DIY, Home Renovation

Gel Stain

I am a storyteller.  I love to make people laugh.  I am very animated.  For these reasons, some might label me as “dramatic” in the theatrical sense of the word.  However, in my opinion I am not a dramatic person in daily life.  It is difficult to excite me.  I am generally very calm and level.  Unless I discover something that makes my life better.  Then I can get just as excited as a teenage girl shopping for a prom dress.  Enter gel stain.

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I am not talking about any gel stain.  If you’re thinking right now, “Oh yeah! Sure! I’ve used gel stain!”, and you’re not able and willing to join with me in applause and joyful singing over the magical attributes of this miraculous product- then you haven’t used the right gel stain.

General Finishes gel stain.  I dance inside when I say it.  I’m not kidding.  Ah-mazing stuff.  I purchased it on amazon here.   When I first saw the price per quart, I thought it was ridiculously overpriced.  Until.  I used it.  Wowza.  The stuff is never ending.  It goes on and on and on.

Not only does it last forever, but what it covers is astonishing in and of itself.  It literally inspired me to start blogging.  I could talk about it ad nauseam. In fact I’m pretty sure every time the subject gets remotely close to staining something, my husband braces himself for my excitement level to rise.

Let me just show you why I get so excited.  Just check out these identical doors, essentially a before and after gel stain.

The door first looked like this:

It had layers and layers of paint applied to it over the years.  After stripping, sanding, and scraping the paint, the door looked like this:

It still had remnants of paint in the cracks that were impossible to remove.  I was skeptical that the gel stain could cover it.  After putting latex gloves on, and using an old sock as a “glove”, I got to work.  I simply dipped the sock glove into the General Finishes Java gel stain (after thoroughly stirring the stain), and applied just a tiny bit to the bare wood.  I am telling you, a little bit goes a very long way.  Just look at the difference:

You can see the paint in the cracks, and how the gel stain covers right over it.  I couldn’t believe it.  I still can’t believe it.

Isn’t that beautiful?

This stain was key in so many of our projects while restoring a 1929 foursquare farmhouse.  We had to replace a few of the stair treads in this old house, and trying to find century old pine to match the existing stair treads would be nearly impossible.  After using “regular” stain on the stair treads, they looked like this:

Horrible!  I wanted to cry.  It screamed, “I don’t match!  I’m new wood with crappy regular stain!”  Until I read a blog on Pinterest about this amazing product.  I am so thankful that I did!  The picture below shows the difference between the top stair, which has gel stain added, and the bottom two stairs, which have regular stain applied.

Doesn’t it make you feel happy inside?  You can actually see in the can to notice it’s pudding-like consistency.

I was so happy, I danced a dance.  I am forever a fan of this product.  After the stain, all the stairs needed were a few coats of polyurethane (we used this and were very happy with the results), and some white paint.  Here we go:

That’s better.

In the upstairs of this house, I wanted to leave all of the woodwork in it’s beautiful natural state.  Except-it wasn’t beautiful.  It looked like this:

Well that’s nasty.  Of course, by now, I know what to do!

Again, I simply wiped a dab of gel stain over the existing woodwork after cleaning it a bit, and the woodwork looked amazing.  It looked like I had slaved for days restoring this worn out woodwork to it’s previous glory.  However, it was just as easy to stain it as it was to clean it.  Actually, staining was much easier than the cleaning.  After painting the room, the woodwork looked stunning.  Brand new.

In the end, I used one quart for three bedrooms worth of woodwork, multiple doors, the stairs, and many random projects.  I literally could not believe it.  Have any of you ever used this stuff?  What did you think?

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