Back Button

Tips on Rolling Varathane

Samantha Volz

Varathane, a product of the Rust-Oleum company, is an oil-based wood stain designed to color and protect wood over years of wear and tear.

Wood stain adds color, seals and protects.

Varathane comes in a variety of colors that allow you to truly customize your wood products, and can be applied with a paintbrush, cloth or, over large areas such as floors, with a roller. For Varathane to last as long as it should with the proper look, follow a number of application tips to prevent trouble along the way.

Application Conditions

Varathane must be applied in proper conditions or the curing time and ultimate look could be ruined. Apply Varathane only in temperatures ranging between 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower temperatures will slow curing time and cause running or bubbling. In higher temperatures, the stain will dry too quickly, which can change the color or lead to future weakness when exposed to moisture. You must also stir the contents of the Varathane can well with a stirring stick to ensure the proper consistency and color during application.

Surface Preparation

You must strip all old finishes, including old waxes and stains, from the wood surface before applying new Varathane. This can be done with chemical strippers or with heavy sanding of the surface. Once you’ve gotten down to bare wood, sand with the grain with 120-grit sandpaper, followed by 150-grit, 180-grit and 220-grit. This will open the grain of the wood to accept the new stain. Remove all sanding dust with a tack cloth; if there is any old glue or grease on the surface, clean it up with mineral spirits. The surface must be fully clean to bond properly with the Varathane.

Application Methods

Varathane is generally applied with a paintbrush or cloth, but you can also roll if covering a large area. Use a large-nap paint roller to push the stain deep into the grain. Move across the grain of the wood with the roller in smooth, even strokes until the surface is completely saturated with stain. Once the surface is saturated, take a clean, lint-free cloth and wipe in the direction of the grain to force the stain deeper into the wood. Make sure you wipe the stain before it has a chance to dry on the surface. Allow the first coat to dry for two hours before applying a second coat using the same method; don’t sand the area between coats.

Other Tips

Very soft woods, including pine and maple, will have trouble bonding with new stain. The wood may need an application of wood conditioner before staining. If possible, use Varathane conditioner to ensure that it will bond with the stain product. To ensure that the color will come out the way you want, test the stain on a small, inconspicuous area of the surface after sanding and cleaning. Varathane should still be covered with a finish to protect the color. If using oil-based finish, apply eight hours after staining. For water-based finish, apply 24 hours after staining.