Rated 3.4 out of 5 by 16
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Brendan2014 Great product
This stain was the first water based stain I have used, and it made a great first impression on me. First off, like many water based products, this stain has next to no odor making it much easier on my family when I decide to do some staining. Water cleanup is a huge perk as well. Finally, I've heard conflicting reviews about how this stain looks on the wood. In my experience, it went on smoothly and had absolutely no blotching. I used the Polycrylic finish on top of the stain and it finished up beautifully. I should mention that when I used this, I also used the water based pre-stain conditioner. At first I felt as though the pre-stain conditioner was just a money grab or not worth the money for the benefits it provided, but after doing some tests with and without the pre-stain conditioner it is easy to see why there have been negative reviews of this stain. Without the pre-stain conditioner, this stain is practically useless. It goes on blotchy and will effectively ruin your project immediately. However, with the use of the pre-stain conditioner, this stain went on smoother and more evenly and beautifully than any stain I have used previously. I would highly recommend this product.
October 16, 2014
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by BenH If you use this stain, you might as well just paint over your wood and save the agony. The stain comes in too thick, and rather than penetrating the wood, it completely obliterates the natural wood grain and depth. I've tried it on maple and oak. The result is a patchy shade with little wood grain showing through, even though I wiped off the stain right away per instructions. There are other water-based products that do a much better job.
July 28, 2014
Rated 3.0 out of 5.0 by TexasDIYer Terrible if you follow directions - if you don't it's great
I bought this to stain a pine table - I wanted a darker look, so choose Toffee color.
I put the first coat on, and it was super blotchy - absolutely impossible to get the brush marks out and it generally looked terrible.
Then my wife read the reviews here - so I followed their advice, I watered it down 60% stain, 40% water - and wow what a difference - once watered down it looks like stain and goes on like stain. I literally applied with a stain sponge, then wiped off several seconds later - no blotches, no uneven color it looked great. I wanted a slightly darker color, so after 30 minutes I repeated the same exercise and it darkened up but still looked great, you could see the grain of the wood, but it was nicely stained.
Bottom line, don't use this product undiluted, it goes on like paint - and I will be sanding down the first piece I did so I can do it properly.
This was my method, hope it helps some of you out:
1) Progressively sand down to 220 grit
2) Wipe with a rag soaked in mineral spirits to remove dust
3) Once dry, use MinWax water based wood conditioner - apply quite a lot (surface should be milky colored) then after 5 minutes remove excess with kitchen towels
4) Leave 15 minutes and sand surface with 220 grit wet/dry sand paper
5) Use microfiber fleece cloth to remove any dust from above
6) Use diluted (60% stain/40% water) mix of MinWax stain and apply with a stain sponge pad. I put a reasonable amount on, then immediately wiped it off with the dry part of the same pad. Color was consistent and no blotches after this stage.
7) I wanted a darker color, so after 30 minutes, I repeated step 6 with the same procedure.
After 2 coats the color is what I wanted, I can see the grain of the wood - and it's 100% consistent. I will now leave it to dry for 12-24 hours, then apply polyurethane.
Hope that helps some of you out - and thanks to the people that said dilute it - without this the product is like paint rather than a stain, and that is not the look I was going for.
May 16, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by AustinH Like other reviewers have said, you must dilute.
I have used this stain for many projects over the last few years. The largest of which was staining a 12x22 floor. I have gotten fairly good results with the stain as is, but it was a lot of hard work, every time. Most times involved at least a partial re-sanding and starting over to get good results. Recently I read the reviews when looking for a different stain, and saw the recommendations about diluting it. I tried it on a floating shelving project (> 300 sq. ft.) and was blown away by the ease of application. Diluting to about 60/40 or 50/50 (I wasn't exact), I was able to apply the stain (with a high quality synthetic brush) much thinner than before, but with greater coverage for each stroke. Wiping it off was smooth and left no blotchiness or splotches. I was able to achieve the same results in minutes than the hours it used to take me because of constantly having to redo my work.
March 24, 2015
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Scooter Used on knotty barnside paneling
I used straight out of can. Didn't see the part about diluting . Paneling I'm using is an lp product only sold at lowed and has very deep nooks and crannies. Of course making it difficult for any method. I ended up rolling in, then quickly brushing over to help distribute
Then immediatly used a rag as final method
Reasoning is because it would stay in the grooves of my paneling and I was afraid of how it may have looked if I didnt
Pros , final product once dry looks amazing
VERY LITTLE ODOR! Very important as I'm doing this in a small barely ventilated cabin.
Has no sheen once dried unlike the Valspar premixed products
Can't mention any cons but the panels I'm working on are unique and rustic looking so can't speak for anything else , thought maybe this helps
November 20, 2015
Rated 2.0 out of 5.0 by Rookie Be Careful
If you follow Minwaxs directions you may as well just paint it, because that's what it will look like.
Short and to the point, this product is a dye not a stain. But there's an easy way to get amazing results, Make sure you treat the wood with at least 1 GOOD coat of water base wood conditioner, 2 coats on end grain and let dry 24 hours. thin the stain by adding 40% distilled water. Apply with a bristle brush for latex paint. If you want a richer and darker tone do a second application. Let it dry for 24 hours.
May 1, 2013
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by DoItMyselfEr Exceeded my expectations
Our home was built in the 1940's. We gutted it down to the original block walls that it was built with. I was looking for an old, used, and abused, yet still new look for our replacement oak doors and molding. I thought the water based stain would give the appearance of the worn look I was trying to achieve. It turned out amazing! I will continue to buy this product until my home is completely remodeled.
August 2, 2014
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by AshleyMP In Island Blue
My husband and I purchased the Minwax water based stain when we were redoing our barrister cabinet. We opted for the Island Blue tint and we couldn't be happier!
First, a couple of hints -
1. DO mix with the 40/60 ratio. Honestly, it makes all the difference. We didn't even try using the full-strength stain, but when held up to the color chart the 40/60 ratio is IDENTICAL to what is shown as a sample.
2. DO use a foam brush. This is of course subject (I cannot stain with tee-shirt or cloth. Ever. It's a guaranteed disaster!) I love the way the foam equally distributes the stain -- the trick is, apply the first heavy coat liberally, and then going back and letting the brush do the work for you to "delete" brush strokes -- one long continuous motion brushed up at the end.
As for the color ... because that's important ...
I found Island water to have a beautiful range of hues and shades. In the can it looks like "painters tape blue" and that can be unnerving, but once it's on the piece and has had time to dry, the color is absolutely gorgeous! The base/primary is a rich, yet translucent navy, but you do have lighter hints of teal and aqua. My husband think it looks almost like an "oil slick" in color -- with different parts visible in different light.
On a side note: I have been refinishing furniture for five years, my primary go-to is always paint, but having explored and played with this stain, I'll definitely use it again in the future, it's that awesome.
May 31, 2014