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How to Stain Faux Woodgrain Beams and Products Like a Pro

Polyurethane woodgrain beams and products offer a lightweight, durable and affordable alternative to wood, but there’s an art to achieving a realistic look.

Correct staining and finishing is essential to making the most of your faux woodgrain beams and products. Follow the five-step process below to get the desired look on Fypon’s woodgrain products every time.

To avoid inhaling fumes when using stains, paints or topcoats, it is extremely important to use adequate ventilation. Keep all materials out of the reach of children and close all containers after use. Please be sure to follow stain manufacturers safety procedures.

Supplies Needed to Stain Woodgrain Polyurethane Beams:

  • (1) Pair of gloves
  • (3) 3” Natural brush for stain (same type brush can be used for applying and dry brushing)
  • (1) 2” Synthetic brush for topcoat
  • (1) Staining rag
  • (2) Cleaning rags
  • Bottle of mineral spirits
  • Stain
  • Topcoat
  • (2) Stir sticks

Product Recommendation: Fypon recommends General Finishes 450 Exterior stain and topcoat or Minwax Gel Stain and Minwax Topcoat. If using Minwax Gel Stain, it should be cut 2-1 with 2-parts stain and 1-part mineral spirits. Follow gel stain drying times found on the container.

Before You Start Staining:

DO:

  • Apply stain when temperatures are between 50 degrees and 90 degrees F and relative humidity is below 80%.
  • Apply stain to all exposed edges and ends of your stainable polyurethane product. All surfaces exposed to weather should be finished within 90 days of exposure.

DON’T

  • Apply stain or topcoat while dew is present.
  • Apply stain in direct sunlight.
  • Sand stainable polyurethane product.

STEP 1: SURFACE PREPARATION

Supplies Used:

  • Cleaning rag
  • Mineral spirits

Prior to staining, be sure to clean and prepare surfaces. Use a clean rag dampened with mineral spirits to wipe the entire surface, removing all contaminants.

Pro Tip: Compressed air can be used to blow dust off deeply grooved products.

STEP 2: APPLY STAIN

Supplies Used:

  • Stain
  • Stir stick
  • 3” Natural brush(es)

Stir the stain well with a stir stick. Improperly mixed stain will not dry correctly.

Using your 3” natural brush, apply the stain directly on the surface of the polyurethane product. Ensure that you work the stain into the grain.

Use a brush to achieve the desired shade, wiping in the direction of the grain. For lighter shades, wait a few minutes, then pull off the excess stain with brush (wiping excess stain on a rag). For darker applications, allow stain to dry and then reapply a second coat (use new brush)

Tip for applying stain to shutters: For best results, apply the stain to one section at a time as indicated:

  • A. Stain main panels first
  • B. Then battens
  • C. Stain edges last

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Tip for applying stain to beams: For best results, apply the stain to the entire beam first, then proceed to step 3.

  • A. Start by staining one side of the beam
  • B. Then stain the top
  • C. Stain the final side last

STEP 3: BLEND

Supplies Used:

  • New 3” Natural brush
  • Clean rag

After the product has been fully stained, take a clean, dry brush and begin dry brushing and blending the stain in the direction of the grain. Every few strokes, remove the excess stain onto a clean rag. Continue this process until you have completed the entire product and it appears as any stained wood product. Pay special attention to any deep grooves and corners. Do not let stain collect or pool in these areas.

For lighter shades, remove more of the stain when dry brushing. For darker applications, repeat steps two and three. If you are trying to obtain a lighter stain, you may need to change out the brush you are using to remove stain.

Pro Tip: To reduce bristle loss during the blending process, periodically tug on the bristles with a rag. This will help remove loose bristles so the strands do not fall off and stick to the product.

STEP 4: TEST FOR DRYNESS

Supplies Used:

  • Pair of gloves

Allow the stain to dry for at least 2-3 hours (water-based stain) or 6-8 hours (gel stain) before testing for dryness and applying the topcoat.

Using a gloved hand, touch an area of the piece that is hidden or near an edge. The stain is completely dry when nothing comes off on the glove. If it is not dry, test again every hour until dry.

STEP 5: APPLY THE PROTECTIVE TOPCOAT

Supplies Used:

  • Stir stick
  • 2” Synthetic brush

Stir the topcoat well with a stir stick.

To apply, wet the tips of the 2” synthetic brush to apply a single, very thin first layer of topcoat. Apply in a smooth and even motion. Do not use excessive brush strokes as this may cause the topcoat to bubble or loosen the stain.

If you find an area that is too light or dark with stain, apply a small amount of mineral spirits and wipe. Then, repeat steps two and three. After it is dry, apply the topcoat.

Pro Tip: To reduce bristle loss during the topcoat process, periodically tug on the bristles with a rag. This will help remove loose bristles so the strands do not fall off and stick to the product. Pro Tip: Apply the topcoat in the same order in which you applied the stain in step two.

For troubleshooting tips and solutions before and after staining, view our finishing guide.