A little while ago I had a contractor doing building and decoration work. As part of the decoration, they managed to apply the wrong colour wood stain to door frames, doors and skirting boards. There are 4 doors and about 20 meters (66 feet) of skirting board. They messed up a few things beyond that as well - and the contractor was fired without getting paid for the work.

I can't afford (money nor time/effort) to replace all the frames, doors and skirting boards, so have to get them to the right colour in some other way. The wood was stained with very "transparent natural pine wood stain" (as written on the can) instead of using a more opaque version of natural oak. I would be happy with a darker oak as well.

All of the material is pine. Obviously, I can't simply stain over the existing stain. The very first option is to sand the existing stain down to the natural wood. This would be quite a bit of work, considering all uneven shaped panels on the doors and curves on skirting boards.

I have considered using a solvent-based paint and then applying wood grain effect (that is something like this product, but it's discontinued). There are some third-party "wood grain effect rollers or rubbers", but reviews aren't very positive.

The other options is Woodsheen - but I can't find any information on what "suitable preparation" of the surface means. Do I need to sand the existing stain?

Any other ideas how to re-colour the doors/frames/skirting?

  • 1
    I would recommend checking out the Woodworking sister site. There is a ton of finishing and refinishing info over there. Actually, this question would probably be better served there than here.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 28, 2021 at 16:39
  • 1
    Poly shades polyurethane May darken it enough to please you.
    – Kris
    Apr 28, 2021 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


Obviously, I can't simply stain over the existing stain

I dunno why not. The simple solution to making the wood a darker stain is to add more coats and/or use a darker stain. It's quite common to apply more than one coat, mix stains to get the color you're after or apply different colors in sequence. Most of the wood trim in my house has multiple coats in multiple colors, and some has been applied with many years between the trim being applied, so the color match was simply done by eye.

If you have some scraps, do some testing on those as follows:

  1. Apply one coat of the same stain, using the same technique as was used on the existing woodwork. This will give you a baseline that's as close as possible to what you currently have.
  2. Apply a second coat of the same stuff to a small portion of your sample.
  3. Apply a heavy second coat of the same stuff to a small portion of your sample.
  4. Apply a slightly darker stain to another small portion.
  5. Apply a much darker stain to yet another small portion.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Until you have the color you're after. Replicate those steps on the rest of the trim to replicate the results.

You may end up having to buy 3 or 4 different color of stains to try things out until you finally wind up with what you want. Just make sure you keep detailed notes on each sample section so you know exactly what you did so you can reproduce it when you find what you're after.

  • Because there's almost certainly a coat of varnish over the stain is why not. :)
    – isherwood
    Apr 28, 2021 at 19:32
  • Probably you need to clarify your use of the term "stain" - that you're probably referring to colored polyurethane type 'varnish' products too. Otherwise isherwood's point is valid that trying to apply a "stain" over a varnish or poly won't achieve much...
    – brhans
    Apr 28, 2021 at 21:31
  • @isherwood if that's the case, and it may well be, it wasn't specified in the question. Based on the stated point in the question that, " The wood was stained with..." and no mention of any other finish, then this answer stands. If the OP comes back to clarify that some sort of protective finish was applied over the top, then other steps will be necessary.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 29, 2021 at 10:51

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