Staining pine or maple

Q: What is the best product for staining pine and maple floors? I need the stain to spread evenly and not dry blotchy.

A: You need the stain to spread and dry not blotchy? On pine and maple? You picked 2 “beauties” to stain. Both are quite difficult to deal with. For the pine floor, Dura Seal may be your best choice, since it is a heavier bodied stain and less likely to leave a blotchy appearance on such soft wood. None the less, in applying it, you still have to do so quickly. I would stain in very narrow strips from one end of the room to the other. A couple of feet wide may be all you can handle. Apply it then wipe it off, working your way to the doorway.

The National Maple Floor Manufacturers Association discourages trying to stain maple because of the varied density of the wood. A somewhat blotchy appearance is impossible to avoid. None the less, such wood can be stained, as can any other, provided you understand that you will get areas on each board that may appear darker than the rest of the board. Before staining maple, I would recommend wetting the entire floor (not soaking it), making sure not to miss any spots. This will help to open the wood to accept the stain as evenly as possible. When it is dry, apply the stain, as with the pine, from one end of the room to the other in narrow rows, perhaps 3-4 feet wide. Try not to scuff your feet, as this could close the wood surface in those spots, and you could end up with a lighter mark.

Blotchy pine plank floor

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I have just refinished my pine plank floor and when I stained I got a very blotchy finish. Is there anything that I can do now to repair that blotchy appearance. I know now I should have put a sealer first, but of course, it is too late for that. What should I do now?  

A: Pine can be a pain to stain, can’t it! I have never used the sealer that some coating manufacturers suggest, but you have to stain in narrow strips along the length of the floor, quickly. If you have access to a polisher, perhaps giving it a fine sanding with a 100-120 grit screen and then staining again will help. You could try applying another coat of stain, but you will end up with a darker color than you wanted. Don’t forget to wipe off the excess stain, row by row as you stain. And don’t leave the rags around your house. They can ignite on their own.

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