You’re finally done constructing that chair or table you’ve been working on for some time. You’ve rounded all the sharp edges and sanded the surface, leaving it looking magnificent. But you still haven’t decided what type of wood stain to use. How about gel stain? Is it better than most wood stains? There are many reasons why gel stain is better than customary wood stain, but how long does it take to dry? Here we will cover everything you need to know about gel stain, including how long it takes to dry.
How Long Does Gel Stain Take To Dry?
Similar to other stains, it usually requires 8 to 24 hours to dry. The timeline is broad because you might want to apply a few coats, and depending on the opaqueness you wish to accomplish, it might take a bit more time to dry. Make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions closely before applying.
Factors That Affect Drying Time
While gel stain will take 8 to 24 hours to dry, several factors affect the rate at which it dries. For those who prefer to be extra careful, you should wait for up to 72 hours before applying polyurethane. Here are some of the variables that impact gel stain drying time.
When you’re looking for the ideal gel stain, you will go through different products from different manufacturers. Here you will find not all products have the same drying durations.
Some types of gel stain require several hours to dry before applying the second coat or polyurethane, while others can take up to 24 hours to dry completely.
Temperature is another factor that impacts gel stain’s drying time. Typically, the suitable temperature for a normal stain is anywhere from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, the perfect temperature for gel stain to dry is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t forget to check the product’s instructions since manufacturers utilize different stain bases, impacting the time it takes to dry.
If you are in a rush and want the stain to dry quickly, leave your already stained furniture out when the humidity ranges from 45% to 70%. If the humidity is lower or higher than this, the gel stain will take a longer time to dry. In addition, you can utilize a dehumidifier set at 50% to speed up the process. You can grab one here on Amazon.
The amount of air flowing in and out of the room you’ve placed the furniture is also paramount. Place it in a properly ventilated room to make the drying process fast. Also, if you own an exhaust fan, you could turn it on. You can as well open the windows and door if you don’t have an exhaust fan.
Interior vs. Exterior Stains
Typically, the time it takes for these two to dry is different due to the environment. When it comes to interior stains, the air is quite warm and can be regulated with a reduced humidity level. However, this will depend on where you reside. This stain takes approximately 6 to 24 hours to dry.
On the other hand, the exterior takes more time to dry, mostly from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the weather. This is because the outside climate has different temperatures at different times and can have variations of up to 20 degrees.
How to Apply Wood Stain
Now that you know how long it will take for gel stain to dry, let’s delve into how to apply it.
Applying it is pretty straightforward. Firstly, prepare your furniture by sanding it properly. Begin by using 100-grit sandpaper, followed by 150-grit and 200-grit sandpapers. Make sure you follow the instructions written on the grain. When it comes to gel stains, you don’t need to sand too much.
When you’re done sanding, dust off the furniture, and use a cloth dipped in mineral spirit to get rid of any stubborn dust particles. Using a brush, apply wood conditioner on the furniture to stop any weird blemishes from developing once you apply the wood stain. Give the wood conditioner 15 to 120 minutes to dry. Wipe any excess wood conditioner that wasn’t absorbed by the wood.
Using a stick, adequately stir the stain to mix all the ingredients before dipping your brush to begin applying. Apply gently to your furniture using a rag or brush. Use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess stain when you’re done.
As you wipe off the excess stain, move in the same direction as the wood’s grain. Give it at least 8 hours to dry before you apply a second coat. Check to see if it is dry before applying the 2nd coat; if not, give it a few more hours. If you’re not in a rush, you could give it 24 hours.
Gel Stain vs. Customary Wood Stain
Gel stain is gently applied on the wood, unlike traditional stains. It’s almost the same as painting several thin layers. Traditional stains are liquid-like, while gel stain is fairly thick. Even though gel stain is very thick, once it’s dry, you can naturally feel the grain of the wood underneath it. For instance, with wood such as oak, the grain can undoubtedly be felt after staining.
With gel stain, you do not need to sand the wood too much. You can apply it over slightly sanded timber, and it will still look beautiful. The wood’s condition is not very significant in the end if you plan to use gel stain. The blotches on your timber will be less visible once you’re done applying it.
You should apply several coats with gel stain, this way you can even out any marks or unevenness with every coat. Finally, gel stain is quite thick; therefore, you can utilize it for creative purposes, such as applying it to artificial wood grain.
Gel stain is a better choice compared to the customary wood stain. But when it comes to drying, both take almost the same time, depending on the product, humidity temperature, and aeration of the room.