Stains, Finishes, and Topcoats, Oh My!


Calling our pigmented finishes “stains” can be a bit confusing, but we understand how finishes can be called a stain. The term “stain” implies that the wood fibers are stained with the colorants contained in the products. However, in the case of film-forming water-based finishes, like our Lifeline family of finishes, the wood fibers are not impregnated with the colorants. Our Lifeline finishes behave more like latex paints than penetrating oil-based stains. Yet we can refer to our finishes as stains or varnish since that is what the market is used to.

Ultra-7 Colors

Speaking of pigmented finishes, that’s just a fancy way of saying we have finishes with color. And do we add color. We offer the most color options for log and timber homes of anyone on the market. Many homeowners choose finishes that highlight the natural beauty of wood, selecting colors like Dark Honey, Dark Natural, or Cedar. Others enjoy a deep, rich color base like Chestnut, Walnut, or Classic Brown.

Ultra-2 Colors

A few years ago we saw grays as a key color for paint, home textiles, and interiors. And second only to blue as the most popular color for menswear. We expanded our color options to include more gray tints, offering trend-setting gray tints. Depending on your personal choice, our family of grays extend from a lovely aged-wood Smoke color to a New England-style Barn Gray. And with our ability to make custom colors, you can find a gray somewhere in between - or any other color for that matter. 

Exterior Colors

Whatever color direction you choose, know our products provide exceptional coverage, lasting color, and superior protection when used as part of the Perma-Chink System. If you're undecided on what color you should finish your log or timber home in, don't worry! We offer free samples of all our finishes so you can be confident in your choice of color. 


One of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our Lifeline Advance topcoat is why don’t we include the topcoat in with the stain. The answer to this simple question is that if we did, it would no longer be a topcoat. Topcoats play a specific role in protecting any finish system.

Our Advance topcoat plays essentially the same role as an automotive clearcoat, protecting the color coats from the weather, sunlight, and dirt.

U2 Butternut

Unlike other brands, Advance is specifically designed as a high performing topcoat with a unique set of characteristics that has yet to be duplicated by anyone else in our industry. One of the reasons Lifeline Advance outperforms all other topcoats is that it is designed for a very specific purpose and should never be applied to bare wood.

Pairing Finishes and Topcoat - The Winning Combination

When you pair a Lifeline finish with Advance, you get the maximum protection for your log home. This combination provides long-lasting color for your home, with the topcoat giving the home protection from the elements. Your home will look great for years to come. 

If you're ready to finish your log or timber home, or have a renovation project that needs finish, we are here to help. Sample orders and product orders can be fulfilled online at or you can call any of our nationwide stores at 800-548-3554.

Last modified on Friday, 18 June 2021 22:14

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  • Do you have an old stain that doesn't really show the warmth and beauty your home deserves? Ready to restore it to its natural look? It's easy to start by stripping old finishes using StripIt or S-100. Check Out This Video...

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