Best Stain Colors For Pine Ceiling

A pine ceiling can complete the look of a house. It makes a bold statement and can be used in many ways to create different patterns. It just looks so darn amazing!

Even so, now you have that pine ceiling, how are you going to finish it? Maybe you actually just want to update an old pinewood ceiling that has been looking drab for years.

The options may seem endless when you are searching high and low for the right stain to do its job, especially when you are unsure of what color to go with. One look online can bring up hundreds of different products, and who has got time for that?

Fortunately, that is where we come in. As experts in the field of home improvement, we have put together a handy guide on finding the right stain color for your pine ceiling.

So, read on to find out more!

Note: this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Our Best Stain Color For Pine Ceiling Reviews

Varathane 262025 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain

This Varathane wood stain is a good option if you are concerned about time. It is a one coat stain that is said to dry within one hour. This means that you can get the job done in the morning and enjoy the results later in the evening – glass of bubbly optional.

Staining the ceiling is already a fiddly job at best, so if you are a first timer when it comes to staining, you will certainly want something that is going to be super easy to apply.

It may be worth doing the odd patch test if you are worried about the color match. For most people the Varathane is fine, but once it gets into the grey colors of stain, some people have not quite got the grey it advertised.

That being said, grey paints and stains are usually quite difficult to color match.

The texture of the stain is also thicker than what you might expect. It actually comes down to personal opinion whether you prefer a thicker texture to use or not, but it will be handy if you are staining a ceiling. A watery liquid product will drip more!

Although, a thicker product means it will not go as far as a thinner one. Each time you dip a paintbrush into it, you will absorb more onto the brush. Again, this is all down to what type of consistency you prefer to work with and overall budget.


  • 1 hour drying time – a quick time enables you do it in a day
  • One coat – no need to do a second coat meaning an even faster finish
  • Easy application – good for the first time stainer


  • Color match – some reviews suggest that the color result does not always match the color on the side of the can
  • Thicker application – meaning you will use more per swipe of the paintbrush
Varathane 262025 Varathane-262025 Premium Fast Dry Wood Stain, Half Pint, Dark Walnut
  • Ideal for use on all interior wood projects: furniture, cabinets, doors, trim and paneling
  • One-coat coverage, fast-drying oil based formula
  • Dries to the touch in just 1 hour and covers up to 70 square feet
  • High performance stain system enhanced with nano pigment particles
  • Highlights natural wood grain to reveal wood's beauty

Minwax PolyShades 61380444 Wood Stain

The Minwax PolyShade stain could be stated as a bit of a ‘shortcut’ stainer. There are times when you probably do not have the hours in the day or knowledge to remove a polyurethane finish that is already coating a piece of pine.

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So what do you do? Well, buy a stain that is able to sit on top.

The Minwax is that stain. There is no need to sand down any of the previous coating on the pinewood if you do not want to – again, time is of the essence, after all!

Just like with any old stain, you will need to brush it on, wait for the desired color and wipe the excess away.

Even though painting over the old stain is a possibility, it is recommended to still lightly sand the previous stain finish off the wood if you want to see perfect results.

It is also available in an aerosol can, but it is probably best to leave that to smaller projects rather than a ceiling. If you want a professional finish, it is always best to go the old school route of using a paintbrush.

Plus, you can get more control by using a brush – an aerosol spray will direct itself anywhere!

Even though some wood stains require you to remove the stain after a certain period of time to produce the color you want, with this one that is not the case.

After the first thin coat, it is recommended you leave it for 6 hours or more to dry, and then to do a light sanding before applying another thin coat. You then repeat this step once more.

It may be too long a job for some, however, sometimes if you just want the job done well, then shortcuts are not necessary.


  • Can be used over polyurethane finishes – no need to remove a wood finish
  • Also available in spray form – so different options available. This may be dependent on what you intend to use it for, however


  • Apply more than one coat – the first coat may not be quite as expected, so a second coat will likely be needed
  • Long waiting time – will take around 6 hours to dry, therefore it will take more than a day or two before you see the finished results
Minwax PolyShades Wood Stain + Polyurethane Finish – Quart, Bombay Mahogany, Satin
  • POLYSHADES WOOD STAIN – Minwax PolyShades is an oil-based wood stain and poly in one. It enhances wood grain by combining beautiful, rich color and long-lasting polyurethane protection in one easy step.
  • REDUCE FINISHING TIME – This one-step wood finish can be used over polyurethane finishes, so you can change the color of your wood surface without removing the existing finish. Use on bare or already-finished wood.
  • BEAUTIFUL RESULTS – This beautiful wood stain provides a dark finish with a satin sheen. It offers a classic, rich brown color that looks great on a variety of projects. Recommended uses: furniture, woodwork, doors, cabinets & accessories.
  • EASY TO USE – Simply give the wood a light sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper, remove sanding dust, and brush on a coat of PolyShades. It’s a wood stain and polyurethane wood finish that easily and effectively transforms your wood projects.
  • A BRAND YOU CAN TRUST – Minwax is America’s leading brand of wood finishing and wood care products. Since 1904, we have been inspiring consumers to Keep on Finishing. We offer consumers a complete line of products to meet every wood finishing need.

General Finishes Water-Based Wood Stain

The General Finishes wood stain is a water-based stain that will leave the final result flat and not glossy. This is a good choice if you want the option of adding shine, or would prefer to keep it matte.

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It is great for enhancing the look of old wood and bringing out its good qualities, rather than appearing as a watered down stain that makes the wood look dull.

Plus, because of it being water-based, it can be cleaned without using chemicals. This means it is generally easier to clean!

It has a much thinner consistency and a little will most certainly go a long way compared to an oil or gel-like stain. It can also be mixed with other General Finishes stains to create a one-of-a-kind color to suit exactly what you are looking for.

The low odor mixture can also be sprayed on if you transfer it to a spray bottle, though it may just be easier to paint on. Also, it is not waterproof.

Because it is a water-based formula, it cannot be used outside or in any areas where there is high moisture in the air such as a kitchen or bathroom.

So, keep that in mind when deciding where it is you are staining the pine.


  • Multi-purpose – can either be hand-applied or put into a bottle to use as a spray
  • Low odor – you will not even be able to smell that there is fresh wood stain in the room. Perfect for sensitive noses
  • Can customize the colors – by mixing with other stains from the same brand
  • Cleaning is easy – no spirits or solvents needed because it is water-based


  • Indoor use only – not to be used outside otherwise it will become spoiled
  • Not waterproof – May need a sealer added on to it afterwards to protect it
General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain, 1 Pint, Black Cherry
  • High-quality pigments produce rich, dark colors; Can be hand-applied or sprayed.
  • Indoor use only; Formulated to provide workability similar to oil based stains
  • Low odor, low VOC, water cleanup and noncombustible
  • Create custom colors by intermixing GF Water Based Wood Stains or paints, or mix with any GF water based topcoat to tint and tone

SamaN Interior Water-Based Wood Stain

If you would like a natural option, then the SamaN range is for you. It has a non-toxic formula making it a great choice around the family and pets. Plus, it is practically odor free.

It is also good for the first timer, as its easy application consists of wiping the stain across the surface – just the once with no extra coats. Also, you should not make any mistakes due to overlapping not showing up, and instead it resulting in a lovely smooth finish.

There are over 40 colors to choose from, but seeing as it is water-based, you can also mix the colors to create something unique. Just remember what you mixed with what to replicate it if need be!

However, the water-based formula means it is not protected from moisture in the air, so just keep in mind not to use it in high moisture areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

Also it comes in a bottle which may be too small and impractical to use on a ceiling. It is not impossible however, so could be worth a try.


  • Easy application – it is a pour, wipe and go in one application
  • No overlapping marks – makes it a fantastic option for a novice
  • Safe and natural – if you do not want toxic chemicals inside the home, this is a great choice
  • Over 40 colors – to choose from and the water-base allows them to be mixed


  • Packaged in a bottle – may not be enough for a large ceiling
  • Not water protected – not good to use in moisture areas
SamaN Interior Water Based Wood Stain - Natural Stain for Furniture, Moldings, Wood Paneling, Cabinets (Antique Walnut TEW-212-12, 12 oz)
  • 20 YEARS OF NORTH-AMERICAN EXCELLENCE: The preferred choice of professional woodworkers and DIYers in North America. SamaN also promotes greener products.
  • SAFE TO USE PRODUCT: Odorless and low VOC, risk free for health of the users, pets and the environment.
  • HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT: Protects and elevates wood’s beauty on all your renovation or decoration projects. No overlapping marks, no need for a conditioner and fast easy application in just one coat.
  • EASY TO USE AND CLEAN: Super simple to use for a first-timer on most wood surfaces without any pro tools. Makes it safe and quick to clean after use on furniture, moldings, wood paneling, cabinets.
  • TONS OF COLORS TO PICK FROM: Over 40 colors to choose from. Mix 2 colors for a custom look or use the neutral tone (TEW-000 ) to lighten any other color. Get the exact shade you are looking for!

General Finishes Oil-Based Gel Stain

An oil gel-based stain might give some people palpitations, but it is actually such an easy stain to use and it gives a great, smooth – and rather dramatic – finish.

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The formula itself is quite heavy bodied, so will not penetrate into the wood as much as other stains. This means that if you have a difficult wood to work with that has lots of grains and marks, this will fill in those gaps.

It also means that it will even give the most difficult of woods a perfectly smooth finish.

To apply it you will need to do the general method of brushing the stain on, waiting a few minutes, and then wiping it off, which can be a struggle on the ceiling – though worth it.

The drying time is rather long, with many preferring to wait a full 24 hours before getting on to a second coat. However, there is no need to sand in between coats but if you want to, you can.

Like a lot of stains, it will give a hand finished look, but when it comes to wood, that is what you want, right?


  • Heavy bodied – does not penetrate into the wood as much as others meaning it will give difficult woods a more even finish
  • Easy application – just use a paintbrush or a cloth for a great result
  • No need to sand between coats – but the option is there if you want to


  • Gives a hand-finished look – which may not be what you are after
    A long drying time – up to 24 hours is recommended

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Buyer’s Guide

Here are a few of the key areas to look for when searching for the right stain to do the job.

Drying Time

Though not necessarily important – we do not walk on the ceiling after all – it is still very handy to know how long it takes to dry. This is because some stains will require more than one coating, and the faster it dries, the fast you can be done with it.


Carrying on from the above, you will also want to know how many coats the stain will take. It is standard for a stain to need a couple of coats, though there are the exceptions. It is worth noting so you can prepare for how much waiting you will need to do.


It is really important to know how much stain you will need to cover a surface. If you are doing a ceiling you may need more than one tin of stain. You will then need to factor in layers.

So, working out how much stain will cover the surface, and then the full surface again (and again), it will help you to know how much to purchase.

Some brands will provide a large enough tin of paint to do at the very least one coat of stain.


When it comes to stain, most require you to use a paintbrush to apply it and a soft cloth to remove excess. This is so you can reach the desired color effect you are after. Keep this in mind if you plan to do a full ceiling, rather than just a trim.

Not all stains will require a wait time and a wipe, so make sure you read the instructions carefully if you do not want to waste stain or your time having to sand and start all over again.

Oil-based Vs Water-based

There is a big difference when it comes to the type of stain to use. An oil-based stain may be thicker, whilst a water-based stain will appear runnier.

When mistakes or drips happen they are also cleaned up differently by either just using water or spirits and solvents.

They are also different to work with and may achieve a look the other one does not.

Keep this in mind if you are thinking about how much product to use, how to apply the stain and where you are using the stain.

A water-based stain is not waterproof, so may not be suitable in a kitchen or bathroom where the air carries a lot of moisture unless you use a sealant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Pine Accept Stain well?

Pine is easy to stain with wood stain, and is a great way to put some oomph into the look of it, especially if used on the ceiling. It should just be as easy as staining regular wood.

Is It OK To Leave Pine Unfinished?

If you are not concerned about a number of factors, then there is no harm in leaving it alone. These are potential water damage, absorbing moisture, potentially cracking or warping and light exposure.

With wood, it is best to finish it to make it look its best for longer, and to generally protect it.

How Do You Fix Blotchy Pine?

It is not uncommon to make a mistake when working with stain, though it can be avoided if done correctly.

If you do find that you have ended up with a blotchy stain, the best way to deal with it is to sand it off and start again. This should be followed up by a pre-stain wood conditioner.

Once this step has been done and it is dry, you can try staining it again.

Should I Sand Between Coats Of Stain?

This actually is not necessary, but can be done if you would like an even better finish. After a coat of stain has dried, use a very fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the pine.

Doing this will provide a white coat film over the pine, but the stain will make it disappear. Remember to not sand the final coat!