Saturday, October 24, 2015

The barn is finally stained!

After months of intermittent planning, the interior of the barn is finally stained! I went with a two-tone pattern, with the aisle a lighter color to keep things bright and the stalls a darker color to (hopefully) hide dirt and deter flies.

The aisle was done with Cabot Timber Oil in Natural, and I'm happy with how it turned out (the ceiling was left unstained so don't judge it based on that):

Aisle before
Aisle after (timber oil with semi-transparent trim)
The interior of the stalls (and the trim in the aisle) was done with Cabot semi-transparent stain in oak brown. I wish I had used a darker shade of timber oil instead! The semi-trans came out blotchy in places and also really thick so that most of the wood grain is hidden. It almost looks like paint instead of stain. It's also still a bit sticky 20 hours after completion and I really hope it continues to dry and soak in. Overall kind of disappointing so far but I'm trying not to stress out about it too much. Here it is:

Stalls before
Stalls after semi-transparent stain
Lessons learned from this experience:
  • Stain your barn before you move your horses in, if possible. The reason I didn't do this is that the deck stain I initially planned to use (TWP) requires letting the wood age for 6+ months before staining. However, I didn't end up using that stain because test patches didn't look how I wanted. The job would have been much better and easier without all the dust, dirt, manure stains, mildew, etc. I also wouldn't have had to plan the application for a time of year when the horses could stay outside continuously for a couple days.
  • Test stains in an inconspicuous area first. I tested six different stains, the first three in a range of colors. The first brand (TWP) was okay but the colors weren't rich enough for my taste so I kept looking. The second (Armstrong Clark) and third (Ready Seal) came out pale, blotchy, and hideous. The fourth one (Cabot semi-transparent in oak brown) was what ended up going in the stalls but I think the painters put on too many coats because it turned out much more opaque than the test patch. The fifth one (Cabot semi-transparent in cavalry) was for the aisle but it was way too yellow and opaque. The sixth one was the timber oil that ended up going in the aisle. I am so glad I tested the fifth one first because it was really ugly and the sixth one turned out quite nice!

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