Types of Wood Finishes – Making Your Wood Beautiful!


The British DIY scene first got going properly in the 1950s. Today, more than half a century later, there are more types of wood finishes on the market than you can shake a stick at. Everything from colours to stains, paints, polishes, oils, waxes and varnishes, all designed to help you make your wood look good enough to eat.

About wood finishes

Beautiful, durable and unusual, contemporary or traditional, here’s our comprehensive guide to the most popular and widely-used wood finishing products in town.

About wood stain – Perfect for colouring wood and cork

There are all sorts of wood stain products on the market including water-based, solvent-based and oil-based versions. Whether you want to stain a wood floor, furniture or something else altogether, whether it’s exterior wood stain or interior wood stain, they’re all easy to apply, they allow the beautiful grain to show through and deliver a superb, durable, colour-fast finish. Best of all, these days there are all sorts of beautiful wood stain colours to choose from, as well as the usual gorgeous browns and dramatic black.

What is wood stain made of and how does it work? We can’t really put it better than Wikipedia. Here’s what they say about wood stains:

“A wood stain consists of a colourant suspended or dissolved in an agent or solvent. The suspension agent can be water, alcohol, petroleum distillate, or the actual finishing agent (shellac, lacquer, varnish, polyurethane, etc.). Coloured or ‘stained’ finishes, like polyurethane, do not penetrate the pores of the wood to any significant degree and will disappear when the finish itself deteriorates or is removed intentionally.

Pigments and dyes are largely used as colourants. The difference between the two is in the size of the particles. Dyes are microscopic crystals that dissolve in the vehicle and pigments are suspended in the vehicle and are much larger. Dyes will colour very fine grained wood, like cherry or maple, which pigments will not. Those fine-grained woods have pores too small for pigments to attach themselves to. Pigments contain a binder to help attach themselves to the wood.

The type of stain will either accentuate or obscure the wood grain. Most commercial stains contain both dye and pigment and the degree to which they stain the appropriate wood is mostly dependent on the length of time they are left on the wood. Pigments, regardless of the suspension agent, will not give much colour to very dense woods but will deeply colour woods with large pores (e.g. pine). Dyes are translucent and pigments are opaque.”

Polyurethane varnish – Satin to gloss and everything in between

Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish is a clear, polyurethane, water-based varnish for interior wooden surfaces

Polyurethane varnishes are essentially a liquid plastic that is suspended in a water, oil or solvent-based carrier and available in finishes such as matt, satin and gloss. The water-based version doesn’t smell much and usually has low levels of toxicity. It goes on clear, with no colour, and dries fast. On the downside, it isn’t great at coping with heat and chemicals. Perfect for any wood that won’t be exposed to the extremes of temperature and weather. Oil-based polyurethane projects require a respirator and you should always work in a well-ventilated area. It takes longer to dry than water-based varnish.

As a general rule, wood varnish provides a tough, transparent, protective finish with no added colour. Varnishes are also useful when applied on top of wood stains, where they bring out the colour and add protection. Some products combine stain and varnish to provide a one-stop finish. And there are special products designed for high traffic areas.

About Shellac

Shellac is a natural varnish. Here’s what the DIY network says about it:

“This finish is actually a natural product (it’s made from combining a secretion from the female lac bug with a solvent such as alcohol) that is very safe once dried and hardened. In addition to adding a protective coat, it also can add a warm amber colour to wood. It can be affected by heat (white rings will appear under a hot bowl or mug) or chemicals, so a kitchen table might not be the best place to use it. Fine furniture items can be greatly enhanced with Shellac. Some Shellac manufacturers recommend using it as a protective coat on non-wood items. Apply it with a natural bristle brush or with a cotton rag.

Shellac is available in most home centres as a liquid in a can. It also comes in solid form or in flakes that must be dissolved, and it has a shorter shelf life than other finishes. The liquid variety is the best option for the average homeowner.”

Wood paint – Colouring your world

Specialist wood paint comes in more or less any colour on the planet, ideal for completely changing the look, feel and mood of your wood, inside and out. Our top tip? Always take the surface right back to bare wood to get the best quality, best-looking and most durable finish.

Wood oils – Inside and out

Manns Premier Top Oil is a hard-wearing all-in-one oil that enhances and protects wooden worktops

Wood oils have for many years been a popular way of protecting interior and exterior wooden surfaces. Traditionally, oils such as Danish Oil, Tung Oil and Linseed Oil were and still are used. Alternative products called ‘Hard Wax Oils’ that are formulated from a blend of natural oils, waxes and resins, provide better durability and protection, have become increasingly popular in recent years. Osmo Polyx Oil and Fiddes Hard Wax Oil offer an easy way to protect wooden surfaces including floors, doors, stairs, kitchen worktops and more. Exterior wood oils are also available to give either a clear or coloured, opaque or semi-translucent finish to sheds, fences, garden furniture and any number of other exterior wooden features.

Wood preservative – Making wood last longer

Ronseal Total Wood Preserver is a highly penetrative, solvent-based wood preserver for exterior timbers

Rot, algae and mould are wood’s worst enemies. Creosote is nasty stuff, no longer available to the public, messy and toxic, but luckily there are plenty of excellent alternatives, both solvent and oil-based. We particularly rate Ronseal Total Wood Preservative, which does all this for your interior and exterior wood:

  • Penetrates deep to prevent rot and decay
  • Kills woodworm
  • Protects against re-infestation
  • Colours and preserves rough and smooth exterior wood
  • Repels water

French polishing – A process, not a product

French polishing is a wood finishing technique with a wonderful high gloss finish, deep colour and shine. It consists of applying multiple thin coats of Shellac dissolved in alcohol , applying it with a special pad lubricated with oil. The finish is more delicate than modern varnishes and lacquers, prone to white cloudy marks when you spill liquids on it.

It tends to be a job for the experts but here’s an excellent YouTube video about how to do French polishing:

Wood dye – A popular and simple wood treatment

Wood dye is brilliant stuff, available in brilliant colours as well as black, white and various lovely, natural wood colours. You can use it neat if you want a strong, vibrant finish, or dilute it for something more subtle. You can even mix the primary colours together to create beautiful, unusual shades and heritage-like colours. It can even be used to tint various other wood treatments and wood finishes.

Manns Classic Wood Dye is a water-based inteior wood dye, ideal for both softwoods and hardwoods

We love Manns Classic Wood Dyes and, as we do with all our products, we have created a detailed guide about how to use it to its best effect on the product page itself.

Wood polish – Plus plenty of elbow grease

Wood polish is one of our most popular wood finishing products. Wood polishes give a splendid mirror-finish to wood, and are especially good for use on precious furniture. Top quality wax polish plus elbow grease is the way to go, and over time your hard work results in a stunning shine. Unless, of course, you want to go matt, in which case we can recommend a product for that, too.   Take a look at our range of wood polishes and get inspired.

Any questions?

Do you want to know more about wood finishing, types of wood finishes or how to choose the best wood finishes for the job? Give us a call and we’ll be delighted to help.


  1. I have a piece of American Ash wood that I want to use as a desktop. Can you suggest a finish that will best keep the pale colour of the wood and not yellow it?

    • Hello Steven,

      Thank you for your question, it a common request, to maintain the light tones of the wood as much as possible. You will find that nearly all clear products will darken the wood a little. Products that penetrate more so that surface sealers or water based products.

      There are two products that you could take a look at however. The Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural and the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw these are versions of clear oil that contain a minute amount of white pigment, that will counteract the darkening you get with a clear product, without giving a white result.

      The oils require very thin application and only two coats, a little goes a long way. I would recommend a test area first to see how the oil looks on your wood and that you like the result that will be achieved. And if you need any help or further advice please do not hesitate to get in touch via our contact us page.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  2. Hi,
    We have built a garden bench from light softwood and want to create a Matt oak effect and to protect the wood. What would you recommend?

    • Hi Laura,

      We would recommend first treating the bench with a wood preservative such as Barrettine Premier Universal Preserver. This will help to protect your bench against biological threats such as mould, algae, wood rot and insect attack. It’s worth paying special attention to the bottom of the legs that are in contact with the ground. If possible, stand the legs in a container of the preserver for several hours to allow the preservative to soak-up into the wood of the legs.

      In terms of sealing, protecting and colouring the wood to an oak effect, use a coloured garden furniture oil such as Ronseal Ultimate Protection Hardwood Furniture Oil in ‘Natural Oak’ or Colron Refined Danish Oil in ‘Georgian Medium Oak’. Once again, apply 2 or 3 coats of the oil to the base of the legs to help prevent water ingress up into the legs of the bench.

      I hope the above helps and good luck with your project.

      Kind regards,

  3. hi sam what is the best way to get a dark cherry/rosewood gloss finish on a bare natural maple drum shell,could i simply use a cherry varnish and build the layers with sanding in between or do i need to stain or dye the wood first, then clear varnish the shell

    • Hello Tony,

      I am not an expert on Drum finishes but I would recommend adding a Stain first. This one has a cherry in it, but I would tend to recommend that you look at the colours rather than the names of the colours as often they do not tally up with your expectation of that particular name.

      And you will not get a true indication of the colour until you apply it to your wood, this is because the type and condition of the wood will impact on the absorption of the product. This is why test area are always recommended. You could also have a look at the Morrells Light Fast Stains. These will give a more intense colour.

      Once the desired colour is achieved the Morrells Nitrocellulose Lacquer Spray can be applied, multiple thin layers will build up an even, smooth finish.

      I hope this helps, always try test areas first and I would love to see the results of the project if you get chance.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  4. Hello Sam. I am laying an oak floor which has been factory coated with urethane. The instructions which came with the oak do not specify how to finish when laid, so do you think that there is a compatble Osmo product I can apply? My experience tells me that the factory finish is simply not enough on it’s own.

    Thanks, Phil

    • Hello Phil,

      The urethane finish indicates a coating of plastic type finish, so it could be a lacquer or varnish and if this is the case then an Oil will not be suitable. Oils need to soak into the surface of the wood and any varnish will prevent this.

      The Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish may be a viable option for your floor and is available in a sample size so you can carry out a test area first.

      If you have any questions or would like some help to order please feel free t get in touch via the contact tab on our website.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  5. Hi

    We are refurbishing an old pine cot for our grandchild and wondered if it is safe to use Osmo oil.

    I’m concerned that the baby will chew the wood, just as our children did, so want to make sure that we don’t use anything toxic.



  6. Hi

    We are making an outdoor bench from used scaffold boards and would like to have a natural finish that very slightly darkens (enriches) the pine and enhances the grain – yet isn’t too yellow or blotchy. From research I’m not sure if a clear oil/ varnish would do this or if we’d need to use a light stain and/or wood conditioner / sealer? -It’s a minefield!! Any help you’re able to offer would be really appreciated.

    Many thanks

    • Hello Amanda,

      Thank you for your inquiry. It would be fair to say that any clear product you apply is likely to highlight the natural tones of the wood. So with Pine you may find it highlights to yellow or orange of the pine. Even applying light coloured oils can also have this impact and so I would recommend you try a sample size first.

      You could have a look at the Osmo UV Protection Oil Extra, as this will help to maintain the colour and give some water repellency too the wood. Applying something with a slight pigment will also improve the UV protection, the darker the colour the better the protection.

      I hope that helps and please feel free to come back to me if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  7. Hi

    I have a few items of furniture made from crates and pallets, and now have a baby on the move, and wondered if there was anything I can coat the wood with to ensure baby doesn’t get splinters, whilst keeping the furnitures rustic appearance?

    I’ve sanded the furniture down as a start.



    • Hello Rachael,

      We do not have anything that will prevent splinters as such. Good sanding to remove loose bits and then maybe a couple of coats of varnish will help to reduce the chance of splinters. It will however lose that natural look and feel. Always try a test area first and if you have any further questions I am happy to help.

      Kind Regards Samantha.

  8. Hi,
    We have just laid birch plywood flooring in our open plan extension (kitchen, diner, lounge) and we are looking for advice on the best product to protect it with. We have also just stripped back the pinewood floors in the rest of the house and will need to protect these also.

    We have a dog and soon to a have a baby so we would like to make all of the flooring as durable and hard wearing as possible, in a natural matt finish. I’d be grateful for any suggestions.


    • Hello Emily,

      Thanks for your questions. There are a couple of options to consider and my first recommendation would be the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. This is a durable and hard wearing product that will be suitable for your flooring. It gives a natural look and feel to the wood. It is also easy to patch repair and maintain over time, so any scratches or worn areas are easy to refresh if needed. For a busy space with dogs and children you may want to refresh every couple of years but this requires minimal effort.

      The other option is Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish. This is a surface sealer that will be more durable than the Hard Wax Oil and is likely to last longer. It is slightly harder to maintain in that if the varnish is damaged or scratched patch repair is difficult and more often you would have to strip the whole floor back and start again to avoid continued damage and moisture ingress.

      So both products have benefits and it just depends on which suits your needs better and the finish that you are looking to achieve. Both are available in sample sizes so that you are able to carry out test areas first. If you have a read up of the products and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      We also have some very helpful videos on our YouTube Channel that cover product comparison and application hints and tips.

      Kind regards Samantha.

  9. Hi
    I have just had a green oak beamed ceiling installed and was hoping to leave the timber as natural looking as possible, but have been advised by the builder that the beams will need to be sealed to prevent staining when the the walls are plastered. Please could you suggest a product or method for protecting the beams.
    Many thanks

    • Hello Andy,

      I can tell you that plaster dust is a nightmare to get rid of when it stains a surface. The more you can cover the beams up the better. Temporary Plastic covers if possible, because a seal on the wood will stop the plaster getting on the wood but may still adhere to the seal that you use.

      For beams we often recommend Wax as it gives a little protection and leaves the wood looking natural. But my advice would be to cover those beams as best you can. And if there is anything further that I can help with please do not hesitate to let me know.

      All the best Samantha.

  10. Hey there. I am sanding down a spalted maple live edge round slab to make into a coffee/side table. I will be selling this item when it’s finished. Not knowing where the end home will be what kind of finish should I use. I was thinking a coat of tung oil with a poly finish on top. Help? Any tips?

    • Hello Sam,

      You will find a Hard Wax Oil will give great protection to the wood and is easy to repair and maintain. It soaks into the surface of the wood and leaves it microporous allowing the wood to breath. If you have a read up of the product and feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

      All the Best Sam.

  11. Hi
    We’ve just got hold of some used scaffolding boards to make some interesting furniture for our lounge – mainly shelving and a coffee table. We’re going to sand away any cement/paint but leave the wood looking well-used and ‘lived in’. We’d like the wood to appear quite dark and have a durable finish. Can you recommend the best way to achieve this?
    Thanks, Julie

    • Hello Julie,

      Scaffold board are so versatile for upcycling projects ! If you are looking to add a bit of colour to the wood whilst still maintaining the natural look and feel of the wood I would recommend the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints. This is a hard wearing oil that soaks into the surface of the wood and protects and colours at the same time.

      It requires very thin application and is easy to repair and maintain over time should you need to. If you have a read up of the product and let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  12. Hello, I have a staircase with pine newel posts. Is it possible to make these look like oak to match my new oak internal doors? Or would the only option be to clad them?
    Thanks in advance for your advice

    • Hello Lisa,

      It would be worth taking a look a the Manns Classic Pine Stain to see if there is a colour in this range that will match to your doors. Test areas are key as the wood that you are applying to will have an impact on the colour that will be achieved.

      And a top coat product such as Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish will seal and protect the wood. It will also darken the wood slightly and so should also be part of the test area. Colour matching can be difficult but with a bit of experimenting you should be able to get a close match.

      If you have any further questions please do let me know.

      Kind regards Sam.

  13. Hello Everybody,

    I have a large oak dining table that now looks dated due to its shinny varnished finish. I was considering stripping he varnish and looking to seal it with a lacquer to protect the wood but leave it looking unfinished. I have seen oak worktops recently finished with a IVE lacquer @ 10% sheen level and they look great and seem to be holding up in a school dining room setting.

    Can anyone make a recommendation on how I should approach the task.

    In anticipation thank you.

    • Hi Paul,

      There are indeed matt varnishes on the market. Two that we do are Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish (water-based) and Manns Trade Bar Top Lacquer (solvent-based). Both of these products should give you the look and durability you require. It’s worth remembering that when you apply a clear varnish to any wood, it will enhance the natural colour and grain of the timber and will likely darken the tone of the wood giving it a slightly damp like appearance.

      An alternative to a varnish would be a Hard Wax Oil. Although perhaps not as durable as a varnish, they are still highly durable and easier to maintain. Hard Wax Oils are also available in ‘Raw’ and ‘Natural’ formulations that help to keep the ‘untreated’ appearance of the timber. The key benefit of an oil is that when it starts to look tired or worn, there is no need to sand, simply clean and apply a fresh coat of oil. Consider Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural or Osmo Polyx Oil Raw 3044. Other variations of Hard Wax Oil will provide the same level of durability and protection but will also enhance the colour and grain of the timber, giving it a slightly damp look as with a varnish.

  14. Hi,

    What would you recommend for pine floorboards? The room is roughly 3m x 3m and we don’t want anything too dark. Do you think wood stain is the best way to go?

    Thanks, Ben.

    • Hello Ben,

      Are you applying to bare wood ? And do you want a coloured or natural finish ? Also is it more important to be hard wearing and durable or to be easy to maintain and give a natural finish and feel to the wood. You may find it helpful to watch some of our YouTube videos. And if you have any further questions feel free to let me know.

      Kind regards Sam.

  15. hello, I have an elm dining table. At some time it had some linseed oil and the furniture polish put on it, which have left it looking tatty. I want a durable, shiny, non toxic surface, cant you help? Thank you charlotte

    • Hello Charlotte,

      If you are going to remove the oil treatment, to take the wood back to its natural state then Fiddes Hard Wax Oil would be a good product to look at. It is a durable finish that is easy to patch repair and maintain. It is food safe and available in 3 different sheen’s and depending on use should last around a year before requiring a top up coat. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions please let me know.

      Kind regards Sam.

  16. Hi Sam.
    Wondering if you can please recommend a suitable wood stain product for feature trusses in our new sunroom? Trusses are made from rough red deal timber as douglas fir was too costly.
    I’m considering a medium to dark oak shade in matte not shiny nor satin if possible.
    Many thanks,

    • Hello Alan,

      You could have a look at Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Tints. This is colour and protection in one. Be aware though that it may absorb more than the guide when applying to a rough wood. This product is a satin finish but it is very subtle and available in sample sizes so you could do test areas.

      The alternative would be to use a stain, such as Manns Classic Pine Stain to achieve the colour and finish with a clear wax, like Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish. I hope that give you some ideas and please let me know if you have any further questions.

      All the Best Sam.

  17. Hi Guys,
    Just purchased 5 of 5 panel oak veneer doors unfinished.
    What product do they use (factory fit) to these doors if you was to be purchase as a finished door ?
    What product would you recommend to finish these doors to a matt finish ?

    • Hello Adrian,

      More often than not these doors will come with a list of products that you can and can not use, so it’s worth checking with the manufacturers if you don’t have any paper work with them. Use of products not recommend may invalidate your guarantee.

      For a natural matt finish you could have a look at the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil which will soak into the surface of the wood and give a great level of protection. Should the Oil not be suitable then I would recommend looking at the Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish. Both products are available in a matt finish but please be sure to check your paper work and carry out a test area.

      Kind Regards Sam.

  18. Hi , I have just had 5 oak veneer doors fitted …I have previously used osmo raw on a table I had sanded and then coated with the osmo and loved the finish… really natural……The doors from Wickes say you should use a water based oil…..What is your opinion ..and why do you think they recommend a water based oil. regards Carol

    • Hello Carol,

      Many manufacturers give long lists of products to avoid on veneered doors and this is because they believe that these products can cause the adhesive to fail and the veneer to come away. In our experience none of our products have ever caused this. Most of the products that we recommend penetrate the first 1mm of the surface of the wood. Most veneers are 2mm or more and so there is no contact between product and veneer. Having said this if you are to use a product that is not recommended by the manufacturer then you are likely to invalidate your guarantee.

      I feel that you would be safe to use the Osmo that you have already to finish your doors, but remember this will invalidate your guarantee. If you are not happy to do this and would rather go with the manufacturers advice then we have Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish, which is a water-based varnish that would be suitable. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

      Kind Regards Sam.

    • Hello Mr Shafiq,

      Both Varnish and Hard Wax Oil are finishes that you can keep and wipe as long as you don’t use cleaning products that are too harsh or damaging to the treatment. So cleaning products that are Ph Neutral or specifically for Varnished or Oiled treatment.

      For a natural hard wearing finish that soaks into the surface of the wood, you could look at the Osmo Polyx Oil and Osmo Spray Cleaner.

      Or you could look at Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish, which will create a durable and hard wearing seal on the surface of the wood, and Bona Wood Floor Cleaner Spray, which, although it is called a ‘floor cleaner’, would be suitable for use on your varnished table. I hope that helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam

  19. Hi guy’s. I have just installed a log cabin made from spuce from Holland. i have ordered from you six 2.5 ltr tins of Sadolin extra clear coat, for the outside and inside of the cabin, i know it’s a bit late and should have asked before ordering, but wondered what you think of my choice of protection and hope i have enough as the cabin is 5m x 5m.
    Also Is there a varnish that can be used in cold weather conditions

    • Hello Andrew,

      Sadolin recommend the use of the Quick Drying Wood Preservative before application of the Clear coat for the best protection. I think the six tins should be enough to do two coats inside and out. Please make sure that you have good ventilation during application. It is a good product to use for your Log Cabin as it is a flexible barrier with good water repellency and UV protection.

      There is a small amount of pigment in this product to give the UV Protection, so it will darken the wood slightly, this is another reason to carry out a test area first. Please elt me know if you have any further questions.

      Kind regards Sam.

  20. Hi. I have an oak wooden beam as a mantle piece above my log burner – installed by hetas registered fitters so should be the correct distance. The beam seems to be splitting across the top and bottom with the heat. I know this is a natural process but I can now put my finger it the crack along the top and it is no longer flat for putting things on! Is there any product that I could put on the beam to prevent it getting worse? Many thanks.

    • Hello Liz,

      I am sorry but this is not my field and would not like to guess at the best way to prevent it from getting worse. An Oil will definitely nourish the wood and may help with regular application but I feel that advice form the company that fitted the beams is the best option for you. I am sorry that I can not be of more help – Sam

  21. Hi I’m going to respray my kitchen cabinets. They are solid wood doors and melamine carcass. Can you tell me what is the best primers and topcoats to use

    • Hello,

      Can you tell me if the floor will be taken back to bare wood or are you looking to treat a pre-existing finish, if so what finish is currently on the floor. Also are you looking for a clear or coloured finish ?

      Kind regards Sam.

  22. Hi
    I have had a new glass staircase with ash balustrade fitted.
    I would like to keep it looking as natural as possible with a Matt finish.
    What treatment do you recommend French Polish or Danish Oil ?
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hello Barbara,

      Thank you for your inquiry, you could consider using a Hard Wax Oil to finish your Ash, such as the Fiddes Hard Wax Oil Natural. This is a protective treatment that will soak into the surface of the wood and leave it as unchanged as possible. It is easy to apply, just requiring 2 thin coats and will last for a few years before you need to do a maintenance coat.

      Danish Oil is a good option also, but it may darken the wood slightly however and it will also require a couple more coats than the Hard Wax Oil. I would advise a test area with whichever product you decide to use. And if you have any further questions please let me know.

      Best Wishes Sam.

  23. Hi there
    I have oiled solid oak side board that unfortunately my children park drinks on – it has got water marked.
    I have sanded the top and got rid of nearly all the oil and would like to protect it with a more water resistant finish but I would still like it to match the rest of the sideboard so I do not have to refinish the whole lot. I already have some osmo worktop Matt finish could I use that? Or would you recommend an alternative I can send a photo
    Thank you for your help

    • Hello Sue,

      It would be great if you where able to send a photo to our email wood@finishes.direct and we can have a proper look for you. In the mean time you could do a small test area with the Osmo that you have to see how well it will colour match with the rest of the sideboard. I would anticipate that if the previous product was an oil then the finish will be very similar, but a test area would always be our advice. If you find that the finish is completely different then you can remove the test area by wiping with White Spirits or sanding. let us know how you get on – Sam

  24. Can you please recommend me the suitable product for pine wood stairs? I would like to stain my staircase to light grey, see the wood grains and make sure it is durable.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Katie,

      There are a couple of possible options. You could either use Manns Classic Pine Stain by mixing the black and white stains together to get the shade of grey that you are looking for. The great thing with our Manns Wood Stains is that they can be easily intermixed and diluted with water to achieve almost any shade. This can then be sealed with a clear hard wax oil such as Osmo Polyx Oil or Fiddes Hard Wax Oil for the durability required. Alternatively, you can seal it with one of the excellent Wood Varnishes we offer.

      An alternative product may be Osmo Wood Wax Finish Transparent that is available in Harmony Silk Grey and Granite Grey.

      Always do a test area before starting any project to be sure that the products chosen give the desired results and follow the manufacturers instructions on the tin or container.

  25. Can you recommend a finish for restaurant tables that does not dissolve with disinfectant cleaning? Most common one used is quaternary ammonia compound but there are some with
    electrolyzed water cleaners/disinfectants?

    • Hi Janet.

      Supermarket cleaners, commercial cleaning products and even warm soapy water can all be harmful to wood finishes. It would be better to use a dedicated wood finish cleaner such as Fiddes Floor Surface Cleaner or Bona Wood Floor Cleaner Spray as these are pH-balanced and have been specifically designed for cleaning all manner of wooden surfaces.

      You didn’t say in your blog comment if your table tops are waxed, oiled or varnished. Varnished surfaces tend to be the more durable whereas oiled finishes, although not as durable, are easier to maintain and repair when they start to look tired and worn as there is no need to strip them back to bare wood.

      If you are looking to refurbish your tables with a varnish, perhaps consider Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish. This is a water-based, clear varnish that is low odour and anti-bacterial. If you’re looking to colour the tables, you can stain the wood first with a water or solvent-based wood stain once sanded back to bare wood before varnishing. An alternative varnish may be Sadolin PV67 Heavy Duty Varnish. This is a product that is commonly used on bar tops and dance floors. It is very hard wearing but very smelly to use because of it’s high solvent content and gives a thick ‘toffee apple’ like finish to wooden surfaces.

      When looking to do any refurbishment or renovation project, always do a test area to ensure that you’re happy with the appearance and performance that a product gives.


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