While finishing window trim isn’t necessarily a complicated process, it is one that requires practice and patience. Mistakes are all too easy to make, and fixing them all too frustrating, so taking proactive measures to prevent them is important. In other words, a good “finish”, right from the start.
So, just do it correctly right from the start and don’t mess up at all? Phew, that’s is a lot of pressure. It’s no wonder, then, why our clients are all too relieved to learn that we not only install windows beautifully; we also bring them to life with color. After many years in the business, when it comes to staining veneered wood, we’ve learned a few things.
Never Neglect To Prep
- Sanding-New window trim may look ready to stain, but it isn’t. Sanding is most important, and we never skip this step. Sanding ensures you are working with a smooth, even surface that will absorb stain evenly. Also, sanding smooths imperfections, which are more evident when applying clear coat. Some wood, such as Oak, has a more coarse grain and requires more attention to sanding.
- Taping- Another thing we do not skip. You may think you have the most steady hand in the world, but the fact is that taping windows not only prevents
stain and varnish from running where it shouldn’t, it protects the glass from scratches as well.
Use The Right Stuff
- Brushes-When it comes to what tool to use when staining, bristle brushes are the way to go. We use one for applying the stain, one for dry brushing, and both for applying clear coat. Any bristle brush? No, we won’t use lower-end materials. If you want to achieve top notch results, it’s always best to spend a little more and use good high-quality brushes. Also, for this type of project, we go with a 2 ½” wide brush.
- Stain & Varnish- We use water based, plain and simple; it dries faster and is easier to clean up. And, of course, we are very picky on the shade we select. It should never be a guess or a willy-nilly choice. We always make sure that the sample trim is an exact, or near perfect, match to the stain before applying the first stroke.
Once we start staining a surface, we don’t stop or pause. The key to an even stain is to keep moving! First, we cover the whole wood surface with stain quickly (and thoroughly) using one brush, and then wipe the stain off by “dry brushing” with the second brush. And of course, we always dry brush in the same direction as the stain was applied.