Both types of stain add color and durability to your projects.
Oil-based stains penetrate deeply, can be layered and cleans up with mineral spirits.
Water-based stains dry faster, have low odor and cleanup is easy with soap and water.
Cleaning up after your interior stain project doesn't have to be difficult. Preserve your brushes and tools by cleaning them thoroughly after each use. Remember, it's much easier to clean fresh, wet stain than stain that’s hardened onto your brushes.
Protect and enhance your interior wood projects with quality interior wood stain and waterproofing products from The Home Depot. We are your exclusive partner for Varathane products. Whether you're looking for oil-based wood stain, water-based wood stain, wood fillers, polyurethane, brushes or other staining accessories - we have everything you need to beautify your wood projects and help them last a long time.
Types of Interior Wood Stains
There are several types of interior stains. The one you choose really depends on the type and size of the project you’re doing. The three most common types of interior wood stains are water-based wood stains, oil-based wood stains and gel stains. Each of these will enhance the natural grain of your wood tables, cabinets or other projects. Oil-based stains are probably the most common type of stain and are frequently used for large projects. They penetrate deep into the wood, leaving a rich color. However, oil-based stains take longer to dry. Because water-based stains dry so quickly, they’re a good choice for smaller projects. Many people choose water-based wood stains simply because they have less odor and don’t require additional ventilation. Most gel stains are oil-based, but they're thicker and have a consistency like a pudding. Its thickness makes gel stain ideal for vertical wood and non-wood surfaces. Gel stains provide a very rich color and can be applied with a wipe-on or brush-on method.
Pick Your Color
There is no shortage of options, when it comes to choosing an interior stain color. From light or dark wood finishes to bright and bold greens, blues and pinks, we’ve got you covered. Our customers love the Varathane Premium stain. It is available in dozens of colors and only requires one coat. Varathane Classic interior stain comes in all the colors you've grown to love over the years. It can be layered to achieve the rich, natural color you want to achieve.
Prep, Stain and Protect
There are three key steps to any interior wood staining project: Prep, Stain and Protect. First, prepare the wood. The goal in the prep stage is to get a nice, smooth surface. You can repair any nail holes or imperfections in the wood with a food filler. Then, grab your sandpaper and start sanding. Make sure you're sanding in the direction of the wood grain. Use a tack clock to wipe off the dust. To avoid blotchiness, apply a pre-stain conditioner.
Next, you'll stain the wood. Gently stir the stain before applying liberally with a brush in the direction of the grain. Let the stain sit for about 15 minutes before wiping off the excess stain and allowing it to dry. The longer you leave the stain on, the darker the color will be.
Finally, protect your project with a wood finish or protectant. Consider a polyurethane wood finish, a shellac finish or a lacquer to give your projects that extra protection from scratches and stains. Brush on a layer of the protectant, working in the direction of the wood grain. Allow it to dry, then sand lightly and remove the dust. Repeat until you reach the desired look.
Need a little more help? Learn more in our How to Stain Wood project guide. It gives you step-by-step details on how to enhance and protect your wood pieces.
Let's Get Started
Stop by The Home Depot Store in your neighborhood to get started on your wood staining project. We have a large variety of interior wood stains and everything you need to complete your project, including wood oils, wood conditioners and wood stain markers. Plus, load up on the items you'll need for cleanup, like mineral spirits, disposable gloves and drop cloths. We make things easier for you. Get online orders filled fast at any store with free pickup in 2 hours.