Best Practices Guide to Stains, Dyes & Finishes for Building Interior Wood Trim & Floors
PAINT & STAIN GUIDE, INTERIOR - CONTENTS: Interior stains & finishes, guide and best practices. Sanding and Prep Work Before Applying Interior Finishes. Open-Grain Woods & Requirements for Applying Interior Finishes. Water-Based Finishes Used as Interior Finishes. Stains and Dyes for Interior Trim. Use of Sealers on Softwoods Before Applying a Stain or Dye. How to Choose Clear Finishes for Interior Wood Trim. Where to buy interior wood floor & trim stains, dyes, & finishes
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Interior wood stains, finishes coatings guide:
This article explains how to choose and apply different types of stains or coatings on building interior surfaces: trim, doors, floors, etc. This article series discusses and provides a best construction practices guide to the selection and installation of building interior surface materials, carpeting, doors, drywall, trim, flooring, lighting, plaster, materials, finishes, and sound control materials.
With laminated doors, look for products in compliance with
the WDMA Standard I.S.1-87. Under this standard, door
samples must withstand multiple wetting and drying cycles
without significant delamination. Products in compliance
typically carry a one- to five-year warranty against delamination.
Most warranties also cover any warping and twisting
in excess of 1/4 inch across the length or width of the door but
require that the door be sealed on all six edges. Oversized
doors may have more limited protection against warping.
Finishing stain-grade trim is equal parts art and science.
There are a wide range of products and application techniques.
With all finishes, careful prep work and control
of dust on the job site are critical for a professional quality
Sanding and Prep Work Before Applying Interior Finishes
Starting with coarse grits and working to finer grits, sand all
cabinets, doors, and other woodwork to remove any milling
marks or chatter, scratches, dirt, or other imperfections.
Highly visible surfaces like cabinets and doors should be
taken down to a 180 or 220 grit. Use a dusting brush to clean
off any visible dust between sandings, and thoroughly clean
up after the final sanding. With solvent-based finishes, use a
tack cloth to remove any residual fine dust.
Open-Grain Woods & Requirements for Applying Interior Finishes
With open-grain woods, such as
oak, ash, mahogany, and walnut, it may take many coats
of clear finish to fill the wood pores and achieve a glassy,
smooth surface. Where a premium finish is desired, one
approach is to apply a paste filler to the sanded wood,
which is a thick, paste like varnish with finely ground
quartz or talc to add bulk, and usually a pigment as well to
match the wood tone.
It is typically applied with a rag and
sanded clean the following day. If using a filler that is
darker than the wood, first seal the wood with a sanding
sealer or thinned coat of the clear finish to keep the wood
from being overly darkened. Generally, stains are applied
after the filler has been applied and sanded.
Water-Based Finishes Used as Interior Finishes
Water-based stains and finishes
tend to raise the wood grain when applied, creating a
rough surface. The best way to avoid problems later is to
intentionally raise the grain and sand it down before applying
the finish. To accomplish this, after sanding the
work, wet the wood surface with a sponge or cloth, and
allow to dry overnight. Then knock down the raised grain
with 180 to 220 grit sandpaper.
With some of the newer water-based formulations, this
step may not be required. Instead, a light sanding after the
first coat may be all that is needed. Whatever approach is
taken to sanding, never use steel wool with water-based
finishes, as leftover steel particles can rust and stain the
work. Also, do not use a solvent-type tack cloth with
water-based finishes, as the solvent residue can interfere
with the finish. A clean cloth lightly misted with water can
be used to remove any dust or sanding residue.
Stains and Dyes for Interior Trim
Stains for interior trim are either pigmented stains or penetrating
dyes. Many ready-made stains at the lumberyard
combine both pigments and penetrating dyes. The penetrating
dyes work for the small-pore areas and the pigments
add contrast to the larger pores.
Using Stains on Interior Wood Trim
Oil-based pigmented stains tend to highlight distinctive
grain patterns, particularly in wood with large
pores, such as oak and ash, but they also highlight any
scratches or defects in the wood. Wood with uneven
absorption will look blotchy. Also, because the pigments
are large, opaque particles, they tend to act like watered down
paints, obscuring the wood itself.
Using Dyes on Interior Wood Trim
Dyes, which must be mixed by the applicator, are
very transparent and tend to get absorbed equally into the
wood surface, resulting in a more uniform color. They tend
to give the wood an even, transparent color while letting
the grain pattern show through. Over time, they will fade
from exposure to natural light. Dyes are either dissolved
in a water or oil solution and must be precisely mixed to
obtain controlled colors.
Use of Sealers on Softwoods Before Applying a Stain or Dye
Softwoods, like pine, and light-colored
hardwoods, such as maple or birch, tend to absorb stain
unevenly, so they benefit from sealing prior to staining.
Depending on the desired appearance, you can use a shellac based
sealer with a pigmented stain, obscuring the underlying
wood, or a pre stain sealer with a penetrating stain.
Pre stain sealers allow stain to penetrate the wood surface
but with more even absorption. Pre stain sealers can also be
useful when staining birch veneer, which tends to absorb
stain unevenly, creating a blotchy appearance.
Stains and dyes may be oil, alcohol, or water-based.
They may be applied with a sprayer, brush, roller, or rag and
are typically applied to the surface, allowed to sit, then
wiped off. Whatever type of stain is used, it should be completely
dry before application of the clear topcoat. If using a
water-based topcoat, check for compatibility with oil-based
stains. Using a stain and clear finish from the same manufacturer
will help guard against compatibility problems.
How to Choose Clear Finishes for Interior Wood Trim
The best clear finish depends on the look desired, hardness
required, and whether it must resist water (Table 5-13).
Some finishes are best sprayed on, but most may be brush applied.
Oil-based finishes are generally wiped on with a
rag and create a low-luster, hand-rubbed appearance, but
provide the least protection.
With most surface finishes,
it is best to lightly abrade the finish between coats with
220-grit paper or No. 00 steel wool to increase the bond
between coats. After sanding, wipe with a tack cloth for
oil- or solvent-based finishes and a water-dampened cloth
for water-based finishes. Most professional painters apply
three to four coats of clear finish.
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(Oct 8, 2014) Apurva Modi said:
Yes, withstanding a wetting and drying process (for any stains used upon) really counts a lot in favoring the most durable and effective stain types, very well protecting sort of delamination off the applied surface. Application techniques while a prep work like control of dust away from the applicable planes is also ensuring the most professional finish work. Sanding also has much weightage in giving the best finish to the surface; any sort of dirt or rough sense should be immediately eliminated (yes, to achieve good adhesions); many coats of finish on open-grain wood and other techniques like using the grain paste; nice advices!
Thank youi, Apurva.
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Excerpts from his recent book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Wiley (November 18, 2005) ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, appear throughout this website, with permission and courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Best Practices Guide is available from the publisher, J. Wiley & Sons, and also at Amazon.com
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
"An Example of Colonial Paneling", Norman Morrison Isham, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 5 (May, 1911), pp. 112-116, available by JSTOR.
Gypsum Construction Guide, National Gypsum Corporation
Construction Handbook [purchase at Amazon.com] H17, Technical
Folder SA920 and PM2, PM3 and PM4, United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin ST., PO Box 806278, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,
Humidity: What indoor humidity should we maintain in order to avoid a mold problem?
"Insulation: Adding Insulation to an Existing Home [copy on file as /interiors/Insulation_Adding_DOE.pdf ] - ," U.S. Department of Energy - tips on how to do your own check for the presence of absence of insulation in a home
Insulation: Selecting Insulation for New Home Construction [copy on file as /interiors/New_Home_Insulation_DOE.pdf ] - , U.S. Department of Energy -
"Your state and local building codes probably include minimum insulation requirements, but to build an energy-efficient home, you may need or want to exceed them. For maximum energy efficiency, you should also consider the interaction between the insulation and other building components. This is called the
"whole-house systems design approach" [copy on file as /interiors/Whole_House_Energy_Efficiency_DOE.pdf ] -
Lath & Plaster Systems [copy on file as /interiors/LathPlaster_Nat_Gypsum.pdf ] - , 092300/NGC, National Gypsum Lath and Plaster Systems, National Gypsum Corporation, 800-628-4662 describing National Gypsum's Kal-Kore brand plaster base
Metal Lath Specifications, Specification for metal lath and accessories, Lath and Plaster [copy on file as/interiors/Amico_lath-inside.pdf ] - from Amico, a lath and plaster accessory producer.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST (nee National Bureau of Standards NBS) is a US government agency - see www.nist.gov
"A Parametric Study of Wall Moisture Contents Using a Revised Variable Indoor Relative Humidity Version of the "Moist" Transient Heat and Moisture Transfer Model [copy on file as/interiors/MOIST_Model_NIST_b95074.pdf ] - ", George Tsongas, Doug Burch, Carolyn Roos, Malcom Cunningham; this paper describes software and the prediction of wall moisture contents. - PDF Document from NIS
Pergo AB, division of Perstorp AB, is a Swedish manufacturer or modern laminate flooring products. Information about the U.S. company can be found at http://www.pergo.com where we obtained historical data used in our discussion of the age of flooring materials in buildings.
Plastering, PM 5, Product & Systems Technology, US Gypsum, May 1998, web search 10.5.2010, original source: http://www.usg.com/rc/technical-articles/plaster/
[copy on file as/interiors/Plastering_USG.pdf ] -
United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin ST., PO Box 806278, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,
Paraphrasing from this document: USG uses the term shadowing in this document in describing the visual effect over gypsum board joints caused by the lower moisture absorption rate (take-up) and lower capacity than gypsum base face paper. Shadowing at joints occurs where veneer plaster is applied over tape joints, requiring a second coat to completely hide the tape, providing a visually uniform surface. USG Advises: "This [second] cover coat must be allowed to harden and dry before plaster application is started.
Plastering Skills, F. Van Den Branden, Thomas L. Hartsell, Amer Technical Pub (July 1, 1985), ISBN-10: 0826906575, ISBN-13: 978-0826906571 [purchase at Amazon.com]
Re-Bath, tub lining products is a bath tub relining manufacturer and distributor located in Tempe, Arizona - see rebath.com
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TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
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