If you would like to add richness, character and depth to your floor, you may want to consider having them stained. Staining is the process of adding color to a floor. It’s a separate step in the finishing process that is done right after the final sanding and before the finish is applied.
Staining can completely change the look of a floor and bring an exciting new look and style to your home.
Here in Naperville, most homes have red or white oak installed. Depending on your taste and the type of look you’re going for, you may not particularly like the way these oak floors look when left in their natural state. Many homeowners want to have darker, richer looking floors to either make their homes look more modern or to gain a more stately look. Staining your floors can achieve this.
Regular yellowish oak floors can be made to look more exotic without having to go through the procedure of removing them and installing a naturally darker species of exotic flooring... saving you thousands of dollars.
Staining a hardwood floor is the most challenging process in wood floor restoration work.
We have to prepare the floor in a very precise manner to evenly accept the stain. This involves far more time and effort compared to keeping the floor in its natural state. If you don’t know what you’re doing or don’t take the needed time, things can go wrong very quickly which usually means a total re-sand and more wood being removed from your floors.
When we sand a hardwood floor, we use two different types of sanders. The big belt sander sands in a straight line, up and down the length of the room. The smaller sander – called an edger – sands in a circular motion around the perimeter of the room.
When a floor is kept natural (no stain), we only need to use a buffer to blend the difference between the belt sander’s straight sanding marks and the edger’s circular marks. If this is done properly, when the finish is applied the marks are barely visible.
But... if we were to apply stain over a floor prepared in this manner, you would see sanding marks everywhere (like in the photo above).
To avoid this, we need to take these extra sanding steps before the stain is applied...
After we finish sanding with the belt sander and edger, we sand your floor once more. This time with very fine sandpaper attached to a special planetary sanding machine called a TRIO. This sanding machine is designed to remove the micro sanding marks that will show up when the pigment in the stain hits it. It is also designed to flatten your floors, leaving a beautiful smooth level surface.
Because the TRIO sander doesn’t reach the perimeter of the rooms, we use special handheld sanders to reach those areas. The same sandpaper is used as the TRIO to make sure the same surface preparation is achieved. This allows for an even stain appearance. As we can’t sand into the corners, we hand sand them with the same sandpaper.
You don’t want to get stain over your carpets, tile or linoleum floors. So we take special care to tape off all the transitions between rooms and fireplace hearths etc. to prevent any damage. We also take great care when staining around wood work. (We don’t tape up baseboards though because stain can wick up the tape and make things worse.)
Water popping helps your floors in 4 ways you can read about on our blog here . After a floor is water-popped, it is extremely delicate. We take great caution when moving around on an open grained floor. Any little scuff mark made from a misplaced shoe movement will result in a miscolored area on the floor and thus in need of a complete re-sand.
Now comes the hardest part of the process.It involves our crew working extremely fast, applying the stain very consistently over the floor, all the time being extremely careful not to mark the delicate floor. The floor then needs to sit for at least 12 hours, sometimes longer depending on the product or color, before we put on the first coat of finish.
So now you see why we need to charge more for staining floors—it’s almost twice the work… but well worth the beautiful results achieved.
Please be aware that staining is THE most challenging part of the refinishing process.
Things can go wrong very quickly if the people you hire you don’t know what they’re doing or if they don’t have the skill and patience to do it right. A professionally stained floor involves a lot of time and attention to detail. It involves specialized sanding and preparation techniques. For these reasons many people shy away from offering this service.
We’re extremely proud of the high-end results we are able to consistently achieve with our stained floors. In fact more than 95 percent of our clients in Naperville decide to stain their floors and everyone of them loves how they've turned out. If you decide to go this route, we’re positive you’ll love the new look your floors will have as well.
Staining can be requested for an additional cost for pretty much any floor. Feel free to ask us about it when we come out to have a look at your floors in person. You can see many photos of our staining work on the Photos page.
This in-depth article goes through 6 important questions you'll need to ask before deciding on a final color for your hardwood floors.…pdf Download PDF Article