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    Credit: Eco Chemical

Eco Hybrid Stain has near-zero levels of volatile organic compounds and offers advantages of both water- and oil-based finishes, says its maker, Eco Chemical. Like a conventional oil-based finish, it penetrates deeply into wood, adheres well, and has good color clarity. And like water-based stains, it forms a durable, vapor-permeable film, is nontoxic and nonflammable, and cleans up with soap and water.

Sold in 5-gallon containers of concentrate, Eco Hybrid Stain is typically mixed with water in a 1-to-3 ratio before application, yielding a total of 20 gallons of stain. The amount of water added can be adjusted to change the degree of opacity.

Pigments in the stains are 100 percent iron oxides, which offer high resistance to UV light and don’t chalk or fade, according to the company. Six colors are available: redwood, cedar tone, gold, brown, black, and gray.

Eco Chemical is in the process of establishing a dealer network for Eco Hybrid. For the time being, contractors can purchase the stain (only in 5-gallon containers) by calling Eco Chemical directly. A container costs between $40 and $45, so mixed to the usual concentration, it runs about $2 a gallon.

Scott Gibsonis a freelance writer in East Waterboro, Maine.

Eco Chemical, 800/677-7930, ecochemical.com.