Hardwood Floors and Stain

Btanner619October 14, 2012

Ok so the first project on my new house that I wanted to tackle was the floors. I prepped and sanded everything and now I am stuck on the stain. I wanted a really Dark Mahogany stain. The first small room I did was 4 days ago. I took a rag and applied stain and started to wipe it up but noticed it wasn't close to how dark I wanted it. So I took a sponge and rag attached to a pole and started spreading the stain out for a nice even coat and to the color I was really shooting for. I believe this is called feathering. I did two coats like this. Next day the results were great (Left half of the picture was done like this. Don't pay attention to other splotchy right half of the picture I was trying different techniques You can see the break in the floor where I seperated the two.) So obviously this is not the proper way to stain but I was wondering if its dry to the touch will it cause any issues If I poly 3 coats over it. All I want to know is will it work, The idea of having to start from square one again blows my mind. I would higher a professional. I'm 23 and just bought this house can't break the bank on the floors and will have a pro come in next time but now I have great respect for wood floor guys. Any help would be great. Thanks

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Obviously you know the problem you could have with this floor down the line. When you load a floor with excessive pigment, the top coats have very little means of bonding mechanically to the surface. There is some chemical bonding as well, but floors done this way are prone to peel when subjected to heavy traffic.

I assume this is a bedroom, so you may get lucky coloring it the way you did and finishing it off at this point. I do not use oilbase polyurethane, so someone else who uses that type of product may come in with some suggestions for you.

For the rest of your project, consider this: You want to sand the wood as evenly as possible. You want it all sanded to a consistent condition; that will help you avoid splotching. Then, you want to do what we call 'water popping' to open the grain of the sanded wood, so it can accept and hold greater amounts of pigment...that will give you a darker result.

I am curious as to which stain medium you are using?

I used to install all types of flooring and then I switched to floor finishing; I was either up for the challenge or I was nuts. The jury is still out!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:21PM
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Another issue you will face with an oil poly is that it will likely loosen and move the heavy pigment residue. Also if it is a low voc stain it may take several days to dry before its is safely dry enough to apply the finish.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 3:43PM
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Are you going to attempt an even color on the right side through more stain before you move on? Every stain manufacturer tells you to follow their application instructions which you did, but also their specific dry times between stains. Miniwax has longer dry time than most for example. Much depends on ambient humidity when discussing drying time.

I'd suggest really following your stain manufacturer's instructions to the tee. Why don't you give them a call and ask for a phone consultation? They may have a couple ideas on how to equalize the two room sides.

It's important to know that each flooring manufacturer tests their stains with their finishes for compatibility and durability. It is advisable to stick with the same manufacturer for stain and finish. Many use waterborne finishes now: easier to apply, quicker, and supposedly as durable. You should read up on them as an alternative to polyurethane. Waterborne finishes have urethane in them too, but their finish is water liking so suspension differs. Know that you have choices in sheen. Some like low sheen (matte) while others like high sheen. You have a choice here to make on your finish.

It's important to consider the manufacturer's sealant before applying your finish. While you have made a base on the left with the heavy stain (thus perhaps avoiding the stain being overly absorbed by the wood), a sealant adds properties to floor finishing that no stain and finish alone can. Check with your stain manufacturer.

Be real careful to keep dust, pet hair etc off that stain. Many a floor has been wrecked by inattentiveness to this detail, requiring one to start all over again.

Hope this works out for you. Best advise: stain with the same manufacturer start to finish for probable best outcome on your floor. Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 7:47PM
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I'm sorry, I meant to type "(thus perhaps avoiding the finish being overly absorbed by the wood)" in third to last paragraph.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:35PM
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