I posted a question a couple months ago trying to understand the staining/finishing methods for a butchers block that I will be using as a desktop for my standing desk. I ended up buying BEHR Water-Based Stain & Poly in One - Bombay Mahogany | Gloss B6354. After reading the instructions on the back, it calls for pre-stain. I've never heard of someone pre-staining something. I thought that was what staining and finishes were for? Is it necessary that I pre-stain? What is the purpose of pre-stain?

1 Answer 1


Prestain helps the wood to more evenly absorb the color of your finish stain. It is important on wood that has very open grain that would become very dark quickly.

On many wood types for even and consistent absorption of water based stain it is a vital step. You could test how the butcher block takes the stain on the backside of your tops to see if you are satisfied with the color saturation.

This behr pre-Stain wood conditioner is recommended

  • Excellent. I appreciate the advice. I know this isn't exactly relevent to the question, but because I have "gloss" in my BEHR stain, do I need to apply a clear finish coat? I'd like for the shine to be present and have that nice smooth finish.
    – Binx
    Aug 21, 2021 at 1:51
  • 1
    The product does not need to be clear coated. You may be able to brush additional clear coats on for more durability and slicker finish
    – Kris
    Aug 21, 2021 at 2:07

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