Stain Isn’t Dark Enough – What Can You Do?

Oil stains are the most popular stains, and they are primarily available in home centers and paint stores. They are easy to use because they offer a long-lasting sheen, and they are wiped after application. The problem with oil-based stains is that they barely add color to wood, especially dense wood.

The best practice for getting a moderate coating is when you wipe off the excess stain, you still may not get the intensity of a darker color. The best step to take when you do not like your wood stain color is to use a darker stain, and you should apply it on top of the first stain. This will help keep the color of the finish and give it an even deeper shade.

Another method of darkening stained wood is applying several coats of wax over the existing stain. When the surface of the coated wood becomes dry, the wax will make the initial stain darker.

A wood stain is a fantastic product that comes in many colors, from light to darker shades. Darker colors are known to compliment wood designs and silhouettes. In this article, we will discuss the various procedures you can take to make your wood stain darker.

What To Do If a Wood Stain Doesn’t Darken Your Wooden Project

Some stains vary in the ratio of dye or pigment they contain relative to the binder a solvent. The higher the balance of the dye, the darker the stain colors the wood. If you aren’t getting a desirable darker shade, you can add some dye to the stain you are using or change the brand of stain you use.

You can also sand the surface with coarse grit. Do not scrub so hard to avoid the stain from highlighting the scratches. If all the sanding-grit scratches from the previous sanding go with the wood’s grain, you will have a great result.

Another possibility of getting a darker stain is leaving some stain on the wood during the working stage. To achieve this, you will need to wipe off every part of the wood similarly. Then apply a coat of finish to the wooden panel to create a deeper color shade.

Will All Stains Darken Wood?

All wood stains are designed to darken wood surfaces depending on their application. If you apply a light stain on a dark piece of wood, there will be no changes. You should pay attention to the starting color of the wood.

In most cases, you can’t apply a stain to a piece of wood that is originally dark. Better-colored categories of timber are pretty expensive, but they tend to be withdrawn in their natural state. Some standard lumber like oak, pine, and poplar are often stained with a darker shade to match different designs and looks.

Some people find the need to stain darker woods. Wood stains come in various shades, with many rich and deep colors available. You must pick the shade you desire to give your wooden project a distinctive look.

How To Darken Stain on Wooden Surfaces

There are several methods to make a stain darker on wood surfaces, but we will give you the four easiest methods to try.

Apply another coat or add a darker coat of the stain

Adding another cost or applying a darker coat of stain on the existing stain is the most common method to get a darker stain. If the standing wood stain is not as dark as you want it, you can apply a new coat to darken the stain. A darker tone to the existing stain finish will give it a deeper shade.

To get the best result from this method, you will need to sand the current coat, remove the dust and apply a darker fresh coat. Here are some supplies and tools you will need to carry out this method.

  • A fine-grit sandpaper
  • A brush or duster
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water-based polyurethane
  • Wood stain (darker shade than the current one)

Procedures To Follow:

  • Use a clean cloth to wipe the existing stain to remove stains and dust nibs.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper to scrape the existing stain lightly. If there is a present sealant on the surface, you will have to sand the gloss off the sealant.
  • Remove the dust on the wood with a rag.
  • Apply a darker shade of the stain on the wood and leave it to dry.
  • When the surface is dry, the darker tone of the wood stain will look more profound, and it will also give extra protection to the finish. You can seal the surface with a water-based polyurethane afterward. However, this step is optional.

Use Wax

Buffing a stain with wax can make stained wood darker. Wax is an excellent sealant that gives a darker tone to stains. Wax has a dark tone that helps to hide imperfections and stains on a wooden surface. However, it takes a long period to dry. Here are some supplies and tools needed to perform this method.

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Lint-free cloth
  • A duster or vacuum
  • Pure wax
  • A paint mixer or turning stick

Procedures To Follow:

  • Wipe the existing wood stain to remove oily residue and dust.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper to scuff the stain.
  • Remove the dust from the wood using a duster.
  • Stir the wax appropriately to reduce clumps.
  • Apply the wax to the wood surface using a lint-free cloth. Ensure you do that in a circular motion.
  • Wait about thirty minutes before wiping off the excess wax on the wood surface.
  • Leave the surface to dry for about an entire day. The wax will be fully cured and will darken the wood stain.

Increase the ratio of pigment to the vehicle of the stain

The vehicle of a stain is the combination of thinner and binder. Increasing the ratio will give a darker coloring to the wood. Here are some procedures to achieve this method

  • Add more pigment to the stain. Use a universal color or pigment for water-based stains and an oil pigment for oil-based stains.
  • Leave the stain to dry longer on the wood before wiping it off. This will allow some of the thinner to evaporate and, in turn, decrease the ratio of pigment or dye to the vehicle.
  • Apply a second stain coat after the first has been thoroughly dried. This will produce a darker coloring with the excess wiped off.
  • Use a glaze or gel stain finish for your wooden project. They usually contain a higher ratio of pigment to vehicle.

Apply a dark gel stain

Gel stains create a deep tone of wood stain. A dark gel stain on wood will give the wood a deeper shade. You’ll need tools and supplies for this method:

  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • A vacuum
  • Paint brushes
  • A lint-free cloth
  • Gel stain
  • Wipe-on polyurethane

Procedures To Follow:

  • Use fine-grit sandpaper for sanding the existing wood stain. It would help if you used power sanders for this project because they will make marks on the wood surface.
  • Clean the stain with a rag or vacuum to remove dust.
  • Set up the gel stain based according to the instructions pamphlet. There are some brands of glue stains that can be applied directly from the container.
  • Apply two coats of gel stain on the wooden surface.
  • Wipe the excess gel stain when it has to be left to dry for a few minutes.
  • You can seal the stain first with wipe-on polyurethane when the gel stain is fully dry.

Will A Second Stain Coat Darken Wood?

The second coat of stain provides a deeper shade to the wood because there are more colors, dyes, or pigments in the wood stain, thereby creating a darker appearance than the first coat. The more coat of stain finish you apply, the darker the surface. But it is not advisable to use more than three coats of wood stain.

The first coat of stain spread on the wood creates a lighter color than the indicated color on the stain finish container. This happens because there isn’t enough pigment on the wood to create the precise shade on the can.

Applying a second coat of stain finish will give a richer and darker shade because there will be a higher presence of pigments and colors on the wood, making it a darker shade. If you apply a third can’t of the stain finish, it will give a much darker tone to the wooden surface.

Will A Wood Stain Finish Get Darker Over Time?

An accumulation of oily stains and dirt on a wood stain finish will make the wood stain darken over time. Some wood stain finishes will darken over time due to water and heat exposure. Surfaces that are frequently used, like floors and countertop, tends to get darker quickly.

Filth and dirt are common reasons for the wood stain turning darker. If the wood stain is exposed to food and drink spills, dirty fingerprints, oily stains, and dust, over time, the residue will make the wood stain appear darker than it is.

Heat is also a common factor that makes wood stains darker. If a wooden surface coated with a stain finish is exposed to sunlight or a heat source, the stain will get darker over time.