How to Finish Oak Wainscoting
If you're lucky enough to have oak wainscoting, you have a beautiful architectural feature in your home. Wainscoting has traditionally been used in dining rooms but in modern decorating schemes you may see it in any room or up stairwells.
Wainscoting is wood that usually goes half way up the wall and is finished with wood trim called a chair rail. The wainscoting may be plain or have medallions, wooden frame-like trim or a combination of these features.
Highlight the Natural Wood Tone
If you have oak wainscoting, you most likely will want to finish it to highlight the beauty of the oak since it is a popular wood used in homes these days and has an incredible grain. Generally oak is a golden color, and may be finished to highlight that golden hue or stained slightly to darken it or make it more golden depending upon your taste.
If you want to stain it, use a good oil-based stain and apply it per directions with a foam brush or soft cloth. Leave it on for about 10 minutes, then wipe clean with a rag. After the stain dries you may wish to repeat this if you want the color darker. Then seal and protect the wood with two coats of varnish, especially if the room gets a lot of traffic. It will protect the wood and also make it cleanable with just a damp rag.