Asked on Nov 13, 2014

Anyone else use Miniwax Polyshades?

by Kelly
I have used this product for the first time thinking I could save a step by applying the stain and the poly in one swoop. What a mistake that was! I almost cried when I put the second coat on my tabletop (the table that I had sanded for hours!!). It wouldn't go on evenly and became sticky in minutes. It was horrible! So bad that I actually added mineral spirits to it to try to even the colour out. I used the colour tudor as I wanted a dark colour but not as dark as ebony. The colour in the product wasn't anything like the sample. I know it will dark with more coats but I can't imagine how hard its going to be putting 2 or 3 more coats on.
So, am i doing something wrong? Has anyone else had problems with this product? I will not be using it again thats for sure. :(
You can see flecks in the stain. They look like little pieces or clumps of stain. I think it might be from adding mineral spirits to the product but I'm not sure.
More flecks!
I'm so disappointed with this. I can't imagine having to re-sand this table. For a product that was supposed to save me time, it sure has caused a lot of heartache and extra work!
  19 answers
  • Shari Shari on Nov 13, 2014
    So sorry you are having problems. I know it is terribly frustrating when a project you have put a lot of work into doesn't turn out as well as you hoped. I've used Minwax stains before but not the 1 step Polyshades. In general, I think working with any stain is tricky, at least for me, but when I read your plea for help, I recalled hearing somewhere that this product was extra difficult to work with. So, I did a little internet googling and came up with several sites that gave Polyshades mixed reviews, but enough bad reviews to warrant concern that you might want to consider a different product. Here's a few links I found (and I'm sure you can find more if you search). Hopefully, reading through these, you will be able to get enough info to help you make a decision as to whether you should proceed, or stop, strip and start over.
  • Kimberly A Kimberly A on Nov 14, 2014
    I have used it on several items in a home I am remodeling. I did not care for it at all and ended up re sanding just enough to smooth and then I went over with a minwax stain and then polyurethane. You can't even tell I used that stuff now. By the way, my color didn't match either. I picked a mahogany which should have a lovely deep red tone but it was actually a very strong purple tone. Bite the bullet and resand at least enough to get the bubbles, flecks out and rough up the surface. Then go back over it with the proper color and a few very thin coats of sealer.
  • Stacy | BlakeHillHouse Stacy | BlakeHillHouse on Nov 14, 2014
    Kimberly and Shari gave such thoughtful, good advice. If I could suggest one more thing, it would be to buy the small sample containers, and practice on the underside of your table to make sure the color is correct. Your table is going to be beautiful. I just know it. Once you make sure you have he right color and a new product, I think it will be smooth sailing.
  • Julie Goecks Julie Goecks on Nov 14, 2014
    I used it to refinish a kitchen table and had no problems. Just made sure that table is smooth (wiped off really good) put on first coat and leave til totally dry. Sanded with fine sandpaper and 0000 steal wool, wipe down really good and repeat. Not to mention to not have it in the house or work area fans on or anything that will put dust in the air, Sorry to hear that you had this problem. A lot of people don't let it dry completely either. You may have had the stickiness and bumps in it due to not being totally dry, particles in the air or not wiping it totally clear before repeat of stain. Very sorry for you. Patience is a big thing doing projects like this. Good luck with all you do.
  • It can be tough to work with - mix thoroughly & I mean very thoroughly before applying You should also test in an inconspicuous spot, as the color will vary based on the wood and how porous certain areas are - if you have blotchiness you should coat first with a stain prep (especially a big issue on pine & other soft woods. Sorry to say but as you used mineral spirits & have other issues, I would say you need to sand it back down either to bare wood or as @Kimberly A suggested at a minimum. I would then stick with the traditional stains for this large of a product & save the all in one for smaller pieces
  • Cissy Cissy on Nov 14, 2014
    I have used them , many many times and love them . I also have used them as a glaze over paint and it makes a beautiful finish.
  • Leon Perniciaro Jr. Leon Perniciaro Jr. on Nov 14, 2014
    I would never use that product again. My wife tried it several times and each time I had to re-sand it down to the wood.
  • Robbie Dendy Robbie Dendy on Nov 14, 2014
    The color is in the varnish. It just sits on top; does not penetrate the wood. I hate this paint! It is much better to use stain, using several coats to get a darker color, then, put on several of your top coat.
  • Laura Doubek-Kraft Laura Doubek-Kraft on Nov 15, 2014
    So frustrating! If you want a really nice finish, you must do it in two steps. My brother, who is a fine woodworker, gave me that advice. He also said that finishing is one of the hardest parts to get requires a good deal of finesse. The polyshades are basically clear paint, as Robbie said, the color sits on top of the wood instead of soaking in.
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Nov 16, 2014
    Have used pecan shade on raw oak to perfectly match oak cabinets. Otherwise, I find you have to use a stain to get the right colour/intensity and just use polyshades as a top coat if you want instead of clear poly.
  • Christine Jess Danbrook Christine Jess Danbrook on Nov 16, 2014
    Not a fan either, stain first, clear coat after, will save a lot frustration after. Never try to speed up refinishing, take your time and the results will be rewarding. Just my thoughts. :)
  • Paul D. Donovan Paul D. Donovan on Sep 02, 2016
    I always use any stain product after diluting it, usually fifty fifty. I also use an electric Paint Sprayer to spray a very fine mist of water around my spray area to weigh down the dust and settle it. After stirring the product with a drill mounted blade, I use a Vacuum Chamber to draw all the air out, pull all the bubbles to the surface, so they pop! THEN apply the product. Helpfull hint!?! I use the same Vacuum Chamber to draw all the air out of the can so the Minwax Stores better/longer! Spraying the product seems to always produce a better finish! Brushing always causes more bubbles. The color is always more even this way!
  • Scott Aminal Logsdon Scott Aminal Logsdon on Mar 08, 2019

    I've used it several times and had no problems. I know I'm typically going to put on 3 coats and it's going to get darker with each coat. For a pecan look, I get light maple. Steel wool with 000 & 0000 between coats. I use a tack cloth and a foam brush.

  • Robert Labonte Robert Labonte on Mar 26, 2020

    I have used it many times with zero issues. First off, you do nit need to cut it with mineral spirits, just mix it well. Second, it does not spray well, and using a brush will create nasty bubbles and imperfections. I use cut up pieces of old t-shirts. I soak it on heavy and spread it out, then wipe off the excess. Wait at least 6 hours, then repeat process. I put 5-6 coats. The other thing is, you are not going to get a glass like high gloss finish out of this product, it is more of a traditional slightly shiny furniture finish. I think it is a great product if used right.

    • See 1 previous
    • Latonia Merrell Latonia Merrell on Jul 27, 2020

      I applied my 1st coat of polyshade over 17 hrs agi... it is still tacky to touch. Does it need to be dry to touch before adding my final coat? If so, what should I do to remove the sticky feeling?

  • Bruce Clarke Bruce Clarke on Apr 06, 2020

    I have attempted to use this product 4 times and have refinished hundreds of pieces of furniture and would NEVER go near it again. The colour is not consistent and settles even as you are applying it on a small surface. The first coat needs to be thin and I mean thin as they say in the instructions. That is nearly impossible with a foam brush or a bristle brush. You will be frustrated with the streaks in the poly and the colour streaks in the first two or three coats. The only time you can make this product work is if you are putting three or more coats on so you are really saving no time given the frustration. Stick to the old fashion tried and true. This is one of those new better ideas that isn't.

  • Frank Frank on Feb 22, 2022

    I have spent part of the day bawling at what this stuff did to the floor I'm refinishing. This wood is from 1955 and I was in love with it. Still, it was time to refinish. I can't go into details without it making me sick. Do NOT, under any circumstance, use this pathetic s*** for a product.

  • Kathy Kathy on Mar 11, 2022

    Learning how to achieve success with this project took a lot of patience. It really lays on top of the wood giving an even color throughout. I've found that spraying on had the best results. I used "Preval". It's been awhile but I think I had to thin it with mineral spirits. Hope it's still available because I was planning on using it on a Poplar stair rail. First I will try a rag application. Hope that wins me over. The entertainment center that's pictured was sprayed with Pecan Poly shade.

  • Paul C Paul C on Feb 26, 2024

    I see several poster's are trying to use this product as a stain and poly on new or refinished pieces. For those applications I would not use this product, use traditional stains where you will have better control and easier time in the application. Use a poly only when you are satisfied with the stain.

    If you are attempting to change the color of a previously stained and finished piece then you can use this product to change an existing tone. I have used it to darken overly cherry stained woods to take the reds to more of an oak or mahogany look. I think limiting it's use to these projects is where it can be useful. It's a covering product, not a traditional stain that enhances the grain of wood.

    It can be tricky to get a even finish on large areas, use it as thinly as possible to control lines and streaks as well as not having the color go too dark on the initial coat because you will need to do at least two coats and it gets darker with every coat.

  • Janice Janice on Feb 26, 2024

    Thanks to all who posted the issues they're having with the polyshades. I'm glad I read through all the info, so I'll go with two separate products on my refnishing project that's now sanded down to bare wood.