Staining Woodwork

Wood Staining is on the Comeback

Staining woodwork is on the comeback in regards to design trends.  We are seeing in the industry right now the comeback of staining your trim work.  The design trends for the past 15 years has been to paint your millwork or trim work.  But the millwork, also known as casework, is coming back to staining the wood.  But what is the best deck stain to use?

1970’s Dark Wood Color

Stains are now trending towards a dark color.  Kind of almost like the 1970’s dark, walnut color. In bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets, we see a weathered-wood stain color.  Almost like a weathered wood stain.  More or less, like a driftwood kind of look.  This makes it look a bit more natural in its tone.  This design trend is quite lovely.

Two Types of Wood Stains

Wood staining primarily is done with two types of stains out there for interior trim work. There is one water-based and oil-based stains. I have seen, and what we view as probably 95% of the projects that we have worked on, most stains are oil-based.  And we do top coat them with polyurethane just like with a water-based stain. We will do a combination of oil-based and water-based, but we are trending kind of towards more water-based finish as far as the polyurethane goes.

Kind of Wood Determines Application of Stain

So the steps are pretty simple to have the best deck stain possible. First, I asked folks, what kind of millwork do you have?  Is it pine, poplar, cherry, fir, or is it oak? And the difference is how you treat it going forward. So if you are talking softer woods such as pines, poplar, maple, birch, what we recommend is using a wood conditioner on the product, on the wood that is before staining it.

  • So you apply it with a brush.  Always, always, always read your directions on your cans before you get started.  Let’s read our cans and make sure we get all the information and then move forward.
  • Put our wood conditioner on next.  Wipe off the excess.  Let it sit on.  Wipe off excess.  For the most part, you can see the stain start to darken. If you let it sit longer, it will darken, darken up that is.
  • If you want it a little bit lighter, you know to wipe off the excess a little bit sooner.
  • Then after that, go ahead and apply your sanding sealer or a couple of coats of water-based polyurethane. If you are doing millwork like casing, baseboard, make sure you fill your nail holes after that first coat of polyurethane, and between layers.


Don’t forget, if you need an estimate on staining and replacing your wood trim, give me a call. My team and I have been serving the St. Charles, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Geneva, Batavia, and all of the Chicago area for 30+ years.

Wood Staining of Baseboard, Trimwork, and Casing
Service Type
Wood Staining of Baseboard, Trimwork, and Casing
Provider Name
Lotz Home and Office,
Naperville, Chicago, Lisle, Plainfield, St. Charles, Warrenville, Hinsdale, Lincoln Park
Design trends are going towards staining woodwork instead of painting. Mark gives DIY instructions on how to complete the wood staining project.