Wood can be stained to improve its natural color and grain, so the furniture looks excellent and pleasing to the eyes.
You may not like the current polyurethane stain. You can add a gel stain over polyurethane. You should know a few things, but gel stain can be applied to stained wood without needing to sand the entire project.
Different types of wood stain
Oil wood stain, one of the oldest types, is quite common. Oil wood stain is often a pure, natural oil such as linseed oil.
Some oils contain solvents and additives. These oils are effective in preventing the wood from drying out and cracking. Applying a water-based stain on top of an oil-based one is not recommended.
Water-based stains are often more eco-friendly than other types of stains. These stains can be cleaned easily with a little warm water.
The drying time for these stains is much faster than other types. Water-based stains tend to be more durable than oils.
An oil-based stain can be applied over a water-based one, but it is important to ensure that the surface is dry before applying.
Shellac, varnish, and lacquer can be clear, but they may contain pigments that give wood a stained appearance. Although they may be called stains, shellac, varnish, and lacquer are not stains.
These topcoats have been used to protect the wood for many years. Shellac, varnish, and lacquer can be applied easily with a brush, but you can also spray with a sprayer for a professional finish.
Preparation before staining the polyurethane
Taking out all accessories and fittings before applying gel stain on polyurethane is a good idea. Take off the hinges of a door and take out the doorknob.
Remove all drawers, shelves, fittings, doors, and hinges from cabinets.
Removing all grease, dirt, and grime from your wood project before applying gel stain is important. Warm soap water or a degreaser can be used to do this.
Be sure to clean the polyurethane surfaces of soap residue. It is essential to clean the surface before applying the gel stain. Grease and grime can cause problems with the polyurethane’s adhesion.
Use light grit sandpaper to avoid scratching the polyurethane’s surface. This could cause gel stains to be absorbed.
To remove dust and grit, use a tack cloth. This may also affect how the gel stain looks. You can also use a damp, lint-free cloth if you do not have sackcloth.
However, you must wait for the surface to dry before you move on to the next step.
Applying gel stain
Use the gel stain on a small area of your project. After applying the gel stain, use a cloth or an application pad to wipe the surface.
Smoothen the gel stain as you go until the desired look is achieved.
Continue this process until you have covered all of the projects. You should start with a thin layer. If the stain is not as dark as you would like, you can always add more layers once the first one has dried.
The stain should dry for at least 24 hours. For the drying times, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
After you have applied gel stain over polyurethane, it is time for the stain cure to set. Now, it’s time to assemble the project by removing all fittings, drawers, and doors. Gel staining stained wood is much easier than removing it.
Tips for staining the polyurethane
An alternative to gel stain on polyurethane is an oil-based oil paint that has been thinned with paint thinner or even a clear oil-based glaze. This will give the stain a little transparency, allowing the wood grain to shine.
A cotton ball soaked in acetone can be held against a small area of stained wood. You must apply a gel stain if the cotton ball sticks to the wood. You can apply gel stain if the cotton ball does not stick to the surface.
Gel stain should be applied over stained wood. You should first test it on a small area to ensure you are satisfied with the color and shade.
Your existing stain can have an impact on the final result as well as the gel stain. Mixing gel stains can create custom colors. Before you start staining your projects with your creations, get creative.
How long should I allow the stain to dry?
It takes approximately 10 hours for the gel stain to dry. However, this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. For exact drying times, refer to the instructions.
To be safe, let it dry for 24 hours. These times will be affected by temperature and humidity.
Gel stain differs from traditional wood stains because it does not need to be applied directly to the project’s surface.
Gel stain will not penetrate the pores, so it is best to avoid letting it sit. Apply the gel stain thinly with a sponge or a clean cloth.
Things to consider when staining the polyurethane
As you may have noticed, we stress the importance of following the grain of the wood when staining wood with polyurethane.
This is important because polyurethane finishes are typically clear-colored, so any stain marks against the grain will be visible.
So that you can see the grain and hide any marks left during staining, it is important to pay close attention. Always choose a darker stain than the existing one.
This will allow you to hide any imperfections in the wood surface using the new stain. You would be glad you returned to the shop if you purchased a stain that wasn’t dark enough.
Is it possible to stain varnish?
It is possible to apply wood stain on the top of the varnish. However, the results will not be as good as when staining porous or untreated wood. To ensure the wood stain sticks, clean the varnished surface and sand it.
How can you darken a stain after using polyurethane?
Staining is generally dedicated to getting the new color so that the result looks fresh, new, and excellent. You may start directly by using a dark stain that will cover the surface.
This method is straightforward and applicable because most people decide to refurbish their furniture so that the result looks different from the previous style.
You have to ensure that the wood surface or furniture receives sanding lightly.