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Staining Hardwood Floors


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Between hardwood floors and furniture pieces, the latter tend to be changed much more often. If you've had hardwood floors for a while, you know firsthand the design or aesthetic problems that come up whenever you change your furniture pieces. At one time, your furniture and hardwood floor matched visually. However, when you put in new furniture without really thinking about the color of your hardwood floor, that's when compatibility issues arise.

There is really no need to take out the entire hardwood floor just so it would match new furniture. Doing so is time-consuming and can get rather expensive, particularly if you tend to change or add new furniture pieces often. Staining is the better option. It's less costly to staining hardwood floors than to install completely new hardwood flooring.

Staining is actually one aspect of the hardwood refinishing process. To effectively stain hardwood floors, it should be done between buffing the floor and applying the finish. Staining is usually done not with the intention of changing the color of floors, but with the intention of enforcing their color. In this regard, staining is useful for bringing back a floor's color, which tends to gradually faded over time.

How stains penetrate depends on the type of woods. For instance, staining is much more effective on floors made from open-grained woods like ash, oak, pecan or walnut because stain colors for hardwood flooring of these types tend to penetrate deeper. Hardwood floors made from closed-grain woods like birch or maple tend to not stain as well. Thus, before you start a staining project, make sure you know the wood type of your floor so you can choose the right stain to use.

The right stain is based on the type of wood your floor is made of as well as what you want the floor to look like after the staining process. Do you just want to improve your floor's current color? If so, choose from among the many pigmented penetration sealer stains. These stains won't obscure your floor's natural wood grain. Are you looking to change the color of your hardwood floor? Then go with any of the oil-based pigmented stains available. These stains are known to accentuate the floor's grain patter. However, be aware that oil-based pigmented stains, if applied in excess, tend to shorten the life of wood.

Make sure that the floor is clean and clear before applying stain. It's a good idea to spend more time thoroughly cleaning the floor if you have just sanded and buffed it. Otherwise, you'll end up with different stain colors for hardwood flooring boards in one floor area. Instead of the boards absorbing the stain, the debris in and on the floor will absorb the stain.

When you're ready to stain your hardwood floors, you'll need the following materials: wood stain, clean rags and knee pads. Once you have all the materials you need, follow this 5-step process of:

1. Thoroughly clean the hardwood floor.

2. Ensure that the room you'll be working in is well-ventilated. Open up windows or turn on your vents. Stains emit harmful fumes.

3. Wear your knee pads when you stain your hardwood floor. It would be better to wear work clothes during staining. Wear long sleeve, pants and gloves to prevent the stain from coming in contact with your skin.

4. Apply stain on your hardwood floor section by section. After staining each section, wipe off excess stain with a clean rag. This speeds up the drying process.

5. When you have stained the entire floor area, let the stain dry overnight. The drying process may take longer if you applied too much stain, if the room has poor ventilation or if the temperature is too low.

Niv Orlian is an experienced Home Improvement Adviser who writes articles for his Flooring & Carpet Cleaning online guides.

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