Home>Discussions>INTERIORS>Molding & Carpentry>Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods
7 posts / 0 new
Last post
need help
Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods

hello, hoping someone can give me a little advice..

new home (yah!), completely outdated :( ..found beautiful oak floors under carpet! :)

decided to refinish on our own. rented necessary sanders.. came out very nicely done. now going with dark stain, but after first coat, (just) the edges are much darker than the rest of the floor (?)

tried over, resanded.. still same thing.

i had originally thought perhaps the edges weren't sand as much or sanded more than the rest, but after the second sanding we know this is not the case.

i also have a suspicion perhaps the edges weren't cleaned as well as the rest.. possibly. but would that cause such a difference in stain color?

regardless.. is there any way to fix it?? i'm trying to avoid resanding (again).. not sure the floors will take much more. and i don't want to go into giving the whole floor another coat of stain and have it make the edges even darker. ugh

so is there an easier way than simply filling in lighter areas with more stain? is that even a good idea to do so? i don't want it to come out any splotchier.

please, please help ..thanks in advance :)

[stain used: Varathane, Espresso (oil based)]

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods

suppose a couple of things first that maybe there was wax on the floor in the center and it has been buffed into the wood. mabe the former occupants had cleaned the carpet a LOT with water based cleaning and the grain is all opened up on the edges of the wood planks.

second is that mabe you over sanded the center of the floor with too fine a grit and the grain needs to be popped or opened up or raised with some water or mabe mineral spirits and turpintine mixed with the stain so you can get the stain to penetrate? you sure about the wood being a hardwood species? do you know which one like if it is maple that can be really hard to stain.

also thinking mabe you should wipe off the stain fast on the outside where it takes well and restain and leave it on longer where it isn't taking.

Re: Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods

need help,

Without being there it's kinda hard to say what might be going on. And since you already have the second application of stain on the floor and wish to avoid sanding yet another time.....(I wouldn't care to either......and with every sanding you come closer and closer to the tongue and groove joints. Go too far and you'll wish you hadn't.)

I'll suggest that you try picking up some of the stain that's in the darker perimeter areas with some paper towels or better yet old cotton cloths well wetted with mineral spirits. Keep turning the cloth, of course. This could get tricky as to blending/feathering with the remaining lighter areas, but hopefully a deft hand and some patience will get the job done. (You might have to wet those areas and leave them "soak" a few minutes before anything will loosen and pick up. Depends.)

You'll have to wait for the mineral spirits to evaporate again to see if the areas match better as some will be wet and some not. The real "match" test will be when you apply finish over everything, but then the die is cast...so to speak...unless you're up for stripping and starting again. Ugh.

If the mineral spirits doesn't remove/lift enough of the stain, you could try some lacquer thinner instead. Be forewarned and take precaution as LT is some fairly powerful stuff.....which you don't want to breathe much of and it is very flammable. Open some windows and keep sparks and flame away. Running a fan in the room wouldn't be a bad idea at all. Same for MS really, but to a lesser degree. Nonetheless, use good ventilation and such when using large amounts of that also.

If you have a forced air furnace, close off this room from the rest of the house and cover any cold air returns with cardboard and tape.......or similar. If you don't and the furnace kicks in, it will deliver the vapors throughout the entire house. Same holds true at finishing time. (Make sure you vac the floor well before finishing to remove any bits of paper towels or similar.)

Flooding the lighter areas with more stain and leaving it to dry in place is not gonna work unless maybe you spray the first coat of finish to seal down the extra stain. Otherwise, what stain isn't absorbed into the wood fibers will simply come up on your applicator pad or your brush.....and might leave a streaky result to boot.

I'm wondering if this room didn't have a big area-rug in it for a long time. This would've allowed more light and oxygen exposure (patina) to develop around the perimeter. If the rug was left there for umpteen years, that difference can develop deep into the wood and you *might* not be able to remove it all with sanding. This would then alter how that area takes/responds to stain as well.

Re: Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods

That truly sucks and don't go over it again please, save the aggravation. I have the same situation in my project. But have come to kinda like the diversity in my living room. Kitchen was first and it came out good but as with you the corners are a tad darker. No words of wisdom except know its prettier then before:)

Re: Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods

Don't be overly concerned about the difference in color. Since you probably used a circular sander for the edges and a drum or belt sander for the center the wood accepts the stain differently. We recently spent several thousand dollars for new wood floors to be installed and there was still a difference in color around the edges. Remember that when you put furniture in the room you will not see the difference.

Re: Help! First-timer - Refinishing Hardwoods

you might try cleaning up the floor with mineral spirits and then putting down a base coat before stain. According to the video on refinishing hardwood on TOH the base will help with inconsistant coloring.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.