6 Tips for Painting and Staining Maple Lumber

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  • 4-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25-50

Maple lumber has a beautiful wood grain and is a popular choice for cabinets and furniture in the home. However, from time to time, you may want to change the color of the paint or stain on items made of maple, and you'll need to know how to properly do it in order to achieve the best result. Therefore, this article will offer some tips on how to get the best paint or stain finish with Maple lumber.

1. Avoid Paint or Stain When Possible

If at all possible, you should leave maple in its natural state unless it was pre-finished or pre-stained by the manufacturer. Maple is a true hardwood with a very thin grain that makes it harder for paint or stain to soak into the wood as easily as it would with open grain woods such as cherry or walnut. In almost all cases, you may want to consider simply protecting the original Maple wood color finish with a durable polyurethane clearcoat finish, rather than applying a different colored stain or paint to the hardwood.

2. Prepping Maple Wood Is Key

If you have determined that you need to change the color of maple wood, you'll need to make sure that you properly prepare the wood before painting. Before staining or painting maple wood, you should create a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine in like proportions. Then, take an old towel and rub the entire surface of the maple wood that is to be painted with the mixture. Immediately take a dry towel and wipe off the excess and allow it to set in and try at least 12 hours before painting. This will help create a better bond between the wood and primer or paint that will be applied later.

3. Use an Oil Based Primer that Fills

If you must paint Maple lumber, apply a slow drying oil-based primer before you do so. Use a good quality nylon brush to apply the primer, and then sand the primer completely smooth before painting. Because Maple doesn't accept paint as readily as some other types of open grain hardwoods, a high-quality primer is a must when painting this type of wood.

4. Slow Drying Enamel is Best for Maple

When painting Maple, use a slow drying enamel paint. maple wood will not soak up the paint as easily as open grained woods such as cherry or walnut. Therefore, using an oil-based enamel will keep the paint from drying out too fast while it is binding with the surface of the wood. You can also add about half a cup of a linseed oil/turpentine mixture to the oil-based enamel to create a better bond between the wood and the paint as well.

5. Avoid Lap Marks

When painting maple wood, it is always best to use a high-quality nylon brush rather than a roller. However, maple does show lap marks more easily than other types of hardwood. Therefore, when painting with a brush, you always want to make sure that you paint with a wet edge on the brush and avoid overlapping strokes too much because paint buildup shows up easily on Maple lumber or wood.

6. Sanding and More Sanding May Be Required

Because the maple doesn't soak up paint so fast, paint buildup can be a problem with Maple. Therefore, you should be ready to sand in between coats of paint with high grit sandpaper to knock down areas of paint that have built up too much.