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Ring’s End Paint Centers carry a huge array of top quality wood stains and finishes for exterior and interior uses. It can be difficult, though, to figure out which product you need. For example, picking the right stain involves considering the species of wood you’re working with, the type of opacity that will create the look you want, the wear and tear you expect the wood surface to experience, and the weather conditions it will be subjected to. Talk with our knowledgeable sales representatives and color consultants: we’ll help you figure out which preparation, staining, and finishing products are right for your project.

Types of Stains

Exterior Stains

Where do we use exterior wood stains and finishes? Decks immediately come to mind… but what about wood siding, shingles and shakes? Fencing and railing? Gazebos and pergolas? Outdoor furniture made from wood? Doors and trim? Boat docks? Hot tub surrounds? Wooden play equipment? With all these possibilities, it’s no wonder that Ring’s End Paint Centers stock a wide variety of exterior wood stains and finishes, as well as the wood preparation products essential to your project’s ultimate success.

Interior Stains

Interior wood stains and finishes are most commonly used on wood floors, furniture, antique restoration projects, decorative millwork and moulding, and crafts. The Paint Centers at Ring’s End stock many fine products that will enhance the natural beauty and warmth of wood, as well as protecting it from damage.


Cleaners, Conditioners, and Sealants

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

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.



One-Step Stain and Finishes

These products combine stain and finish, providing both color and protection in one step.



As Connecticut’s most complete full line distributor of M.L. Campbell products, we have the lacquer products that commercial shops and paint professionals need. M.L. Campbell products are fast drying and extremely durable. Ring’s End is Connecticut’s source for M.L. Campbell’s products including Magnalac®, Magnamax™, Krystal™, Duravar™, Resistant™, Woodsong™, Glaze, Woodsong II™, Undercoat Systems, Clawlock®, and Custom Staining.


Materials & Fetures


Water-based wood stains are quick-drying, easy-to-clean-up products that provide excellent color retention. They have less odor and fewer VOCs than oil-based stains.


Oil-based stains give exceptionally rich color to wood. Because they penetrate deeply, they also are more durable than waterborne stains.



PolyWhey wood finishes are products made with whey proteins, a natural by-product of the dairy industry. These floor and furniture finishes are scratch, chemical, and water resistant; they dry quickly, do not yellow, and are easy to apply.

Fetures of Stains

Wood stains help protect wood from ultraviolet rays and, to a lesser extent, from rot and water damage. Polyurethane finishes actually form a non-porous protective coating that guards against water damage, splintering, and scratching.

Moisture & Mildew Resistance

Many water-based stains are mildew-resistant. Oil-based stains, on the other hand, can encourage mildew growth, so look for ones that specifically say they are mildew-resistant. Both types can be water-repellant: check the individual product’s specifications.



Wood stains are available in dozens and dozens of beautiful wood colors as well as in designer colors like blue, green, gray, and rose. Solid stains can also be custom-tinted, so your color choices are virtually limitless.


Protective finishes can be applied over the stain and are available in four sheens: antique flat, satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

How To Select The Right Stain For Your Project

Some factors, like color and sheen preferences, are subjective – you know the look you want to achieve. Your Ring’s End Paint and Stain specialists can help you navigate among the many quality stain products available so your finished product lives up to your vision. Here are a few considerations:

Oil-based vs. Water-based?

In general, we recommend oil-based stains for hardwoods. They are more durable and penetrate better than water-based stains. Water-based stains do retain color well and can be used on wood with natural resistance to rotting; they dry quickly and thus allow for ‘a quick fix.’ Some newer hybrid stains offer benefits of both oil-based and water-based stains.

Solid vs. Transparent?

Transparent stains do not hide wood grain and natural color while solid (opaque) stains completely conceal them. In between are semi-transparent and semi-solid stains. Your decision will be based on the finished look you want, of course, but you may also want to consider longevity. As a general rule, the more opaque the stain, the longer it will last.

What About Color?

Stain color chips are helpful, but remember that a stain often looks darker when applied to a large area, that it varies according to the type of wood it’s used on, and that color changes as light conditions change. If possible, first test the stain on the project itself or on a sample board.

How to Prepare Your Surfaces for Staining