How to Stain Baseboard Molding

pile of baseboard trim pieces
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-300
What You'll Need
Unfinished baseboard molding
Stain of your choice
Stain conditioner
Paintbrush or cloth rags
Polyurethane varnish or wood polish
What You'll Need
Unfinished baseboard molding
Stain of your choice
Stain conditioner
Paintbrush or cloth rags
Polyurethane varnish or wood polish

Staining your baseboard molding is a great way to add to the décor of your room. Baseboard molding can be a simple method to hide the line where the wall and floor connect or be an elaborate and decorative accent to the room. Your choice for staining it will dictate how well it either blends with the surroundings or stands out. With a little know-how and the proper materials, you can complete this do-it-yourself project successfully.

Types of Wood Stain

Applying stain to wood

There are basically two types of wood stain:

  • Film-forming stains form protective layers on wood surfaces creating a high-gloss and durable finish. These stains can be quite expensive and are used primarily for high-end wood furniture.
  • Penetrating stains seep into the wood allowing for extended protection below the surface area. These make for excellent outdoor use and help prevent mildew.

Water or Oil Based?

  • Water-based stains are easy to clean up and do not have a strong odor.
  • Oil-based stains are easy to work with and the long drying time makes it easy to create the look you want before the stain sets.

Step 1 - Choose a Stain

You can be directed in your decision-making process by what you wish to accomplish. Do you want strictly functional or do you wish to add a decorative element to the room? If purely functional, select a color that helps the molding blend into the wall. Choose a stain and a finish that is durable enough to stand up to foot kicks or furniture bumps since the primary need is to hide the wall-to-floor connection and help protect the wall.

Step 2 - Apply a Conditioner

It’s a good idea to apply a stain conditioner first. Allow it to dry for 30 minutes before proceeding. This helps to reduce blotchy spots and create an even absorption and a uniform look.

Step 3 - Ventilate

Make sure you work in a well-ventilated room to prevent any inhalation of harmful fumes. If you can, work outdoors for safety purposes, but make sure it is a clear, non-windy day.

Step 4 - Choose Your Paintbrush

Use a rag for quick application on molding that is flat and wide. Use a paintbrush for molding that is either decorated, embossed, or stamped to access crevices, curves, and raised areas.

Step 5 - Coat Applications

paint brushes on cans of stain

Wipe or paint one a primary coat, always working in the direction of the grain. Allow sufficient drying time before applying another coat. Check to make sure you apply an even coat so you do not create darker areas along the way by sitting your applicator in one spot. Remain fluent in your application avoiding letting your applicator remain stationary at any time.

Step 6 - Apply Protective Coat

After the stain has dried, apply a protective varnish coating or wood polish.

Use a breathing mask to provide greater safety.