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Old 01-04-2009, 12:37 PM   #1
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Too cold to stain cabinets?

Hello again; I am going to be staining my unfinished kitchen pantry. It's about 30 degrees outside... do you think it will be too cold in my (unheated) garage to do this? Will it take until June to dry?


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Old 01-04-2009, 04:22 PM   #2
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Depends on the actual and varying temp in the garage
Stick a thermometer in there and record the actuals at various times
Then post back


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Old 01-04-2009, 04:36 PM   #3
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Interior wood stain is nothing more than a brown dye dissolved in either mineral spirits or alcohol. I can't see any reason why the temperature would affect the staining of wood if you're using an interior wood stain. However, it WILL take much longer for the mineral spirits or alcohol in the stain to evaporate from the wood. So, the wood will stain normally, but it'll take a while for the carrier fluid to evaporate from the wood.

The only difference between an interior oil based wood stain and an exterior oil based wood stain is that the exterior stain will have some "binder" in it. (think of it as clear oil based paint) It forms a film over the wood that both contains mildewcides, UV blockers and by virtue of the fact that it covers the wood's surface, it also prevents splitting of the wood due to it's repeated getting wet from rain and drying out again.

If you use an exterior wood stain, the wood will stain normally, but it will take a LONG time for the mineral spirits or alcohol to evaporate and even longer for the binder on the surface to cure (pronounced: "dry"). The low temperatures will just slow the rate at which the binder cures, but it won't interfere with the process by which the binder cures, so it will cure normally, but it might take until April to do so. Come the warm temperatures in spring, and the binder will resume curing at a faster rate again.

My understanding is that there's no such thing as an exterior water based wood stain because a clear acrylic binder would provide absolutely no UV protection at all. As long as there wasn't any binder in the stain, then a water based wood stain should work at cold temperatures too, but again it's gonna take a long time for the water to evaporate from the wood. It might not evaporate until spring if your temperatures remain below 32 deg. F.
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