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Houten ramen beitsen - Tintrio

How to: stain wooden windows


"How do you stain windows with an opaque finish? Can you also use a transparent stain for your window frames? Is sanding before staining necessary? Is staining once enough? And what is the difference between oiling or staining windows?"

We are happy to give you the answers to all these questions, in our step-by-step guide on how to stain wooden windows. You will also find the right products right here.

Would you rather paint your wooden windows instead of staining them? Then be sure to check out our how-to guide for painting wooden windows, on the inside and on the outside.


Staining wooden windows with opaque or transparent stain

Step 1: preparation


  • Cover the window and the surroundings

  • Sand the wood and dust off 

  • Clean the window's woodwork

  • Pre-treat the wood if it's new

Ready to get to work giving your wooden windows a coat of stain? Whether you want an opaque or transparent finish, the first step you should always take is to ensure a perfectly prepared surface. 

Start by covering the windows with tape and, if necessary, foil. Shielding the surrounding area can also be a good idea. Think of tape on the adjacent walls, or covering cardboard against splashes of stain on the ground. 

Once you are done with that, you can start on the woodwork. Sand the wood in the direction of the wood grain. Are there any old, weathered layers of stain on your window frames? Then you can remove them with a coarser grit sandpaper. Is your wood still new, or already stained but in good condition? Then you can sand the wood surface evenly with sandpaper in a finer grit size. 

When you have finished sanding, there will be some dust on and around your windows. You then remove that first with a dust remover. After that, you can then properly clean and degrease the window frames. 

Are your windows still brand new or have you sanded down to the bare wood? Then give the wood one coat of pre-treatment.

Step 2: applying the stain


  • Apply 2-3 layers of wood stain

  • Paint along the wood structure

  • Sand in between (optionally)

Now you can get started with the stain. This can be a transparent stain, which preserves most or all of the wood's natural character, or an opaque stain, which allows you to give the wood a colour of your choice. With the latter, you will still see the grain, but not the differences in colour that are naturally present in the wood. 

Both types of stain are easiest to apply with a flat paint brush. If you really need to treat large wood surfaces, you may also opt for a paint roller. Always apply the stain neatly in the direction of the wood grain. 

In any case, you will need more than one coat of stain to give your woodwork optimal protection. A transparent stain is usually applied in two coats; an opaque stain is applied in two to three coats. 

The most important thing here is to allow the stain to soak in between coats. The technical data sheet of the product will tell you exactly how long this takes. If necessary, you can also sand the intermediate coats with fine sandpaper.

Wood oil or stain?

Oil and transparent stain are similar in part, though. In fact, both penetrate the wood and protect it from the inside. They also both give the wood a very natural look. So which of the two you prefer depends a bit on your personal preference. 

  • Transparent stains usually offer slightly stronger protection for your wood. They often have a water-repellent effect and also make the wood resistant to the effects of UV rays. 

  • Oil also protects the wood, but not as long-lasting. With oil, it is recommended to apply a new coat every year, whereas with stain your windows can withstand several years. The advantage is that a maintenance coat with oil is a little quicker to apply. Read more about how often it is best to refresh your wooden windows here.

Find the right wood stain for your windows 

Want to start right away, but don't know what products you need? In our step-by-step plan, we have linked to all wood stains and supplies. So you can find everything you need to stain your windows beautifully in each step. Below you will also find a list of all the products.

Wood stains

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Xyladecor Ramen en Deuren Dekkende Beits - Chalk
Colour (Xyladecor): Chalk | Content: 0,75 l
From €20.45 
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Xyladecor Ramen en Deuren UV-Plus - Teak
Colour (Xyladecor): 4050 - Teak | Content: 0,75 l
From €21.95 
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Useful tools

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3M Golden Masking Tape
Size: 24 mm | Quantity: 1 piece
Variants from €6.95 
From €8.95 
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Berdy Clearline - Degreaser
Content: 1 l
From €9.95 
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Progold Sandpaper
Grit: Grit 220 | Quantity: 1 piece
From €1.15 
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3M Green Masking Tape
Size: 24 mm
Variants from €4.45 
From €6.95 
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ProGold Flat Brush 7050 Exclusive
Size: 1,5" / 3,8 cm
Variants from €5.95 
From €7.35 
View product

Want to explore all the options yourself? Then you can find extensive info in our paint guide. Including professional recommendations for those who want top-class paintwork.

If you already know what you are looking for, you can browse through our paint for doors and windows category.

View all paint for windows and doors

Need help?

If some of the steps aren't entirely clear to you, or if you are in a specific situation that isn't covered by our how-to guide, then our experts will be happy to help.

Contact us

Ready to start painting? 

In these video's by Xyladecor and Sigma you can see how to treat your windows with opaque stain or with transparent stain.