Can You Use Interior Wood Stain Outside? I Tried It


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I was recently asked if it is possible to use interior wood stain on exterior wood. I had never tried this before, but I was curious to see what would happen. So, I decided to do a little experiment.

You can use interior wood stain on exterior wood. However, it is not recommended. The reason is interior wood stain is not made to withstand the elements. It will only last for a short period before it starts to fade and peel.

interior wood stain outside
The image shows a man applying a wood stain outside.

In this blog post, I will share the results of my experiment and offer some tips on how to get the best results.

Be sure to check out my ultimate Step-by-Step Guide: How To Stain Wood To Be Lighter!

How To Apply Interior Wood Stain Outside

If you decide to use interior wood stain on exterior wood, apply a clear sealer over top. This will help to extend the life of the stain. The best way to apply the stain is with a brush or rag.

The video shows sealing wood outdoors.

Follow the steps below when applying interior wood stain outside.

Step One: Prep the Wood

Sand the wood to create a smooth surface. This will help the stain evenly. Clean the surface of the wood. This is an important step because you want to remove any dirt, dust, or grime that could prevent the stain from adhering to the wood.

Step Two: Apply Primer

Apply a coat of primer. This will help improve the stain’s performance and ensure even coverage. There are many different types of primers available. Choose a primer that is specifically designed for exterior use.

Step Three: Stain the Wood

Now, it’s time to stain the wood. Be sure to work in small sections and follow the directions on the can. If you are using a brush, work in small sections and be sure to wipe away any excess stain. If you are using a rag, saturate the rag with stain and then rub it onto the wood. Again, be sure to wipe away any excess.

Step Four: Let It Dry

Let the stain dry completely before applying a clear sealer. This could take several hours or even overnight. Letting it dry will help to prevent the stain from peeling or fading.

Step Five: Apply a Clear Sealer

After the stain has dried, apply a clear sealer over top. This will help extend the stain’s life and protect it from the elements. There are many different types of clear sealers available. Choose one that is right for the type of wood you are working with.

You can use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply the sealer. Let the sealer dry completely before using the furniture.

The Result of My Experiment

I applied the stain to a piece of pressure-treated lumber. I let it dry for 24 hours before applying a clear sealer. The stain lasted for about two weeks before it started to fade and peel.

While the stain did not last as long as I had hoped, it was still interesting to see the results of my experiment. I would not recommend using interior wood stain on exterior wood. However, if you decide to do it, be sure to follow the tips in this blog post.

Why is Interior Wood Stain Not Good for Outdoor Use?

Interior wood stain is not made to withstand the elements. These elements are like the sun, wind, rain, and snow. Outdoor use exposes the wood to elements that can quickly break down the stain. This is why it is important to apply a clear sealer over top of the stain when using it outdoors.

Other reasons include:

UV Resistance

Interior wood stain does not have UV resistance. This means that it will fade quickly when exposed to sunlight.

Water Resistance

The Interior wood stain is not water resistant. This means that it will absorb moisture from the rain and snow. Over time, this can cause the stain to peel and flake off.

Temperature Changes

The environment can also cause the stain to fade and peel. Extreme temperature changes can cause the wood to expand and contract. Interior wood stain is not made to withstand extreme temperature changes. These temperature changes can cause the stain to crack and chip.

Can You Use Minwax Interior Stain Outside?

Minwax is a popular brand of interior wood stain. While Minwax does not recommend using its interior stains outdoors, some people have had success with them. An interior stain is not made to withstand the elements, so it will not last as long as an exterior stain.

If you decide to use Minwax interior stain outdoors, be sure to follow the tips in this blog post. Apply a clear sealer over top of the stain to extend its life. Choose a primer and sealer that are specifically designed for exterior use.

Here is the solution and a quick and easy Step-by-Step Guide: How To Fix Too Much Stain On Wood!

What is the Difference Between Interior Stain and Exterior Stain?

The main difference between interior and exterior stain is the ingredients. Interior stain is made with different ingredients that are not as durable as those in the exterior stain. This means interior stain will not last as long when exposed to the elements.

The exterior stain has ingredients that help to protect the wood from the sun, wind, rain, and snow. Exterior stain is also made to withstand extreme temperature changes.

Other differences include:

Fungicides

Exterior stain contains fungicides that help protect the wood from mold and mildew. Interior stain does not contain these fungicides.

UV Protection

The exterior stain has UV protection that helps to prevent it from fading in the sun. The interior stain does not have this UV protection.

Water Resistance

The interior stain is not water resistant. This means that it will absorb moisture from the rain and snow. Over time, this can cause the stain to peel and flake off. The exterior stain is water resistant and will not absorb moisture.

Here is what I found out on whether Should You Sand Wood After Staining? The Solution! Be sure to check it out!

Can Stained Wood Be Used Outside?

Any outdoor wood project, such as decking, fencing, and outdoor furniture, can undergo aging and degradation from factors like sunshine, rain, humidity, and more.

Exterior wood stain gives protection from the elements in addition to bringing out the natural beauty of the wood, unlike paint, which only provides a colorful, decorative coating.

Apply a clear sealer over top of the stain and choose a primer and sealer that are specifically designed for exterior use. With proper care, your stained wood will last for several years.

Can Oil-Based Stain Be Used Outside?

Oil-based stain can be used outside; for many years, oil-based stains have been applied to decks and other outdoor structures. These stains thoroughly penetrate the wood and dry slowly, making it simple to achieve a uniform, polished finish.

If properly applied, oil-based stains last for a very long time, and maintenance just requires reapplying the product. They are typically the most affordable choice as well. However, you will need to use mineral spirit or paint thinner for cleanup.

The main disadvantages of oil-based stains are that they take longer to dry than water-based stains and can be difficult to apply evenly. It is also important to note that oil-based stains are not as environmentally friendly as water-based stains. They contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs),, which can be harmful to both the environment and your health.

If you choose to use an oil-based stain, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Choose a well-ventilated area to apply the stain, and wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from the fumes.

Can You Use Water-Based Stain Outside?

You can use a water-based stain outside. Water-based stains are becoming more popular for exterior use because they are easier to apply and dry quickly. They also do not contain VOCs, making them more environmentally friendly. Water-based stains penetrate the wood less than oil-based stains, so they may not last as long.

The video shows applying water-based exterior stain.

However, water-based exterior wood stain application is harder than oil-based external wood stain application. Water-based products must be used carefully to produce an even finish since they dry more quickly and do not penetrate wood as deeply.

The main advantage of water-based stains is that they are less toxic and easier to clean up than oil-based stains. You can clean up water-based stains with just soap and water.

Can Exterior Wood Stain Be Used Indoors?

Exterior wood stain can be used indoors, but it is not recommended. The chemical compound of exterior wood stain is different from interior wood stain. The ingredients in exterior wood stain are designed to protect the wood from the sun, wind, rain, and snow. These ingredients can be harmful to your health if used indoors.

Exterior wood stain also contains UV protection that helps to prevent it from fading in the sun. This UV protection can cause the stain to yellow over time when used indoors.

If you choose to use exterior wood stain indoors, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and ensure adequate ventilation. It is also a good idea to test the stain in an inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface.

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In general, it is best to use interior wood stain for indoor projects and exterior wood stain for outdoor projects. This will ensure that your project lasts many years and that you use the safest product possible.

What Happens if You Use Interior Polyurethane Outside?

Interior polyurethane can be used outside, but it will not last as long as a product that is specifically designed for exterior use. Interior polyurethane is less durable and does not contain UV protection. This means that it will be yellow and fade in the sun much quicker than an exterior product.

How Do You Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture?

There are many ways to protect outdoor wood furniture. One way is to apply a clear sealer over top of the stain. This will help extend the life of the stain. Clear sealer can be applied every few years or as needed.

outdoor furniture protection
The image shows outdoor furniture protections.

Other ways include:

Use Linseed or Tung Oil

Linseed oil and tung oil are natural oils that can be used to protect outdoor wood furniture. They will need to be reapplied regularly, however, to maintain their protective properties.

Use a Water Repellent

Water repellents help to protect the wood from the elements by creating a barrier on the surface of the wood. Water repellents will need to be reapplied regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Use Furniture Covers

Furniture covers can help protect outdoor furniture from the sun, wind, and rain. They should be made of a breathable material, such as canvas, to prevent mold and mildew from forming on the surface of the wood.

Seal the Wood with a Coating of Polyurethane, Varnish, or Lacquer

A polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer coating will help protect the wood from the elements and extend the life of the stain. These products will need to be reapplied regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

Tips For Using Interior Wood Stain Outside

Now that you know how to apply interior wood stain outside, here are a few tips to help you get the best results:

  • Use a high-quality stain. This will help to extend the life of the stain.
  • Be sure to prep the wood before applying the stain. This includes sanding and cleaning the surface.
  • Apply a primer before stain. This will help improve the stain’s performance and ensure even coverage.
  • Use a brush, roller, or rag to apply the stain. Do not spray the stain directly onto the wood.
  • Be sure to wipe away any excess stain.
  • Let the stain dry completely before applying a clear sealer.
  • Apply a thin coat of clear sealer. This will help to extend the life of the stain.

List of Tools and Materials I Used

1. Stain (I used Minwax wood stain in the color Ebony)

minwax polyshades wood stains

✅It is a Polyshades Wood Stain.

✅It Reduces Finishing Time.

✅Offers a classic, dark brown color and a lot more shades that look great on a variety of projects.

✅Simple and Easy to Use.

2. Paintbrush

pro grade chip brush

✅It is ideal for cleaning, staining, and other purposes.

✅The broad wood handles of these brushes make them durable for all kinds of household jobs.

✅This chip brush value set may be used with most paints, stains, varnishes, and acrylic paints

3. Lint-free cloth

microfiber cleaning cloths

✅These are incredibly soft and non-abrasive and won’t harm paint, vinyl, finishes, or other surfaces.

✅Very absorbent may soak up eight times its own weight.

✅The tough, washable cleaning cloths may be washed and used hundreds of times.

4. Water repellent

wood sealer water repellent

✅It offers the best defense by penetrating deep inside the wood and reducing water uptake by 95%.

✅The wood is protected against the weather and preserved for extended periods of time.

✅It dries clear with just a hint of gloss.

✅Quick and easy to use.

5. Clear sealer

acrylic sealer

✅Provides a clear, protective finish.

✅Give practically any indoor or outdoor project a glossy finish.

✅A strong protective coating.

✅Lays down clear before drying gloss.

6. Polyurethane

minwx fast drying polyurethane

✅Protects all wood surfaces.

✅It dries quickly and offers long-lasting beauty on both finished and unfinished wood surfaces.

✅Fast drying.

✅It is perfect for use on all of your wooden surfaces because of its high durability.

Final Thoughts

Interior wood stain is not meant for outdoor use. It is not as durable as exterior stains and can quickly fade and peel when exposed to the elements.

If you decide to use interior wood stain outside, be sure to follow the tips in this blog post. I hope this helps. Good luck with your project. Thanks for reading.

Derek

I'm the guy behind Woodwork Hubby! I have been doing woodwork and cabinetmaking for over 30 years so I decided to start this site to help educate others on what I have learned.

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