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View Full Version : Staining Pine Flooring - OT


Rpoole8537
12-29-2016, 10:05 AM
I recently built a screen porch onto my, new to me, home. I hired all the contractors, but I volunteered to do the painting and staining myself, since I am mostly retired. The painting was easy, although I have learned that exterior painting of raw wood is far different and more time consuming than painting the interior of a room. The staining has presented more of a problem. I purchased a Behr stain which was highly rated by Consumer Reports. It also appeared to be an easier application that Cabot. I was also told that Cabot changes colors frequently, so when I reapply, I might have to change the color. The flooring is T&G pine flooring, in 1"X4" boards. The directions did not say anything about a conditioner, or sealer. I used a 4" Wooster brush, and tried to wipe excess as I went along. Now I have overlaps of darker stain, which may require cleaning with mineral spirits or sandpaper. Also, I wanted the stain to be much darker, but the characteristics of the wood may not lend itself to a darker stain. This is a semi-transparent stain. How can I get a more even and darker stain without spending 40 hours on my poor knees? Thanks!

redir
12-29-2016, 11:08 AM
I can tell ya one thing for sure, trying to make a finishing job 'better' almost always leads to making it worse. Put the stain down and move on. More coats often times means darker stain but in the case of pine, like you said, it doesn't absorb it as well as say oak would. I can almost guarantee you that if you get on your hands and knees to sand out imperfections you will make it worse. If you add another coat you can be careful to not touch the already dark areas. Once you apply top coats you might be surprised how much it comes together.

Do you have any pics? That could help.

The other thing you can do is stain the top coat but again it could just be adding fuel to the fire. Take some left over boards and make a few sample test tiles and do what you originally did and then try and correct it.

The Minwax hardwood floor coatings are really good. I would avoid the water based ones though. The oil base will give you a nice amber glow and might help hide some of your errors.

ColonelJLloyd
12-29-2016, 11:25 AM
I would avoid the water based ones though. The oil base will give you a nice amber glow and might help hide some of your errors.

I would disagree. I did a lot of research when I had my 95 year old heart pine floors refinished. I specifically wanted to avoid the yellowing of the floor over time. The natural wood finish is the attractive part to me. Most refinishers I called didn't work with water based sealers because they are more expensive and they've "just always used oil". My contractor used Bona at my request and it was definitely worth the small price difference.

Water based sealer is clearer, much harder and cures much faster. We moved our furniture in a day later; no fumes.

The main reasons I chose water based were the color (no yellowing) and the hardness. Unfortunately, the hardness is only as good as the wood underneath and just a couple months after refinishing my entire floor had 1/4" round dimples all over it. Took me a while to figure out it was my wife's high heels. Effin' heart pine. . . .

Now, if you've used an oil based stain I assume that demands an oil based sealer. And I do agree that it's very likely you end up making things worse at the cost of a lot more work. Been there; it burns.

Fatty
12-29-2016, 11:30 AM
Any scrap pieces left over that could be experimented on? Maybe a second coat with a darker stain. If you wiped up excess as you went along you actually used to different methods of applying the stain as you wiped.

Rpoole8537
12-29-2016, 11:47 AM
I am testing samples now on left over lumber. It takes a few hours to cure a bit but I should know something this afternoon. I went to the local paint store but the owner wasn't available. The guy at the counter wasn't as much help. I also considered an oil stain over the water based, but the guy at the store agreed that the wood is now sealed and the oil stain might just sit on top for a very long time.
I'm leaning toward using a Cabot staining pad, instead of a brush for the next coat. Make one pass and move on. It must get darker.
I wish it were heart pine! However, I wouldn't put it outside!

unterhausen
12-29-2016, 11:56 AM
I did some pine floors, and I think it worked out really well. I went with a dark stain, and it evened out. I'm pretty sure it was minwax red mahogany stain. The funny thing was the first room I did without stain had really wide variation in darkness. And the finish brought out the yellow really badly. There were fairly severe problems with the floors in that house, and it came out looking great. YMMV. Good luck.

Tandem Rider
12-29-2016, 01:57 PM
You said yourself that the overlaps, which are a second coat, are darker. Experiment on what someone else called scraps, which are really sample boards. ;) You'll figure it out best that way.

Just make sure to seal any end grain very well.

Hilltopperny
12-29-2016, 02:11 PM
From my experience with staining wood flooring the best way to apply it is with a rag. I've done this quite a few times and you get a nice even finish every time.

unterhausen
12-29-2016, 02:18 PM
I agree with the rag approach. Then, when you're done, put them in a bag and chuck it onto your horrible neighbor's back porch so it burns down their house.

Ok, did I just write that? Huh.

I meant, take proper precautions since many stains will cause rags to spontaneously combust if you don't.

54ny77
12-29-2016, 02:20 PM
Oh that's easy. You spend 80+ hours on your knees. :p

I have realllly old wide plank pine floors that took me and a small crew about a month and a half to get just right. Stain, let soak 2-3 days, hand sand 800-1000 grit, repeat. There's a couple coats of primer, 6-8 coats of stain, then a few coats of poly (satin then gloss then satin).

Oh and heed Unterhausen's warning with 100% attention. He's absolutely correct.


How can I get a more even and darker stain without spending 40 hours on my poor knees? Thanks!

paredown
12-29-2016, 02:49 PM
I'm not an expert, but I have been doing a lot of staining as I renovate, matching colors of wood that is already in place etc.

I agree with the rags and/or pads to apply, and use rags to mop up excess. (Agree about disposal precautions too!)

You should be able to second coat and/or go over with another color, but the second coat will not soak in as much or as fast. Do a rubbing motion while applying so you are going partially cross grain, and then wipe excess with the grain. Try your sample pieces to see--but you can leave the stain on there for quite a while before it sets up and can't be wiped off. What you want are no shiny spots where there is excess stain.

You may well be limited by the wood--I know that Home Depot is currently buying a lot of their moldings from Chile--and whatever that "pine" is, it is very dense and hard to stain!

Also--FWIW--you can top coat with a water based product like Bona, so long as you let the stained wood dry down really well--like days or even a week.

cnighbor1
12-29-2016, 03:19 PM
Sealer is always needed on soft wood
soft wood like Pine, Douglas Fir etc. will always have areas where grain is less dense And will absorb more stain which results in a blotched appearance
Use a sealer always than when staining best to use a wet of dry sandpaper to sand in stain has it wouldn't penetrate due to sealer

54ny77
12-29-2016, 03:27 PM
Yep. This applies to oil too, or at least in my experience. I had certain coats that soaked in for about a week. All depends on the temp, moisture/humidity of the room in which the stain is being applied. Use lots of fans blowing indirect air. Oh and send your spouse to their parents' house for a day or two, treat them to dinner, etc. after applying each coat....lest you never hear the end of it.


Also--FWIW--you can top coat with a water based product like Bona, so long as you let the stained wood dry down really well--like days or even a week.

rwsaunders
12-29-2016, 03:39 PM
Sealer is always needed on soft wood
soft wood like Pine, Douglas Fir etc. will always have areas where grain is less dense And will absorb more stain which results in a blotched appearance
Use a sealer always than when staining best to use a wet of dry sandpaper to sand in stain has it wouldn't penetrate due to sealer

Charles is dead on as without a sealer or conditioner, soft woods like pine and fir will take stain unevenly. I almost screwed up refinishing an antique fir mantle which and been stripped. Fortunately, I consulted a retired painter that we used as a consultant for historic projects and he warned me in advance. He was old school from the days when painters mixed their own stain and finishes and he was a wealth of knowledge.

If you have a commercial paint supplier in your area that deals with painting pros, stop in and ask for advice with pictures of course. Those folks have usually been there, done that.

sokyroadie
12-29-2016, 04:22 PM
Unfortunately, the hardness is only as good as the wood underneath and just a couple months after refinishing my entire floor had 1/4" round dimples all over it. Took me a while to figure out it was my wife's high heels. Effin' WIFE. . . .

FIFY -

I am a big fan of Heart Pine - tell the wifey to lose the heels :banana:

Jeff

Birddog
12-29-2016, 06:46 PM
You won't see many guys in white painter outfits in Home Depot or Lowes, there is a reason. If you're buying a known widely available brand like Minwax, that's one thing, but the big box employees advice is usually gleaned from a video program. Most pine should be treated with a conditioner before staining. Hope your knees make it.

Rpoole8537
12-29-2016, 07:33 PM
Yes, as I said in the original post, I stopped by the Benjamin Moore store today, but the owner wasn't available. He knows more than the other guys who work there. In working with the scrap pieces, the second and third coats seemed to take on more stain and look much more even. I have to remember that it's a porch and not a LR. I'll be sure to look into the Bona product for a top coat. I wanted to go with a semi-transparent stain to show the grain. The wood actually came from the local lumber yard. It's close by so I may stop in there tomorrow. They might have some good information. It came packaged in 12 foot lengths and was finished to be used as flooring. It's too cold to do any staining this weekend, so I have time to plan my next move.

HenryA
12-29-2016, 08:24 PM
Whatever you do, do not mix oil based and water-based stains and finishes.

I would consider looking at Sherwin Williams water-based deck finishes - they are really excellent and long lasting. This recommendation depends of course on what stain or finish you've used on the floor previously. And you won't need to add any other finish on top.

Roll it on, scrub it in with a natural fiber brush on a pole handle, then wipe with rags to smooth out the look.

buldogge
12-29-2016, 09:46 PM
You guys are confusing some terms and processes, here.

Water based, or oil based stains...no matter...other than drying time.

I like General Finishes gel-stains...make for much more even coloration.

With open-grain woods, you can shellac first (use de-waxed only), then sand. The shellac will fill the open grain/pores and then the stain will apply more evenly.

After staining you will SEAL, again with de-waxed shellac...this protects the stains from color lift when applying the FINISH.

Since you sealed with shellac, you can now apply either oil- or water-based finishes. I like Basic Coatings StreetShoe (and Bona Traffic, more $) for water-based...or...Glitza for oil-based (nasty but tough stuff).

Figure on 2 thin coats of shellac, followed by 2-3 coats of finish. You will scuff with a maroon pad (scotchbrite) between coats (after first shellac coat, and after first finish coat).

Good luck...

-Mark in St. Louis

paredown
12-30-2016, 06:42 AM
You guys are confusing some terms and processes, here.

Water based, or oil based stains...no matter...other than drying time.

I like General Finishes gel-stains...make for much more even coloration.

With open-grain woods, you can shellac first (use de-waxed only), then sand. The shellac will fill the open grain/pores and then the stain will apply more evenly.

After staining you will SEAL, again with de-waxed shellac...this protects the stains from color lift when applying the FINISH.

Since you sealed with shellac, you can now apply either oil- or water-based finishes. I like Basic Coatings StreetShoe (and Bona Traffic, more $) for water-based...or...Glitza for oil-based (nasty but tough stuff).

Figure on 2 thin coats of shellac, followed by 2-3 coats of finish. You will scuff with a maroon pad (scotchbrite) between coats (after first shellac coat, and after first finish coat).

Good luck...

-Mark in St. Louis
Wisdom here--I too have used the shellac coat on our floors.

I also discovered the joys of gel stains recently while doing a job for a customer. We had installed an elevator, and the box was built on site out of clear birch plywood. The homeowners wanted to give it an old-time feel, which meant staining it quite dark.

Even though the gel dripped less than a regular stain it was still pretty messy--but I got a pretty good look using a dark walnut gel stain & several coats of clear.

The other thing I have started doing (with the encouragement of some old pros) is to do a wipe down with 50% alchohol/50% distilled water before applying any finish. It helps with getting the final residue of sawdust, but will also open up the pores of the wood to accept the stain. It will dry down pretty quickly--and any tendency to raise the grain can be taken care of along the way.

54ny77
12-30-2016, 09:48 AM
Interesting, I'll have to remember that one.


The other thing I have started doing (with the encouragement of some old pros) is to do a wipe down with 50% alchohol/50% distilled water before applying any finish. It helps with getting the final residue of sawdust, but will also open up the pores of the wood to accept the stain. It will dry down pretty quickly--and any tendency to raise the grain can be taken care of along the way.

redir
12-30-2016, 10:18 AM
I don't get sealing the wood first with shellac followed by staining. Stain is supposed to soak into the wood and it's supposed to soak in unevenly. That's what gives it the quality that is desirable. A good penetrating stain will pop out the grain by soaking into it at different rates.

As I mentioned before if you want an even color then put the color in the actual finish. Or if you want to seal with shellac you can get something like Zinser which is dewaxed and add any kind of dye to it you want to get the color. THen tp it off with Poly.

As for water VS oil based poly it's true that the water based is going to be very clear, though often with a slight blueish tint, and also is very fast drying and easy to clean up. But it's not true that it's harder per se. And really hardness is not a quality you want in a wood floor coating. Oil based has a higher solid content so you can use less of it and it will also flex better as the wood swells and shrinks due to seasonal changes.

But if you want the wood to look as natural as it can then water is the best choice, also it's the best choice for coloring too as it's so clear from the start.. Most people like the nice amber glow of oil though.

staggerwing
12-30-2016, 11:33 AM
I've stained a room full of tongue and groove, yellow pine board to a dark cherry color with General Finishes water based and it turned out quite well, but it was a pain to get even. They sell a sealer, which is just the untinted stain base. I put a coat of that on, let it dry a couple hours, then working with a helper, laid on another coat of sealer, and about 15 minutes later, followed with the stain. I gave that a few minutes to sink in, and gently wiped the excess off only enough to produce an even tone. Old t-shirt, or a similar grade of cotton rag is perfect. Experiment first.

For better info, I would call Homestead Finishing Products, (http://homesteadfinishingproducts.com/). Jeff will know exactly what to do, and will likely have the products to make it happen.

buldogge
12-30-2016, 11:57 AM
You end up sanding most of the first coat of shellac off, it is left only in the open grain...softwoods simply will not accept the stain evenly.

Yes, always used de-waxed when other finishes will be applied (i.e., as a sealer and not a standalone finish).

Tinting shellacs is how beautiful/deep built-up finishes were accomplished "back in the day".

Tinted polys, such as Minwax Polyshades, can look nice, but there is zero penetration, and they are sorta a PITA to work with.

-Mark

I don't get sealing the wood first with shellac followed by staining. Stain is supposed to soak into the wood and it's supposed to soak in unevenly. That's what gives it the quality that is desirable. A good penetrating stain will pop out the grain by soaking into it at different rates.

As I mentioned before if you want an even color then put the color in the actual finish. Or if you want to seal with shellac you can get something like Zinser which is dewaxed and add any kind of dye to it you want to get the color. THen tp it off with Poly.

As for water VS oil based poly it's true that the water based is going to be very clear, though often with a slight blueish tint, and also is very fast drying and easy to clean up. But it's not true that it's harder per se. And really hardness is not a quality you want in a wood floor coating. Oil based has a higher solid content so you can use less of it and it will also flex better as the wood swells and shrinks due to seasonal changes.

But if you want the wood to look as natural as it can then water is the best choice, also it's the best choice for coloring too as it's so clear from the start.. Most people like the nice amber glow of oil though.

54ny77
12-30-2016, 12:29 PM
Found a photo of the work product I described below. The stain was a mix of certain Minwax stains that I liked after a lot of experimenting/blending/testing.

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z113/jpmz06/Stamford/DSCN5121_zps2e01s93z.jpg (http://s191.photobucket.com/user/jpmz06/media/Stamford/DSCN5121_zps2e01s93z.jpg.html)

Oh that's easy. You spend 80+ hours on your knees. :p

I have realllly old wide plank pine floors that took me and a small crew about a month and a half to get just right. Stain, let soak 2-3 days, hand sand 800-1000 grit, repeat. There's a couple coats of primer, 6-8 coats of stain, then a few coats of poly (satin then gloss then satin).

Oh and heed Unterhausen's warning with 100% attention. He's absolutely correct.