Wood filler didn’t stain the same color as the wood

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Q: My husband and I bought an old home (over 100 years old) and it has all original hardwood floors (this is the subfloor). There were a lot of gaps and nail holes where the boards were facenailed. We decided to fill in the gaps and holes with woodfiller. We sanded the woodfiller down and stained the floors and the woodfiller didn’t stain the same color as the wood. It left all the areas the filler touched discolored. I’ve seen on a lot of other sites what we could have done before staining or adding the filler, but we’ve already used it, what can we do now? How do I get a wood filler stain match? Add more stain? Resand and stain?

A: The wood filler probably has to be sanded to break the hardened surface to accept the stain. It is possible it shrunk so that when you sanded you didn’t actually touch the filler at all. How many nail holes are we talking about here? Could you apply a coat of finish and then use a colour matched tube filler such as Color-Rite to touch up the nail holes? It seems a huge waste to sand it all over again. I think I would get a coat of finish on the floor and then try and deal with the filler. The coat of finish will keep the filler residue from sticking to the wood surrounding the holes. You could even use Woodwise or equivalent and fill the holes with a putty knife. Fill the hole and wipe off the residue with a damp cloth. Then go around and touch up the filler with stain.

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