How to Apply Wood Stain | Wood Staining Tips
Proper application of stain, combined with the sampling and proper prep discussed in steps 1 and 2, will complete the transformation of your wood. You’ll turn your dull, gray or unfinished yellow wood to the home or deck your neighbors envy, with the natural beauty of the wood grain both highlighted and protected.
Follow these steps to staining your wood right the first time.
Use a moisture meter to make sure wood is at or below 19% moisture wp-content level before applying stain. Damp wood can prevent the stain from penetrating properly and can eventually lead to peeling.
Just Say No to Mildew
Help keep surface mold and mildew at bay by adding more mildewcidesto the stain. We recommend Stay Clean I/E. And are you wondering if it’s really mildew? Check out this article to determine what the best use of treatment is.
Mix it Up
Thoroughly mix the stain. The preferred method is to use a drill-driven, squirrel-cage type mixer. No matter what method is used to mix the stain, you can ensure the most consistent color by:
- Scraping all pigment off the bottom of the pail and thoroughly mixing it in.
- Interblending pails with different lot numbers.
- Stirring the stain every 10-15 minutes throughout application to keep the pigments evenly distributed through the stain. One option is to use a squirrel cage mixer mounted on a drill to mix the stain thoroughly.
Apply stain to wood surfaces that are no colder than 40°F (4°C) and no hotter than 90°F (32°C). Extreme temperatures will prevent proper penetration and drying of the stain. Plan your work so that surface temperatures fall within this range. Do not apply to surfaces in direct intense sunlight and work in sections to avoid lap marks.
Spray it again, please*
- Spray on one heavy coat of stain. If only a brush is used, be sure to drench-apply the stain. Don’t skimp.
- Vigorously brush the stain, pushing it into the wood and all cracks and checks in the wood, catching any drips. This promotes the best adhesion and penetration, and leaves an even, consistent coat of stain.
- Wait until the first coat is dry (24 hrs.), then apply a light second coat of stain, spraying and back brushing as with the first coat.
* Note: These application instructions apply to many wood stains; however, instructions do vary by manufacturer, so be sure to read through their specific instructions.
Clean-up and storage
Clean brushes and equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In general, water-based stains and be cleaned up with soap and water while still wet. For oil-based stains and dried-on water-based stains, citrus-based cleaners or mineral spirits will be required. And, of course, be sure to follow local, state and federal guidelines for disposing of empty cans or any unused product.
Tightly reseal opened containers and store at temperatures between 50˚F and 90˚F (10˚C – 32˚C). If skinned over, remove the skin before thoroughly stirring the product and applying.
Bask In It
Enjoy your beautiful stain job! Stay tuned for the final post in our “A Better Way to Stain” series: Step 4 – Maintenance