Q: Is a water-based stain as good as an oil-based stain on pine molding? When applying the pre-stain conditioner and the stain itself, is it best to use a brush or cloth? Is there a waiting period to apply the finish stain after applying the conditioner?
A: Water-based stains are getting pretty good, but they are difficult to apply without overlaps. I used a brush with a light touch and not much stain on the brush and did fairly well. You can use a brush for the conditioner. Drying time is usually until dry to the touch. Or check the label.
Protect shower ceiling
Q: Is there a combination of wallboard material, paint product and cleaning product that would keep mildew off the ceiling above the shower? A member of my household, whom I will not name, takes steaming hot showers, and I don't think there is an exhaust fan I can buy that will keep up. The ultimate solution is to tile it, but I'm looking for an interim solution while we save up to redo the room.
A: Use the exhaust fan during and after showers, even for half an hour afterward. The best material to put on the shower ceiling, after cleaning off the mold with 1 part bleach and 3 parts water, is a piece of shiny white Formica-brand laminated plastic. The hardness of the Formica, and its high gloss, make it difficult for mold to grow. Zinsser makes a white latex paint that is super hard and super white, which also can work.