How to Stain Wood, Lessons Learned

When you own a home that is over 100 years old which has been added to, partially destroyed, and has endured a century of decorating mistakes, you try your best to renovate in a way that's liveable and yet is sympathetic to the original house.

But what to do when you've stripped about ten coats of paint from an original door and you need it to match as closely as possible a new stained door directly across the hall?

First, the original door, although nicely detailed, was most likely meant to be painted. Second, old wood takes stain differently to new wood, even if the type of wood matches. Third, I had no idea what stain color was on the other door. Here's the before and after of the refinished door.

stripped door    stained door

After many days of frustration with different colors of stains there was a measure of success. Here's a list of lessons learned when it comes to staining wood:

1. Always, always, always do a test sample on a separate piece of wood, preferably the same age and type of wood that you are refinishing  At the very least, your sample will show you how to apply the stain and it will confirm that it's the color you want.

2. If the condition of the wood is uneven (different cuts, knotholes, etc) then it will stain unevenly. You may need to use a Blotch Barrier that will hold down grain raise and control the penetration of the stain which will make the wood take the stain more evenly.

3. You need to seal the stain with a topcoat, so make sure you try out your topcoat over your sample stain piece.

4. Remember that a stain not only stains wood, it will stain anything it comes in contact with, so use rubber gloves, cover your clothes, and wear eye protection.

Click the link to  find a good article from DIY network with expert staining tips.

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.