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jbeall 01-20-2013 12:04 PM

White stain instead of white paint on a piece of furniture?
Hi all,

I'm building a bunk bed for my kids. They are a lively bunch :)

We would like it white, and I had been planning on simply painting it white, but recently I had another thought: stain it white. I don't know much about paint vs stain, but my general sense is that stain is going to soak into the wood whereas paint will coat the surface.

Remember what I said about the kids being lively? Surface coatings seem much more likely to get chipped. So I was thinking that maybe white stain would give a similar look as white paint but would be more durable.

I've got a gallon of white stain we used on a wood sign. It looked almost exactly like white paint to me once it was applied to the poplar sign. I think it was this stain:

Thoughts on this idea? Do you think it's a good way to increase the durability of the finish?

One if the things I'm worried about is how the paint will cover wood putty. With paint I'm used to being able to hide defects or nail holes with putty. Then the paint completely covers it. But I'm not sure what this white stain is going to do. I plan on doing a test on a piece of spare pine. Is there a particular wood filler that would be more appropriate for this circumstance?

Thanks for your feedback!


thumbbody 01-20-2013 01:16 PM

In my experience stain will show the texture of the wood more than paint. If paint is your choice be sure to look into finishes for your final coat. Paint is not my personal choice for furniture because of the obvious presence of paint. It's paint. Stain can be done is a variety of finishes and is smoother and wears well on furniture. Even for the kids' wear-and-tear. I would start with plain wood and build the stain in layers and maybe use some fine sandpaper to work out imperfections.

ToolSeeker 01-20-2013 04:55 PM

First that is an ext. stain whice means it has more chemicals in it such as UV blockers. Not sure I would use for kids furniture.

Gymschu 01-20-2013 05:44 PM

.......and, remember stain is a FLAT finish so it will show all the dirt from kids hands, etc.

cdaniels 01-20-2013 06:24 PM

If you do stain it you will need to seal it with polyurethane.

jbeall 01-20-2013 06:29 PM


Originally Posted by cdaniels (Post 1098114)
If you do stain it you will need to seal it with polyurethane.

Why's that? What happens if you just leave it stained with no polyurethane topcoat?


ToolSeeker 01-20-2013 06:33 PM

It will wear off stain offers no protection all stain does is color the wood.

cdaniels 01-20-2013 06:47 PM

The wood needs to be sealed because with just stain the wood is like a sponge for dirty hand prints,the stain wears off and so on.After staining seal the bed with a sanding sealer, when dry sand with 220 grit sandpaper not too hard just enough to smooth it,then clean the dust off from the sanding sealer and poly it at least one coat.Two would be better lightly sanding in between.

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