Pigments are used for coloring and tinting wood stain. Most pigments used in stain manufacturing are dry powders that are ground up. The powder is added to a binder that suspends the pigment, which gives the stain its desired tint. Stain pigments can vary in color depending on the type of light they are reflecting. For exterior wood surfaces that light source is typically sunlight. But pigments also play an important role in protecting the wood from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
The pigment reflects the sun’s radiation, this is why more pigment means better UV protection. In general, the more pigment a stain has the more UV protection it provides. Stains can be specially formulated to not only give a beautiful appearance but also to help reflect UV rays even more. Synthetic pigments and nanoparticle technology combined with heavy resins, binders and other fillers can offer superb UV protection.
It’s important to know that even though it would seem logical to apply a solid stain or even a deck paint to get maximum UV protection it isn’t always the best idea. The problem with solid stains and paints is that they don’t hold up well when exposed to the elements. Most of these exterior stains and paints form a film and sit on top of the wood’s surface. This causes them to be subject to peeling, cracking, and flaking. Simply put, they will not last.
A better option for protecting exterior wood is to apply a stain that penetrates into the wood pores but yet has enough pigment to give adequate UV protection. There are several excellent brands of exterior wood stains that are tinted in many different colors and will allow the wood grain to show through. These semi-transparent stains still have plenty of pigment for adequate UV protection. Many of them contain special light stabilizing and synthetic resins that have been tested and proven to protect against UV rays for many years.
Although more pigment means better UV protection you still want to apply a penetrating stain that will hold up to wear and peeling, while still protecting against UV rays giving your wood surface a long lasting beauty finish. When using a penetrating semi-transparent stain with a richer or darker color will give longer UV protection from graying then the lighter semi-transparent tints.
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