Top Pick – General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain
I think this is the best interior wood stain General Finishes ever created. You will love its lustrous appearance and easy application.
Wood is a beautiful material. But did you know that you could make it look even better? The first thought that comes to mind is to paint your interior wooden piece. Yes, there are different colors of paint you could choose from but wood is attractive by itself because of its grain. Wood stains help reveal the grain and make the wood look brighter keeping the natural beauty of the wood.
Here is the list of the best interior wood stains for your interior furniture, floors, doors, cabinets, and more.
Applying Interior Stain. Photo: 123rf.com
Best Interior Wood Stains in December, 2023
|Wood stain||Coverage (quart)||Recoat dry time (hours)||Colors|
|1||General Finishes Oil Base |
|150-200 sq ft||12-24||13|
|2||Minwax Penetrating Wood Finish||150 sq ft||4-6||28|
|3||Rust-Oleum Ultimate||275 sq ft||1||13|
|4||Minwax Gel Stain||200 sq ft||2||12|
|5||General Finishes Water Base||100-150 sq ft||0,5-2||16|
|6||Varathane Premium Fast Dry||75 sq ft||1||10|
|7||SamaN Interior Stain||up to 200 sq ft||1||40|
|8||Varathane Premium Wood Stain||150 sq ft||1-2||25|
|9||Old Masters Wiping Stain||125 sq ft||12||19|
General Finishes Oil Based Gel Stain – Top Interior Wood Stain
This option by General Finishes is the most popular wood stain. It’s a heavy-bodied formula that only penetrates just below the surface of your projects. It is a gel stain that’s designed to reduce spillage and uneven coating. By the way, you can apply it with any standard foam brush for staining or sponges.
This product works very well for more difficult to stain woods like pine. Gel stains like this one are great for woods that typically absorb a lot of stain. You’ll waste less product from over-absorption and spilling.
The shading and coloring leave a professional finish with minimal touch-ups. A single coating will give a nice finish, and 3 coats will yield the maximum richness that this tone of stain can produce. Drying time is around eight hours before you can add another coat. Above all, this product is perfect for interior wood.
Great to show woodgrain
This is one of my favorite products I use to restore wood furniture. I use it quite a bit on the tops of my furniture that I restore and there are a couple of things why I love this product so much. Number one – it’s affordable and number two – it’s just awesome.
General Finishes have got a whole line of different colors and Java is my favorite. I just love this color – it’s so dark and rich. Java color has really worked well with many of the paint combinations. It really makes woodgrain noticeable.
I know that some people apply this stain with rags but I find if I use a foam brush that I’m using less of the product. Some people may say ‘oh it’s not as fast’ but I’m okay with that, to me it’s all about application and getting it on evenly.
You should be careful when applying this product by making sure you don’t put too much on in a single coat. It may require more sanding than liquid stains because of its thickness.
Minwax Penetrating Wood Finish – Decent Interior Stain For Furniture and Hardwood Floors
Minwax is the brand of choice for a majority of professional woodworkers. It penetrates deeply into most woods in order to bring out the grains to the surface. It’s designed to evenly highlight the greatest features and subtle styling of the woods you use. It’s meant to be used along with a sealer for a high-gloss finished product. The color scheme amplifies the existing qualities of your project.
This option works perfectly for new projects. It penetrates deeply into the wood and requires minimal sanding. You can use a foam brush, standard brush, or cloth rag to apply it. You can use this on cabinets, furniture, trim, and just about any unfinished wood. You’ll experience a very uniform coloring with one to two coats. It’s easy to thin with mineral spirits to get a lighter tone if you need to.
Minwax makes reliable products that will work great for new projects. This is a good option for those who already have experience in woodworking.
Rust-Oleum Ultimate Stain – Great For Wood Floors and Indoor Furniture
Rust-Oleum is highly-regarded for their exceptional quality stains and paints that are one of the best paints for wood on the market. This one focuses on a fast drying time and is intended for single-coat applications. It features a rubberized utility coating with a medium-bodied thickness that will seal against water and help fill existing cracks.
Rust-Oleum stain seals against leaks and moisture damages. You can apply it with any standard brush fairly easily. It’s thick enough to fill gaps and cracks in hard to reach areas when used liberally. A standard application will usually dry within one hour after applying. You can expect to get great coloring from a single coat. This product works best with wood floors, indoor furniture, cabinets and more.
You’ll get great results on interior projects. Dry time is fast and convenient with no sealing necessary.
Minwax Gel Stain – Good Choice For Interior Doors And Vertical Surfaces
Minwax gel stains are suitable for a variety of materials. You can apply this product to wood, fiberglass, metals, and more. It features an easy-to-use no-drip formula. It is heavy-bodied and can be applied with a standard brush, roller, or cloth.
You can use this option with any indoor project that isn’t exposed to the elements. It doesn’t necessarily require multiple coatings for even coverage. You can apply it with a regular brush or roller without much spillage.
You may have to do a lot of sanding if you intend on adding a sealer. For fine woodworking projects, you may need to wipe down the area after you finish each coating to remove excess stain. You shouldn’t add mineral spirits to this product. You may experience streaks and runs on your project if you don’t wipe away the excess of your product.
You’ll get the most out of this gel stain by using on projects that suffer from a lot of wear in normal use. It’s a good option for interior banisters, doors, and trim.
General Finishes Water Base – Great Option For Hard-To-Stain Woods Like Maple
Water-based stains from General Finishes don’t have any harsh chemicals or toxic vapors. They’re intended for indoor use only and is made to be easy to clean up if you have any spills. This package comes in a one-quart container. It is a medium-bodied water-based stain.
Some water-based stains are very watery, but this Whitewash from General Finishes is much thicker than other brands. It’s easy to apply with sponges and cloth rags. You can use it with a roller if you apply it slowly. You can blend and thin this one with mineral spirits as much as you’d like to. The thick formula makes it simple to get an even coating with little sanding between coats. You’ll get a really good finish on softwoods and hardwoods alike.
You might want to apply a sealer for your final finish on certain projects because this product isn’t hard to smudge and wear off. You might have to apply multiple coats to darker woods. This option won’t cover non-wood surfaces very well. It’s only suitable for indoor use.
Do-It-Yourself woodworkers will really enjoy using this stain to add a rustic feel to their home. It has a very traditional look if you don’t add a sealer.
Varathane Premium Fast Dry Stain – Inexpensive Option For Interior Wood
This Varathane Premium is one of their fastest drying oil-based formulas. It’s enhanced with microscopic pigmentation particles that give it a deep tone on any woods.
This option is suitable for cabinets, doors, trim, and paneling. You should only use it for indoor projects. It dries to the touch in one hour. You can use thinning solutions with this stain. Any form of application brush or roller can be used. Cleanup is very easy.
It doesn’t have very strong pigmentation. Your end result will look very dull if you don’t apply several coats. Direct Sunlight will cause this stain to fade eventually.
You should not use this product on exterior projects even with sealant top-coatings because it will fade. It’s necessary that you excessively sand the wood surface with increasingly finer grit sandpaper before applying the first coat. The product has to be applied within temperatures of 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
SamaN Interior Water Based Stain – One Coat Formula
The SamaN Interior wood stain is a water-based formula that is designed for use on all types of interior wood; woodwork, moldings, doors, cabinets and furniture. It is designated as a translucent wood stain.
This Stain is offered in 42 colors to include natural wood grain hues such as various shades of walnut, maple and cherry. There are also several colors for individuals looking to find colors that are outside of the usual selections for customers seeking a look that is a bit outside of the box; lime, azure, mauve, turquoise and raspberry.
Time-saving and Safe
This SamaN Interior Water Based Stain has several features that set it apart from its competitors. One big advantage is that there is no need to deal with applying a conditioner, which saves you the additional cost of buying another product as well as the time savings in avoiding an additional step. Additionally, this product only requires that you apply one coat – again saving time and money. The product provides exceptional coverage and an impressive end result.
The only obvious downside in considering the NamaN Interior Water Based Stain is that while it can be used on all types of interior woodwork, best results are achieved when using on fine wood. This may not be ideal for lesser quality wood.
Varathane Premium Wood Stain – Rich Color and Penetration
Varathane Premium Wood Stain is a translucent stain designed for use on all interior wood products. This soy-based formula results in deeper penetration within the wood grain and results in truer colors.
This soy-based stain is offered in 25 colors. In this case, the color choices are all-natural wood grain stains. The color palette reflects various shades of natural wood types; cherry, maple, mahogany, pine, oak and pecan. None of the color selections reflect colors that deviate from the natural and typical wood grain hues.
This results in a long-lasting translucent stain, truer colors, and enhanced wood grain detail. This formula also provides you with the advantage of an “anti-settling” technology. This alleviates worries about the constant need to stir and remix the product. This wood stain also dries to the touch in as little as 1-2 hours.
This product does not have any strong negatives; however, it is advised that a re-coat be applied to the project two hours after the first coat is applied. I can say that a second or even third coat may be needed to get the desired color. Even in the two-coat scenario, this clearly presents more effort and cost than the one-coat alternatives. The fact that the color choices are limited to traditional wood grain hues might also present a downside for those wanting unusual colors.
Old Masters Wiping Stain – Oil Based Slow Drying
Old Master’s Wiping Stain is designed for interior applications but can be used as an exterior stain as well if topped with a clear protective finish. Unlike the previous products, Masters does not dry quickly and presents a much different angle on staining.
This is designed to be a slow-drying wood stain. In contrast to the fast-drying thin translucent stains mentioned previously, this product offers a heavy-bodied, controllable interior wood stain. This product can be used on old or new bare wood but can also be used on finished wood. Additionally, it can be used for applications beyond traditional wood finishing. It can be used on obtaining a wood grain appearance on steel doors as well as other projects.
Both for Interior and Exterior Use
This stain also has the positive attribute of being an option for use on materials other than wood. The characteristic of deliberately being a slow drying controllable and heavy-bodied stain could also make it a preferable choice for those do-it-yourself customers with less experience where a product that is more forgiving and easier to work with is a positive factor.
This product like most of the others does not have any strong redeeming negatives. It does not offer any non-traditional choices among the color palette. For customers wanting a quick drying time – this would clearly not be a good choice. It could also be seen as a negative if the user doesn’t like to work with a thick-bodied stain.