Shading issue when staining wood

Q: I recently installed new prefinished, oiled oak floors and had to face nail certain boards. I filled the holes with wood filler to match and sanded by hand the areas with 150 grit to make them even. I have the exact two part oil (stain and sealer) from the manufacturer. Once I stained the sanded areas, they came out lighter in color than the existing un-sanded parts, leaving color varying patches.

I applied a second coat of stain trying to blend in the un-sanded areas and it is still patchy, but now the surrounding area is darker leaving a patch of lighter color surrounded by darker tones.

In addition, the wood filler is more noticeable now than before, because it doesn’t have the same absorbency as the wood fibers. I can now see very well where each nail is located. Also the newly coated areas are shinier than the existing pre finished boards. I followed the drying times of the oil manufacturers. What can I do to match the colors?

A: I have no idea why you sanded the spots where the filler was applied. A tiny bit of filler on your finger for a nail hole, wiping up the residue with a damp cloth. Done. There are also fillers in squeeze tubes offering hundreds of colors to match just about anything.

I would suggest you contact the manufacturer of these products which I know nothing about and get their advice.

When staining wood if you have a shading issue of say for example the edges of a room being lighter or darker than the rest of the floor it indicates the wood is either too smooth (stain too light) or sanded too rough (darker color). If the oil is coloured I wouldn’t expect any shading differences.

Follow-up: That’s what I was thinking. I wasn’t expecting sanding with 150 grit to be excessively fine though. The color is too light compared with the original tone. I will try again with some 120 grit.

I contacted the manufacturer and they will send me a matching stick of wax to fill the nail holes. I’m guessing I will have to get the stain color right before applying it though as it may prevent the stain from penetrating the wood in the areas around the fillings.

A: When staining you should be finishing with 100 grit.

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