Timber stain is a product which imparts the pigment into the pores of the timber rather than creating a film on top of the timber. Wood stain is designed to add colour to the substrate of the timber while leaving the substrate mostly visible. Final coating is applied afterwards.
In principle, stain do not provide a surface coating or film. However, because the binders are from the same class of film-forming binders that are used in paints and varnishes, some build-up of film occurs.
Most wood stains for interior use require further application of finish for protection and gloss. Applying stain can be very easy or very difficult depending on type of substrate, type of stain. Aged wood absorbs stain relatively well. Porosity of wood can vary greatly, even within the same specie of wood. End grain and bias-cut grain are far more abosorptive, thus will absorb pigment and will darken considerably in those areas. Wood from different species of trees can have huge variations in how well they take stain.
Stains that are fast drying will be difficult to apply in hot weather or in direct sunlight. Stain that are slow drying will be difficult to work with in damp and cold conditions due to a greatly lengthened evaporation and curing period. New lumber, such as pine, can have wax like sealants put on at the mill that will prevent proper staining, stripping or sanding the surface may be required.
Many people have two different species of timber in one room and try to match it will dry colour, unfortunately 100 % match is not possible due to each specie absorbs the stain differently even if you apply the same stain colour on both.
Each client has different specie and would like to have specific colour of stain, we work on individual needs and prepare custom made colours for each client separately directly on their floor to show them what it will look like in bigger area to also allow for colour variation in each stain.
Have a look at some examples: