Stain lighter around perimeter

Q: We recently had our pine hardwood floors sanded, stained, and poly’d. Along the perimeter of the walls (about 6 or 8″) or so, the stain is much lighter. There is a clearly seen demarcation.

What is this due to? The contractor said it was from build up over the years of wax, etc. around the edges of the room. I was wondering if different sanding or staining techniques had caused this.

A: Pine is difficult to deal with as far as staining. One really has to be careful. If too wide an area is stained at once, you tend to get blotchy overlap marks. this is not the problem you are having here. In my opinion, the edges were sanded a lot smoother than the rest of the floor, so there was less stain penetration around the perimeter. I always us an orbital sander with an 80 grit abrasive around the edges and polish with 100 grit screen following, which gets right up to the baseboards. This way, the entire floor surface has been sanded with the exact same abrasive. Someone made a boo boo.

Perimeter lighter than center

Similar Q: I sanded a wood floor down to bare using a drum sander and edger, and then I used an orbital to re dove scratches from edger. I stained the floor a dark stain and the perimeter is lighter than the center. Can I apply another coat of stain to the perimeter to match the floor? Do I need to screen the entire floor? And what grit should I use? (I have not applied urethane yet, only stain.)

A: Ok, good you haven’t applied finish yet. You might be able to rescue it yet. It is lighter along the edges because the edges have been sanded significantly smoother than the rest. There are a number of reasons this could happen but it doesn’t matter now. I had this happen once on an old oak floor and I went home and sat all night burning my brain as to why it happened and how to fix it. I was using some crappy abrasives for one thing. And I used Min Wax Red Mahogany. Their reds are not good. So, I went in the next morning with a roll of 60 and 80 grit sand paper for the orbital sander and 80 grit and 100 grit screens for the polisher. The idea was to remove as much of the stain as possible using the rougher abrasives and finish everything with the finer though same grit everywhere. After vacuuming I water popped the floor and when dry I stained with a different stain, same colour. I either used Swing Paints fine wood stain or Dura Seal, both of which are identical to Min Wax. It worked. It looked exactly as it was meant to look. So, that is your best shot. Remove as much stain as your can. You won’t remove it all. I always water pop using darker colours. Always. It opens the grain and allows better and more consistent penetration. Only on softwoods do I not water pop. I hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out.

Too aggressive edging

Q: I’ve refinished hardwood floors before, but this time I stained them and it looks like I got over aggressive with the edger. The edges of my floor are much lighter than the rest of the floor. What can I do?

A: The edges are so much smoother than the main field of the floor so the stain could not penetrate.  This is going to be a pain because you are going to have to try and remove as much of the stain everywhere that you are able.  Short of using the heavy equipment and sanding the floor again, you could use a polisher and a 4X8″ orbital sander.  Use 80 grit screen or paper discs on the polisher to remove stain or as much of it as you can.  This will also help to smooth the floor.  Use the orbital sander for the edges to remove stain.  Use 80 grit only.  Then move to a 100 grit screen for the polisher.  Vacuum everything and wipe the floor down with warm water to open the grain.  When it dries, stain it again.  Otherwise, go directly to the sanding machines.    Sand with 80 or 60 grit.  Edge next one time with 100 grit.  Sand with the big machine finally with 100 grit.  Put an 80 grit sandpaper on orbital sander and sand all the perimeter looking for edger scratches to remove and also remove the stop line/shading line from the big sander.  Screen with 100 grit, water pop the entire floor to open the grain and when dry, apply stain.

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