September 29, 2008 by mike
Getting the right color and finish for your wood gate project is a step by step process that when done correctly, will bring out the best results to enhance the look of your home.
First of all, you should decide if you are going to have a wooden gate that is stained (for a wood finish appearance) or a gate that will be painted. Much of this will depend on the style of your home and the existing finishes and colors. Houses with siding are often trimmed with a white, cream, or light colored paint. Keeping this in mind, if you have this style of home you probably will want to match the trim color.
Stucco and brick homes open up all kinds of opportunities for stained wood gates. You want to take into consideration the style of your home and what type of wood you want to use for your gate. Hardwoods are a better choice for the life of the wood gate and it’s exposure to the elements.
You may be matching an existing color palette in your garden if the finish is for a garden gate or you may want to match the color for an existing architectural trim. Whatever the case you will need to select the type of wood for our gate, the final color you want to achieve, the type of stain, and finally the top coat that you want to use.
There are decidedly different types of wood gate stains and particular methods to achieve the final look that you want. It is important to note that stains are colorants, not protectants, that are used to make the wood grain more noticeable, change the color of the wood, or imitate a different wood species. After staining the wood gate can be filled and sealed.
Stains contain soluble dyes or insoluble pigments as coloring agents that also keep the stains in liquid form.
Water Stains are powders that are mixed in water. They provide a fade-resistant, clear, permanent color and are the most difficult stain to apply to the gate properly and therefore are usually not a first choice for a stain finish.
Penetrating Oil Stains are premixed and available in a variety of colors. However they are likely to fade and bleed into other coats of the finish and are not recommended for most applications.
Pigmented Oil Stains are the easiest to apply and will not raise the wood grain on your gate. The good news is that they are sold premixed and are available in a variety of colors. And because of the ease of application and availability of premixed colors we recommend these stains for your project.
So to begin the process you will need to have several pieces of wood of the type that you want to use for your gates. These pieces come preferably from the same supplier where you will buy the wood for your project. If you tell the supplier about your project they may even give you some scrap pieces of wood but remember these pieces need to be large enough to give a good feeling for the wood. Wood has variations, places where the grain is tighter and looser, and your stain may react differently in each of these areas. So you need to know what these variations will look like after applying the color in order to make a final selection for your project.
You may want to buy several different colors of stain, depending on how close you need to make a color match.
Apply the stain to each piece of wood and allow it to dry thoroughly.
At this time you may want to also experiment with different types of topcoats in order to see what the woods final appearance will be.
It is best to complete this entire process of sample making and finishing before starting to apply the finish to your wood gates. Otherwise you can end up very quickly with a color and look that is 180 degrees from what you are trying to achieve.
And if all of this seems to complex you may want to turn the job over to a wood gate finishing professional who can go through this entire finishing process to create the type of garden gate or fence gate that will add years of beauty and safety to your home!