Is water popping necessary?

Q: I am installing 6′ hickory floors with a dark stain. One installer is suggesting water popping the floors to achieve a more even colour. Another installer we interview said it was not necessary. What do you think? Do I need to water pop the floors prior to applying the stain? Is water popping stain necessary?

The installer is charging an additional .50 per sq ft. to water pop the floors.

A: I always water pop with darker colours, but don’t charge extra for it. I would rather water pop than have to apply 2 coats of stain to achieve the desired colour. Doing that could create it’s own issues. Have someone make a couple of samples on the floor, one popped and one not to see how the colour looks.

Also see our recommendation to hire a pro.