These products are key to preparing wood for staining and finishing. Cleaners remove dirt and stains. Conditioners help wood receive stain evenly by stabilizing the grain; they’re particularly recommended for softwoods like pine, birch, or fir. Sealants are non-pigmented finishes that protect wood from the elements.
Protective finishes, which include varnishes, polyurethane, and waxes, can be applied directly to wood or over stained surfaces. Clear finishes, sometimes called ‘topcoats,’ protect wood from water damage, household chemicals, and everyday wear; they can be applied on top of stained surfaces and are usually used to finish interior floors, furniture, and woodwork.