Finishing Hardwood Floors 7 — Applying the Stain

Finishing Hardwood Floors 7 - Applying the Stain

Finishing Hardwood Floors 7 — Applying the Stain

Margin of Error: Not applicable

Most Common Mistakes

  1. Not removing all the dust
  2. Staining unevenly
Finishing Hardwood Floors 7 - Applying the Stain

It is best to finish the floor and apply a protective sealant as soon as possible after sanding the floor, preferably the same day. This protects the floor from moisture and other problems that could cause the wood grain to rise and create a rough surface. Before you begin finishing the floor, you need to be sure that it is perfectly clean and free of dust or debris. Also, carefully check for any flaws or imperfections.

Fill cracks or holes with wood dough, allow it to adequately dry, and then sand smooth. Sand off any swirl or sanding marks. If there are stains that cannot be removed by sanding, try bleaching them out. Wearing gloves and goggles, use an undiluted household bleach applied directly to the center of the stain. In a few minutes the bleach should lighten the stain. Apply enough bleach to blend the stain with the color of the wood. Then wash the bleached area with warm water and let it dry. Vacuum the floors well and go over them with a tack cloth. These cloths are sticky and, when rubbed across the floor, pick up all the fine dust. Rub your entire floor well with cheese cloth. Also, clean up any areas where dust has settled, so that it does not get on the surface.

Staining the floor is optional. You may want to just put on the protective finish and let the natural color of the wood show through. If you decide to stain, it visit some other rooms with various color stains to see how you’ll like it, once it is down. Often the sample stain at the store will give a very different effect when a large area like a floor is that color. Also, you may want to test a small area of your floor before applying it everywhere. If the floor is still blotchy after sanding, you may need to stain it in order to arrive at an even coloration.

Before staining, you may want to apply a special wood sealer to the flooring. This is especially important if you are applying the stain to a softwood floor. This is not the heavy-duty protective finish to be applied last but rather a light-weight sealer that simply seals the open pores of the wood. This makes an even application of stain much easier. Some wood sealers are colored, and stain and seal the floor in one application.

Applying stain may be trickier than you think It takes some concentration and skill to get a good even finish with no blotchy areas where the stain is unevenly applied. The sealer will help here, as the pores will be sealed and the stain will not penetrate as deep or as quickly.

Pour all the stain you need into one container and mix it thoroughly to assure an even application. You can apply the stain using rags, brushes, or a roller. Go carefully and be sure it is penetrating to give an even color. Apply a generous coat and, after 5 to 10 minutes, vigorously, wipe with a rag to remove excess stain. The amount of time you allow it to set on the floor will determine the degree of darkness provided. We recommend buffing the floor with a professional buffer and a #2 steel wool disc and thoroughly vacuuming before the final finish coat is applied. As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.

Keep rags handy to wipe up any excess. The pigments of the stain are in suspension, not in solution, so the stain must be stirred regularly during application. Be sure never to store oily rags together. There is always the threat of spontaneous combustion.


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