10 Favorite Wood Stain Colors

I have never had much trouble with Polycrylic, but I sometimes add a little water to it by dipping my brush in the water every few times, and I prefer a satin finish. I occasionally use it over chalk paint in matte if there is a necessity to seal a top. I have always preferred Benjamin Moore’s sealer and primers both, so you might give those a try.

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Posted: Wed, 06 Jan 2016 08:00:00 GMT [source]

You’ll want the oil-based drying agent to completely vaporize from the stain before applying the water-based finish. When it comes to wood finish, which should you use? Read this guide to learn more about the differences between polyurethane and polycrylic.

How To Safely Clean Your Table Saw Top

The only way to know is to try both and see what YOU prefer. Both Minwax and Varathane offer a wide selection of oil and water-based polyurethane, though Minwax’s polyshades are only available in oil-based versions. If you’re new to wooden finishes, it’s vital to note that these products are available in either oil-based or water-based versions. Whether you prefer water-based or oil-based products, it’s critical to ensure that you’re using stains appropriate for the kind of surface you’re treating.


Dirt, grease, furniture wax, or polish will interfere with the adhesion of the gel stain so a thorough cleaning is required. The red oak did something weird again with the top coat! You’ll see later on that the Polycrylic did well on red oak with the other two brands, so maybe it has to do with how deep the stain soaks into the hard wood. Varathane Classic Black had similar results to the Minwax samples, so you could go with either when deciding which to buy at the store.

Key Considerations For Choosing A Wood Stain

Because gel stains collect in crevices, they also help you give country projects such as the candle box below a faux patina. You simply wipe on the stain, then wipe it off, leaving the stain in crevices and other spots where dirt would accumulate over the years. As shown, in the photo above, on this plastic-coated surface, gel stains hold a grain pattern better than thin-bodied stains which spread after application.

Polycrylic vs. Polyurethane: Which to Use On Your Wood Project – BobVila.com

Polycrylic vs. Polyurethane: Which to Use On Your Wood Project.

Posted: Thu, 09 Aug 2018 15:35:07 GMT [source]

The unconditioned Birch side, again, struggled with accepting the stain, but you can also see the conditioned side of each board is slightly darker. So for you, I suppose, the General Finishes Gel Stain will be the best solution since it’s well suited for hard-to-stain woods like pine. There are several deep dark colors available, but java is my favorite. I can guarantee you will love this murky brown color, it turns out a little bit lighter after you apply it, but it still looks awesome. Varathane Premium Wood Stain is a translucent stain designed for use on all interior wood products. This soy-based formula results in deeper penetration within the wood grain and results in truer colors.

Ten Wood Stains On Oak

A light sanding between coats will promote adhesion of the subsequent coats. At any time during the process, it’s recommended that you not use steel wool, because it can leave small particles that will rust in the finish. Instead, it’s best to use a nylon scrubby-type abrasive, such as 3M’s Scotch-Brite pads.

Oil based poly darkens over time while water based remains clear throughout. Varathane and Minwax offer some of the best wood preparations and stains available. They both produce a broad enough variety that you can find anything that you may want whether it be water or oil-based. Staining wood is a way of adding character the room it is in and makes all the difference in the quality of your furniture or floors. Both Minwax and Varathane are excellent choices for staining and preparation. One of the big draws of water based polyurethane is that it doesn’t have much of a smell and it dries quickly.

Topic: Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish And Varathane Floor Finish

This was my first time using it and it was a reader favorite. It reminds me of a tree bark color with the dark tones and it’s definitely one of the darkest stain color favorites. I picked these colors based on my tried and true favorites, readers favorites , and what seems to be popularly used.

minwax vs varathane stain

Designed for interior use, this stain delivers great results with one coat, is easy to use, and comes in a wide range of colors. There is no obvious answer when it comes to which brand dries faster. Water-based formulas are going to dry faster than oil-based one. For that reason, we’re going to be talking mostly about oil-based products in this section. Both companies produce mostly oil-based products. However, recently, each company has started to experiment with water-based options as well.

My friend who is more experienced uses Minwax Polycrylic and that is what I have been using. I am amazed how smoothly it goes on with a sponge. We cut them up into 4ths or 8ths with a bread knife and then use them to apply the poly.

If you let a can sit long enough, the particles will settle out, leaving you with 1/4 can of mud and 3/4 can of juice. They are hard to compare because the looks are so very different, but I think that my favorite is Sun Bleached for it’s light and beachy vibe. We suggest doing a test swatch before staining your whole project. If you want a really white look but don’t want to paint, this can be a good option. It is brown-gray in color and has a lot of warm undertones.

We sanded them all, applied a pre-stain conditioner, and then applied one coat of Minwax Polyshades Stain and Polyurethane in One. It has a great color and seems dry to touch, but smells. We think we may have wiped off the stain component in the Polyshades with our paper towels.

They include where wipe-on poly is better than a roller, and the best way to control dust. I have always had that trouble with Minwax poly. I thought it was my fault, that I just couldn’t do it right.

Through absorption, lacquer forms a stronger bond with the wood that is harder to break. The first reason is the consistency of the product. Lacquer has a watery consistency, minwax vs varathane stain which can be temperamental, but it’s easy to handle. Yes, you might make mistakes, but all you need is a bit of solvent, such as white spirit, to solve your problem.

minwax vs varathane stain

Their products have a super short dry time as compared to Minwax, which dries much slower. In this case, choose a Varathane product over Minwax, which will prevent water from entering your wood surfaces. While one of the principal reasons for treating wood is to make it look beautiful, another important reason is to add protection. You want your project to look nice for a long time and stay in good shape. A quality product should provide long-term protection against dents, scratches, humidity, high temperatures, and spills.

What Is Polyurethane?

Rust-Oleum stain seals against leaks and moisture damages. You can apply it with any standard brush fairly easily. It’s thick enough to fill gaps and cracks in hard to reach areas when used liberally. A standard application will usually dry within one hour after applying. You can expect to get great coloring from a single coat. This product works best with wood floors, indoor furniture, cabinets and more.

  • Number one – it’s affordable and number two – it’s just awesome.
  • Allow the wood to dry completely, sand the piece down to bare wood, and apply a coat or two of stain, wiping off any excess.
  • Exterior stains, such as deck and fence stain, often contain higher amounts of pigment, which serve to conceal some or most of the grain.
  • The paste finishing wax works to protect and add luster to wooden surfaces, whether cabinets, furniture, doors or antiques.
  • It is used ideally for wood related work, furnishing work, wooden doors/cabinets/floor.
  • Weathered Oak is generally used as a lighter to medium stain color.
  • If economics dictate that you must use such boards together, you can help give the surface a uniform appearance by using gel stains.

Source: homemakerguide.com

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