Maximizing Durability and Beauty: The Right Number of Coats for Staining a Table

By Mego Kimani •  Updated: 06/06/23 •  3 min read

Staining a table is a simple process that can help to enhance the natural beauty of the wood and protect it from damage. The key to achieving a professional-looking finish is to follow the right steps and use the right materials. In this article, we will explain the process of staining a table and discuss how many coats of stain should be applied.


Before you begin staining your table, it is important to prepare the surface properly. Start by cleaning the table with a mild detergent and water solution, and then use fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rough patches or imperfections in the wood. This will help the stain to be absorbed evenly and create a smooth, professional-looking finish.

Applying the Stain

Once your table is clean and smooth, you are ready to apply the stain. Begin by shaking the can of stain well to mix the contents and then use a clean, lint-free cloth to apply a thin, even coat of stain to the table. Work in small sections, starting at the top of the table and working your way down. Use long, even strokes to apply the stain, and be sure to avoid drips or runs.

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How Many Coats of Stain Should Be Applied?

The number of coats of stain that should be applied to a table will depend on the type of wood and the desired finish. As a general rule, most tables will benefit from at least two coats of stain. This will help to ensure that the wood is evenly colored and that the finish is durable and long-lasting.

However, some types of wood may require additional coats of stain to achieve the desired finish. For example, hardwoods like oak or cherry may need three or four coats of stain to create a rich, deep color. On the other hand, softer woods like pine may only need one or two coats of stain to achieve the desired result.

Drying and Finishing

Once you have applied the desired number of coats of stain to your table, you will need to allow the stain to dry completely. This can take anywhere from several hours to a few days, depending on the type of stain and the humidity in your work area.

Once the stain is completely dry, you can apply a clear finish to protect the wood and add shine. There are several types of clear finishes to choose from, including polyurethane, varnish, and lacquer. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the right one for your project.

A Topcoat for your stained table

To apply the clear finish, use a clean, lint-free cloth or a natural-bristle brush to apply a thin, even coat of finish to the table. Work in small sections, starting at the top and working your way down. Be sure to avoid drips and runs, and allow the finish to dry completely before applying a second coat.

After the final coat of clear finish has dried, your table is ready to use! With a little patience and care, you can create a beautiful, professional-looking finish that will last for years to come. Happy staining!

Mego Kimani

Hi there, my name is Mego Kimani, and I am the owner of Woodmeter, a website dedicated to wood finishing. At Woodmeter, we offer a comprehensive resource for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts, providing information on everything from achieving the perfect finish to product recommendations and technique guides. Our goal is to empower our community with the knowledge they need to create beautiful, long-lasting finishes on their projects, no matter their skill level or experience.