What is “water pop” or “water popping”?

Q: What is “water pop”?

A: Water popping is a technique by which

the surface of the floor is wiped down with a wet cloth (don’t soak the floor) being careful not to miss any spots. Let it thoroughly dry and then apply stain. It is important not to scuff your feet. This opens the surface of the wood to allow deeper, more even stain penetration.

Also see our recommendation to hire a pro.