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Why choose to wood stain, varnish or lacquer?

Wood stain, varnish and lacquer have many benefits for both indoor and outdoor surfaces. Some of the main reasons are below.

staining and varnishing

These coatings bring out the natural beauty of timber in your interior fittings, floors or other surfaces.

staining and varnishing

They are very durable.

staining and varnishing

They’ll provide protection to surfaces, whether indoor or outdoor. For example, you can protect your timber from chemicals, water, ultraviolet, oxidation and dirt.

staining and varnishing

You can decorate with natural translucent colours instead of the opaque colours of paints.

staining and varnishing

You’ll be able to some extent to hide damaged areas in the timber.

staining and varnishing

Your metal furniture and fittings can be coated to make them shine and protect them from rust.

staining and varnishing

You’re able to change the colour or leave it the same, while benefiting from the coating.

What kinds of finishes are there?

Wood stain, varnish and lacquer cover quite a range of possibilities. They are different products with different effects. The best choice will be determined by your needs and your timber or other material.

Wood stain

Wood stain is only for wood and is coloured by pigments or dyes. It is usually semi-transparent but can also be opaque. You would use wood stain to impart colour, but to keep the appearance of the wood grain and texture. This is because stain is absorbed by the wood and accentuates the grain. It will also not crack, blister, chip or peel as paint sometimes does. You can put a lacquer or varnish over the top of stain to further seal it. However some wood stain products also act as sealants.


Varnish can sometimes be confused with lacquer, because they may look similar when finished. They also both impart a protective finish, often glossy. However you can also get semi-gloss and satin varnishes. Varnish is a resin mixed with drying oil and carried in a solvent. It’s usually colourless and makes wood look shiny. It’s easy to use on anything as it is brushed on, unlike lacquer which has to be sprayed. However it is a bit slower to dry and less durable than lacquer.


Lacquer is a mixture of nitrocellulose, pigment and plasticizer dissolved in solvent. It can also be shellac dissolved in alcohol. Shellac is a product of insects, and makes for a high gloss surface when the alcohol evaporates. It is rather vulnerable to damage by liquids and heat, so is best as an undercoat or top-dress for fine furniture rather than dining tables. Lacquer comes in either clear or coloured. It also has a wider range of shine than varnishes. You can get anything from super high gloss to extremely matte finishes. Furthermore it dries faster than varnish. However we usually have to spray it on, which determines where it can be used. In contrast, varnish is brushed on. The advantage of lacquer is that the finish is more durable and hard wearing than varnish. It is also the better coating for metal surfaces due to its hardness and durability.

What we do

Our wood stain team can remove existing coatings from any of your furniture and fittings. Then they apply the new combination of sealers and finishes to suit your surfaces and style. We can combine the types of primers and coatings to obtain the exact colour, transparency or opacity and shine that you are after. We’ll not only do your wood stain, lacquer and varnish, but also treat and coat your metals. Furthermore we will advise you on the best products to seal and protect your surfaces. We work with your health and safety in mind, and clean up properly after ourselves. Our aim is your satisfaction. You can ask us about any problems with the work and we will fix them. We stand by the work of our tradespeople and guarantee you a good quality job.

Call us today on 020-38838614 for a free quote.