Close Give Feedback
Resene Paints - home page
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube

How to use stains and clears in interiors

From the Resene Paint Experts Q&A

Do you have a question about using stains, clears or whitewash on interior timber, brick, stone or concrete? Browse through this Q&A for help with your own projects.

Always make sure you read the product label and data sheet prior to application. If in doubt about any aspect of your project, please ask our Paint Expert for help or come in and see our staff at your local Resene ColorShop or Reseller.



Q. I want to seal MDF board so that I can apply a gloss coat to the top. All sealers appear to be white which does not work for me. Are there any clear sealers or what is my best option? The topcoat will be Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane.

A. I recommend you apply 3-4 coats of Resene Aquaclear only. The first coat can 'fluff' the MDF slightly. Once the first coat is dry, sand using 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the coating. Apply 2-3 more coats according to the data sheet.

There is not a clear sealer as such as Resene Aquaclear is doing the same job.

November 2023

Q. I have rimu paneling that beeswax has been used on. it is dull. Is Resene Colorwood ok to use over the wax? Can you suggest a clear coat product that will be safe to use?

A. Resene does not have a product that can go over beeswax and be stable. You will need to fully remove all beeswax to apply Resene Colorwood and/or a clear finish.

September 2023

Q. We are about to stain 264 sheets of ply with Resene Colorwood stain, it will be going into a distillery interior, do we need to envelope seal them?

A. Applying an envelope seal will assist with keeping moisture out as long as the Resene Colorwood is coated with a varnish such as Resene Aquaclear or Resene Qristal Clear as well.

September 2023

Q. We have a new build and want to have some natural ply ceilings and walls. The traditional use of pine ply and polyurethane yellows over time. Can you advise the best coating to give a natural look to the ply and which ply is best to use?

A. You are correct that ply and traditional polyurethanes do yellow over time. We recommend using a waterborne varnish such as Resene Aquaclear, which is available as a satin, semi-gloss and gloss finish, as waterborne clear coatings don't yellow over time like oil or solvent based products do. Please be aware that the plywood itself will yellow underneath a clear coating. It will yellow at slower rate than if it were left bare because of the UV protection in the clear coating, but it will still yellow slowly.

September 2023

Q. What systems would you recommend for staining interior wall timber wall panelling? Currently it is quite orange and would like to either lighten it with a white tinted stain or tinted to a more honey tone?

A. There are two options. The first being Resene Colorwood Whitewash, which is a satin finish tinted varnish that can be applied directly over the current varnish with a light sand between the existing coating and the new.

The second is to thoroughly sand the existing coating off until bare timber. Then you can stain using Resene Colorwood interior wood stain. This is a fully penetrating stain designed to sink into the grain. We have many colours to choose from. You can then finish in a Resene clear varnish.

August 2023

Q. I want to apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash to kopine boards used in a ceiling space. It's pretty much a particle board. These sheets are very large and I'm wondering if any lines will be left by applying it with a narrow tool like a speed brush or a synthetic bristle brush. Do you have any suggestions how to apply this product to a large, dry area?

A. Resene Colorwood Whitewash is effectively a tinted varnish. I would recommend a trial patch on an offcut to be sure it will look how you envision. Otherwise, you could stain first with a penetrating stain then clear finish.

For Resene Colorwood, the best method for painting a large area like this is to apply one coat of Resene Aquaclear gloss (this is a waterbased clear varnish) then apply approximately two coats of Resene Colorwood Whitewash (depending on desired end colour). A speedbrush is fine to use, otherwise a #10 roller sleeve is also recommended.

Having Resene Aquaclear gloss as the first coat will give you more control of the Resene Colorwood Whitewash as it will sit on the surface rather than starting to penetrate the bare Kopine. Resene Colorwood Whitewash is a satin finish. If you are happy with that you can stop there. Otherwise, overcoat with Resene Aquaclear in a semi-gloss or gloss option if you want a higher sheen finish.

August 2023

Q. Do any of your clear finishes (polyurethane etc) provide UV protection for the underlying timber?

A. Yes, our interior varnishes/polyurethane, including our exterior Resene Furniture and Decking Oil do have additives to provide protection against UV. Please note being a transparent coating it will not block all UV, and the coating will break down over time especially if exposed to a lot of sun. Maintenance is required. Timbers like plywood will still yellow beneath a clear coating but at a slower rate than if left bare. We don’t recommend clear finishes outside direct onto timber as they do not provide enough protection.

August 2023

Q. I am using a Poplar based plywood chosen specifically for its light colour. Do you have any suggestions or products that will discourage yellowing from sunlight?

A. Plywood will yellow over time regardless of which style of varnish or polyurethane is used.

We would recommend Resene Aquaclear waterborne varnish. This is a great and easy to apply option depending on what the plywood will be used for, i.e - flooring, wall linings.

July 2023

Q. I am building stairs for my crib (bach). I have old rustic hardwood for the stair treads. I would like to stain and seal them so they still look rustic. What is your best advice on products that may work?

A. The best stain option is Resene Woodsman Wood Oil (solventborne) stain.

July 2023

Q. Can the same effect be achieved with Resene Aquaclear mixed with Resene Colorwood Enhance White as compared with Resene Colorwood Rock Salt with Resene Aquaclear finish?

A. Yes, a similar effect can be achieved. The Resene Aquaclear and Resene Colorwood Enhance White may need one additional coat to achieve a whiter white. The Resene Rock Salt and Resene Aquaclear system will show more of the natural timber grain.

May 2023

Q. I want to clear finish play for an internal lining, I need it to look pretty sharp. What is the flow like on Resene Aquaclear? I need to apply it with a speed brush, and I need it to be nice and smooth. I was told I should use polyurethane to seal the timber - is Resene Aquaclear is going to be just as good for this job?

A. Resene Aquaclear flows very nicely and can be applied with a speed brush. Resene Hot Weather Additive can be added to help with the flow on a humid day or it can be thinned up to 10% with water for the first coat.

If you want to add a little colour you can add Resene Colorwood Enhance. Normally we recommend 40 ml per litre but you can apply less if you would like a lighter colour.

Resene Aquaclear varnish is as good as a polyurethane. I recommend this water-based version as it is tintable with Resene Colorwood Enhance, won’t yellow with age and doesn’t have a warm undertone to it like polyurethanes do.

March 2023

Q. Your Resene Colorwood Whitewash label says minimum of 2 hours between coats, and also says 72 hours to full cure. What’s the minimum period before applying the recommended clear coat over the whitewash please?

A. You can apply the clear after 2 hours.

72 hours is how long it takes to the paint system and all the layers to cure and harden. So, once you have finished the project, be gentle on it for 72 hours while it reaches full hardness/cure.

March 2023

Q. We are lining our whole interior of our house with pine plywood. We are going to have a black negative detail between each sheet. We want to use the Resene Colorwood Whitewash on the plywood. I completed a couple of trials using a speed brush and it went streaky. I talked to a friend who has just done a high end home and the painter coated each sheet with a paint brush. What do you recommend to apply the whitewash on 38 sheets of ply?

A. The key to achieving a uniform finish is to apply an even wet film over each section. I suggest that the ply sheets are coated before fixing as this will make achieving and even application easier. Roll each sheet using a Resene No.7 sleeve, apply a full even wet coat then immediately lay off with a 50% overlap.

June 2022

Q. I need to know what the best system would be to stain an internal glulam beam – are we best to use an oil based or water based system?

A. Resene Colorwood is the only stain we have for interior timber. After applying the stain you normally need to clear coat. Resene Aquaclear can be used (excluding Resene Aquaclear Natural), but it depends upon the internal environment. If the beams are on the ceiling the clear coat is optional.

June 2022

Q. Please advise best paint/coating to blonde plywood.

A. We have two options, apply Resene Colorwood Rock Salt stain then overcoat with a clear. The second option is to apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash then clear overcoats. If the blonding intensity needs to be increased for either option apply one or more coats of Resene Aquaclear (excluding Resene Aquaclear Natural), with added Resene Colorwood Enhance White until the desired degree of blonding is reached.

June 2022

Q. I’m sure I read somewhere that Resene Colorwood Enhance could be added to one of your products for concrete? Is this correct?

A. For timber walls Resene Colorwood Enhance is added to Resene Aquaclear (excludes Resene Aquaclear Natural). For concrete Resene Colorwood Enhance White or Resene Colorwood Black can be added to Resene Concrete Wax. I would not add the other Resene Colorwood Enhance colours for concrete.

June 2022

Q. I have some macrocarpa beams in my lounge/kitchen area. So far I have applied one coat of Resene Danska Teak Oil. I am weighing up doing a second coat. My original intention was to apply Resene Qristal Clear on top of that as I have put this on the rest of the ceiling. Are those products compatible? Do I need to, as in will the oil be enough protection on its own?

A. If the Resene Danska Teak Oil has hard dried, then you can apply Resene Qristal varnish. Two coats of Resene Danska Teak Oil can be used for beams but the varnish film will be a better barrier to steam.

June 2022

Q. I'm building a cabin with ply and timber exterior and a ‘Lite blonde’ ply interior. Can you recommend a clear finish for the interior that would accentuate the light ply? It is very small cabin one level so I need to keep it as light as possible but cosy.

A. You could apply three coats of Resene Aquaclear waterborne varnish to all ply walls, except for the bathroom. Resene Polythane, at least three coats, is the only clear coating that we would recommend for a bathroom lining. Don’t use within the shower area.

June 2022

Q. Is Resene Qristal Clear 2K food safe? I have just bought a large quantity for my floorboards and hope to coat a kitchen workbench with the leftovers.

A. Once cured there should be no issues with incidental food contact. Allow the coating to cure for a couple of days then wipe down with a cloth and warm water before using.

June 2022

Q. I want to specify a clear finish to plywood linings in a laundry area – can you please advise what I should use?

A. We recommend four coats of Resene Polythane (gloss) to achieve maximum liquid and moisture vapour resistance.

June 2022

Q. Once polyurethane has gone firm in the can, can it be retrieved?

A. Sorry no, once it has gone hard it cannot be retrieved back into a liquid.

June 2022

Q. I'd like to paint a room in my Lockwood home. Could I tint a waterbased varnish, maybe mix some acrylic paint into the varnish so I can have colour but still have the grain show through?

A. We recommend using Resene Colorwood Whitewash for this application. For prep you will need to clean down using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner to remove grease/oil paying particular attention to hand contact areas. Then sand to de gloss/profile for recoating. Sanding does not need to remove the existing clear but to achieve a dull finish. Then apply 1-2 coats of Resene Colorwood Whitewash. It is essential to apply an even wet coat. It’s best to apply across a board section from wall to wall as over laps will dry whiter. Then apply a coat of Resene Aquaclear varnish (not Resene Aquaclear Natural).

The interior boards may have a change of dimension due to changes in humidity this can see the top section of each board show the original varnish finish. If this does occur, you will have to touch up the exposed line using the same system as above.

June 2022

Q. What would be the best product to use to seal ply? We are using this on interior garage walls, and want it look natural, but have some protection. We don’t want it to be shiny.

A. We recommend Resene Aquaclear Natural.

April 2022

Q. What is the curing time of Resene Concrete Wax?

A. The curing is dependent on how thick the product is applied, air and substrate temperature which are all variable.

Once you splash water on and the concrete doesn’t darken the product has sealed the surface. Allow 5-7 days before cleaning after application. Resene Concrete Wax is a semi soft product once hardened to allow for easy maintenance application and will scratch under sharp objects.

April 2022

Q. Is it ok to polyurethane over a painted surface to make it more durable?

A. A clear coat can definitely help with hardness and cleanability especially if it is coating an acrylic paint. We have many available, all are for interior use. Resene Qristal Clear (oil based) and Resene Aquaclear (waterbased) are our most popular options.

Please note that if there is existing coating is cracking or flaking, using a clear coat like this will not strengthen or increase the adhesion of this existing coating.

April 2022

Q. Does Resene have tinted polyurethane?

A. We have tintable interior urethanes. We call the tinter 'Enhance ' and this can be added to any Resene waterbased varnish.

April 2022

Q. I have a 4L of Resene Danska Teak Oil. It’s in need of some thinning. What’s the correct thinner? This is an old tin, over time it’s slowly thickening up. It needs thinning now. I have checked the label and it recommends no thinning.

A. If the can has been opened and part used, then reclosed and reclosure was not a tight fit then the introduction of air will cause a partially cure of the oil with thickening.

If you do want to thin judiciously add Resene Thinner No.2. The penetration of the mixed product may be reduced as the molecular size of the oil will be increased after air exposure. The oil can be seen as a piece of string, as it cures the string gets longer and wider thus making it less able to penetrate as deep as the fresh oil as the partially cured oil will not be as mobile.

March 2022

Q. I’m building a 4 x 7m studio lined walls and ceiling with Okoume ply. I’m looking for a low VOC clear coating for it, preferably water based and fewer coats required. Finish isn’t as important as durability. What would you recommend?

A. We recommend Resene Aquaclear (not the Natural finish). For best results three coats.

March 2022

Q. I've painted untreated plywood panels with Resene Colorwood Whitewash and would like to give it a clear coat to finish it off. It is in my garage, and so would like a clear finish that is easily wipeable. Please advise. P.S. Loving the colour of the whitewash.

A. Resene Aquaclear would be the clear coat, the higher the gloss level the easier cleaning will be.

March 2022

Q. I am considering buying an older Lockwood house. The timber throughout is dark. If I blonde it will it look light?

A. It will do, however the degree of whiteness can be adjusted by adding Resene Colorwood Enhance White to the overcoats of Aquaclear.

The system would be as follows; Using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner ensure the surfaces to be painted are clean and free from grease, paying particular attention to hand contact areas. Sand the existing varnish using 220 grit sandpaper to degloss profile for recoating (you do not need to remove the existing varnish) and apply an even coat of Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Application of the whitewash can be tricky as areas of overlap will appear whiter. Then apply two coats of Resene Aquaclear with Resene Colorwood Enhance White added to them. If after applying the Resene Colorwood Whitewash you decided that the level of whiteness is sufficient then there is no need to add the Resene Colorwood Enhance White to the subsequent coats of Resene Aquaclear. If you still want an increased level of white add Resene Colorwood Enhance White to the first coat of Resene Aquaclear and assess the level of whiteness, if sufficient then apply the final coat of Resene Aquaclear without the Resene Colorwood Enhance. If not sufficiently white, then add the Resene Colorwood Enhance to that second coat of Resene Aquaclear.

October 2021

Q. I applied two coats of Resene HydraBlock to my concrete block garage walls. It seems to be working, but the appearance is variable from a 'clear wet' look (not actually wet) to a slightly white look. It is possible that the area with a 'clear wet' look section may have been slightly moist when I applied the product. If I apply a further coat, will it then have a consistent appearance? Alternatively, is there something else I can apply to improve the appearance?

A. The clear look is indicative that there was no water present on this area. The areas showing whiteness probably had a decent amount of water in the substrate. We usually recommend leaving application until warmer times of the year as this is when the substrate will contain the least amount of water. If the coating does not dry clear within a few days, it probably won’t. The cure requires all water to be quickly lost from the applied wet film. Application or more products to the white/milky areas will not fix the issue only compound it.

September 2021

Q. We have a room that is lined with a fine grained hardwood finish plywood. We would like to put a light colour wash on the walls that still allows a hint of the grain to come through.

A. Apply a Resene Colorwood stain colour then apply three coats of Resene Aquaclear, not Resene Aquaclear Natural.

September 2021

Q. How do we whitewash the inside of a Lockwood?

A. Using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner ensure the surfaces to be painted are clean and free from grease, paying particular attention to hand contact areas. Sand to degloss with 220 grit sandpaper. Dust off and wipe clean.

Apply 1-2 coats of Resene Colorwood Whitewash. The second coat may be needed to cover the dark orange-brown of the aged varnish. It is critical to apply a full even wet coat of Resene Colorwood Whitewash as overlaps will come up a n more intense white. I suggest that each separate length of the timber is coated from end to end.

The interior boards of a Lockwood do expand and contract due to environmental conditions, what this means is that a section of the original varnish can appear where two boards overlap. If this does occur then you will need to carefully whitewash the line as above using a small brush and try to minimiser overlap onto the existing whitewash.

August 2021

Q. Do Resene have something like a hardwax oil to seal wooden benchtops?

A. We recommend Resene Danska Teak Oil.

July 2021

Q. Can you advise if Resene Danska Teak Oil is food safe as I want to use it on cutting boards.

A. The product is based on natural oils which are chemically converted to a film using a blend of safe driers. While not tested, I have used the oil for benchtops myself. The surface will be damaged by cutting with sharp knives but once dry there is nothing that can come out of the clear film.

April 2021

Q. Please explain if there is any difference between Resene Rock Salt and Resene Colorwood Whitewash? Is there a need to polyurethane over either/both? We are looking to ‘blonde’ new plywood ceiling and existing trusses.

A. Resene Rock Salt is a Resene Colorwood stain which is applied then the excess wiped off and then it must be overcoated with either a waterborne or solventborne clear.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash is a clear waterborne film forming varnish that has white colour added to it. For non-contact areas such as ceilings there may not be a need to overcoat with a clear, however for walls and floors this is required.

To achieve a uniform whitewash effect when applying Resene Colorwood Whitewash it is essential to achieve an even wet film and lay off while the film is wet, overlaps will dry to a more intense white.

April 2021

Q. I would like to seal some ply - not high gloss finish - something that will bring out the natural colour of the timber and seal it (mostly waterproof but not hard core – it’s inside a van) and will be visible. What would you recommend?

A. You could use three coats of Resene Aquaclear (not Resene Aquaclear Natural). This will not waterproof per se but will give a water resistant clear finish. This finish is not for wet areas or areas subject to steam exposure.

February 2021

Q. I am costing a build that uses finishing plywood as the internal lining. What I am after is a light natural whitewash finish with minimal gloss. The finish needs to protect the plywood from UV damage and discolouration. The coating should ideally be able to be lightly wiped to clean it if any dirt gets on it.

A. We recommend Resene Colorwood Whitewash. The whitewash coat needs to be applied to achieve a uniform wet film over the substrate. You can then apply two coats of Resene Aquaclear.

December 2020

Q. We are looking at an older Fraemohs home that has internal walls of oiled wood. We would like to know what is involved in getting the surface prepared to lighten it e.g. a whitewash finish.

A. Using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner ensure the surfaces to be painted are clean and free from grease, paying particular attention to hand contact areas. Then thoroughly sand to profile for recoating. Application of Resene Colorwood Whitewash must be done to achieve a uniform wet film thickness over the entire area.

December 2020

Q. Can you advise what I can use on internal bricks to seal them?

A. Apply a seal coat of Resene Cemseal. This will see the brick develop a slight wet look.

November 2020

Q. I'm looking for a clear matt sealer to paint/seal poplar ply boards. The untreated sanded poplar ply board will be glued onto walls and ceiling with a negative detail.

The bleached poplar ply has a nice natural look that we would like to preserve and protect by applying a natural clear coating.

A. We recommend Resene Aquaclear Natural for interior ply walls or ceilings.

September 2020

Q. Can you please advise if there would be problems with Resene Uracryl 404 being used as a sealer over burnished concrete? My concern is that the burnishing of the concrete gives an incredibly hard surface that may cause adherence issues.

A. The potential issue is not so much adhesion but aesthetics, for the clear apply a seal coat of Resene Uracryl 403 Clear before applying the Resene Uracryl 404 Clear coats.

If Resene Uracryl 404 Clear is applied as the first coat there is absorption of the resin component into the concrete leaving partially bound flatting pigments of the surface giving the impression of white patches.

Re adhesion if there is a curing membrane on the concrete this will have to be removed by diamond grinding before coating. The water splash test is used to check the presence of a curing membrane. Check using the water splash test for the presence of a curing membrane, water splashed onto the concrete should immediately darken the concrete and be absorbed. If the water is not immediately absorbed and the wet concrete does not darken then this indicates the presence of a curing membrane. Paint will not adhere to a curing membrane.

June 2020

Q. I am looking for a stain to recycle rimu wood into vanity. What should I use?

A. You would have to use Resene Colorwood to stain, then apply three coats of a Resene Qristal clear polyurethane.

June 2020

Q. I am looking for a product to 'bleach timber'. I want to lighten the timber on a coffee table. The natural timber has pinkish tones with lots of dark knots. I would like to lighten it then just lacquer the top.

A. Firstly we’d need to know what coating is on the timber currently before you proceed however info below on system for bare uncoated and prepared timber.

Apply a stain coat of Resene Colorwood in Resene Rock Salt then clear coat (three coats) with Resene Aquaclear. If you want to increase the degree of blonding you can add Resene Colorwood Enhance White to the coats of Resene Aquaclear. You may decide that addition of the Resene Colorwood Enhance White is only required for the first coat of Resene Aquaclear if this achieves the level of blonding that you find acceptable.

June 2020

Q. Is it possible to remove the yellowing of Lockwood timber?

A. Sorry you can’t whiten the varnish, but you can apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash which will give you a whiter effect.

May 2020

Q. I have some cedar that I'll be making an interior feature wall with. I'd like to protect it with something, but not sure what product to use. I want it to be as natural as possible, or slightly darker if anything.

A. Colour bleaching can occur over time. I recommend applying a stain coat of Resene Colorwood in a similar colour to the cedar. Then finish with three coats of Resene Aquaclear Natural. The natural finish will not give any gloss to the surface.

May 2020

Q. Our house is papered and I need to know whether I can paint over the paper, strip it and paint, or paper again.

A. If the wall paper is a vinyl based paper then you will need to apply a coat of Resene Vinyl Wallpaper sealer prior to painting. The sealer is a bit tricky to use as it is a fast drying solventborne sealer. Or you could strip the wallpaper off if preferred.

May 2020

Q. I’ve just purchased a small work bench and it has handy measuring markings on it e.g. a ruler and angles on the top and I don’t want them to wear off. I was thinking of brushing or spraying an acrylic sealer over the MDF top. Are any of your products suitable?

A. Resene Aquaclear would be your best option if you want to use a waterborne product.

April 2020

Q. I’m looking for some whitewash paint for interior plywood boards to cover an area about 20 metres square.

A. Use Resene Colorwood Whitewash. When applying the product apply a full even wet coat and layoff with a 50% overlap from top to bottom. Overlaps will appear whiter, so care is required to avoid this. Then apply two coats of Resene Aquaclear.

Alternatively apply a stain coat of Resene Colorwood Rock Salt and then overcoat with three coats of Resene Aquaclear. If you want to increase the level of white add a pottle of Resene Colorwood Enhance White to a litre can of Resene Aquaclear. You can do this with the first or both coats of Resene Aquaclear.

April 2020

Q. Our mid 1970s house has an interior cedar feature wall. It's in good condition where it is out of the sun but has lightened and yellowed where it gets sun. I don't think it has a colour stain but may have some form of oil or varnish. Do you have any suggestions about how I should go about preparing and restoring the timber?

A. Give the bleached areas a sand to remove some of the degraded material then apply a coat of Resene Colorwood Western Red Cedar then finish with two coats of Resene Aquaclear in your gloss level of choice.

February 2020

Q. I am lining the walls of a room with ply on black battens to allow for a 7mm negative detail between the ply sheets which are 9mm thick. I want to use Resene Colorwood natural wood stain on the ply once it is installed but I am concerned I will get stain on the black painted batons when I do the edges of the ply and that this may have some negative impact on the finish I am after. Will getting stain on the black painted batons have an effect or will the stain wipe off the painted surface without any impact on the finish?

A. The only way to avoid any issues would be to stain the ply sheets before installation.

December 2019

Q. Is your Resene Concrete Stain product suitable for painting an interior brick fireplace surround and a pebbled hearth?

A. In theory yes with the following restrictions – if hand contact cannot be maintained on the surfaces when the fire is at full heats then we do not recommend staining it. Also if embers fall onto the stained surface it will be damaged. Stain adhesion to bare stone/aggregate is also reduced compared to concrete.

December 2019

Q. I am trying to achieve a whitewash finish on birch plywood, with a matt finish. I was thinking of using Resene Colorwood Whitewash with Resene Qristal Clear flat as the topcoat, but am not sure about what to use as a primer. Also, can you let me know if it’s possible to have the Resene Qristal Clear poly tinted? I have used this before, and have been left with an amber-ish finish – I’d prefer to not end up with a cream look on the whitewash.

A. Resene does not tint our solventborne polyurethanes, but we can add Resene Colorwood Enhance to Resene Aquaclear. This will not reproduce the white wash colour strength, but can be used to increase the level of whiteness over the Resene Colorwood Whitewash base colour of Resene Colorwood Rock Salt Colorwood stain.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash is a semi-transparent clear. When applying Resene Colorwood Whitewash it is essential to maintain a wet edge from the top to bottom sections, if the product is lapped then the areas will appear visually whiter as the film thickness increases.

December 2018

Q. I am applying Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane to some exposed beams/poles in our house over Resene Colorwood. The beams in particular are unlikely to be touched much as they are three feet off the ground - I am wondering whether it is necessary to apply four coats as recommended on the can. I don't want it to look too glossy. I have applied two coats so far and am happy with the look. What are the downsides of not applying four coats?

A. Three would be fine to achieve a uniform gloss level finish, the fourth is usually called up for heavy foot traffic areas.

October 2018

Q. I want to use Resene Colorwood Enhance White as an additive in Resene Aquaclear Satin for a whitewash effect. How many mls do I need per 4 litres?

A. The normal addition rate is 1 pottle of Resene Colorwood Enhance per litre of Resene Aquaclear.

September 2018

Q. I have some untreated 12mm 5ply sheets. I want to finish them with Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Would this paint provide suitable treatment for campervan cabinetry and prevent warping of the plywood?

A. The product can be used for interior ply but will not add anything to the protection against fungi decay. Warping of ply is usually as a result of variations in the moisture content of the substrate, to avoid this you will need to envelope coat, two coats on both faces and all edges.

September 2018

Q. Do you have a finishing product that will give a soap wash finish (blended oak) on timber veneer?

A. The Resene system would be to apply a stain coat of Resene Colorwood in Resene Rock Salt, then overcoat with three coats of Resene Aquaclear. If you want to increase the depth of whiteness, you can add a pottle of Resene Colorwood Enhance White to a litre of Resene Aquaclear White, you can add to all coats but may want to only add to the first or second etc coats of Resene Aquaclear to achieve your desired effect.

June 2018

Q. Can your Resene Colorwood Enhance product be used in a polyurethane based stain and varnish to add extra colour?

A. Resene Colorwood Enhance can only be used in a single pack waterborne varnish, e.g. Resene Aquaclear.

June 2018

Q. Is Resene Colorwood Whitewash stain, safe (in terms of humans sleeping in the room) to use on interior timbers? We are building a sleep out/cabin at a beach section and lining it with ply but I’m not sure whether the ply is treated or not.

A. If you are referring to Resene Colorwood Whitewash overcoated with Resene Aquaclear, then definitely yes.

Once the system has dried (ensure good ventilation), there is no residual solvent release to be concerned about. Both products are low VOC (volatile organic compound) and the VOC is usually released within the first 48 hours with good ventilation.

April 2018

Q. Our house near Cromwell is nearing completion and we asked for Resene paints to be used, but the painter has used other products. The interior paint finish has quite a different ‘feel’. We specified Resene waterbased polyurethane - we didn't want that ‘yellowing’ of the wood that most polyurethane does. The product they have used has made the finish yellow. I am being told that the wood will yellow - even with Resene. Is this true? I need to know facts if I am to ask for all the wood to be stripped and refinished.

A. Waterborne varnishes such as Resene Aquaclear do not undergo film yellowing over time, this is only associated with a traditional single pack solventborne varnish.

April 2018

Q. We have exposed wooden beams that have been stained a very dark brown. If we wanted to make them lighter (more like Resene Heartwood) in colour is this possible?

A. Stains are semi-transparent by nature. This means you will see the original dark brown colour underneath the new lighter colour. Generally speaking you can go darker when staining but going lighter tends not to be successful.

April 2018

Q. Could you tell me how much is the maximum quantity of Resene Colorwood Enhance White that can be added per litre of Resene Aquaclear?

A. A maximum of two Resene Colorwood Enhance colour pottles per litre.

March 2018

Q. I need to paint over varnish, please advise what sealer or undercoat I should use.

A. We recommend Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer; apply a thin wet film and leave to cure for as long as possible without water/moisture contact before overcoating.

March 2018

Q. Just following on from a conversation with a tech person and I had a query regarding your product. We want to use Resene Qristal Clear in flat finish on our timber floorboards for the entire house but I need to know if this will be ok for our wet rooms. I am wondering if this product is going to make the floor pass under the following act ‘Surfaces in wet areas must be impervious, easily cleaned, and have ventilation to meet conditions for health and safety.’ If not, do you have a product for natural looking floor boards that would do the job, or, failing that a paint that would suffice?

A.Resene Polythane (four coats) is the only product we offer for this application.

March 2018

Q. I've sanded our rimu weatherboards down to bare wood. I'm going to use Resene TimberLock and I think it would be best to apply the Resene TimberLock before filling in holes and cracks, prior to using Resene Quick Dry.

A. The long standing practice is to prime then fill. In this case allow the Resene TimberLock to dry for at least 48 hours, before filling or overcoating.

March 2018

Q. I recently just bought some Resene Colorwood Wood Stain. I just trialed it on a scrap piece of wood and the stain was really dark almost like slightly watered down paint. It looks as though it’s so dark you can’t actually see the wood markings. Can you thin the stain down with water, or is there a specific product I need?

A. Suggest you use Resene Colorwood Reducing Base (this is a clear) rather than water for colour dilution.

February 2018

Q. What product do I use to add some tint to a turpentine based clear varnish? I have some doors that I need to resurface, but the sun has faded the wood, and I need to revive the colour.

A. We do not tint our varnishes however you can add Resene Colorwood Enhance to Resene Aquaclear.

December 2017

Q. I am working on a residential project; a house that has a Lockwood style interior, however the timber look is a bit overwhelming.

It looks as though it has a polyurethane coating at present. They would like to blonde the timber and would like some advice as to how this would be achieved.

A. Many owners of Lockwood homes are moving to change the dark varnished look that came with the original Lockwood construction. A change to a solid color is a relatively easy option, bonding requires more surface prep.

Degrease using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner then sand to provide a mechanical profile; sanding does not need to remove the existing varnish layer. Then apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash is a clear waterborne varnish with a low level of added white colorant. When applied care has to be taken to achieve a uniform lay down of the wet coating and especially areas of overlap as there will be an increase of white intensity resulting for a buildup of coating at overlap areas. So it is best to work in a continuous direction and coat an entire length.

There is expansion and contraction of the boards in Lockwood construction; this is due to variations in the moisture content of the boards due to changes in air humidity levels. If this does occur post coating there may appear a line at the overlap of the two boards and the only way to address this is to apply the same procedure as previously outlined.

November 2017

Q. I am using Resene Colorwood Whitewash over varnished pine. Can I add some acrylic white to give more depth?

A. We do not recommend adding more colourant to the product but you can apply additional coats of Resene Aquaclear with added Resene Colorwood Enhance White to increase white colour depth.

October 2017

Q. We are thinking of using Resene Whitewash over Strandboard® for the wall linings of our holiday home. Can you please advise what is the best method to apply this, how we should go about it and if it needs to be sealed after the whitewash has been applied?

A. Spray application will give the most uniform finish. Resene Colorwood Whitewash contains a low level of white tint and unless one is very careful, you can get an increase in the depth of white where roller overlap occurs. Finish with two coats of Resene Aquaclear over the Resene Colorwood Whitewash base colour. If you want a higher intensity of white, add Resene Colorwood Enhance White to one or both of the Resene Aquaclear coats.

August 2017

Q. If we use Resene Colorwood on an OSB internal lining, how easy will this be to clean?

A. The application of a waterborne coating like Resene Colorwood to OSB will see a degree of fibre swelling (cannot predict the degree of) which will alter the factory level of smoothness. I usually always recommend topcoating with clears to reduce this.

August 2017

Q. I'm living in a Lockwood home. The varnish on some of the walls in the laundry room is almost completely worn away. I want to re-stain or re-varnish. I'm happy with the current colour; I just need to know what product to use. There was a half can of Resene Aquaclear still in the house. Is that what is recommended?

A. You can use Resene Aquaclear for the clear coating, after sanding the existing varnish to provide a mechanical key (no need to sand back to bare timber). The original clear applied when the timber was new was most likely a solventborne varnish which will have darkened over time. Given this there may be colour variations when clear recoating.

June 2017

Q. We have a 1970 Lockwood bach with traditional lacquered timber which is becoming dated. We are thinking of whitewashing to lighten the appearance. Is this possible, if so, what is the best process?

A. Degrease the surfaces to be painted using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner, then sand to profile the existing varnish surface (no need to sand off the varnish but need to achieve a dull finish). Then apply a full even coat of Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Then apply two coats of Resene Aquaclear. If you want to increase the level of whiteness, add one pottle of Resene Colorwood Enhance White per litre of the Resene Aquaclear.

Application of an even coat of the Resene Colorwood Whitewash is required to achieve an even look. Note the boards will move and this may expose a line of the original varnish.

May 2017

Q. We are wanting to limewash brickwork around a fireplace and wonder if you have a suitable product.

A. Use Resene Colorwood Whitewash then overcoat with 1-2 coats of Resene Aquaclear (extra coats may be required depending upon how porous the bricks are). If the degree of white is not sufficient then for the second coat add 1 pottle of Resene Colorwood Enhance White per litre of Resene Aquaclear. This system can only be used for surfaces that hand contact can be maintained when the fire is at full heat.

May 2017

Q. What is the best way to do blonding over plywood? This is in a staircase where all the walls are plywood.

A. We recommend you use Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

April 2017

Q. How do you apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash?

A. The key to achieving a uniform look is to apply a consistent, even wet film to the substrate. The easiest way to do this is to apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash by rolling and work in one continuous direction along a section of flooring. The product has low pigment content and as such, areas of overlap will dry with a greater degree of whiteness.

February 2017

Q. I have a room lined in plywood which has been polyurethaned (unknown what was used). It is a craft room so I want to paint it white, what do you recommend?

A. Clean down using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner and then apply a thin coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer and leave to cure for 48 hours with good ventilation then finish with two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. Adhesion will develop over 5-7 days.

February 2017

Q. I just wondered if Resene Colorwood Whitewash would be suitable for a Lockwood house.

A. Yes for internal areas other than wet areas such as bathrooms. Degrease the area to be painted with Resene Interior Paint Cleaner then sand using 180 grit sand paper to de gloss the existing clear varnish.

Dust off and wipe with a wet cloth then when dry apply the Resene Colorwood Whitewash. It is essential to get an even wet layer of the Resene Colorwood Whitewash. I recommend using a speed brush to apply the product and work in a continued direction along the full length of a board. Try to avoid a build-up of the product on overlap areas as the whiteness is directly related to wet film thickness.

December 2016

Q. The whitewash was going to be half paint and half water. It's a Resene Half Blanc for walls. But I just wanted something to protect it like a clear coat.

A. If the whitewash is a waterborne paint then a coat of Resene Concrete Clear could be used. An adhesion coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer is required before topcoating with a Resene waterborne enamel topcoat.

November 2016

Q. My partner has just extracted a large slab of red schist from a local river and installed it as a hearth under the wood stove in the living room. We intend to keep the surface natural and don't want a gloss effect, but would like to find some product/treatment to use to bounce the colour out a little. I wonder if you sell any products that might be suitable.

A. There is no clear coating that will retain the flat look to the stone. I suggest you look to use Resene Concrete Wax, this will highlight the stone colour in a low gloss finish. A wet stone is what produces the stone colour.

November 2016

Q. I have polyurethane tongue and groove pine in the hallway. It has gone dark over the years. I would like to give it a whitewash effect. Do you have a product for this please?

A. Clean down using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner to label directions. Sand the polyurethane clear then apply an even coat (speed brush application) of Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Then apply a second coat of Resene Aquaclear with added Resene Colorwood Enhance White.

November 2016

Q. We have had plywood walls for about 3 years. Earlier this year we put two coats of Teak Oil on them. Now we have a kitchen in place, the walls are very dark and were wondering what/how we could paint them to lighten the room up. Ideally I'd like to whitewash - is this possible?

A. Clean the walls with Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner ensure the surfaces are clean and free from grease. Pay particular attention to hand contact areas. Apply a coat of Resene Colorwood Whitewash (apply another coat if you would like it to look whiter) then apply two coats of Resene Aquaclear in your desired finish. Resene Aquaclear is available in satin, semi-gloss and gloss. Sand the walls with 240-400 grit sandpaper before you apply the final coat of Resene Aquaclear.

Please trial the Resene Colorwood Whitewash in an inconspicuous area before you proceed (it is available in a testpot). It is normally applied over bare timber or previously polyurethane coated timber rather than previously oiled timber.

October 2016

Q. Where is the best place to use Resene Concrete Wax?

A. Polished interior concrete floors and benches.

October 2016

Q. Can you apply polyurethane over a waterbased wood stain?

A. Resene solvent borne varnishes can be applied over Resene Colorwood stains.

October 2016

Q. I have lined a room with plywood and now want to 'whitewash' it to see the natural grain. Do I just water down the paint, and if so what proportions water/paint do I use?

A. You can use Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

October 2016

Q. We need a clear coat for a cedar feature wall installed in commercial premises. Do you have a product that is Group 3 fire rated?

A. We recommend Resene Aquaclear.

September 2016

Q. I want to know whether Resene Concrete Stain is good to stain bricks in my house. If not do you have any suitable product to dye bricks?

A. Resene Concrete Stain is a solvent borne stain designed specifically for concrete and other cementitious substrates and brick. This could be used on the bricks of your home if they are not glazed. Silicone treatments may affect penetration. A test patch is recommended. Intensity of colour will be determined by the number of coats applied, surface porosity and uniformity of application.

September 2016

Q. We are after a clear gloss finish for mild steel for internal use. Specifically we have a number of mild steel connectors on an exposed timber truss which we need to protect. We are after something that is pretty scratch resistant and probably two pack.

A. We usually say no to a clear for internal steel as under film corrosion can still occur. However if the steel is clean and degreased you could look to use 4 coats of Resene Uracryl 403 Gloss Clear.

May 2016

Q. Can I use waterbased varnish over solventbased varnish?

A. Yes as long as the solventborne is sanded to provide a mechanical key for the new clear.

April 2016

Q. I have heard of people getting a whitened floor look by mixing white with polyurethane. How do they do this?

A. We have heard of decorators doing this using a small amount of white paint (e.g. a testpot) mixed into a product like Resene Qristal Clear Polyurethane. Normally people just use a testpot into the Resene Polythane or similar. The mix ratio depends on how white you want it so the best idea is to experiment on an offcut of timber, starting with the least amount of white and adding more as needed to get your desired effect.

February 2016

Q. We have a Lockwood style home and we want to paint the interior. We would like to paint white but still see the grain of the wood behind resulting in a whitewash kind of look. Do you have anything in your range that can achieve this look?

A. We recommend Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Clean down the surfaces to be painted using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner then sand to provide a profile for the new paint. Apply the Resene Colorwood Whitewash using a speed brush, usually one coat is sufficient. If the depth of blonding is acceptable then apply two coats of Resene Aquaclear in your preferred gloss level. Note that the boards may shrink and this will expose the original varnish line.

January 2016

Q. Can Resene Concrete Wax be used over existing polyurethane type coatings?

A. Sorry but no.

December 2015

Q. Can you please advise me on how to apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash to a surface that has been painted with Danish oil (around a year ago)?

A. Clean the surface and then sand with 220 grit sandpaper to provide a mechanical key for the new paint system. Dust off then roll a coat of the Resene Colorwood Whitewash on. Note it is essential to maintain a wet edge when overlapping so roll from one side to the other and lay off with a 50% overlap. Addition of Resene Hot Weather Additive should be used to assist in maintaining wet edge. You can consider the product to be a clear with a low amount of white colourant added and due to this any overlap may result in differences in opacity which will be seen as whiter lap marks. Alternatively spray apply for the most even lay down of the product.

October 2015

Q. We are using the Resene Colorwood Whitewash to paint the interior of our home - it's a Lockwood style house. My question is, we've had to apply two coats to get close to the look we're trying to achieve, and it seems to fade after a few days, and even more so after a few weeks. Is this normal? We are painting over timber that was coated with a varnish. We have washed the walls and allowed to dry, but we didn't sand the walls as we were told this wasn't necessary, which is a big part of why we chose the product. Just wondering if you can shed some light on what might be happening, or if we're doing something wrong. The left side of the wall had two coats, as did the right side, but the left side was painted about a week earlier and is now much darker than the right.

A. The whitewash effect cannot fade as it is achieved using a white pigment which is completely stable. Usually only a single coat is required but if the existing varnish has become very dark extra coats may be required to achieve the level of whiteness.

Some walls may be more or less exposed to the sun so may have a different starting colour and need a different number of coats.

July 2015

Q. I want to put railway sleepers inside. But am worried about the toxins in them. So thinking about a plastic coating. Would this work? If I splash water on the sleeper it beads up.

A. It sounds as though the surface is contained with oil deposits of some type and application of a waterborne paint will result in poor adhesion. The only possibility would be to use multiple coats of a solventborne clear such as Resene Polythane but this will give a gloss finish. You will need at least 3 coats. It will generate odour and this requires good ventilation for at least a week and ventilation of solvents to the exterior.

July 2015

Q. Can Resene Colorwood stain be used over fairly recently applied Resene Aquaclear successfully?

A. Resene Colorwood stain can only be applied to bare timber and not to a clear coat. You can add Resene Colorwood Enhance colour concentrate to Resene Aquaclear and use this to give a coloured clear but the colour range is limited and the increase in colour subtle.

April 2015

Q. What clear (brushed on) product, if any, would you use to give some extra protection to a slightly textured wallpaper printed with HP latex? Just need it to more cleanable/wipeable etc.

A. Based on the info I would suggest that you use Resene Concrete Clear as the printing is with a latex.

April 2015

Q. I have some interior bare pine which I would like to stain and then hand paint lettering over, preferably with water based paint. Is there any way to do this as I understand stains are generally oil based? Is there a primer which would allow me to make the transition? And what would be the best way to finish and seal the whole project?

A. You can use Resene Colorwod which is waterborne for staining then apply a seal coat of Resene Aquaclear before applying lettering using Resene Lumbersider. If this is a flooring application then apply an additional 2-3 coats of Resene Aquaclear. This will change the lettering colour but it will only be noticeable if the lettering is painted in pale colours.

March 2015

Q. Is Resene Aquaclear safe to use as a sealer for museums, as we like to use sealers that don't have harmful off-gassing that can affect artefacts?

A. We have had a series of pigmented paints tested to the Oddy test. While we have not tested Resene Aquaclear it will give the same test result as these paints that have been tested. The Oddy test is for the emission of corrosive materials from the paint and there are none present in Resene Aquaclear.

February 2015

Q. What product would I use that is clear coated with a satin finish to go over pine painted in waterbased acrylic?

A. Use Resene Aquaclear.

January 2015

Q. Is there a specific paint used for white washing brick so that the end result is not a 'dusty chalky' effect. I'd like a little bit of a glossy look if possible.

A. For internal bricks you could use Resene Enamel Undercoat thinned with Resene Thinner No.2 then apply a coat of Resene Qristal Gloss varnish as the glaze coat. The success will be determined by your artistic abilities to apply the diluted wash coat.

December 2014

Q. Is there a water based whitewash that is suitable for lightly whitewashing plywood? Could I simply water down some water based undercoat sealer?

A. For interior you can use Resene Colorwood Whitewash.

November 2014

Q. On interior plywood that is stained what Resene product would you use for the topcoat?

A. For a waterborne clear varnish, 3-4 coats of Resene Aquaclear.

October 2014

Q. I have been advised that Multishield+ is a suitable product to apply over wallpaper as added protection in a bathroom; however I have been advised by the local Resene ColorShop that this is no longer available and Resene Concrete Clear has replaced this.

Could you please confirm that the Resene Concrete Clear would be a suitable replacement for applying over wallpaper?

A. The application of Resene Multishield+ to wallpapers is historic and predates the wide spread availability of vinyl coated wallpapers. Application of acrylic coatings such as Resene Multishield+ to vinyl wallpapers can result in the extraction of plasticisers from the vinyl into the clear, which gives a soft tacky surface. For this reason we have removed this from the data sheet for Resene Concrete Clear. Our wallpaper supplier advises us that selection of a solid vinyl paper should be made for papers used in bathrooms and the like.

October 2014

Q. I have a feature brick wall to coat in a clear. What product do you suggest?

A. If the wall is interior (if there is an exterior face the exterior must be weathertight) then you can use Resene Concrete Clear. Apply the gloss first then you can subsequently use reduced gloss levels for the next two coats.

September 2014

Q. Looking for a good timbercare product to finish a western red cedar bath surround. It's newly installed, unpainted timber and needs to withstand drips from the bath; however definitely want as low a sheen and natural/clear finish as possible.

A. You could use four coats of Resene Qristal Clear HD Poly-Satin.

August 2014

Q. I have a house stained with Resene Waterborne Woodsman penetrating oil stain. If I wanted to paint the house, would Resene TimberLock penetrate through the current stain? If I stain the house again, would I be able to use an oil-based penetrating stain over the current waterbased product?

A. Resene TimberLock cannot penetrate through the existing stain. If you stain again yes a solventborne stain can be used as long as the waterborne stain has undergone at least six months direct weathering.

August 2014

Q. I want to stain a bare basewood guitar body. Is the Resene Colorwood range suitable for this? Will I need a pre-stain, stain and polyurethane coating?

A. Solventbased non grain raising stains are usually used for staining instruments. Resene Colorwood could be used but the water based formulation may affect the structure of the guitar body.

February 2014

Q. I am looking for a clear lacquer/varnish to go over bricks surrounding a 1920s fireplace. Ideally I would like to add a pigment to modify the colour of the bricks. Do you have a product suitable for this application that is ok with high temperature?

A. If you can maintain hand contact on the surfaces to be coated when the fire is in use then painting is possible.

January 2014

Q. Is it possible to whitewash the interior walls of an older style Lockwood?

A. You have two options, the first is to strip the varnish back to bare timber than apply a wood stain, such as Resene Colorwood, followed by additional coats of a polyurethane varnish – such as Resene Aquaclear or Resene Qristal Clear Polyurethanes.

The second is to lightly sand the old varnish and apply Resene Colorwood Whitewash - this is a film forming stain with a low level of white pigmentation. If you would like to try this option, it’s best to get a buy a testpot of it and try an area before committing to a complete repaint.

June 2013

Q. I plan to stain some ply with Resene Colorwood and clear coat it to give as water resistant a surface as I can get. Would Resene Uracryl 403 be suitable directly over the Resene Colorwood?

A. Yes you can use the Resene Uracryl 403 Clear over the Resene Colorwood stain. Just give the stain a couple of days to dry/cure before application of the Resene Uracryl 403. Or you could use Resene Polythane.

May 2013

The Resene Paint Experts Q&A

Need help with your paint system or how to apply it? Ask a Paint Expert and get free advice - simply send in your paint, coating or decorating question. Alternatively, you can contact us or browse through the Q&A categories.

View more Q&A


Order online now:
Testpots | Paints | Primers and Sealers | Stains | Clears | Accessories

Get inspired Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube
Videos on how to paint and stain your house

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

What's new | Specifiers | Painters | DIYers | Artists | Kids | Sitemap | Home | TOP ⇧