Wood finishing expert Bruce Johnson shares basic wood staining tips and offers advice on how to stain some of the more popular wood species. While wood in its natural state can provide breathtaking beauty, it doesn't always match the other colours or wood tones in our home.
Since wood is a product of nature, it can vary from tree to tree, even in the same wood species. Give you a longer working time, enabling you to stain floors, cabinets, paneling and doors without the worry of dried lap marks. Are applied with a natural bristle brush, while water-based products must be applied with a synthetic brush. This thick-bodied stain is ideal for vertical application and works on both wood and non-wood surfaces. Sand bare or stripped wood lightly with #150, #180 or #220-grit sandpaper to open the pores in preparation for staining. Pay attention to how long you leave the stain on the wood before wiping off any unabsorbed liquid.
Remove the last of any unabsorbed stain with a dry cloth wiped only in the direction of the grain of the wood.
When staining vertical surfaces, such as unfinished paneling or doors, try Minwax® Gel Stain. All woods have two characteristics that play important roles in determining their final appearance: their natural colour and the size of their pores. In addition to their natural colour, each species of wood has unique properties that will also affect the staining results.
Always a popular hardwood, oak has a strong grain pattern and large, open pores that absorb stain readily.
These two hardwoods have become the darlings of the unfinished furniture industry, for they are lightweight, affordable and easy to machine. These hardwoods share many of the characteristics of oak and should be stained in the same manner described above for oak. Less expensive than hard maple, birch is often substituted for maple in furniture and kitchen cabinets. These South American hardwoods are noted for their dark, rich colours and their high levels of natural oils. As its name implies, hard maple is an extremely dense, tight-pored wood that does not absorb much stain.
These three popular softwoods are beautiful when finished naturally or with only a light application of stain. Always prepare the wood with a light sanding and an application of Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (see Wood Preparation for other tips). Stir the can thoroughly to evenly redistribute any colour pigments which may have settled to the bottom.
Attempt to obtain a darker colour by allowing any unabsorbed stain to dry on top of the wood, as this will later peel off. When looking to colour real wood flooring, wood veneers, furniture, decking or for that matter, any sort of interior or exterior wood, getting the right colour is always an important factor. One of the difficulties with wood specific colours is that every manufacturer of wood finishing products and indeed most people’s interpretation of what particular wood colours should be called differs. A common approach we take at Wood Finishes Direct when customers call to discuss the staining of wood is to ask them to ignore the colour names and to focus more on the actual colour swatch. Another major consideration with wood finishing products is that the coloured product, be it a wax, oil, stain or varnish, is designed to be translucent i.e. So what is the best approach when looking to colour wood with a coloured or pigmented wood finishing product? With so many factors to take into account when choosing a colour for a wood finishing project, our advice is to always do a test area first on the actual wood to be stained and finished.
We have 2 ranges of Tinted Oils the first is Osmo Polyx Oil Tints and the second is Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints if there is a colour in either of these ranges that would match, you could use them. They are available in sample sizes and can be mixed with in the same ranges to create another colour or tone. I would now like to stain the top of the rail with a walnut colour and paint the bannister posts white.
Is it ok to use undercoat and silk emulsion on the posts and what wood stain would you recommend for the rails and top.
Thank you for the inquiry, dark rails and white post are a great look and I would recommend, once you have removed the Danish oil, using Fiddes Hard Wax Oil in Walnut for the rail and then Osmo Country Colour in White for the posts.
Both are Oil based products that won’t peel or flake over time and will protect and colour in one as well as being easier to maintain.
It can often be the case that when applying a finish over filler that there can be some colour difference.
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Yes, we've seen a strong preference towards dark floors, even though they are more challenging to maintain. One other thing: I would test a steam mop on dark hardwood before I used it, and ask the manufacturer about long term effects.
To those who worry about "hiding dust": yes, it will show up and sunlight makes it worse- so do bare feet.
My strategy: 2 - 3 times daily, I run over the floors with a dry mop (I have forgotten the brand, but it's better than Swifter, IMO, and the mop covering is machine-washable). I agree with DesigningMom, the best way to clean is using a steam mop- no greasy residue left behind.
We need to do them over again, which because the floors are pine, means renting a sander, taking it all the way down and treating them as if they'd never been done. For the best results, select a pre-stain wood conditioner, stain and finish with the same solvent. Applying stain over a finished surface, such as lacquered kitchen cabinets, will not change the colour of the wood. On woods with large, open pores, such as oak, mahogany and ash, increase your pressure to work the stain into the pores. Swirl marks left by a stain-saturated cloth will become even more obvious under a coat of clear finish.
Its thicker consistency enables it to cling to vertical surfaces without immediately running, giving you more time to apply an even coat of stain.
Once the stain has dried, apply a clear finish to protect both the stain and the wood — and to make the final results look even more beautiful. Unlike paint, both water-based and oil-based stains are absorbed into the wood rather than laying on top of it. Like hard maple, however, it does not absorb stain evenly and should not be stained with dark coloured stains.
Unlike oak and ash, cherry has a subtle grain pattern and small pores which do not absorb as much stain, making it difficult to make any significant changes in its natural colour. Unlike oak and ash, the grain pattern of maple is uneven, causing it to absorb stains in varying degrees.
Problems arise, however, under darker stains, for all three absorb stain unevenly, especially around knots and blemishes. The solvent in the finish will activate the damp stain, allowing your brush or cloth to pull it out of the pores of the wood. From rich teak to medium oak, stripped pine to mahogany, there are an amazing array of wood stains, wood waxes, coloured varnishes and wood oils for any project. It’s often the case that although they come to us initially looking for a medium oak wood stain, they may very well feel that our medium oak stain is too light, too dark, too warm or not warm enough but then see another colour which exactly matches their expectation such as our dark pine or teak wood stain.
In short, trust your eyes and go with the colour that looks right rather than by the name of a colour. If you find that the colour is either too light or too dark on the test patch, there are probably things that can be done to fine tune the final colour.
I don’t like the finish as there are too many blemishes in the wood and residue from glue etc making the finish blotch and untidy.
Simply ensure that the wood is clean and grease free and than apply a fresh coat of the Oil, when you feel it needs it, without having to remove any of the previous product. Some fillers will take the product better than others and blend but some will highlight the colour difference. An updated modern landscape will provide you with anoutdoor space that features clean lines and functional open areas. We offer complete landscaping design & layout services, pest control, grade work, tree and shrub trimming, hydroseeding, pond design and implementation, sprinkler systems, brick paving, swimming pool design and installation and much more.
Although dark floors are the current trend, I've been really happy with my light floor- I've never seen a scratch, they don't show dust (I'm a lazy housekeeper) and they're very resilient.
Our floor is exotic, distressed dark, and we were warned about what to not use (a steamer was one of them, because the manufacturer would not back warranty if we did). I have a hand-held vac that I use to clean the dry mop covering (once a week, it goes in the washer) and to get along the edges of particularly noticeable corners. You're not going to have an awesome yard with tons of landscaping if you don't want to invest the time (I don't, so we don't have an awesome yard).

Dust & hair showed up and upkeep was a nightmare- my sister accused me of a floor-sweeping obsession- I always had a dust mop in my hand. I am contemplating painting them, ragging them, or pickling the floors with porch paint (stronger than regular paint) before we verathane them this time. I clean it with my Bissell steamer and when needed I go over it with a cleaner we picked up from the home show one year.
Rubbing or brushing against the direction of the grain will help fill deep pores with stain. For that reason, the natural wood colour will blend with the colour of the stain you choose. To help reduce blotchiness when staining, first apply a liberal coat of a pre-stain wood conditioner. When staining, first apply a pre-stain wood conditioner, then select stains lighter in colour. Always apply a liberal coat of Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner prior to staining and even then select light to medium colours. As the natural colour of the wood will always have a major influence on the colour of the applied wood finish. Always keep in mind that the colour of the product on your floor or furniture will likely differ to the example colour swatch on the tin. At TenderCare Lawn and Landscape out skilled design team can help create your outdoor retreat incorporating modern materials that deliver function, beauty and value to your space. Ultimately, in the war of trends, dark is on top right now, but in the war of maintenance, light floors win. It is not wise to use it in some parts of the US if you live in an area with high humidity because of the stability issue. Yes, it does show dust and pet hair; we have a fluffy white dog that is a shedding machine and a mostly white fluffy cat that is the same, so I sweep frequently, but it's not so bad. What works for one family may not work for another As for the steam mops, unless you go over a dried spill a number of times with the steam blasting, there's no little puddles.
Also, the cleaner from Bona is a very quick drying cleaner that doesn't leave a residue (which others have). Once a week, I vacuum the floors and use the hardwood floor cleaner from Bona (I buy the concentrate and mix my own).
I would never just do verathane again even with the stain added, not ob pine, it wears through too quickly!
Never allow any excess stain to dry on wood surface—it will cause all sorts of adhesion and other issues. In order to accurately predict the final colour of your project, always test any stain you select on an inconspicuous place on the wood first.
To insure that any stain penetrates and fills oak's deep pores, apply a liberal amount of stain to the wood, then work it into the pores using a cloth in a swirling motion.
The same can be said for pretty much any type or colour of wood when searching in Google Images. There will always be a differenT result if the same product is used on a piece of pine, oak, larch, beech or any other type of wood. Another thing to take into account is that when viewing wood finishing and indeed paint colours online, everyone’s monitor is set to different contrast and colour setting similar to when you see the same TV programme on many TV’s when you walk into a TV shop. This is by far better than completing a major project to then be faced with the prospect of having to sand it all off and start again.
Manns Colour Match Varnish is the only one that we do and to to have colour match there is a minimum order of 5 Litres. Light floors would have looked wrong in our house with our decor style, and since our furniture, curtains, and fireplace is light colored it accents everything quite well. This is especially important for distressed wood, which forms valleys and crevices that can hold tiny amounts of water. Afterwards remove any unabsorbed stain by rubbing a clean cloth in the direction of the grain of the board. You may be able to apply a paint over the top but adhesion could be a problem and I would recommend a test area with what ever you try. Taking pine as an example with hundreds of pine species, all will give a different final tone to the colour in one way or another. This can be an issue with old floors where the majority of the boards are original but some have been replaced over the years.
The replaced boards will react differently with the applied finish and will probably give a different look to the original boards when coloured, even if they are the same species. The difference in colour can usually be made less obvious but may take some experimentation and testing to get it right.

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