DIY: How Do You Treat Wood Before Staining?

Staining wood can be a lot of fun – but it’s also a little daunting. How do you make sure the stain goes on evenly? How do you know how long to wait for the stain to dry before moving on to the next step? How do you maintain that beautiful, shiny finish once your project is done?  In this article, we’ll answer those questions and more as we discuss How Do You Treat Wood Before Staining.

#1 Clean the wood

The first step is cleaning and degreasing the wood. You can use a commercial cleaner or even soap and water, but using TSP (trisodium phosphate) will give you better results. Just make sure that it’s diluted with at least 50% of the water before applying it on your flooring surface so there won’t be any residue.

This will help the stain to take better on your flooring surface, but it’s also important that you wait around 15 minutes before applying the second coat of TSP solution for maximum effect.

#2 Sand the wood

After you have applied a second coat of TSP to your flooring, it’s time that you sand the surface. You can try an electric sander for this process because using manual sandpaper will take too much time and effort. Note: don’t even think about skipping this step if you want your new flooring to look amazing.

You have to sand the surface in order for the stain to take better on your flooring, but if you want that rustic/vintage look, then try not to over-sand it because this will remove all of the characters from the wood. Sand until you achieve a smooth and rough texture overall, though, so no one can tell how sanded it was.

You also have to sand the edges of your flooring with a hand sander because this will create an interesting look but don’t over-sand these areas, or you’ll regret it later on.

#3 Apply the first coat of stain

Before you apply your first coat of stain on your flooring, make sure that it’s clean and dry. Now, you can either use a brush to apply this or even an electric sander (if there are some stubborn stains). You can choose any color for this step because it won’t be visible later on.

After you have applied the first coat, don’t forget to wait for it to dry before applying a second one. If there are some stubborn stains that didn’t go away after your first coating of stain, then use either steel wool or sandpaper (100 grit) and try again. Also, note: make sure that this step is done by someone who knows what they’re doing because applying stain over already stained wood is a big no-no.

When you’re done with this step, let it dry for 18 hours before continuing to the next one. This will give your flooring’s new coat of stain time to settle in and take better on its surface.

How To Prepare Wood Before Staining

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Kevin Nelson

I will always have a special place in my heart for woodworking. I have such fond memories working on projects with my parents on the weekends in the garage growing up. We built tables, shelves, a backyard shed, 10' base for a water slide into the pool, 2 story fort playhouse with a fire pole, and so much more. This woodworking blog allows me to write helpful articles so others can enjoy woodworking as much as we have.

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