Does Maple Stain Well? (Everything You Need to Know)

There are a lot of advantages when you stain wood. Protection from sunlight and UV rays are the mention-worthy reasons. Additionally, it protects the wood from various damages.

However, not all wood can be stained. Especially, staining maple wood is questionable.

So the long-awaited question is, does maple stain well?

The answer is yes, it can be stained. Firstly, you have to prepare the maple wood for staining. Prepare by cleaning and sanding it. Then, seal the maple wood with sealants. After that, stain the maple wood with your preferred stain. Drying is critical after any coating throughout the whole process. 

This information won’t be enough on its own. You’ll have to read the article to know more. I’ve mentioned all the information you will need along the way.

So let’s not waste any time and get into the article!

Preparing the Maple Wood for Staining

does maple stain well

It is possible to stain maple wood, however tough it may seem. People also have a similar dilemma regarding if ashwood stains well. Truth to be told, they can be stained! 

Note that it is very important to prepare the maple wood for staining. You can properly get a stain off in a prepared maple wood far better. There are some steps to prepare the maple wood prior to staining.

Let’s have a look at the steps-

Step 1: Clean the Maple Wood

This is the first step for a reason. A dirty maple wood won’t be stained properly. It can contain a lot of sawdust, dirt, and grime. Staining over these things will create a mess. 

So it’s important to clean the maple wood at the beginning. 

First, get a dry cloth. A microfiber cloth will be the best option. Apply some water and clean the wood surface with a cloth.

Then, get some mineral spirits. Put some mineral spirits on the cloth and rub the wood well. The grime should come off this way. 

Finally, set it off to dry. Dry the wood fully before starting to work on it. It is critical for the wood to be dry.

Step 2: Sand the Surface of the Wood

This is the most important preparation for applying stains. A stain will not sit properly if the surface is not rough at all. Sanding the surface makes it rough which makes it easier for the stain.

First, grab 220 grit sandpaper. The grit from 180-220 (fine) is recommended for wood. Then, start sanding the wood surface with a fixed motion. Apply equal pressure on every side of the wood. 

It’s important to choose good quality sandpaper. Good quality sandpaper can ensure smooth and efficient working.

Here are some of the top branded sandpapers I’ve listed for you-

By using these sandpapers, you can save money and get great results!

Remember to wipe all the particles off of the wood after the sanding session. You may use a lint-free cloth in this case.

Step 3: Mix and Stir the Stain

Before applying the stain, always stir the stain. It evens out the density and prevents any faults during calculations.

You can simply take a wooden stick and stir it well. For instance, you can do this with clean ice cream or a popsicle stick.

Note that, stirring with too much force or stirring too fast can create bubbles. The bubbles can then create unusual patterns on the maple wood. Hence, stir slowly and steadily. Mix the stain well.

Now that we’ve got the maple wood prepared, let’s see how to stain it!

How to Stain Maple Wood?

It may seem difficult to stain maple wood, but it’s doable! The processes are simple and easy to follow. To stain the maple, you’ll need some tools and items.

Grab these things before staining maple:

  • Stain
  • Sealer (wood)
  • Brush
  • Cloths
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray gun (optional)
  • Sponge

Now that you’ve gathered the items, let’s move on to the steps.

Step 1: Seal the Maple Wood

This is a prerequisite step to staining the maple wood. The maple wood can be stained without it being sealed first. 

However, it’s not recommended. It’s important to have a sealer when you’re thinking about staining maple wood.

Sealing is very important. Directly staining maple wood might mess up the proportion of the stain.

It might overstain the wood which will eliminate the uniform stain of maple wood. The sealer basically sets a limit for the stain.

There are many types of sealers. Among them, the oil-based sealers are good for giving a rich finish.

If you don’t want to alter the natural look, go for water-based sealers. Although both do the same job, it’s up to your preference!

There are also sealer options like lacquer, shellac, and polyurethane. Let’s look at the procedure of applying them. 


If you are applying lacquer, you can use a paint spray gun. Instead of paint, put lacquer inside the spray gun. 

Spray the lacquer out evenly on the maple wood surface. You can also use a paintbrush to do this; spray guns are easier to use. Try to apply thin coats when applying lacquer. 3 to 4 coats will be ideal.

Move your hands in a swift motion while using the spray gun. Make sure there is enough lacquer inside the gun before operating it.

It’s better to have some prior experience with a spray gun for this. Also, wear masks and hand gloves for your safety. Inhaling or getting lacquer inside your body can be fatal for your health.


If you’re going with shellac, you can use a brush. A rag or a sponge can be other options to apply it. Put the shellac in straight lines; on the wood surface. 

You have to work fast when applying shellac. The previous layer needs to be wet for your next layer. So apply every layer before the previous layer dries out. Cover every inch of the maple wood surface.


To start off, grab the sandpaper and give the maple wood a good rub. As stated before, 220 grit will be the best option for this.

Then, clean the maple wood with a lint-free cloth. There should be no dust on the surface of the maple wood.

Finally, the maple wood is ready to be sealed with polyurethane. Apply the sealer on the maple wood surface. The density should be the same on every point of the surface. Use a paintbrush to apply it. 

You can fix polyurethane mistakes easily if you do make one. Sand in between every layer of coat.

Note that, you can apply multiple coats of the sealers mentioned above. Multiple coats will ensure no area misses out. 

Also, after sealing it is very important to dry the maple wood. You can only stain the maple wood if it is dry. 

Step 2: Stain the Maple Wood

This is the most important step here. There is a whole lot of variety in maple stains. Among them, some of the popular ones are-

  • Mahogany
  • Country pine
  • Salem
  • Pecan
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Danish teak
  • Golden oak

When we are considering maple wood, gel and oil-based stains are the go-tos. They are somewhat compatible with the maple wood structure and pattern. 

Here, I have a list of stains of excellent quality for your convenience-

These stains retain the rich and natural wood color. Pick your preferred stain and move on to applying it.

To apply the stain, take a paintbrush. Dip the paintbrush in stain and start applying it on the maple wood. Don’t leave any excess stain when applying. Additionally, an even coating is essential when staining.  

You can apply the stain till you get the color you desire. However, try not to exceed 3 coats. Too many coatings may eliminate the ‘natural look’ of the maple wood.

Try not to miss out on any areas. The depth of post-stain may not match with the initial stain. 

Note that the maple wood has a different pattern than other woods. It may cause the stain to be applied unevenly. Sealing the wood beforehand can be handy in this case.

The compatibility of the sealer and stain is also necessary. 

Step 3: Dry and Clean the Maple Wood

After sealing and staining the wood, it needs to be dried. You can leave the maple wood overnight to dry. Give it time to dry. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t need sunlight to dry. Simply leaving it to dry will be enough.

You can easily fix any blotches and missed spots when drying. Just stain the messed-up areas again, and leave them to dry. Do not leave excess stains. If the excess stain dries up, it can look ugly on the maple wood surface.

For extra protection, consider waterproofing the maple wood. For example, you can use Danish oil.

Among the Danish oil advantages and disadvantages, waterproofing wood is one. Apply an even coat of Danish oil with a paintbrush on the maple wood.

If you want to use something else, use a polyacrylic finish. It’ll waterproof the maple wood and protect it from water and humidity! Waterproofing is optional. 

However, it is quite a viable option!

Clean the maple wood with mineral spirits when everything’s done. I’ve mentioned the steps to this procedure earlier. It’s important to use a good quality mineral spirit as a cleaning agent.

Here are some of the top branded mineral spirits I’ve listed for you-

By using these mineral spirits, you can save money and get great results!

And, voila! By following these steps, you’ll have beautifully stained waterproof maple wood at your hand.


What better between maple wood and oak wood?

Oak is an all-rounder compared to maple wood. Although, it depends on different factors. Oak is water-resistant and scratch-resistant wood. It looks rich and decays slowly.

Oak is a great option for outdoor projects. On the other hand, maple wood is light, cheap, and good for indoor running projects.

Does maple wood get dark with age?

Yes, maple wood does get darker with age. Maple wood is very bright and clear at the beginning. There are some tones to be seen on maple wood as well.

For example, gray tone and pink tone. With time, these tons fade away. It becomes darker and a goldish color is seen on the surface of the wood.

What’s the key difference between Soft Maple and hard maple?

The key difference between soft and hard maple is the color. The depth of brightness is different on these two maple wood types.

Hard maps are light and bright, the usual color for maple wood. On the contrary, soft maple wood has a dark color. It can have red, brown, or gray tones on it.

Can you use teak oil on maple?

Yes, teak oil can be used on maple wood. Teak oil, tung oil, and linseed oils provide an oily and shiny finish.

Despite teak oil being usable on maple wood, linseed and tung oil are recommended. Oiling maple wood is recommended when you’re working indoors. Oiling outdoors can be problematic.

What does a flame maple look like?

Relevant to its name, flame maple represents the pattern of a flame. It is also known as tiger, curly, and ripple maple.

The growth of the wood creates the flamy pattern seen on the surface. The distorted growth of wood fibers creates wavy lines on the wood. Thus, it is named flame maple.

Wrap Up

I’m hoping that now you clearly know the answer to does maple stain well. The article above should help you immensely. 

Applying too much stain damages the wood sometimes. So, refrain from doing too much work on maple wood.

All the best! Let’s get to staining the maple wood!

Kevin Smith

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