stained cedar siding commercial project

Oil Based Eco-Friendly Wood Stain

Why we chose TimberOX Green above all other wood stains

What do you REALLY need to look for in an exterior wood stain? When comparing water-based, water-borne, oil-based wood stains on the market – WHICH one should you pick for your wood deck or wood siding? What is the BEST wood finish and WHY? Will it look great? Will it last long or will I be doing the job again next year? Is it easy to apply? Is it safe for my family? Is it safe for the planet?

When Buffalo Lumber got ready to select a preferred wood finish to recommend to our customers I tried to think of what is really most important to wood lovers (as I know them). That is why we chose Timber OX Green as our wood finish partner. “When people think oil-based stains in the past people just think petroleum.

That’s not who we are. We are in this no man’s land. We are oil-based AND oil-borne. We are NOT petroleum oil based. We are all natural plant oil, agricultural oil and fruit oil. Citrus oil is our solvent. We are unique!” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green

When I first heard about Timber Ox Green – an environmentally friendly, oil based, wood stain – and the Exterior Wood Restoration company that produces it I did not know much about what actually went into making a successful wood finish product.

In order to recommend in good faith the BEST GREEN wood finish to our customers Buffalo Lumber needed to do some research into wood finishes, particularly wood finishes that claim to be environmentally friendly and see how Timber Ox Green stacked up.

TimberOX Green Oil Based ECO Friendly Fencing Stain

We had NO idea of what we were getting into. The amount of confusing, contradictory information on the net AND the miss-information passed on by finish company experts promoting a specific name brand was overwhelming. After long hours and much frustrated research (what the heck is a VOC anyway and how much do we need to worry about some VOC vs. no VOC?) we think we have some answers. 
The following is my “layman” take (If I can understand it hopefully a layperson can too) on what we learned. In order to keep this dissertation from being totally ridiculous in size I am limiting my focus to semi transparent stains used to protect wood siding and decking while still showcasing woods natural beauty.

Wood Stain Performance

Performance vs. Environment – What’s going GREEN going to cost?

“PERFORMANCE has always been our key metric prior to evolving into GREEN. We are sticking with this Oil-Based science based on the core belief that OIL is better for wood than WATER. 

We got into all this so we could be more successful at what we do best which is reconditioning and restoring wood surfaces. We know it works. We use it every day!” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green   

 The eternal question of the wood lover is “How much maintenance is it going to take to keep my wood looking beautiful?” The answer “It depends”.    

Water is woods worst enemy and protecting against water related problems is the number one job of all wood finishes. Protection from the sun is in there too however water is a much more fatal to wood than the sun.    

The problem with water-based film forming finishes is that they are prone to chipping, flaking and peeling as they are not malleable enough to move with the wood during seasonal size changes.    

Another problem with water based, film forming, finishes is they can actually trap moisture inside the wood promoting rot.    Having been in and around the lumber business most of my life I knew that most wood experts say oil is better than water when it comes to wood finish.   

 The general reason being that wood will move and breathe in relation to moisture levels in the air. Oil penetrates into the wood protecting it from the inside out whereas water based finishes form a film protecting only the outside of the wood.

TimberOX Green Oil Based ECO Friendly Siding Stain

LOW VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds

What do you lose in performance going GREEN?

“Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals in finishes that evaporate as finishes dry and cure. VOCs are air pollutants, and the amount that evaporates for a given amount of solids (such as binder and pigments) in finishes is regulated. Under the 1990 New Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required paint companies to decrease the amount of VOCs in their finishes.” exerpt from Finishing of Wood USDA Forest Products Laboratory    

But you can usually guarantee that anything that works exceptionally well for its specific purpose is probably bad for the environment.    Prior to the Government cap on VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) most oil based wood stains contained solvents that exceeded 1000’s G/L (Grams per Liter) of stuff that was listed as bad. That translated to 20-25% of a gallon of stain – 2+ LBS of petroleum based hazardous chemicals – evaporating into the air.    

When the GOV stepped in they put a limit of 550 G/L of VOC’s on all wood finishes. Some states are even lower. Now the best performing, most affordable, wood finishes reside in or around that number.    

With the push for “greener” and less harmful finish products some now claim “Low VOC content” which means 250 G/L or less (in most cases). The really aggressive ones claim less than 125 VOC and even lower.    

There is no such thing as ZERO VOC although some finishes come close (finishes with less than 5 grams per liter of VOCs are allowed to say “zero VOC”). Almost all of these are WATER-BASED wood finishes.    

Note: In some cases the less than “zero voc” > 5 g/l claim is misleading. These companies run the VOC test on their base/clear coat before colorants (pigments) are added. These colorants can raise the percentage depending on the type and depth of pigment.

formula elements

All finishes produce compounds that evaporate into the air – but not all VOCs are labeled as hazardous pollutants (HAPS). There is ongoing controversy over which compounds should be considered pollutants. Some compounds still currently allowed (and found in many finish brands) should be considered hazardous and will be added to the regulations in the near future. While other VOCs are just a gassing off of natural plant components – what you smell when you polish your furniture with lemon oil – and are not considered hazardous but are in some cases are included in the total VOC count. 
VOC count has become a simplistic way to rate eco-friendly finishes. But it does not tell the whole story. Companies produce a material safety data sheets (MSDS) that list the components. But since manufacturers are not required to list some unregulated components or ingredients that are added in small amounts the MSDS can be incomplete. 
This is all well and good and kudos for environmental consciousness however most wood lovers still want and need performance. And if you have to buy and re-apply your finish 3 times as often how much are you really saving the environment? 
So where does that leave us? 

TimberOX Green Oil Based ECO Friendly Siding Stain

Oil-Based vs Water-Based

Which is the BEST for the Environment? Which is BEST for the Wood?

The first answer was simple- water based (latex) wood stains and paints produce fewer VOC’s so many manufacturers who wanted to be greener went that route producing water based stains that are better for the environment.

The problem is these water-based stains still had the film forming performance issues highlighted above. They form a shell around the wood. They do not penetrate and they do not work as well as oil based finishes.

To address this problem manufacturers went into the laboratories and came out with “water borne”/oil or resin based finishes that claim “penetration” into the wood.

What is the difference between a water borne and water based wood finish? Good question- we had trouble figuring that one out too.

water based stain peeling

Water Based vs. Water Borne – what is the difference ?

“Water-borne/oil-based products use technology to micro-engineer soy oil to allow it to be carried by water into the wood. Oil and water just do not mix well. Do you really want to use WATER to carry something else into the wood? Its much like your hand and your skin – do you want to put water on cracked dry skin or cracked dry wood – or do you want to put oil on them? The choice is simple.” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green    

To understand the difference between water-based and water-borne we had to break down our understanding of wood finish into 2 parts. Part 1 is the stuff that actually does the job of protecting the wood. Part 2 is the stuff that carries those protective particles to where they need to be in order to do their job.    

The particles that actually do the job of protecting the wood are the “Base”. The particles that transport the protectors are where we get the term “Borne” which means to be carried.    

So water-based products mean both the transport and the protection particles (latex) are made primarily of water. Water-borne products mean water is the transportation vehicle for the oils and resins that do the job of protection. In order for the oil to be carried by the water the oils are technically modified at the cellular level to mix with the water solvent.    

How far do the water-borne protection particles penetrate into the wood? How far should they be carried into the wood in order to do their job?    

This is where we ran into some ambiguity in our research.

Timber OX® GREEN LOW VOC Oil Based Deck Stain
Oil Based Wood Siding Stain

Penetrating Wood Stains

Deep Penetrating vs. Film Forming – The two types of wood finish

The industry does seem to agree on one thing- penetrating finishes are better than film forming. What they don’t seem to agree on is how much penetration actually occurs.

The word penetrating is used frequently in the water borne finish segment of the market, what was not made clear to me is how much of the protecting particles actually penetrate and how far into the wood.

We have yet to conduct our own tests (which we will very soon) however our research suggests that most water borne stains do not penetrate as much as they would like us to believe. Some are using the term “Semi-penetrating” which still leaves quite a bit of room for interpretation.

While the technology is continuing to advance the fact that there is confusion around the term “penetration” with regard to protection of wood leads me to believe water borne finishes have a way to go before they can protect as well as oil borne finishes.

ECO-Friendly Wood Stain

Timber OX GREEN – the 1st Bio-Based Oil-Based Low VOC Wood Stain

TimberOX Green Oil Based ECO Friendly Cedar Siding Stain

“Citrus oil (d-Limonene) is our solvent. It mixes with the natural castor plant oil thinning it, allowing it to be transported into – soak into – the wood. The castor oil carries with it the resins, fungicides, mildewcides, pigments and titanium dioxide nanoparticles to protect against sun’s UV rays.” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green 
This brings us to Timber Ox Green and why we decided to recommend their wood stain as the best Green product that performs as a wood stain NEEDS to. 
Timber Ox Green was developed by an Exterior Wood Restoration company comprised of people who work with wood and finishes every day. It was originally designed so that it could be used by the restoration company for its own clientele. As they worked they found that the wood finish products available were not living up to the performance guarantees they were giving customers so they decided to create something that would. Now this was back in 1992 when HIGH VOC was available in all its glory and these were the finishes that were not living up to the restoration experts standards for performance! 
In the beginning the high performance wood finish they fomulated met government standards but was not designed to be environmentally friendly. It was designed to PERFORM better than the oil based products available on the market at that time. Their own customers have been the fundamental test cases to prove viability and improve their finish product.

TimberOX Green Oil Based ECO Friendly Siding Stain

TimberOX was designed by contractors for contractors – us! We have been in the wood restoration business since 1991. We used every finish product out there. We tried it all. We have installed cedar siding, cedar shake roofs, wood decking, log siding. We used most of the finish products on the market but we never found one that fully worked for us. We used many good products but they all had some performance issue that did not meet the performance metric we were trying to achieve. We decided to make our own. We did not get into the business to sell stain we got in the business because we are a wood restoration company and we needed something that worked! ” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green 
In 2007 an important client asked if they had a product that was not petroleum based because his wife had chemical sensitivity problems and petroleum caused a reaction. This sent them back into the laboratory to see what could be done. 
Using a natural Castor Oil base and Delaminene citrus oil blend as transport they succeeded in creating an oil based / oil borne, performance product that is environmentally friendly. 
Not only did TimberOX produce a wood stain that was all natural ECO Friendly, it also met their personal rigorous performance standards AND did not cause the wife to react. Since that day they have been refining their products to address environmental issues while maintaining their performance metric as goal number one
“We do have some volatile compounds but they come from citrus and corn – PLANT based NOT petroleum based. Our VOCs are from what happens when oranges or limes sit on the ground and rot. They are NOT hazardous pollutants and do NOT harm the OZONE like petroleum based products.” Lyn Jackson, Marketing TimberOX Green

citrus oil solvent

FINALLY an OIL BASED wood stain that is  GOOD for the planet and PERFORMS!!

For more information, customer testimonials and stain prices call 855-ECO-STAIN (855-326-7824) or visit Timber OX GREEN

“We test 94% BIO-BASED for wood stain which blows everyone else out of the water. Much closer to the 100% natural bar than any other oil-based stain out there.” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green

GUILT FREE PERFORMANCE! Planet preserving wood lovers were hard pressed to find products that perform as well as their environmentally hazardous counter parts UNTIL NOW!    

Timber Ox Green’s wood stain actually outperforms most petroleum based finish products. Not only can you have a guilt free conscious but you actually get a better product.    

Timber Ox provides a 5 year minimum warranty on their wood siding stain where most petroleum based stains say 2-5 years as needed (as needed is fine print for 2 years or less depending on conditions).

TimberOX Green Oil Based ECO Friendly Fencing Stain

The higher cost of the initial product is more than offset by the long term performance value in more ways than one. Think of it this way. What is your time worth? Do you want to refinish your siding 3 times in 6 years or once? Timber Ox green saves the headache of frequent maintenance (literally- the orange citrus aromas emitted by the stain allow users to be high on life not the fumes of their finish). 
The cost, man-hours and pain in the butt factor experienced by anyone who has to re-finish their wood siding every 2 years (or less) will immediately recognize the value of an environmentally friendly finish that has a 5 year minimum life span and can last as long as 7 or 8 years depending on conditions (vertical wood projects). 
Very few times in life do we get to have our cake and eat it too. Timber Ox Green allows us to love and protect our wood and sleep like a baby at night knowing Mother Nature is proud of us. 
TimberOX Green is the only company listed in the USDA BioPreferred Products Catalog where OIL is the main component of Bio-Based Bio-Preferred wood finishes.


BIO Based OIL Based Wood Stain

Timber OX® GREEN Semi-Transparent Wood Stain – One of a kind!

Timber Ox Sets the Bar for OIL-BASED wood stains! Timber Ox has succeeded so well in their environmentally friendly technology that the Government uses their Bio % as a benchmark for other bio based finish technologies.

Before it was GREEN their wood stain formula was geared to PERFORMANCE. They designed it because they are in the wood restoration business and were not satisfied with the performance of all other wood finish products. They needed an exterior finish that could stand up to the elements and their customer satisfaction guarantees.    

When they went GREEN they never waivered from their PRIMARY PERFORMANCE goal. What they developed was a deep penetrating, oil based performance product that also happens to be environmentally friendly. They achieved this by using natural plant oils instead of Petroleum which has dominated the market and endangered the environment for years.

The TimberOX oil-based/oil-borne wood stain is made 100% from agricultural products. Everything from the solvent carrier (modified citrus oils) to the vehicle being carried (natural castor oil) as well as the protectants included within the castor oil – resins (polymers), pigments, mildewcide, nano particles and pesticides – are all derived from plants.    

“A resin is a solid particle that goes into the wood and bonds with the fibers of the wood and between the fibers at a cellular level to bulk them up, filling in voids to make wood more solid to keep water from moving into and through the cell walls. The 3 different resins in our product behave like “lignin” in wood. Lignin is an organic substance that binds the wood cells, fibers and vessels – basically tree sap which is a natural wood resin. We are putting resins back into the wood to replace those that naturally leech out over time.” John Nearon, VP TimberOX Green

wood stain resin particles

The Best Wood Finish

Bottom Line – Oil is better for Wood than Water!

When we first interviewed TimberOx Green they said their firm belief as wood restoration experts was that oil based products penetrate and perform better than water. Our research and experience bears that out and shows a definite need for environmentally friendly products that actually do the job they were meant to do. PERFORM.    

Based on our own industry experience Buffalo Lumber agrees that “Oil is better than water” for wood finishes and it is nice to have an option that is kind to Mother Nature.

Timber Ox is ahead of the curve and will become increasingly important to the market as VOC and BIO-Based laws continue to tighten across the country.

We are happy to be able to offer our wood loving customers a viable performance option with a guilt free conscience.

For more information, customer testimonials and stain prices call 855-ECO-STAIN (855-326-7824) or visit Timber OX GREEN

Timber OX® GREEN’s DEEP Penetrating OIL BASED Wood Stain – An Environmentally friendly LOW VOC wood finish that actually WORKS!

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