Need to spruce up your IKEA Runnen deck tiles or Applaro outdoor furniture? If you’re searching for an alternative to IKEA Varda wood stain in brown, likely because it’s out of stock, you’re in the right place. I found a match and I’ve got all the details in this blog post! Grab it at Lowe’s and stop the fruitless inventory updates at IKEA.
Which Stain Does the Internet Recommend?
Despite my deep dive into Reddit, I could not find a definitive answer to the question of which hardware store stain is the best match for IKEA’s brown wood stain. Lots of potential colors… and then some bickering. So I did my own research.
Because most of the suggestions I found were products from Lowe’s, I started in their stain aisle. Here’s what I tried.
Potential IKEA Varda Wood Stain Matches:
*Winner: Potato Skin!
Best Brown Stain to Match IKEA Outdoor Furniture
Try this stain on your Runnen tiles or Applaro furniture: Valspar Potato Skin Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer. The base stain has to be tinted to Potato Skin in store, which is the reason you see an ID label on my jar. It looks a little off in the photo below, but it dries to a perfect match.
It’s not even a close contest with these exterior wood stains. Check out how well this one-coat stain in Potato Skin matches the original reddish-brown color of the Runnen deck tiles. It’s close to perfect!
Some internet friends had mentioned Canyon Brown in transparent as a good match, but it really doesn’t work with my Runnen wood tiles. It might be ok if you don’t have truly bare spots or 100% sanded wood. I also tried a Cabot stain in Mission Brown, but that’s the worst of the three.
To make things even easier, I tested the Potato Skin semi-transparent stain on three wood surfaces: well-sanded, lightly sanded, and just wiped with a wet cloth. It appears to adhere well to all three surfaces, so guess which prep work I plan to do on my remaining 200+ tiles?
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Why Restain Runnen Outdoor Decking?
Guess what? For those who don’t always read the fine print (*ahem*), IKEA advises “reglazing” the finish on Runnen outdoor decking with their brown Varda wood stain annually. I missed that fun detail when I first bought and installed it.
I’ve also learned that Varda wood stain is frequently out of stock. Lo and behold, it is currently out of stock at my local IKEA.
Our back porch flooring was trashed by winter snow, although up to that point, it held up really well in the rain and intense sun. It’s a covered back porch, but the finish really wore away along the outside edges. Just a word of warning if you live in a snowy climate – perhaps pick the plastic Runnen instead! This flooring needs some serious help…
How to Restain Runnen Wood Floor Tiles
Here is my super simple process. Wash, sand if you want, stain, and dry. Done!
Last winter, I actually pulled up the flooring in order to save the undamaged tiles. Now I’m preparing to restain and reinstall, so we can sell the house with a decent back porch. Currently, there is an old outdoor carpet glued to the concrete. (Not the vibe I’m going for in a remodeled house.)
To prep for installation, I laid out all of the floor tiles on the lawn and sprayed them down with a garden hose. Super fancy. Some needed a little scrub, but otherwise, this is pretty easy.
Next, I slapped some stain on the damaged areas and let it dry for a few hours. The tiles click together and it’s a one-day project to install them. Compared to painting the ceiling, it’s easy! I could have sanded first, but they look fine with the lazy treatment.
The stain product recommends using a nylon brush to apply, and as you can see, I used a disposable foam brush on my samples. Foam brushes disintegrate on larger paint and stain projects, so I used a chip brush I found in my stash. I still recommend a nylon bristle paint brush, since a chip brush is cheap and drops bristles.
How Much Stain Will You Need?
Always a critical question. The answer depends on your project. This is a one-coat product, intended to make life easy. I did cover some spots with a second swipe of stain, but for the most part, one coat looks good.
I would guess that you can get pretty far with this product. The jar states that one half-pint will cover 19 square feet, but I think that’s a conservative estimate. I used nearly the entire half-pint and restained the better part of 80 tiles (80 sq ft). I painted about 1/2 to 3/4 of each tile with a coat of stain, so I would guess <40 sq ft of coverage. (If you try this and disagree, please drop me a comment!)
I also have an Applaro folding table that needed a bit of touch-up stain, and I had plenty of stain left to recoat the top. I painted the top and wiped the extra on cross pieces at the bottom. The color blends nicely with the side legs, which are untouched.
Final Photos to Follow!
Stay tuned. I just wanted to get this info out into the world, because apparently there are a lot of folks, like me, looking to save their IKEA outdoor furniture and flooring. Good luck to you, IKEA community!
I’ll share photos of the back porch soon. Just for a teaser, check out my new back door color! The color is Cloudy Sky by Benjamin Moore.