July 15, 2015 The question of how to apply stain to wood does not have to be intimidating. While there are numerous techniques, types of wood stain, and general wood staining tips floating around, there are tried and true tricks and tips for staining wood that will make your next DIY staining project a breeze. To eliminate any confusion on how to stain wood, first, you need to know the right tools necessary for wood stain, and understand preparation required for how to apply stain to wood. Also, it is helpful to know about a few techniques for how to stain wood, as well as what to do once your wood stain is successfully applied. Let’s get started with our best wood staining tips! Tools for Applying Wood Stain Even with experienced DIY-ers, determining the types of wood stain best suited for a project can be difficult. It is best to start with an understanding of the two main types of wood stain: oil based stain and water based stain. Oil based stain takes longer to dry, which is helpful when working on large projects such as doors, paneling or flooring. Water based stains, however, are fast drying which is beneficial when you want a project finished quickly. Water based stains also have less of an odor than oil based stain. Once you have determined the type of stain you need or want, it is necessary to gather all the tools you will need during your project. Here is a short list of items you should have handy prior to staining: Safety equipment– gloves, goggles, dust mask, fan and drop cloths Sanding equipment– sandpaper, sanding block, any special sanding tools specific to your project Stripping equipment– scraper and chemical strippers, as needed Application equipment– lint-free cloths, natural bristle paint brush, foam brush or paint pad Preparation for Wood Stain After acquiring the tools necessary, and prior to starting your stain application, it is necessary to do some prep work. The most important factor in how to apply wood stain is sanding. For nearly all materials, sanding is a necessary step prior to applying stain, and can be done with sandpaper, a sand block or special sanding tools specific to your staining project. Sanding evens out the surface of the wood, and will allow for a more even tone once the stain is applied. Also remember to remove any sanding dust that accumulates during the process, easily done with a lint-free cloth slightly damp with mineral spirits. In addition to sanding, it is also necessary to test your stain color to ensure it is what you intend for your project. This is most effectively done on a small portion of the piece you plan to stain that is not visible. Simply make sure the wood where the sample stain is applied is the same as the wood you plan to stain. Techniques for Applying Wood Stain There are a variety of techniques on how to apply wood stain, each of which are appropriate for different projects and different aesthetics. Before imploring any technique on how to use wood stain, however, it is necessary to stir the contents of your stain as some color can settle at the bottom. After your stain is stirred, you can select which type of brush you feel most comfortable using. While foam is a popular choice because it is disposable, a lint-free cloth may provide a greater level of control in application. Once you have selected your applicator, apply the stain liberally to your piece in the same direction of the wood grain. Most stains will have manufacturer instructions included on how to use wood stain, so it is beneficial to follow those as closely as possible. If you want a deeper color, let the stain sit for five minutes then wipe down. For lighting coloring, wipe immediately after applying. The most important tip in relation to technique for how to stain wood is to never let your stain sit for longer than 5 minutes, as it will begin to dry. Sealing Wood Finishing As a final tip in how to finish wood, it is highly recommended that a top coat or sealant is used after the stain has dried. While stain provides beautiful color, it does not offer any additional protection from water, food or dings from sharp objects. A top coat or sealant protects your newly finished project, and is one of the most important tips for how to finish wood correctly. Contact us today for questions about wood stain or browse through our products and pick the wood you need for your next project! Looking for a great place to pick up wood stain? Check out our friends at Reno Paint Mart!