Hardwood floor stain is easy to apply, but errors made while staining can be hard to fix. The following steps should help catch errors before they dry and fix problems after they’ve set.
Step 1 - Try to Catch Errors Before They Dry
It’s always easiest and most efficient to correct staining errors before they dry. Examine the project carefully after staining, looking specifically for finger prints, swirl marks, etc. In most cases, if the stain is still wet, these errors will simply wipe away. If the error is in a hard to reach area or crevice, try using a Q-tip rather than a rag. Even excess stain, if it has not had a chance to sink into the hardwood flooring, might simply wipe up if caught early enough.
Step 2 - Use a Wash Coat and Re-Apply to Hardening Stain
If the stain has begun to harden, lightly wash the area with a mixture of 90% mineral spirits and 10% linseed oil. This can be applied directly to the error followed by another coat of the stain. This process will usually soften up the area enough to fix problems like finger prints and unsightly brush strokes. Excess stain that has begun to harden might come up when scrubbed with the mineral spirits/linseed oil mixture, but will more likely need to be sanded off.
Step 3 - Lightly Sand Hardened Errors and Re-Stain
If brush marks, finger prints, or excess stain is found and has already bonded to the wood. Lightly sand the area to remove the error. Be gentle though. Remove only enough stain to fix the problem. Re-stain the area immediately, but be aware that the stain may dry a slightly different shade than the original stain.