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Question DetailsAsked on 11/3/2016

I stained a fibergl wood grain door and varathaned it. It needs touch up with stain...do I have to strip varathane

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I commonly do minor repairs and touchups with Varathane without stripping the clear finish - just touch sand it with 400 grit sandpaper to give a bit of tooth (just break the gloss, DON'T try to get into the stain layer), then use a stain dampened but not soaking wet rag (I use dead tube socks) to rub on the stain with as few passes as you can - a light touch, because a heavy touch will just wipe it right off the varathane finish. Take several passes with complete stain drying between each coat if needed to achieve the darkness you want - you can always darken, lightening is a bit tougher but can be done with paint thinner, then after stain is totally dry (no solvent odor unless your nose is totally down in the dor), then thin coat of varathane over the repair, blending into the surrounding area as with the stain. I use a small (1/2") horsehair parts cleaning brush for this (you could use wide (1/2" range) artist's brush too) - wipingthe flat of the brush on both sides inside the can rim to remove the bulk ofthe finish, which gives far less transfer of material to the surface so you don't get a blob of finish or runs, and lets you draw it out at the edges better than a traditional painter's finish brush like polyester or camelhair brush. Larger areas - I use a throw-away polyester 1" brush.


If you are talking long streaks or skip or light areas, rather than spots or minor streaks just a few inches long, then touching it up may not be nearly invisible and may give somewhat of a subdued measles or manx look, so may require stripping the varathane and stain off and starting over to get a really good looking job - but that would be only if it is a serious percentage having problems or areas where the stain did not take at all. I would go with the touchup method - if it looks bad, you still have the stripping option available same as before.


Do NOT skip the varathane clear finish touchup - both for consistent gloss on the door, and also to prevent stain ruboff on people's clothing or dirt absorption by the stain.


Oh - and stay with the grain on your stain and finishing strokes - no diagonal or cross-grain movement unless the door texture is cross-grained.


BEFORE you start this, make sure the door surface is totally dry - if the varathane or stain is not dry yet (and took over 2 weeks for staining and clear coating on the one I just did this way at our house, plus another week for the varathane to totally cure hard, over a lighter stain, because window temp was in the 40's-50's because of outdoor low temps) it will get gummy and may not dry, and may blister the existing finish under it. If surface will get below about 45 during drying I would hold off till spring or take door off to do it in garage - because condensation on the astain or varathane while it is drying will likely cause bubbling and poor bonding, making more of a problem that you have now.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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