How to Stain an Oak Floor
It is easy to stain an oak floor by following some basic steps. However, prior to staining, you must take steps to prepare for optimal results, such as sanding or filling the wood. Staining brings out the natural color of the wood, helps different wood-types blend together or can even make each look distinct.
Step 1: Red vs White Oak Wood
There is considerable difference between red and white oak, so you must consider this variation with care. Red oak comes in darker tones and reddish hues, whereas white oak is a good option if you prefer lighter shades in your flooring. Red oak absorbs more stain than white since it is porous, and you must apply more layers of stain to this type of wood. As a consequence, white oak takes more time to reach equilibrium in the moisture content and tends to expand and contract with seasonal changes and would need more frequent staining.
Step 2: Pre-Staining Care
Stain types include water-based, fast dry and oil-based stains. Since the third type is most widely used, this process will mainly refer to oil based stains. Make sure the stain is compatible with the finish you will be using later. Use sandpaper to smooth the surface so that staining might be easier. For coarse and worn out surfaces, lower grit size is used whereas higher grit sizes are used for milder surfaces. Use sandpaper of grit-size P60 on the oak wood flooring. Repeat the process with P100. Keep in mind that that the higher grit-number you use, the lighter will be the subsequent staining. Now vacuum the floor.
Step 3: Staining
Obtain enough stain to cover the entire floor since optimally, it should dry together. Test a small area of the floor before completely applying the stain. Wipe off the stain after a desired time (5 to 10 minutes), allow it to dry and apply the finish. Let the area dry overnight to see the eventual result.
Once you are satisfied with the color, resume with the entire floor. If the stain did not come in a large container, shift it into one. Mix it well so that the pigments don’t settle at the bottom. Dip a clean rag into the stain container and apply it in a circular motion. Use a non-synthetic, lint-free rag for optimal results. Make swift movements and do not stop in the midst of a circular motion. Let the staining be perfectly even. Wipe off the stain after the desired amount of time with a clean rag. The longer you let the stain be on the wood, the darker will the shade be. Initially, you might have to apply the stain more than once on a given area for the required shade. Try to work in the direction of the grain for consistency. For optimal result,s ask someone to help you with the wiping as you stain the wood.
Step 4: Post Staining
Let the stain dry before you apply the finish. Ventilate the room well so that the stain will dry off quickly.