Stain removed with wipe on poly

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Forum topic by touchofcharacter posted 02-16-2017 01:26 PM 745 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View touchofcharacter's profile


2 posts in 950 days

02-16-2017 01:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stain removal wipe on poly wood door question

I recently was commissioned to redo a old wooden front door. I stripped it down to bare wood, sanded in various grades of sandpaper up to 220 grit, used a wood conditioner prior to staining, and applied rustoleum oil based dark walnut stain. The problem came when I went to apply a wipe on poly. (I have struggled with bubbles with brush on poly) It appears that some of the stain wiped off when I applied the polyurethane. Can I sand down just the parts that were affected? The door took over 30 hours of work up to this point so I really don’t want to start again. However, I want to make sure my client gets the best product possible. Any suggestions?

6 replies so far

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1370 days

#1 posted 02-16-2017 02:19 PM

Solvent based topcoats will partially dissolve most stains, especially oil based. Usually this is no a problem, as the effect is a slight lightening overall of the stain color. It only happens on the first coat of the finish.

From you picture, it looks like there are spots with no stain? Not sure what is going on there, but if the finish removed all the stain from some spots, those spots were not properly prepped and the stain never penetrated. In that case, you do need to resand those areas, restain and reapply the top coat.

In case you want a shortcut, here’s a trick. apply stain to those spots, let it dry. They use a spray varnish to put down a protective layer. Then apply additional coats as needed.

BTW, wipe on poly is probably not the best for an exterior door if that’s what you are doing. Since you are already committed, plan on applying about 10 coats. A marine varnish (available at a marine/boating store) would be better—more UV resistance and more flexibility to deal with moisture changes.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View Aj2's profile


2434 posts in 2283 days

#2 posted 02-16-2017 02:26 PM

To me it looks like you lifted the stain off some fillers or what ever the white stuff is.
I also agree with sawdustdad poly is not good for a exterior door.I recommend generals finish 450. Instead of marine stuff.
Good luck

-- Aj

View touchofcharacter's profile


2 posts in 950 days

#3 posted 02-16-2017 04:19 PM

Well I threw caution to the wind and sanded those areas down and restrained. They look good. Praise the Lord! I was figuring on doing quite a few coats of wipe on polyurethane but I will definitely look into something more sturdy. Thanks guys!

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 1054 days

#4 posted 02-16-2017 04:57 PM

A 11/2-2lb cut of Shellac over an oil based stain will seal the stain then cover with your oil based Poly.

View Kirk650's profile


663 posts in 1233 days

#5 posted 02-16-2017 09:16 PM

Yes, I’d put a coat of shellac over the stain prior to the top coat of varnish.

View Jonczyk23's profile


7 posts in 1022 days

#6 posted 02-19-2017 09:12 PM

Get a can of spray lacquer and seal it up nice, it won’t take the stain off, then you can wipe on poly after giving it a slight sanding 400 grit, worked well for a job I did with gel stain

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