We try to avoid doing much staining of wood, even with raw wood. Instead, we stain the wood – like the deck or fence – with solid color stains. Through this, you’ll get a far superior surface or paint film.
Clear coat weatherproofing and semi-transparent color staining are not as durable as solid color stains. They are called solid color stains, but they’re just paint formulated differently and a little more watery. Because of the formula and the fact they soak the wood better, they’re referred to as stains.
If you’re doing a deck stain or fence project, you can use a one-coat system that seals and adds color. But for kitchen cabinets or interior woodwork, you usually use a stain that will only color the wood first. Then, use clear coats for the standard staining, sealing, and finishing system. The proper way of doing it is as follows:
There’s also a process that you can do before staining the wood. It’s called toner, wherein it evens out the color of the wood before putting a stain on it. There can be many steps when staining interior wood or kitchen cabinets. It can be a four-coat process.
It should be noted that each piece of wood is very different. For instance, a door or a rail system is made of many pieces of wood from multiple trees. The quality depends on the type or species of wood. The color can vary a lot, as well.
The problem with low-quality woods is that they could have moisture and saps that won’t let certain areas soak up stains. Some places might be dry or have uneven colors. You won’t get a desirable outcome or consistent color this way.
I have done a lot of staining jobs throughout my career of being a painter for more than 25 years. About 10 percent of the time, there are conversations and issues with homeowners regarding staining the wood – such as not looking uniform color.
The explanation behind this was that some woods create different color tones. Like the handrail, you might think it’s one piece of wood. However, it comprises other components that have been put together to create that one long piece.
Solid color stains are much more durable and last longer in exterior sidings, decks, and fences. It provides a better surface when you wash, which will be better for you in the long run. Thus, color should be considered when doing much staining. Most people picture interior woodwork as staining which can’t be recreated for exterior projects.
Some homeowners call us with their kitchen cabinets, rail system, or woodwork. They want their light-colored wood that’s already stained and sealed to be darker. Staining the wood to make it darker is not feasible because it has already gone through the process of coloring.
You cannot do that if the wood is already painted and sealed. You have to sand it down to bare wood, which is also not feasible. If you do this procedure, you must remove the stain and color. It’s not going to provide you with a pleasant outcome in the long run, as well.
It will be tough to sand and remove the coating in all crevices, and you will be removing some wood so that you might alter the look and profile of the wood. Even if you sand it down and think you’re down to bare wood, you won’t be pleased with the result. The coating in some areas may not soak into the wood the same. Hence, you won’t get a uniform finish.
There is another option that we don’t like because the look is not what people would imagine. This is when you take some stain and put it into a clear coat, similar to exterior deck products, siding products, or all-in-one products.
The process is putting a semi-transparent color into something that’s already done. It is changing the color a little bit. And although toning can be applied, it will not leave the variation. It is not very ideal to do something like that.
But if you want to do it that way, expect that you will not get the result that you might have pictured in your head. You could see brush marks and other issues down the road. Another thing is that you can have bonding issues later on.
In my opinion, it’s not worth doing that process. We might only do something like that if it’s a front door with stains that don’t have many cracks and crevices. But while we could clean it out, it will not look like a perfect finish.
These are the reasons we don’t want to do too much staining. Even with raw wood, you can still encounter some of these issues. I think about 10 percent of people have concerns with the colors of the staining not being consistent and even throughout new wood.
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