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Tips for Staining and Finishing Lumber

Tips for Staining and Finishing Lumber

The best part of creating any DIY project at home is applying the stain or paint to see the final look of your creation.

Knowing how to stain and finish lumber in the best way possible can help improve the look and longevity of your wood furniture and accessories and help the piece last longer without deteriorating from the weather or normal wear and tear.

Once you've read our tips and tricks for staining and finishing lumber, you can head to Knowles Building Centre to grab all the tools and materials needed for your next project!

What is Wood Stain?

Stain is a product applied to wood to add a new hue, increase the longevity of the furniture, and protect the surface.

Unlike paint, stain absorbs into the lumber to enhance the natural textures and grains instead of covering them.

Adding stain and a finish to lumber and wood is the best way to create a protective barrier to avoid damage from the elements or scratches from wear and tear. Even when furniture is left alone for a natural look, it still will need a light stain, wood oil, or finishing lacquer.

Water vs Oil-Based Wood Stain

Oil-based and water-based stains differ both in application and function. Oil-based stains penetrate the wood deeper and are better used for outdoor projects, creating a protective layer to repel water and other elements.

Water-based stains are thinner and sit closer to the top of the wood. They're often the preferred stain for indoor projects as the smell is much less noticeable than oil-based stains.

Tools and Materials Needed

A few materials and tools are needed to complete any staining project easily. Be sure to collect these items before you begin to avoid unnecessary trips to the hardware store.

Wood Stain

Consult an expert to know if you're buying the best stain. If you want your furniture or deck to last a long time, ensure the stain you're buying is high quality.

You can also get small samples of stain to make sure the colour is what you want. Simply apply a small portion of stain to the wood and sand it off if it's not what you're looking for.

Paint Brushes and Rags

High-quality paint brushes are another key tool to use. It's a bad look if bristles fall off into the stain and become stuck to the wood.

When using the rag method, use an old cloth you don't mind throwing away when you’re done. Dispose of this flammable material properly once you’re done.

Sand Paper

Ensure a smooth surface for the stain to apply evenly with fine-grit sandpaper: 120, 180, and 220 will all work well.

Wood Conditioner

A pre-stain wood conditioner is often recommended before beginning the staining process. A conditioner moisturizes the wood to help apply the stain evenly, creating a consistent finish.

Wood Sealant and Finish

Wood sealant is usually a clear finish, leaving a smooth surface to protect the wood.

The most important part of selecting a wood sealant is choosing one that matches the stain. For example, use an oil-based wood sealant with an oil-based stain.

With many sealants and lacquers, you can add multiple layers to increase the shine of the finish. Many people choose one layer to add just a touch of shine.

Best Methods to Stain and Finish Lumber

Although it might look simple, applying stain is a one-shot task, meaning it's hard to remove and erase if done incorrectly.

Prep and Condition the Wood

Although this step isn't usually mentioned, pre-conditioning the wood is an excellent method to ensure the stain applies evenly.

Sanding the wood is an essential process and must be done to make your furniture smooth to the touch.

Applying the Stain

Once the wood conditioner has been set, you can apply the stain in thin and even strokes, either with the paintbrush or with a cloth.

Depending on how deep you want the colour to be, you may need to apply two full coats of stain.

Wipe Away Excess Stain

Buff the stain into the wood and wipe away any excess with a clean cloth. This will ensure no extra globs of stain are left on the wood to create an uneven tone.

Apply Sealant with Brushes

Although sealant isn't always necessary for every project, it helps to protect the wood from normal wear and tear. Furniture or flooring in high-traffic areas can get chipped and scuffed over time without proper sealant.

Using these helpful tricks is sure to create the best outcome possible. If you have additional questions, contact the knowledgeable staff at Knowles Building Centre to get started today!

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