Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

October, 2004

Staining Wood

Q. I recently built a hutch out of Maple and Birch and have heard that both woods may be blotchy when stained. How can I best combat this? Also, can I reasonably expect that the maple and birch will will stain to a similar color? I have heard that a conditioner and maybe an oil will work best. Obviously I'm a novice at this and could use your help.

Yes, both of these woods do have a tendency to stain up blotchy. There are several stains available on the market that will help to reduce the blotchiness from occurring. Visit your local home improvement center or wood coatings supplier, ask about geld type stains. These stains are thick and pasty and will tend to penetrate the wood surface more evenly and control the color. You can also use a clear stain base type product, and pre-stain the wood to help control the penetration of the color stain. By pre-staining, you must remember that the wood may not stain up as dark as it would if you applied the stain directly to the wood surface.

Maple is a very light colored wood almost white, and does not lend to dark stain colors. Birch on the other hand, is slightly darker in appearance and will stain up differently. You may need to reduce the concentration of the stain when you stain the birch or apply a second coat on the lighter maple in order to even out the color of the two different species of wood.

After you have allowed the stain to dry (typically over night) you may then apply a clear finish. Seal the wood with a sanding sealer, allow it plenty of time to dry. Lightly sand and smooth out the sealer and prepare to apply the topcoat. Be certain to clean the surface well and remove all sanding dust prior to applying the finish coat.

When preparing any surface for the application of paints or coatings, be certain to take precautions to protect against
breathing in any air borne dust or debris that may be created by the prep work.

Please be aware that paints, coatings and solvents are chemicals and therefore you should always pay attention to proper handling procedures and be prepared to wear protective clothing, such as respirators, gloves, coveralls, etc. For further information on the health and safety requirements for the coatings and solvents you wish to use we strongly advised you to contact your local coating supplier. If possible, go the extra step and look for this information on the website of the product vendor.


Jim Burke

What's New | About PCRC | Compliance Assistance | Regulations | Technical Info | News | Homeowners | Search | Disclaimer | Home

©2012 Paints and Coatings Resource Center