Customer Reviews: Rust-Oleum 224453H Varathane Gel Stain, Quart, Natural
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Color: Natural|Change
Price:$19.82+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on December 14, 2015
I am still in the process of staining my kitchen cabinets. The ones I have finished came out beautifully. My only complaint is that it took so many coats to get the cabinets to the dark color I wanted. This is the only gel stain I have used so I have nothing to compare it with. I used it to change my cabinets from a golden honey which you can see in the photos the bottom cabinets have not yet been refinished and the upper cabinets have.
Update. On the first set of cabinets, I sanded them but not completely before applying. The next set of cabinets, I used a stripper on them before I stained them and they took the stain so much better and they did not require so many coats to get the darker color. So I am revising my review to 5 stars. I have bought this same Dark Walnut gel stain for the 3rd time and have also used it to stain wood photo frames and then a dresser, a nightstand and an entertainment center. Anything I like well enough to keep buying deserves the full 5 stars.
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on April 9, 2014
I bought this not even caring about the color; I just wanted to try the gel stain. I just bought a 2300 square foot home with 90s style golden oak on every wood surface in the house. I. Hate. Oak. I felt bad painting it, because it is actually nice wood. But I didn't want to have to sand all of the varnish off and re-stain all of that woodwork. Granted, this does take a few extra coats, but each coat takes significantly less time (for me at least) than painting / staining. I'm planning on doing all of the trim and doors, as well as the kitchen cabinets. A quart goes a looong way. I did 3 coats on my kitchen cabinets (medium-sized kitchen), and I still have half a coat left. Not only is it the easiest to apply, with the least amount of prep work, but it also is the cheapest. I'll probably spend $50-70 on my entire house, vs. well over $100 in paint. If you want tips on how to successfully apply it, I would suggest watching a couple of youtube videos. I spent about ten minutes watching them, and jumped right in. I think it turned out pretty good! I did find that a sock was the best.
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on February 4, 2014
Great stain, easy to apply. However, Amazon packaging did not sufficiently protect the container from damage. Lid was so badly bent in shipping that it was almost impossible to reseal. Could not return as it is a volatile liquid. Recommend buying from a local source if you can find it.
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on November 4, 2012
My favorite stain. Wipe or brush on, wait 2 minutes, wipe off excess with a rag. Unlike other brands of gel that require 8 hours between coats, Varathane can be recoated after 2-3 hours. As with any stain, pine, soft maple, etc. need conditioner before staining to avoid a blotchy finish. I've used both Varathane and Cabot's wood conditioners as a prep for this product with equal success. Only caution is the finish has an orange/pumpkin tint rather than red. Quite pleasant, but not the reddish hue originally expected.
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on August 19, 2013
A few years back, I had purchased a fiberglass door with a mahogany finish on it. I was warned that the urethane protective coating should be renewed regularly because if it allowed the stained part of the door to be exposed to exterior elements, the door would be blotchy and very difficult to fix.

Two years ago, I purchased a can of McCloskey's Man O War Spar Varnish. Spar varnish has UV protectants in it, and is somewhat flexible so it won't craze or crack during the temperature changes of the season.

I was disappointed to see that although the finish seemed to be intact, after two years, the door had faded noticeably. I lightly sanded the door (400 grit), and applied the Varathane stain to the entire door. After letting it sit on the door for 10 minutes, I wiped it off and allowed it to dry for 48h. The door had been restored to a very pleasing rich mahogany color, and I then used a more expensive spar varnish on it (Sutherland-Welles Spar Varnish). The varnish went on over the Varathane-stained door very nicely.

I cannot comment on whether the spar will protect the door against fading but will report back. I can say that the stain did a great job. SInce no stain has UV inhibitors, one is reliant upon those properties in the spar varnish that one applies over the stain. So, the stain has done its job well and it was an easy job.
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on September 21, 2013
This is my first experience W/ gel stain. I was trying to match the shading of my 35 yr. Old cherry cabinets while installing new Baltic birch plywood shelves beneath the cook-top. The gel greatly exceeded my expectations in both color & ease of application. My wife was impressed, & that makes me a happy customer!
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on September 17, 2015
This is cheap Gel Stain, I used it side by side against some General Finishes gel stain on some pine bead board that I had pre-treated. First coat of Varathane I couldn't even tell if it was applied, Generals gave a perfect uniform color with just one application, I did another to get a darker color. Varathanes second coat showed on slighter better than the first, but seeing how little showed thru it on the first that's not saying much.
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on August 30, 2013
These are quality stains...far better than min wax and the big box store products. Good penetration and coverage. Use a good brush and then a foam roller to get even prior to wiping
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on December 31, 2015
This gel is by far the worst stain I have ever used. I thought I would "splurge" and buy this, as it was twice the cost of the liquid stain I normally use. First off, "gel" is misleading. It is one step away from cement that is halfway dry. Because it is a thick paste, it requires double the amount for coverage. Oh, and detailed trim? Prepare to spend an hour trying to scrape the excess out of the tiny spaces with a toothpick. And also because of its consistency, it gets everywhere you don't want it to be. Arms, walls, the backside of the board you dont want stained. Seriously it's like ebola. Excess liquid stain drips off onto the newspaper underneath your board and well, it gets soaked up. This glop falls off your brush or rag, and it stays a big sticky glop, just waiting for you to step on it or get it somewhere you don't want it. Apparently it's only redeeming quality is supposed to be that it doesn't drip. I wasn't working on a vertical surface so this didn't matter. And even if I was, I would much rather deal with a drip as opposed to a glop of this stuff. As for the color? Blotchy. I am never buying this again ever.
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on July 26, 2014
I used this to gel stain a stock wood grained door. It does best with a sock and several layers. Which I used the first time and then used a foam brush like you're "supposed to" for the second layer. That kind of went on too thick. So used some blue paint I had and rubbed some on and then used a different gel stain (rosewood) over it for the final coat with a sock. I'm not much for faux distressing as I think it all looks fake but it does look like a really old door with several layers of stuff; stain and paint (which I guess it is) but it looks truly old. Kind of farmhouse bordello style. Not what I went for but kind of cool. Certainly happy enough to not strip the thing. But I'll use a sock next time. This walnut if pretty flat/dark too. Color of dull cow patties. I think if you used 2 colors of stain and used a sock it would look like a wood door.
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