How to Lighten Varnished Knotty Pine Paneling

  • 6-20 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
Grit sand paper (80-, 120-, 220)
Clean rag
Vacuum cleaner
Pre-wood conditioner
Fine tip paint brush

If you are tired of the dark stain of your knotty pine paneling, then lightening it up is the best solution. What is great about pine paneling is that you can renovate it without the need to completely remove it from the walls. In fact, by doing a few simple things, you can change the look of your knotty pine paneling without spending a lot of money. To lighten varnished knotty pine panels, you will need the following materials.

Step 1 – Sand the Surface of the Knotty Pine

Remove the furniture that is close to the knotty pine panel. Attach an 80-grit sandpaper to the sander and turn it on. Sand the surface of the knotty pine panel with the handheld sander until the surface of the panel becomes smooth. Using a sander is very convenient since it allows you to complete the job in half the time. Once done, use a damp rag to wipe the surface of the dust. Sand the surface again using a 120-grit sand paper to smoothen out the surface of the pine and remove the dust using a damp rag. Let it dry before you sand it again using a 220-grit sandpaper. This renders the pine very smooth and free from the previous stain that originally adhered to it. Vacuum the sawdust from the floor and make sure that you get rid of the small debris before moving to the next step.

Step 2 – Apply the Pre-Wood Conditioner

Using a dry rag, apply ample amount of pre-wood conditioner to the surface of the panels. This step is necessary as it prevents the stain from settling on the knotty pine panels. This will prevent the pine from looking blotchy or streaked over time. Let the wood conditioner set in for 15 minutes or more before wiping it using dry clean rags.

Step 3 – Apply Stain on the Surface of the Pine Panel

Use a paintbrush or a clean rag to apply light stain on the surface of the pine panels. When you are applying the stain, it is important that you work in small sections of the panel since you need to remove the stain that you have applied after 15 minutes. Make sure that you take note of the time before removing the stain so that you will arrive with a uniform stain on the pine panel. It is important to take note that the longer the stain stays on the wood, the darker your panels become. Let it dry for 8 hours.

Step 4 – Apply a Coat of Varnish to the Surface

Once the stain has dried, apply a thin coat of varnish to the surface and let it dry for a few hours. Sand the surface with a 220-grit sandpaper, then remove the debris before you apply the second coat of varnish. Let the coat dry for two hours and make sure that the surface is no longer sticky before you move your furniture back in.

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