up to 1 year before turning, while unopened cans can last up to 3 years in a cool environment. If you notice a vinegary smell or a change in color, it’s most likely expired. Don’t use stain that has chunks in it that don’t dissolve with shaking or stirring.
In this article, we’ll explain the ins and outs of keeping wood stain fresh and answer a few related questions for your convenience. So keep reading!
What Is Wood Stain?
A wood stain is a liquid or gel substance applied to the surface of the wood to change its color. Staining is different from dyeing or painting because, with staining, an upward film of solid wood-colored pigments sinks into the cracks and pores of the substrate material.
The uppermost layer shows only the natural color of untreated wood. Also known as the color coating.
How Can You Tell When Stain Has Gone Bad?
Has your stain started to smell like vinegar or changed color from its original shade? Is it scrubbing off onto your hands before you could finish painting the project? Then yes, your stain has gone bad.
To eliminate the risk of a bad batch of wood stain (before it is applied to anything), shake the container for at least 30 seconds. If you still have streaks or clumps, chances are high that it has gone bad. In general, you should never use an unused container past its date stamped on the bottom by the manufacturer.
Does Unopened Stain Go Bad?
Yes. Stains can go bad because of bacteria, mold, or mildew infestation. Other types of degradation can also happen due to improperly stored materials (such as over-exposure to sunlight). As a result, the best way to keep stains is in a spot that’s cool, dry, and out of direct sunlight.
Moreover, an unopened stain can go bad the same way as any other product. Colors will react with the oxygen, and certain dyes may start to grow mold if they are moisture-sensitive.
Opened and used paint doesn’t go stale as long as you store it properly (concealed from heat), but even then, it could dry up or expire over time. The stains usually have a shelf life of about three years before the ingredients deteriorate and separate.
Does Stain Go Bad If It Freezes?
Freeze time may sound bad at first, but freezing helps most stains because cold temperatures solidify icky things such as dyes. Therefore, they don’t leak out of whatever you’re painting–or worse yet, leave an unsightly stain behind.
You’ll want to keep this tip handy if you live somewhere with harsh winters: don’t let water-based finishes freeze. Once frozen, these coats will no longer work properly and won’t protect against dirt.
How to Make Stain Last Longer in a Can
Once you’ve gone out and purchased your desired can of wood stain, use it on a small trial piece to make sure that’s how you want it! Once stained, there are some things to do for this beautiful finishing product to last.
1. Keep It Sealed
It’s crucial to get a good seal on the can before storing it. It prevents air, moisture, and bacteria from creeping through and cutting down the shelf life of your wood stains.
To be sure that no air gets in or out after use:
- Wipe off the outer rim with a cloth.
- Tightly screw lid over the top.
- Gently squeeze the container.
If any noise is heard, the glue isn’t tight enough, so re-tighten until no sounds come from squeezing.
2. Store In A Cool, Dry, and Dark Place
Where you store it matters a lot because of the drastic effects that temperature, humidity, and light can have on its quality. To keep your wood stain lasting longer, make sure to store it in moderate temperatures between 50-65°F.
Or, you can store it somewhere dry so as not to expose it to too much moisture or sunlight which will degrade the color.
3. Safety Factor
Store the stain on high shelving out of the reach of children or pets. It’s best to keep it in a sturdy place so that you can easily clean up any messes and prevent spills if it falls over.
Moreover, wood stains are always at risk for spilling near fire hazards because they’re highly flammable. Therefore, storing them in well-ventilated areas with no open flames is an ideal place to keep yours until next time.
How Long Does Stain Last On Wood?
If you want the stain to last for a long time, some things can be done to extend its life. The exterior wood stain should not be too close to UV rays as they shorten its lifespan to around 3-5 years.
However, apply many layers on your interior wood with well-finished stains. Its durability will increase and keep the color longer than five years – even when exposed to adverse external weather conditions!
After 24 hours, you can also add a coat of polyurethane to seal the strain in under another level of protection.