white stain on wood

The Fun and Not-so-fun Bits: 5 Best White Stain on Wood

Choosing the best white stain on wood is the tricky bit in transitioning to white decor. You want a stark, bright white and definitely not a lighter hue to your current paint. But the market says otherwise, and you’re stuck with your third can of beige wood paint.

The ease of application and pricing Minwax White Wash Wood Color  make it a beginner-friendly choice, allowing novices to achieve a professional finish without a steep learning curve.

With over a decade of hands-on experience in woodworking and home renovations, I’ve developed a keen eye for what works in enhancing the visual appeal and functionality of various spaces.

Staining plywood is an excellent way to add color and depth to your woodwork projects. They change the feel and aesthetic of your space and can even increase the value of your property. But there are so many stains and paints in the market, and it can be tricky to pick the perfect match. 

Read on as we explore the five best wood stains the market has to offer and which one best suits your next project.

Top 5 Best White Stain for Wood

White stains look pretty similar to untrained eyes but do a little more research, and you’ll see how much they differ. Some work well indoors and peel like crazy outside, and some are just too strong for indoor use. Luckily, I’ve done the footwork for you and found the best white stains for woodwork.

Here are the five best white wood stains as they are ranked in different categories:

Product ImageProduct NameSimpleWood
What I likedWhat I did not likeLink
Minwax White Wash Wood ColorMinwax White Wash Wood ColorBest Budget Friendly– Water-based stain makes cleanup easy.
– Easy to layer with foam brush or applicator
– Quick drying
– The runny consistency can be a little messyCheck Price Here
Minwax Simply White Wood FinishMinwax Simply White Wood FinishBest for Beginners– Beginner-friendly
– Enhances and preserves wood’s natural aesthetics
– Smooth, non-blotchy application
– It is a bit tricky to cleanCheck Price Here
Unicorn Spit White Ning Gel StainUnicorn Spit White Ning Gel StainBest For Small Projects– Water-based stain makes cleanup easy.
– Easy to layer with a foam brush or applicator
– Quick drying
– Can be too diluted for some projects
– Time consuming clean-up
Check Price Here
RTG White Deck Anti-slip PaintRTG White Deck Anti-slip PaintBest for Flooring– Provides good traction for slip-free surfaces
– Quick drying in 30-45 minutes
– Low odor
– Can be too diluted for some projects
– Time consuming clean up
Check Price Here
Varathane Antique White Wood StainVarathane Antique White Wood StainBest for Versatility– Budget-friendly for large projects
– Fast drying time, around 1 hour
– Swift application and good coverage
– More of a paint than a stain
Check Price Here

Best Budget Friendly – Minwax White Wash Wood Color

Minwax 618604444 Color Wash Transparent Layering Color, White Wash, 1 Quart

I can relate to needing a woodwork renovation on a small budget, and the Minwax White Wash Wood Color has always come through. The price aside, this product is ideal for kitchen cabinets, doors, and other household woodwork. So, it can liven and give character to dull pieces in your home.

The Minwax White Wash Wood Color is water-based and pretty easy to clean – it yielded to a soap and water solution. You can stain over white paint or bare wood with a foam brush or applicator, and it dries in one hour.

What I liked

  • The cleanup is far easier because it is a water-based stain. A lifesaver for me, turning the dreaded cleanup process into a breeze, which is crucial when working on a tight schedule.
  • It layers easily with a foam brush or applicator,  allowing for a smooth application, ensuring a professional finish even for the less experienced.  
  • The stain dries pretty quickly – in about an hour! This is a game-changer, significantly speeding up the project turnaround time and allowing me to move onto the next stage without any unnecessary delays.

What I did not like

  • The runny consistency can be a little messy.

Best for Beginners – Minwax Simply White Wood Finish

Minwax 711520000 Wood Finish Simply White Gallon

The Minwax Simply White Wood Finish is the premium white stain on wood choice for anyone who is new to wood staining. Unlike many other brands in its category, this white stain highlights the wood’s natural grain and enhances its beauty. Plus, it won’t put beginners in a fix.

The Minwax Simply White Wood Finish is an oil-based finish with a smooth consistency and feel. It layers on without blotchiness, and a little stain goes a long way. 

What I liked

  • It is easy to use for beginners and eliminates the intimidation factor that comes with staining wood for the first time.  
  • Its formula enhances wood as it stains it and preserves the authentic wood aesthetic – a common concern when staining wood 
  • Its application is smooth and not blotchy and this saves time on sanding and reapplying making the staining process much more enjoyable and less time consuming. 

What I did not like

  • It is a bit tricky to clean.

Best For Small Projects – Unicorn Spit White Ning Gel Stain

Unicorn Spit 5772005 6.0 fl oz. Concentrated Jasmine Scented Stain Gel, White Ning

If you have a quick woodwork project that needs whitewashing, then the Unicorn Spit White Ning Gel Stain is your go-to. Forget the name – this white gel stain does a great job of adding a gentle white color to the wood surface. 

It is stark enough to serve as paint and stain, and by diluting it with water, you can choose the required hue. It works well indoors and outdoors, giving your wood a neat three-dimensional effect.

What I liked

  • The color is easily adjustable by diluting it with water. Allowing me to effortlessly match the exact white shade I needed for my project.
  • When I diluted it to use as a glaze, the transparency was impressive. I found this attribute particularly useful in highlighting the natural wood grain while achieving that desired whitewashed effect.
  • This white stain on wood is easy to use. Its user-friendly nature was a time-saver, making the staining process straightforward and enjoyable.

What I did not like

  • In some occasions I felt that the product as a bit to dilluated 
  • It is rather tricky to clean

Best for Flooring: RTG White Deck Anti-slip Paint

RTG Deck, Porch, & Patio Anti-Slip Paint (Quart, White)

If your next project is a white deck, the RTG White Deck Anti-slip Paint is worth a try. It is a textured, fast-drying paint that’ll secure your footing as you tread. This stain is great for decks, porches, stairs, and other surfaces that get slippery when wet.

I easily stained our patio deck with a roller, and the water-based formula glossed on smoothly. It has a low-odor profile, and its traction material isn’t abrasive like most other anti-slip stains. It dried within 30 minutes and has sat on our patio ever since.

What I liked

  • The paint has good traction and provided an extra layer of safety, ensuring a slip-free surface, which was particularly reassuring during wet conditions on our patio deckd 
  • It dries within 30-45 minutes:  This rapid drying time allowed me to see the results faster and made the process efficient, which is invaluable when you’re keen to enjoy your newly refreshed space.
  • It doesn’t have a harsh or offensive odor: I found this to be a breath of fresh air, literally, as it made the application process much more pleasant compared to other products with strong, lingering odors.

What I did not like

  • Some edges of the patio had peeled in streaks 
  • The coverage can be better 

Best for Versatility – Varathane Antique White Wood Stain

Varathane 297424 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Quart, Antique White

The Varathane Antique White Wood Stain is the guy at work who wears many hats. It is an oil-based stain that sufficiently slathers on white paint with only one coat. It works well with virtually all interior projects, with one that can cover up to 275 feet.

The thick oil-based stain is perfect for woodwork like doors, cabinets, and furniture. And the best part is how easily it cleans – it yields under a good soap and water mixture. I used it on white stained cabinets to solidify the color and enhance the wood’s beauty.

What I liked

  • One can of the stain cover a wide area of space:  This aspect was a budget-saver, as I could cover a lot of ground with just one can, making it a cost-effective choice for larger projects. 
  • The drying time is only around 1 hour, allowing me to move on to other tasks or apply a second coat swiftly if needed.
  • The stain is easy to apply and has good coverage, taking the  hassle out of the staining process, and the solid coverage meant I didn’t have to go over the same area multiple times.
  • This white stain on wood is intense enough to make different hues by diluting. I appreciated the versatility in color options as it allowed for customizing the hue to match the desired aesthetic effortlessly.. 

What I did not like

  • Due to its opacity, it is more of a paint than a stain
  • The white paint came slightly darker than I expected 

Our Verdict – Minwax White Wash Wood Color

I tested out some of the top stains in each category, and the Minwax White Wash Wood Color came out on top. Aside from being an absolute steal for the price, it is easy to use and far easier to clean.

It adds so much depth and character to the woodwork that it can almost sell as an antique. Don’t worry about large projects – this white wood floor stain won’t hurt your pocket. 

Buyers Guide to Choose the Best White Wood Stain

Here is a guide that should steer you through the white stain aisles, helping you pick the one that’ll make your woodwork sing. Remember, every project is a new adventure, and the right stain is your trusty companion on this journey.

1.Identify Your Terrain:

Indoor vs. Outdoor:

Are you jazzing up the indoor furniture or giving the deck a fresh vibe? Indoor stains are great for furniture, cabinets, while outdoor stains are your go-to for decks and outdoor settings, ready to brave the weather.

2.Know the Wood You’re Working With:

Different woods respond differently to stains. It’s like they each have their own personality! Softwoods like pine or fir can absorb stains unevenly, so a pre-stain wood conditioner might be a good companion.

3.Oil or Water – The Base Matters:

Oil-Based Stains: They’re like the marathon runners, long-lasting with a rich finish, ideal for areas that see a lot of action.

Water-Based Stains: The sprinters in the stain world, quick to dry and easy to clean up, with a friendlier odor to boot.

4. Applicator of Choice:

Are you a brush aficionado, a roller enthusiast, or a spray aficionado? Brushes offer control for the meticulous, rollers make quick work of large areas, and sprayers cover uneven terrain with ease.

5. Color and Consistency:

Dive into the color palette, but remember, the consistency and color can slightly vary between brands. Some stains offer adjustable color by dilution, letting you play artist with the hue. Your wood’s grain and color also join this dance, affecting the final look.

Unique Hacks for Applying White Stains on Wood

Once you’ve selected your perfect white stain, the next hurdle is the application. Without the right methods, you can find yourself staining, sanding, and staining all over again.

Use these tips and tricks to get you whitewashing like a pro:

  • Sanding: This first step is optional if you’re staining wood that has already been painted white. If you’re working with bare wood, however, then send it with 180-grit sandpaper 
  • Precondition: Preconditioning wood helps prepare it for the staining process. So, brush on a layer of quality pre-conditioner to cover the entire wood surface,
  • Staining: Now that we’ve preconditioned our wood, staining is so much easier. With a brush, glaze over the wood surface with the white paint, making sure to create even layers.
  • Top coat: After the stain has dried, you’ll need a top coat that won’t cause your newly white surface to be yellow. I’d recommend the Rust-Oleum Chalked Protective Topcoat because it has a low-odor profile and dries in just 30 minutes. Apply a layer of topcoat to your white wood surface, and you’re done.

Let’s Rewind…

Picking out the ideal white stain on wood can be a mental jawbreaker. If you don’t know what to look for, you might find yourself in a tiring loop (with some annoying-looking furniture). 

Luckily, with a little research and matching, you can find the best pearly white stain for your project. Play around with brands and try different mixtures and layering techniques. We can’t wait for your newest masterpiece.

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

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