Any Tricks to Staining New Windows?

kes_corJune 17, 2009

We have recently replaced 17 windows and have clad outside and unfinished pine inside (Pella).

I went to the local paint store and they are working on matching the current stain color using pine wood samples used to lattice the windows into place.

They explained the process is to "seal" the windows, stain, urethane, and done. Sounded really easy and I am thinking it really isn't.. So, if any painters could lend some helpful hints, i would really appreciate it!

I've seen some articles where they are spraying the stain on and cleaning it off the glass, even spraying the urethane on and letting it dry and cleaning it off with a razorblade. As they are windows, there is a lot of detailed small corners so brush, sponge, recommendations would be great too.

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If you seal the windows first, then the stain cannot penetrate into the wood. Then you would have to apply the stain like a paint and it probably won't look very good. Some people apply a conditioner first to pine because it is a wood that tends to come out blotchy. I generally do not. A conditioner is essentially a thinned down poly so what this does is fill some of the deeper grain so that the stain goes on more evenly.

There are two ways to stain. Apply the stain and wipe off excess or apply the stain and leave it. For a novice stainer, wiping it off is easier because the applicator does not have to be skilled. I usually carry around a dry brush to get into nooks and crannies that I cannot reach with my wiping cloth. Be sure to not ball up used stain rags and put them in the garbage can as they can combust and cause a fire. Lay them out to dry or dunk them in water.

After the stain is dry, you will want to apply a sanding sealer. The job of a sanding sealer is to seal the wood and act as a lubricant for sanding. Sanding a sanding sealer coat is much easier than sanding a poly coat and you can achieve a smooth finish in fewer coats. After the sealer is dry, you should fill any nail holes with color putty that you can custom match to the stain color and then sand. Because there is a sanding sealer, you will not need to sand hard to get the wood smooth. All you should need is fine grit sanding blocks and even when they are new they may be too much. You may want to break them in on some wood first before sanding your windows. Next, dust off sanding dust and apply your finish coats of poly or varnish.

Spraying the poly on the glass is a mistake. Cleaning that glass off is not as easy as it looks plus you run the risk of scratching the glass. If you are going to spray, mask off the glass with paper and tape. I would not recommend spraying the stain...that's pretty messy.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 8:25PM
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Thanks for the info.. OK, that is what i thought about spraying.. I won't be trying that.

Do you recommend taping off the windows to protect them?

How would I apply the stain to the pine without getting a blotchy result without a conditioner?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:24PM
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You can't really avoid the blotchy result you get with pine because that is just the nature of the wood. The conditioner in theory is really the only way. If you used a dark stain and didn't wipe the stain off, then you maybe would be able to cover up everything because you would almost be applying the stain as if it were a paint.

I would only tape off the glass on the windows if I were spraying the sealer and varnish. If you are brushing the windows, then you probably don't need to tape off the glass, but it's certainly an option. It depends on the style of window and how good of a painter you are with a brush.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:56PM
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I taped off the glass on my slider last year, wiped on poly. Now from outside I can see gray/black stains in a couple of places - like condensation got b/t the wood and glass and it is mildewing/rotting. I would have thought Andersen would have treated the wood surfaces that contacted the glass. Any suggestions? The door is 2 years old.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:01AM
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I wonder what Anderson would say about that. There isn't really anything you can do because you can't get access to that wood because it is pinned up against the glass. Even if Anderson did treat the wood, it's not going to last forever because the sun coming through the glass just makes it super hot there so it's really just cooking the wood. It's probably not mildew though. The reason it is black looking is because the condensation gets cooked by the sun.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:18AM
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But is my slider already starting to rot from the outside in? I put the poly on the inside so we wouldn't have condensation (not that we have much - not like old house with leaky windows, but I did notice some after we installed blinds last year) and UV ruining the inside wood. Exterior of windows/slider are vinyl but there is just this tiny bit of wood on *inside* against the glass, I can't think of a way to seal it...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 10:08AM
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There really isn't a way to seal it. I suppose you could try to thin down some poly, brush it on the glass and hope that it runs down there to cover the wood. In my opinion as a painter who stains all different types of windows, this is a design flaw that none of the manufacturers have bothered to address yet.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 3:26PM
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