Penofin Common Questions (FAQ)

We've gathered the most commonly asked questions about Penofin. If your question isn't answered here, you may also contact us with any questions you may have.

Common Questions

Should I apply Penofin if rain is in the forecast?

Ideally you should apply Penofin 24 hours after rain and rain should not be expected for 24 hours after application.

What to do if it rained and there are little spots on your deck:

  1. Wash the wood with a solution of 1 cup Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner Step 2 to a gallon of water.
  2. Apply the solution to the wood using a a stiff brush and scrub the affected area for around 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the surface thoroughly with water.
  4. Let dry for 24 hours.
  5. Apply a light coat of Penofin if wood appears blotchy.

Do I really have to wipe the wood after applying Penofin?

Yes, the surface of the wood must be wiped thoroughly with nap-free cloths to assure that Penofin does not dry on the surface of the wood. If Penofin dries on the surface of the wood, then it will turn sticky, tacky, and eventually peel off the surface because it is not a surface coating. It will also interfere with the cure of the product that has penetrated into the wood causing the product to fail to protect the wood fibers.

How long does it take for Penofin to dry?

It takes 3 hours for Penofin to dry to touch. The surface will be dry enough to use in 12 hours.

Can I use Penofin for planter boxes? Will it be safe for flowers and garden edibles?

Yes, Penofin Verde would be a great option to finish a planter box. Verde is a plant-based stain and although it is not food certified, it is food-friendly and will cause no harm to your plants or edibles.

How to apply Penofin interior wood stain on cabinets, furniture, or flooring:

For a Matte Finish:

  1. Make sure the wood surface is free of old finishes, paint, wax, grease, polish or dirt and repair any cracks or defects.
  2. Prepare the wood using 150-grit or finer sandpaper. Sand with the grain and wipe clean.
  3. Stir Penofin thoroughly and then apply one coat using a brush foam pad, or lint-free finishing cloth.
  4. Wait 20-30 minutes, then wipe off excess product.
  5. Let dry for 12 hours before use.
  6. Surface is ready for wet-sanding in 24 hours.

For a High-Gloss Finish:

  1. Make sure the wood surface is free of old finishes, paint, wax, grease, polish or dirt and repair any cracks or defects.
  2. Prepare the wood using 150-grit or finer sandpaper. Sand with the grain and wipe clean.
  3. Apply Penofin to a small area with 400 to 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Sand with the grain and keep the area wet with Penofin.
  4. Wipe the area dry and repeat the process until grain is filled and desired patina is achieved.
  5. Buff to a polish with a clean, soft cloth.
  6. If desired, after one week apply a polyurethane varnish or lacquer over Penofin.
  7. Maintain the finish by burnishing it with a soft dry cloth or a floor buffer and touching it up with Penofin as needed.
  8. For cleanup, use mineral spirits or paint thinner.

IMPORTANT:To avoid spontaneous combustion, submerse all materials soaked in Penofin into a bucket of water and seal it. Then, properly dispose of materials at your local hazmat drop-off.

How to prepare wood for a Penofin application:

  1. If the wood has any pre-existing stain, sealer, loose fibers or paint, then remove it using Penofin Pro-Tech Wood Stripper.
  2. Clean wood using Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner.
  3. Apply Penofin Pro-Tech Brightener.
  4. Let the wood dry for 24 hours.
  5. Apply Penofin as directed.

How can I restore colorant on my Trex composite decking surface?

Penofin Knotwood Composite Decking Colorant works well if you are interested in restoring or enhancing your decking color. This comes in three different shades that you can determine the best color match for your existing decking. For example, right now we would recommend using the color Redwood for Brasilia Cayenne or Madeira. IMPORTANT: Penofin cannot be applied to Trex Transcend decking or Trex Escapes.

Can I apply Penofin over a previous stain?

No, it is recommended that Penofin be applied to clean, bare, dry wood. This is because many stains often contain different ingredients, so Penofin may not be able to penetrate through an existing finish.

Can Penofin be applied over an existing Penofin finish?


How long will Penofin last on my wood?

On a horizontal surface you can expect Penofin to perform for an average of 9 to 24 months and 2 to 5 years on a vertical surface. The time will vary depending on the percentage of sunlight and weather exposure.

Why is UV protection beneficial in wood stain?

Ultraviolet Protection virtually eliminates fading due to sunlight. For example, Penofin Blue Label has 90 percent ultraviolet protection from transoxide pigments. Ultra-Premium Penofin Red Label has a 99% UV protection. Penofin Marine Oil has a 99 percent ultraviolet protection. Penofin Composite Wood Stain and Oil provides extreme ultraviolet protection.

What is spontaneous combustion? Why do I have to soak the oily rags in water?

Spontaneous combustion is a phenomenon in which a substance unexpectedly bursts into flame without apparent cause. In ordinary combustion, a substance is deliberately heated to its ignition point to make it burn. Many substances undergo slow oxidation that, like the rapid oxidation of burning releases heat. If the heat that is released cannot escape the substance, the temperature of the substance rises until ignition takes place. Spontaneous combustion often occurs in piles of oily rags, green hay, leaves, or coal; it can constitute a serious fire hazard.

Where can I find MSDS Sheets?

All MSDS sheets are available at

Can I apply Penofin on wood where it might drip onto a rubber surface?

No, Penofin does not react well with rubbers and plastics. Although, it could be applied if the rubber surface was covered during application. Once excess Penofin is wiped off and left to dry for 4 hours, the cover should be safe to remove.

What makes Penofin different from other stains?

Penofin's formula penetrates deep into the wood's surface, coating the individual fibers of the wood, allowing moisture to pass in and of the wood allowing the wood to breathe. Penofin uses the best, most safe raw materials available and does not compromise for the sake of cost. All Penofin stains contain Brazilian Rosewood Oil which is a strong, flexible, water-resistant, mildew-resistant oil that is sustainably harvested from the seeds of the Brazilian Rosewood tree; no trees are ever cut to produce this oil. Rosewood Oil allows the wood to retain its flexibility and creates no surface film. A Penofin application is easy to maintain when applied according to directions. You will never see a surface film when using Penofin, so you will never see cracking, bubbling, or peeling. You will also never need to strip or sand again! Simply clean the wood thoroughly, let dry and apply a light coat to any areas of the wood that may show wear and tear. It will easily blend in with the rest of the application.

How to clean a new wood surface before applying Penofin:

  1. Remove surface dirt and kill mold or mildew spores that may be living in your new wood with Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner.
  2. Apply a light coat of Penofin to your wood surface while it is aging.
  3. Use Penofin Pro-Tech Brightener to remove any discoloration caused by tannins.
  4. Let the wood dry for 24 hours.
  5. Apply Penofin as directed.

What is Penofin?

Penofin is an American-made brand of high-quality interior and exterior wood finishes, wood stains, and wood care products designed with the finest ingredients for use by consumers, craftsmen, and professionals. Penofin is great for a variety of interior and exterior applications.

What types of Penofin Products are available at DIY Home Center?

Penofin Products at DIY Home Center include:

  • Wood Preperation Products – including wood stripper, cleaner, and brightener
  • Exterior Wood Stain – including oil, matte and satin finish for siding, decks, furniture and more
  • Interior Wood Stain – including environmentally friendly and natural tone finishes
  • Penofin Marine Stain – including oil, matte, and satin finish for docks and other water environments
  • Penofin Blue Label – For protection of decks, siding, fences, log homes, and furniture from discoloration
  • Penofin Red Label – For protection of decks, siding, fences, log homes, and furniture from rain, wind, snow and other elements in high elevations
  • Penofin Redwood All Heart – For bringing out the rich, dark, mahogany-red color with ever changing velvety sheen to any type of redwood
  • Penofin Bronze Label – For protection of exotic hardwoods like: mahogany, teak, ipe, brazilian redwood and more
  • Penofin Green Label – For restoration of the natural beauty and texture of pressure-treated wood

How much Penofin do I need for my project?

Penofin will cover 150 to 200 square feet per gallon on rough surfaces and from 250 to 300 square feet on smooth surfaces.

How to clean an old wood surface before applying Penofin:

  1. If the wood has any previous non-Penofin stain, then remove it using Penofin Pro-Tech Wood Stripper. If the prior finish was a 100% acrylic water-based product, then use a conventional paint stripper to remove it.
  2. Apply Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner to remove mold, mildew, or surface dirt.
  3. Use Penofin Pro-Tech Brightener to restore the wood back to its original bright color.
  4. Let the wood dry for 24 hours.
  5. Apply Penofin as directed. Keep in mind that older wood may require more stain to cover the surface.

How to apply Penofin for Hardwood:

  1. Measure and purchase the correct amount of product needed. One gallon of Penofin Exotic Hardwood Stain provides 300-400 square feet of coverage.
  2. For some hardwood applications, pre-sand the surface with 60-to-80 grit sandpaper.
  3. Apply a light coat to clean, dry, unfinished wood by using a stain pad, pump sprayer or high quality China bristle brush. Do not over apply or surface will become tacky or sticky.
  4. Wait 20 to 30 minutes for the stain to absorb.
  5. Remove excess product by wiping the entire surface with a nap-free cloth.
  6. Surface will be dry to touch in 3 hours, but be sure to allow 24 hours before using.
  7. Re-apply Penofin as soon as wood appears dry or faded. This should be done several times the first year for maximum surface penetration. Once wood fibers become fully protected, maintenance will become less frequent.

Caution: Do not apply to wood that is hot to the touch. To avoid spontaneous combustion, submerse all materials soaked in Penofin into a bucket of water and seal. Then, properly disposed of materials at your local hazmat drop-off.

What is a nap-free cloth?

A nap-free cloth is a paint rag or cleaning rag with a low amount of lint or "fuzziness". They are typically made of cotton (like a t-shirt) and are absorbent, strong, and reusable.

What to do if you didn't wipe after applying Penofin and now the wood is sticky and tacky:

  1. Clean the finish by applying Penofin Pro-Tech Cleaner Step 2 as directed.
  2. Apply a light coat of Penofin if wood appears blotchy.
  3. Wipe off excess product and let dry.

How hot or cold can it be when applying Penofin?

Generally speaking you should not apply Penofin outdoors at temperatures under 45 degrees or above 80 degrees. A good rule of thumb when applying Penofin is to trust your own temperature gauge. If you put your hand on the wood and it is uncomfortably hot, it is too hot to apply Penofin. The product may flash (like oil in a hot pan) and dry on the surface. This will eventually cause darkening, and the coat will chip and peel. If your nose is cold, it is too cold to apply Penofin. The product will not penetrate the wood as efficiently at colder temperatures and the application will not last as long. Short-sleeve weather is the ideal temperature range for a Penofin application.

What is the limited warranty provided by the Penofin manufacturer?

Limited Warranty: Penofin exterior finishes are warranted to perform when applied to wood surfaces according to label instructions. If Penofin is shown to be defective, Performance Coatings Inc. will replace the product. Warranty is void if wood was previously finished or pretreated. Performance Coatings Inc.'s liability under any warranty whether expressed or implied is limited solely to replacement of product and does not include labor or other consequential damages.

Can I apply a polyurethane coating over Penofin?

It is not necessary to put any kind of coating over Penofin. If you wish to put a coating over the wood for any reason, allow 7-10 days for the Penofin to completely cure before beginning. At that point, a polyurethane coating will not hurt the wood or the stain. If you plan on applying Penofin to an area that is already covered in polyurethane or other coating, it is necessary to strip off the coating and clean the wood with Penofin's 3-step cleaning system before applying Penofin Penetrating Oil.

I have a deck that has never been finished. Can I remove the gray and darkened color?

Penofin Pro-Tech Brightener Step 3 is formulated especially to remove tannins bring back the original color of the wood. A cup of the powder to a gallon of water is applied to the wood's surface. Let sit for 15 minutes and agitate with a stiff bristle brush, rinse thoroughly with a garden hose and a spray nozzle, let dry for 24 hours and apply Penofin.

Why does the lid say not to store in the can?

Penofin recommends that you buy only enough Penofin to complete the job. Once the factory seal is broken it is hard to re-seal a container. Allowing air into the container will dissipate the solvents causing the remaining oils and resins to gel. Unopened Penofin can be stored indefinitely in the can and will withhold freezing temperatures.

What is VOC?

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound, which is a drying agent that causes off-gassing into the environment. Many regions in California require the use of products with less than 100 VOCs. Penofin has some higher VOC products that are not available for sale in California SCAQMD Jurisdiction, LA-Eastern, LA-Western, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. A great low VOC option for individuals in this area would be Penofin Verde.

I treated my wood deck last year with Penofin. Can I use Penofin Cleaner and Brightener this year without applying another Penofin treatment?

Yes, you can use Penofin Pro-Tech Wood Cleaner and Brightener to restore your deck without reapplying Penofin. Just keep in mind that the deck may continue to grey naturally without reapplication of the stain or oil to increase the UV protection.