Acacia wood is exceptionally durable timber made to endure extreme wear and tear.
Hence, it’s ideal for outdoor furniture, bistro sets, dining table, flooring, kitchenware, utensils, and even commercial kitchens.
Acacia wood has a warm, rich appearance that is ideal for non-painted wood products.
However, because the wood is quite dense, it retains a coat of paint extremely well.
Acacia wood is not only naturally resinous, but it’s also resistant to stains and odors.
This also means it takes paint well or may be stained and left natural.
The key to success, however, is in preparation. If you don’t prep the wood properly, you’ll find that the paint or stain doesn’t adhere well and will chip and flake off over time.
Further in this article, I will discuss the best way to prep your acacia outdoor furniture for painting or staining.
And then, I will give you a few tips on achieving the best results. So, let’s dive into…
Should You Stain Acacia Wood?
Should you stain acacia wood? This is a legitimate concern and should be discussed in an article on staining acacia wood.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how nice the rough-hewn wood looks once you’ve sanded it down and applied your favorite finish to the natural-toned wood.
Acacia wood comes in a variety of hues. The natural sheen of the wood is unique to each species.
A transparent finish highlights and deepens the color of the wood and results in a stunning item.
Also, depending on its region of origin, the grain of acacia wood can differ significantly.
For example, Hawaiian Koa has a medium-textured grain with wavy interlocking patterns.
Typically, other Australian species have a fine and uniform grain that is straight and visually appealing.
So, when deciding whether to stain or paint your acacia wood outdoor furniture, think about the natural color and grain of the wood.
If you want to show off the wood’s natural beauty, then a clear stain or sealant is the way to go.
But painting or staining is your best bet if you want to change the wood’s color.
Staining Acacia Wood Furniture – Step by Step
Acacia wood is a beautiful hardwood perfect for indoor and outdoor furniture.
If you want to change the color of your acacia wood furniture, staining it is the way to go.
Staining acacia wood furniture is a simple process that anyone can do. The key is to prep the wood properly and use a quality stain or sealant.
Follow these steps, and you’ll have beautiful acacia wood furniture in no time.
Step 1. Sand the Acacia Wood Nicely
The first step is to sand the Acacia wood evenly. You’ll want to use medium-grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit.
The goal is to remove any imperfections in the wood and create a smooth surface.
Bear in mind that you can sand the acacia wood to the desired finish grit, but the next step will raise the grain somewhat.
So, after that, you’ll need to go over the wood with your finest grit sandpaper.
This will simply be a light sanding to remove architectural features on the raised wood grain.
Step 2. Wipe Down the Wood
Once you’ve sanded the wood, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any sawdust.
Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the furniture so that no dust remains that could interfere with the stain.
Then, allow the wood to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 3. Raise The Grain of Acacia Wood
This additional step of preparing the acacia wood to improve stain penetration is commonly referred to as raising or water-popping the grain.
This procedure causes the wood fibers’ extremities to stand up, allowing the stain to soak into the ends of the wood fibers and enhancing the depth of stain penetration. To get this done, follow this procedure:
- Make the wood surface wet by using a cloth or mop that is not dripping water. Wipe the water on in the same way as you would apply stain.
- Now it’s time to let the wood rest for about 40 to 45 minutes. The wood must dry completely before proceeding. So, before you start with the following steps, there should be no visible moisture on the wood.
The moisture from the above process causes the fibers to expand.
As they dry quickly, the wood fibers shrink, the ends of the fibers rise towards the surface of the wood, and the grain end becomes exposed.
You’ll feel rough end grains if you run your hand over the surface after it has dried.
This is precisely what you should look for, and if you achieve this, it indicates that your wood is now ready to be stained.
Step 4. Apply the Stain to the Acacia Wood
Now it’s time to apply the stain we are waiting for.
The best type of stain to use on acacia wood is oil-based, as it soaks deep into the grain and acts as a preservative.
You could, however, go with other varieties such as water-based stains, gel wood stains, or lacquer stains. These will all give you different results.
So, remember the type of finish you want to achieve and the location of your final product where you will be using it before deciding on the specific product.
A cloth or a sponge rather than a paintbrush is the greatest way to apply stain to acacia wood in even layers.
However, if you use a cloth or sponge to apply the stain, it is necessary that you wear gloves to protect your hands.
The stain is applied in the same manner as you wetted the wood with the cloth.
To avoid areas of the wood becoming darker than others due to uneven stain application, the stain must be applied in even layers.
- To apply the stain on acacia wood, shake or stir the can well to get an even consistency.
- Dab the cloth into the stain, not allowing it to absorb too much of it. It will be more difficult to conceal the drip marks later on.
- Wipe the stain across the wood, starting at one end and working your way down. Make sure you apply equal layers and avoid crossing over them excessively since these will appear darker in the final finished product.
- When you’re applying the stain, make sure you’re going with the grain of the wood. This will allow more of the stain to sink into the wood than if you applied it across the grain.
If you’re happy with the tone of the first coat of stain, you only need to apply one coat.
But if you want the wood to be darker, wait for the first coat to dry (which should take around 15 minutes) and then proceed with a second coat.
Use the same process and method for applying the second or third coat as you did for the first one.
Keep in mind that once the stain on acacia wood furniture is applied, it will be complicated to remove it – if you decide that the color is too dark.
So ensure each coat dries thoroughly, and you check the color precisely before adding another layer.
Step 5. Knock off the Wood Fibers on Acacia
Now that your last coat of stain has dried, it’s time to move on to the next stage in the process: getting rid of raised fibers.
The end grain of the fibers will still be raised after you stain the surface of acacia wood, and your hand will glide across the wood with a rough feel.
Use fine-grit sandpaper for sanding the wood’s surface until you achieve the desired finish.
Run your hand over the wood’s surface after each sanding to see if it feels smooth.
If you’re not yet satisfied with the finish, keep sanding until you achieve the desired level of smoothness.
Step 6. Get Your Acacia Wood Furniture Ready with a Final Finish
The wood is now ready for the final finish after the end grain has been sanded down.
Choose the appropriate product for the job, depending on the final location of your project.
You can use water-based polyurethane for indoor projects or an oil-based one for outdoor furniture.
The main difference between the two is that water-based polyurethanes will give the wood a glassier finish, while oil-based polyurethanes will provide a more natural look.
But both of them will protect the wood from scratches, stains, and water damage when applied correctly using a brush.
The piece’s intended purpose should generally determine the type of finish you use on the acacia wood.
A hardwood floor, for example, would require a different finish than a tabletop or countertop.
Depending on the finish you apply and how many coats you put on, the surface may not be smooth yet.
So, after applying the first coat of your chosen finish, wait until the polyurethane dries to recheck the wood’s surface for smoothness by running your hand over it.
If the finished surface feels a little rough, sand it lightly with fine-grit sandpaper and apply another coat of the finish.
You can repeat this process until you get the desired level of smoothness.
Make sure you let the final coat of finish dry completely before using the acacia wood furniture.
Acacia Wood Outdoor Furniture Painting Tips and Ideas
The process is pretty similar if you decide to paint your acacia wood (rather than wood stain).
You’ll still need to sand the wood’s surface to create a smooth finish and then apply a primer before painting.
The main difference is that you’ll use paint rather than stain.
When painting acacia wood furniture outdoors, make sure you choose a premium oil-based enamel paint that is specifically designed for outdoor use.
This type of paint will be more resistant to sunlight and weather damage.
If the project is indoor, you can use latex-based paint or chalk paint to decorate and recolor.
If you desire to put chalk paint on your acacia wood outdoor furniture, I would suggest using Chalk Paint® Lacquer finish over it.
This Annie Sloan lacquer finish is a kind of varnish sealer designed to protect the chalk paint used outdoors or in high-traffic areas.
- Once you’ve chosen the perfect paint, apply a primer to the wood’s surface before painting to better adhere to the paint. This will also prevent it from chipping or flaking off over time.
- After the primer has dried, paint the acacia wood furniture with a brush, working in the grain direction.
- Let each coat of paint dry before applying the next one. You may need to apply several coats of paint to achieve the desired color.
And that’s it! Once the final coat of paint is dry, your acacia wood furniture will be ready to enjoy.
What Color Stains or Paints Are Best to Use On Acacia Wood Furniture?
Acacia wood comes in many colors, from golden brown to reddish-brown and even deep rich brown.
This means the color of your stain will depend on the original shade of your acacia wood.
The darker colors can be easily stained to look like dark rich walnut, while lighter colors can be stained to appear as darker oak woods.
For outdoors, you can choose any color for the acacia wood paint job – but remember that light colors reflect more heat than dark colors.
So, choosing a light color for your acacia wood outdoor furniture is best if you live in a hot climate.
The Bottom Line
Acacia wood is a beautiful, durable timber perfect for indoor and outdoor furniture and floors.
This hardwood is also easy to care for and maintain, making it an excellent choice for busy families or those who entertain often.
When refinishing or repainting acacia wood furniture outdoors, sand the surface smoothly and apply paint or stain designed for outdoor use.
Your acacia wood furniture will last for years with proper care and maintenance.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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