How do I fix a clogged spray valve?

If valve clogs, twist and pull off spray tip and rinse it in a solvent such as mineral spirits. 
Do not stick a pin or other objects into the stem.

Do I have to apply a clear coat after staining?

While staining creates a rich, deep color that highlights natural wood grain, it does not provide long-term protection. Without a protective top coat, wood can be damaged easily due to contact with water, food, or sharp objects. A polyurethane top coat protects the wood from scratches, stains and water damage. A Spar Varnish should be used on outdoor wood to protect it from weather damage and UV rays.

Do I need a Pre-Stain or Wood Conditioner?

Pre-Stain or Wood Conditioner is often used on soft wood like pine. The inconsistent porous nature of soft woods can result in a stain finish that is blotchy or uneven. Wood conditioner or pre-stain acts as a base coat before staining by filling in the wood pores for more even color coverage.

How do I apply stain?

  • STEP 1: Before applying, test the color in an inconspicuous area to ensure it’s the color you want. Make sure the wood is the same type as the rest of your piece.
  • STEP 2: Stir the contents thoroughly before use. Some stain color may settle at the bottom of the can so it is important to stir thoroughly, just like you would for paint.

Next apply the stain using a high quality synthetic bristle brush, foam brush or clean, lint-free cloth. We prefer a lint-free cloth as it allows greater control during the application process. Apply the stain liberally in the direction of the grain until the wood is saturated on top. Allow the stain to set on the wood according to manufacturer’s directions. We recommend 5 minutes for Varathane Wood Stain. For less color wipe immediately; for more color allow the full 5 minutes for absorption. Do not let the stain set longer than 5 minutes as it will begin to dry.

  • STEP 3: Wipe off the excess stain in the direction of the wood grain. Allow the stain to dry according to label directions before applying a protective clear top coat such as a polyurethane or lacquer.

How much sanding is necessary?

Sanding is an important step that can affect the overall aesthetic outcome of your wood project. Start by selecting the right sandpaper. Inferior paper will wear out quickly, load up rapidly with sanding dust and create broad, deep scratches that are difficult to remove.

    STEP 1: Start with the coarsest grit of sandpaper (80- to 100-grit) to remove any large scratches. We think that it’s okay to use a random-orbital sander, but some purists claim that all sanding should be done by hand. You can decide what’s best for your project.

Always sand in the direction of the wood grain, never against. Remove sanding dust before moving onto the next round of sandpaper. Sanding dust can be removed using a lint-free cloth lightly dampened with mineral spirits.

    STEP 2: Now move to 120 to 150-grit paper and sand entire surface. Remove the sanding dust.

    STEP 3: Finally move to fine 180-grit sandpaper for a final sweep over the wood surface. Remember to remove all sanding dust before beginning the stain application.

How do I apply polyurethane?

Polyurethane should be applied using a high quality brush. The polyurethane should be applied in light, even coats, always brushing with the grain. Create a thin overlap from coat to coat but do not over brush. Three coats are recommended for adequate durability. Follow dry times noted on the product packaging.

How do I know my surface is ready for a coating application?

Complete a porosity check by pouring a small amount of clean water on the deck surface. The water should soak into the wood readily, if the water beads on the surface then further cleaning will be required before moving forward.

How do I properly prepare my deck?

Remove all coatings/stains from the wood. Pressure washer to remove all residue and debris - a water hose is not sufficient.  Pressures wash to remove all cleaning residue and debris. Pour a small amount of water on the wood surface. The water should soak into the wood readily. If it beads on the surface further cleaning is required. At this point the wood should be allowed to dry for 48 hours. Sand wood using 80-120 grit paper on the vertical surfaces and 60-80 grit paper on the horizontal surfaces. Use leaf blower or similar to remove all dust and debris before coating. 'Wet-out' the surface and keep moist for maximum spread rates while coating. Avoid standing water and do not spray on applied product. Check the weather forecast to avoid rain for 48 hours following application of products.

How do I pre-condition my wood surface prior to application?

Before coating, mist the surface with water. This helps the coating penetrate into wood as it dries. If it is hot and/or sunny, you may need to re-mist as you work.

How long after the application process should I stay off my deck?

Once the product is applied to your surface, stay off the surface for at least 24 hours after coating; deck furniture can be returned in 72 hours. The coatings take about 2 weeks to fully cure.

Are there any weather requirements to consider before installing my new coating?

Apply when surface and air temperature is between 50 and 90° F and will remain between 50 and 90° F for at least 72 hours (day and night) after application. Do not apply this product if rain is forecasted in the next 24 hours.

What prep is required for additional coats?

Ensure surface is free of debris and contaminants. Lightly pre-wet the surface and apply.

How can I touch up the surface?

Ensure surface is free of debris and contaminants and touch up the remaining areas.

Should certain brushes be used with certain paints?

Generally, there are two types of paint brushes: those made of natural-hair bristles and those made with synthetic materials (usually nylon or polyester). Natural bristle brushes are preferred for use with solvent-based (oil- or alkyd-based) paints, especially for enamel or finish work. Natural bristles are hollow and can absorb the water contained in a latex paint, causing them to swell and become soft and limp (like your own hair when it’s wet).

Most synthetic brushes work well with both latex and solvent-based paints, but always check the manufacturer’s recommendations on the brush. Some of the solvents used in solvent-based paints can break down the composition of a synthetic bristle.

A barrel of stain has been used at same moment but the wood products do not have same tone color.


  • The stain has not been stir-well before mixing and during the spraying process.
  • Painter did not widespread spray and/or the spraying gun was not adjusted correctly.
  • Wood material has variety of color.

Corrective action:

  • Stir-well before and during the use.
  • Follow the finishing steps exactly, adjust the spraying gun properly.
  • The equalizer stain might be used to control the color of wood material.

Aren’t all paints basically the same?

No they are not. Different types of paints perform different functions. Some have better moisture resistance, some have better color and gloss retention, etc.

Is an expensive brush really that much better than a cheap one?

High-quality or more expensive brushes have distinct advantages over the cheaper ones. First of all, a high-quality brush will finish the job more quickly. This is because a top-quality brush has the ability to "hold" more paint in reservoir, which means you will spend less time "painting the can" than applying the paint to the surface.

Also, a top-quality brush will have a tapered end, which means there are shorter bristles on the outside and longer bristles in the center. Tapered bristles give the painter more control over where and how much paint goes onto the surface.

A top-quality brush will also not shed bristles like a cheaper brush, because of how firmly the bristles are seated in the ferrule (the metal band that attaches the bristles to the handle).

The quality of a brush is also determined by the material used as plugs (space plugs inside the ferrule that bond the bristles in the ferrule, add taper to the bristles, and finally create "wells" in the center of the bristles to hold paint) in the ferrule.

How should I care for my brush so that it maintains its performance level use after use?

Clean it immediately after use with paint thinner or kerosene for bristle brushes, soap and water for nylon/polyester brushes. Use a brush comb to clean and straighten the bristles. Don’t soak your brush for extended periods of time or it may lose its shape. If possible, store your brush by hanging it and don’t store a brush on its tips.

Pin holes and bubble on coating surface


  • The solvent evaporate too fast.
  • Drying place has too high temperature and without air-blow.
  • The lacquer cause foam after sturdy stir.
  • Too high moisture content in wood material or desiccating too much.
  • Too many layers of lacquers sprayed on wood surface (with pin holes) at the same time.

Corrective action:

  • Use suitable solvent for each kind of weather.
  • Temperature at drying place must be keep from 28-34OC with air blowing.
  • Stir speed should be low to prevent bubble/foam in lacquer.
  • Moisture content must be at 8-16% before spraying.
  • Apply 02 layers on pin holes surface; the minimum duration should be 60 seconds between them.

What type of brush should I use if both oil- and water-based paints are being applied?

Nylon and polyester blend paint brushes work well in both oil- and water-based paints.

Top coating looks like “orange peel”


  • Lacquer’s solid too high, the ford cup should be used to measure the viscosity. The viscosity must be matched with eject needle of spraying gun.
  • Drying place has too high temperature.
  • Insufficient in solvent.
  • Air compression is not strong enough.

Corrective actions:

  • Mix the lacquer with proper ratio.
  • Temperature at drying place must be kept from 28-34OC with air blowing.
  • Use suitable solvent. Unless the “orange peel” disappear, addition of 5-10% fungicide is required.
  • Adjust the compressor to higher level.

The solid of lacquer becomes so high before/after using


  • Because of oxidation.
  • Lacquers evaporated when keeping in stock.
  • Solvent used is not suitable with lacquer.

Corrective actions:

  • Add more suitable solvent.
  • Use the ford cup to measure the viscosity.

Top coating scratches and/or peels off easily


  • Coating is not fully dried.
  • Drying chamber does not have suitable temperature.
  • Finishing steps were not followed properly.

Corrective actions:

  • Leave the surface at drying place until reach full dried, normally in 48 hours.
  • Follow the finishing steps exactly.

Gloss is undesired


  • The surface still rough after sanding, dust was not cleaned carefully.
  • The top layer too thin, the compression too high and the adhesion too low.
  • The spraying place is not airy, the solvent evaporates and bleach the top layer.
  • Low quality thinner, solvent has low boiling point.
  • The coating was not fully dried before polishing or polish wax was too rough.
  • The environment has high moisture content and low temperature.

Corrective actions:

  • Surface must be sanded until it turns smooth, clean the surface thoroughly.
  • The top layer must has the appropriate thickness, control the adhesion of lacquer.
  • The spraying place and drying place must be airy.
  • Choose the thinner with medium drying speed.
  • Wait until the topcoating full dry before sanding.
  • Spraying should be executing in environment with balance moisture content and temperature.