What I Have Learned About Staining and Finish a Floor…(Beyond the Fact That This Has Definitely Been Worth All of the Extra Work!)

by projectbuddy


After all of the scraping and repairing, there was sanding and touching up, it was time for staining and finishing. It was a challenge to hold off on moving to the staining and finishing, since those were the final steps would tell me if all of this work was worthwhile.

Could my old floor be saved? And if it could, would it live up to my hopes and expectations? The biggest investment up to this point had been in my time. The cost of boards and sandpaper were really quite small when compared to the amount of time I’d invested.

“Gunstock” was the stain color which was the closest match for the old original aged finish. A test area was very useful to ensure a good stain selection. It was a little more reddish-brown than golden-yellow, however my finish coat gave it a golden-yellow tone for a practically perfect match.

Quick Tip: Collect a lot of old T-shirts ahead of time. You can use them for wiping everything down before applying stain to remove any remaining sanding residue. They are also useful when wiping away extra stain.

“Photograph 1” was taken about halfway through applying stain to the living room floor. The morning sunlight really enhanced the appearance of the work in progress. There was that warm and welcoming color that I had been looking for at last! I felt good about my choices.

Quick Tip: Foam sponges are great for stain application because they come in various sizes and can match the width of a floor board and can even be cut to fit the width very easily if needed. They also minimize any bubbling and are good for “spot staining” if needed.

Although one coat of stain was perfect for the old original boards, the new replacement boards needed a second or third coat to help them match and blend in better. Green painter’s tape was perfect for isolating boards that needed some additional work with staining to blend in better visually.

Because the original floor boards had color variety due to some showing the pine heart wood and others showing the effects of light and foot traffic, it was helpful to make some of my new replacement boards slightly darker than others. This helped them to blend in much better visually.

Although I normally hesitate to recommend any particular product by name, an exception to this is with my final floor finish, Waterlox tung oil. This was the same product I had used for my red oak countertops and has proven to be great for a surface that is frequently wet.

“Photograph 2” shows the living room floor after one coat while still wet. “Photograph 3” shows the dining room floor after one coat and also still wet. Some of the glossiness diminished after drying, particularly on my new replacement boards. Overall though the appearance changed little after two more coats.

“Photograph 4” shows the dining room after all three coats have dried adequately to allow brief sock traffic. Although it would have been possible to apply all three coats over a period of three days, I chose to have a “day off” between coats for better drying and fume dissipation.

Quick Tip: Ventilate! Ventilate! Ventilate! That means plenty of fresh air flowing through with doors and windows open!

The staining photograph was taken in November 2014, and the finishing photographs were taken were December 2014. There was about a one month period between staining and finishing. This was more due to my work schedule than any requirements of the products used.