How to: Stain Pine Wood

9 Materials
1 Day

Staining pine is a real trick -- it usually comes out splotchy, uneven, looks dull and ruddy. No longer! Follow these super easy tips for great success!

I'm finally starting on our main stair, a project that's been lingering in my brain for 8+ years, aka, as long as we've lived here.

One of my ideas was to stain the existing construction grade pine 2x12's to match-ish our hardwood floors.

In the end, I nixed the idea but not before figuring out the easiest, most foolproof, most successful way to stain pine.

First, sand. Sand sand sand. You'll need three different grits of sandpaper which I outline in the blog post which you can read here. I definitely encourage you not to skip a sandpaper step.

Depending on your pine piece, you can sand by hand or use a power sander, whichever you prefer.

Next up, you'll slather on some pre-stain wood conditioner. This is the key, the secret, the magic wand to opening up a world of beautifully stained pine.

What does the wood conditioner do? It levels the playing field of different densities within the wood, prepping it to absorb the stain to its fullest and eliminates splotchy, streaky, uneven staining.

Simply follow the instructions on the can, easy peasy.

Next up, the stain.

Now, I know water-based stains have a lot going for them but not when it comes to staining pine wood. Here you'll need an oil-based stain for success.

Why? Because the pigments are better, the stain is more durable, and it absorbs into the wood while water-based sits on the surface.

Don't be afraid! Follow the directions on the can and you'll be great!

Be sure to swing by Flipping the Flip ( for more tips and details about staining pine as well as lots of other great tutorials and DIY projects!

Look how fabulously rich, saturated, and even that stain is, holy cow! I know, it's a bad photo but still, stain! On pine!

You'll likely only need one coat but here I attempted a second coat custom mix stain to better match the hardwood although I mixed a hair dark.

Either way, the stain looks great! Seal it up with a nice polyurethane and be proud of your accomplishments!

Wasn't that easy?!

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Becky at Flipping the Flip
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  • Gloria Gloria on Oct 11, 2021

    Great tip for pine, but do you have any suggestions for particle board? I have 19 steps and replacing the treads and risers can get expensive!


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  • Dee Phillips Dee Phillips on Oct 11, 2021

    I am really happy to have seen your tutorial. Curious though as to what you did with the risers since I noticed the stain had gotten on them. The stained step looks beautiful and I think I’d like to try it.

    • Thank you! I haven’t gotten that far yet on the project, figuring the risers but a light sanding off of the stain plus a primer will cover that up. Hope you have great success!

  • Em Em on Oct 11, 2021

    Never had an issue staining pine. I like the grain in it.