Wood Staining Tips

Learn creative ways to perfectly stain furniture, decks and fences.

Whether it’s a fence, deck or old piece of furniture, a new coat of wood stain is an affordable way to freshen things up. Spruce up old furniture, weather a deck or add brand new colour to fixtures.

For Stained Furniture:
Sand paper or electric sander
Drop cloth
Damp cloth
Latex gloves
Brush (natural or synthetic, depending on the stain type)
Wood stain
Dry rag
Dust mask


1. Sand furniture on the drop cloth to remove all traces of previous finish.*

2. Remove sawdust with damp cloth. Allow to dry.

3. Put on gloves and stir stain until mixed thoroughly.

4. Brush on a good amount of stain, following the grain of the wood.**

5. Apply a second coat going against the grain.

6. Leave stain on until desired colour forms.

7. Using a dry, lint-free rag, wipe any excess stain with the grain of the wood.

*Tip: Sanding the furniture will allow the stain to seep into the wood, but be sure to wear a mask, as old paint often contains lead.

**Tip: Use a natural bristle for oil based stain and a synthetic brush for water based stain.

For Stained Fences and Decks:
Drop cloth
Sand paper
Latex gloves
Brush or roller
Wood stain


1. On drop cloth, sand surface of wood and vacuum sawdust.

2. Put on gloves and load brush or roller with stain.

3. Start with the top of fence or deck railing.

4. Brush or roll even coats in the direction of the wood grain.

5. Apply a second coat going against the grain.

6. Leave stain on until desired colour forms. Allow complete drying before use.

Tip : If you’re staining an older wood structure, pressure wash it first. The force of the water will remove mildew, dirt and old stain. Clean wood will absorb stain more evenly.

Staining Tips

  • Keep stain on wood longer for a darker finish.
  • Do not allow excess stain to dry, or it will cause layered marks.
  • Let stained projects fully dry in a well-ventilated space before use.
  • Some stains are made specifically for outdoors and will withstand weather, while others are only for indoor use on furniture.

Types of Stain
Oil-based stain: Oil-based stain penetrates into wood more effectively than its water based counterpart. It takes longer to dry, which creates a more even look and works best on furniture.

Water-based stain: Water-based stain has fewer fumes and odour than oil-based stain. It dries quickly, holds the colour well and cleans up with soap and water.

Tip : Find eco-friendly water-based stains at your local hardware store.

Although it could take a few hours, re-staining your furniture or weathering a deck can be fun for everyone — and it makes whatever you’re working on look better, too!


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