I have a dining room with some nice oak wainscoting, ceiling trim and faux beams.

There are also four windows, and two doors. All with trim.

I have stripped off all of the paint applied by prior owners and done an extensive amount of sanding to prepare the wood.

I would like to use a dark walnut stain on everything, but I'm not sure of the logistics of the endeavor.

Is it doable for a homeowner? Can I break it up into smaller tasks, or do I need to stain everything all at once?

  • 1
    Welcome to Woodworking, Joshua. I think I understand your question but I'm not sure. You're asking if you can stain some of the trim, let it dry, attach it to the wall, and then repeat with the next piece? As opposed to having to stain everything to make sure the color matches, then start attaching them to the wall?
    – drs
    Mar 31, 2015 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


Since stain gets darker the longer you let it sit, you'll want to keep the time the stain is on consistent. The biggest advantage to doing it all at once is that you can develop a rhythm to it.

If you need to break it into sub-projects, there shouldn't be any issue with that, you may want to use a timer to keep track of how long the stain's on.

It's certainly doable by a home-owner.

If you've not done staining before, and can get some window trim off, you may want to do some test staining on the back of the wood to see how long to let the stain sit to get the color you want.


Can you as a home owner do this? Yes, absolutely!

The easiest way is to buy a stain finish combo. Miniwax (and many others) have a stain and poly or stain and some other finish mixed together. What is great about this is that it is treated similar to a paint, you can brush it on, it generally has a shallower stain but usually pretty even and so takes a lot less skill to get it right. Also when you are done it doesn't need another coat of finish (though if one coat is the color you are going for, a second coat of clear wouldn't hurt.

This would also make it easier to be consistent when staining all the wainscoting, you can stop at easier places and continue later if needed. Of course you will need to have good ventilation (no matter which products you decide to use) and drop cloths and such to catch dripping and other issues.

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