Choosing the Right Stain for Your Furniture Refinishing Project

Furniture Staining | Furniture Refinishing in Toronto | Lanciano Furniture

Choosing the Right Stain for Your Furniture Refinishing Project

When it comes to types of wood, not all are created equally. This applies to durability as well as to the beauty of the wood. Some types of wood look absolutely beautiful in their natural state while others could use a nice coat of stain.

There are many reasons why you may want to stain your wooden furniture, including:

  • Make the wood look old
  • Emphasize the grain of the wood
  • Lighten the wood
  • Darken the wood
  • Make a common wood look rare
  • Restore colour to areas that have been bleached
  • Pull together the colours to create one colour in a furniture piece that has two colours.

Tips for Furniture Refinishing in Toronto

If you are going to be undertaking a furniture refinishing project, you’ll need to be sure that you are using the right stain to make the wood look its best.
Here are some helpful tips that you can use right away:

Which Types of Wood Should Be Stained?

Before staining any piece of furniture, it’s best to determine and assess the type of wood it has been made from. If it is made of a rare type of wood or pine, rosewood, maple, mahogany or cherry, you may want to reconsider staining it. These woods are beautiful in their own natural colour.

On the other hand, if the wood has a grain that’s relatively indistinguishable and is light in colour, there is a good chance that it will look better after being stained. Some of the woods that are often stained include gum, ash, birch, poplar, pine and beech.

Oak wood looks great whether it has been stained or not. When you’re trying to decide whether you should stain your oak furniture, try to picture how it would look first. Browse through some Google images to see pictures of stained and unstained oak before making a final decision.

Personal Preference

Wood staining should be determined according to your own personal preferences. Some people like the look of dark wood while others prefer light wood. If you are undecided, you can purchase some stain and try it out on an inconspicuous spot of the furniture. You’ll notice that doing this will bring out the grain while also making the wood darker.

Take a look at the area and decide whether you like the wood stained or would prefer the more natural look. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to staining and you should choose what you like best according to how it will look in the room.

How to Choose the Best Stain

As you walk through a home improvement store you’ll notice that there are many different stain types available. Some of these include:

  • Sealer stains
  • Varnish stains
  • Wiping stains
  • NGR (non-grain-raising) stains
  • Water-based stains

If you’re planning on sealing the stain, you may want to consider buying a sealer stain since these products have combined the stain and the sealer into one.

However, if you plan on using a polyurethane varnish as a finish, you’ll need to make sure that you purchase the right stain. There are some stains on the market that cannot be used with polyurethane. Look for a stain that says it is compatible with polyurethane varnish, and if you’re not sure, ask a store associate for help with choosing one.

NGR Stain

This type of stain consists of a dye that has been mixed with a volatile spirit like methanol or with denatured alcohol. They are not easy to use and are quite expensive. It is best to use them on hardwoods with close grains and in cases where an oil stain wouldn’t be properly absorbed. They do not perform well on softwoods.

Pigmented Oil Stain

If you use a pigmented oil stain for your furniture refinishing project, please note that this type of stain can mask or blur the pattern of the wood grain. It is made of pigments that are non-penetrating and have been mixed in mineral spirits, turpentine, linseed oil or another solvent. These stains are quite simple to apply and are relatively inexpensive when compared to some of the others, so you may be tempted to purchase this type when shopping for a stain.

Pigmented oil stains don’t work very well when applied to hardwood, but if you have maple, which has a close grain, it can be applied to darken the wood slightly.

Penetrating Oil Stain

These are very popular stains that consist of a dye that has been mixed either with turpentine or with another solvent. They are also very easy to apply and are affordable as well. The problem with this type of oil stain is that it often doesn’t penetrate evenly. They are useful for staining softwoods such as pine but don’t perform as well on hardwoods.

Sealer Stain

This is a mix of both a sealer and a stain. It consists of a dye that has been mixed with a lacquer, shellac or varnish base. Once the sealer stain has been applied, paste wax should then be applied on top as an extra layer of protection.

Organic Stain

There are several different stains available that are organic-based. They are commonly used for pine, although they can also be used on other types of wood. Some of the materials used for organic stain colours include:

  • Tobacco
  • Berries
  • Roots
  • Tea
  • Bark

Organic stains are recommended for people that are already experienced with staining wood in order to get the best results from them.

Furniture Repairs in Toronto

Get the most out of your furniture refinishing project by choosing the best stain for your wood. The right stain will elevate your furniture piece to a brand new level.

If you are in Toronto and need help with a furniture repair project, please contact the professionals at Lanciano Furniture. We can help you restore your furniture pieces to make them look new again! Use the contact form to get in touch at or call us directly today with any questions you may have at 416-746-7310.


Hello Donna

I just wanted to say Thank you for another amazing job! The table and chairs look absolutely amazing, as usual I am very happy with my new table and chairs. As always it’s a pleasure dealing with you guys from start to finish! Thank you again.

- Tina

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