How to Stain Maple Plywood

How to Stain Maple Plywood

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If you’ve got some maple plywood, and you don’t like the look of it, or want to make it a bit more resistant to the elements, you might want to try staining it. Now, maple plywood is not the easiest to stain, but it is doable nonetheless.

Let’s take a closer look at how to stain maple plywood right now.

Can You Stain Maple Plywood?

Yes, it is possible to stain plywood. In fact, all types of plywood are prime candidates for staining. Although not all types of plywood are the best for staining, they all perform decently well on this front.

If you are looking to darken the color of your maple plywood, stain is a good option to consider. Moreover, if you are looking to make the plywood a bit more resistant to moisture, pests, mold, and the elements in general, then staining will also do some good.

Is Staining the Best Way to Finish Maple Plywood?

Staining is definitely a good option to consider for plywood, particularly in terms of altering the appearance and making it more water resistant. That said, maple plywood doesn’t always take stain on too well, so painting it may be the better option.

Maple plywood is not always the best at taking on stain, but a surface layer of paint should work quite well.

Paint is ideal for sealing plywood as it sits on the surface and allows for a uniform layer to be created, meaning it won’t soak into the plywood. Although painting maple plywood won’t preserve its original look, it will create a uniform appearance.

Is Maple a Good Type of Plywood for Staining?

Admittedly, maple plywood is not the best type of plywood for staining. The reason for this is that maple plywood has a very dense and closed wood grain. Maple plywood has a tendency to absorb stain in a very inconsistent manner.

More often than not, even if done correctly, this can result in the plywood looking very uneven and blotchy once the stain has dried. Other types of plywood that feature a looser grain will take on stain more evenly. However, how well this works does depend on the type of stain being used.

What Type of Stain Should You Use for Maple Plywood?

There are some types of stain that work better for maple plywood than others. For instance, one of the worst types of stain you could use for this purpose is oil-based stain. Oil-based stain tends to really soak into plywood, and this is exactly where that unevenness and blotchiness will come from when the stain dries.

For maple plywood, you want to use a stain that sits on the surface of the wood. This is because if the stain doesn’t absorb into the wood as much, it will result in a much more even and uniform finish. For this reason, using either a water-based or gel-based stain will work best. They sit on the surface more so than absorbing into the maple plywood, therefore resulting in a very even finish.

What Colors of Stain Look Good on Maple Plywood?

Maple plywood is a fairly lightly colored type of plywood, and it doesn’t always absorb stain too well. Therefore, it is generally recommended that you use a lighter type of stain, nothing too dark. Now, this all really depends on what your own preferences are. If you prefer your maple plywood to look a bit darker, that is your prerogative.

Will Staining Maple Plywood Make It Waterproof?

Stain is indeed a great way to make any type of plywood more waterproof. Stain is designed to soak into and sit on the surface of things like plywood.

This will aid in creating a water-resistant barrier that can last for many years to come. That being said, although staining plywood will help make it more water resistant, it still won’t make it 100% waterproof. If you plan on using plywood for outdoor applications, you might be better off using something like marine-grade plywood.

Is It Hard to Stain Maple Plywood?

Staining maple plywood can be difficult if you aren’t using the right type of stain. However, if you stick with a good water-based or gel-based type of stain, it should work just fine.

How to Stain Maple Plywood

Let’s go over a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to stain maple plywood. This is something that can be easily done in just a few steps.

Step 1: Sand the Plywood

To make sure that the plywood takes on the stain and looks even, you first want to lightly sand it with 180 grit sandpaper. Once sanded, take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe the plywood down to remove all wood residue.

Step 2: Apply the Stain

With the stain of your choosing, use a paintbrush or paint roller to apply an even layer of stain to the surface of the plywood. Then, take a dry rag and immediately wipe away the excess stain. Once wiped, you can then let it dry.

For a more detailed guide, check my article about how to stain plywood in general.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s quickly go over a couple of tips to help make this process easier and more successful:

  • Don’t forget to wipe away the excess stain, especially on maple plywood, as this may result in an uneven finish
  • If the first layer didn’t turn out well, you can always try sanding it again and then applying a second layer of stain


There you have it, you should now know exactly how to apply stain to maple plywood.