Darkening existing wood trim


Old 01-21-16, 03:29 PM
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Darkening existing wood trim

I have a significant amount of wood trim, doors and cabinets that has yellowed / turned orange over time, more than what I like. I think it is stained poplar, with "polysomething" seal. It is in descent condition otherwise.

What would be the best product to darken it, to a more of a coffee dark brown?

What prep would you recommend?

Thanks so much!
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Old 01-21-16, 05:09 PM
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There are three approaches I have used with varying success.

First of course, is paint. Pretty full proof. Looks like....paint.

Second is a tinted polyurethane. Minwax polyshades is an example.

Third is an oil based gel stain, like the ones from General finishes. This is pretty similar to the second option, but may work better on some surfaces and conditions.

Options 2 and 3 can give you good results, but they require good prep and careful application to get good results.

I suggest you experiment with one or two products and techniques in an out of the way area like inside a cabinet or back of a door to see what you like.

Prep for all is about the same. Clean with a grease cutting cleaner or something like TSP. Lightly sand with 180 or 220 grit paper.

Since your surfaces are already sealed, you are really just putting a darker finish on top, not staining the wood. So don't expect it to look the same as wood that was stained a darker color in the beginning. The wood grain won't be as visible, and the look you get will be very dependent on how you apply, and if and how you wait before wiping off excess. That's why experimenting is important.

Good luck with your project!
Old 01-22-16, 03:08 AM
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I prefer option #2 although it can be tricky to apply. It must be applied evenly! it can't be touched up and lap marks, drips, runs will all be darker while thin or missed spots will be lighter. I'm not fond of using TSP on interior work. It's a great detergent but must be rinsed well! failure to remove the cleaner's residue can result with adhesion issues.
Old 01-22-16, 09:27 AM
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Thank you very much! Will let you know how it goes.

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