How to stain pine floor boards

Updated April 17, 2017

Pine floors require a certain gentleness when used and when being refinished, because they dent and scratch more easily than hardwood flooring. Through the generations, people have used pine floorboards to grace their homes. Pine costs less than hardwood flooring, and if you install it yourself, you'll save even more. If you want to minimise the appearance of dents, don't use a dark stain as this will only make them more noticeable. Choose a light colour more like the original colour of the wood.

Sand the floor with 80-grit sandpaper. You may want to hire a large rotary floor sander for this job; otherwise you can use a hand-held disc sander. Start at one corner and sand with the grain. Move slowly backwards until you reach the other corner. Turn the sander around and finish that corner. Using a hand-held disc sander, sand the corners and along the walls that the floor sander can't reach. Vacuum the floor area thoroughly.

Change to 150-grit sandpaper and sand the surface again. Vacuum the area when you are finished. Sand the area one last time with 220-grit sandpaper. Vacuum the floor to get all the dust up. Be sure to get the dust out of the cracks before you coat the wood with stain.

With a cloth or brush, apply a clear pre-stain wood conditioner. This will give the stain a more even appearance instead of one that is blotched or streaked. Allow to dry for 15 minutes, and then wipe the excess away with a clean, dry cloth.

Apply stain in the direction of the grain, with a brush or cloth. Work the stain into the wood. Cover one section at a time. Stain an entire board without stopping in the middle -- work in sections and completing an entire board. This way, where you stop and start again won't show as much.

Wait 30 seconds to a minute, and then remove the excess stain with a clean, dry cloth. Check the colour. Wipe in the direction of the wood grain. This will blend the light and dark areas together and give you a uniform colour. Do not rub the wood too hard, and change rags when they become saturated with stain.

Allow to dry for 8 hours or overnight.

Brush on a second coat if you want a darker stain. For pine floorboards, it is usually best to stop at one coat for a light colour. The wood floor is now ready for the polyurethane top coat to be applied.

Things You'll Need

  • 80, 150 and 220 grit sandpaper
  • Rotary floor sander
  • Hand-held disc sander
  • Vacuum
  • Brush or rag
  • Pre-stain
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane
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About the Author

Gail Delaney is a writer in South Dakota and has articles published online at various websites. She is the garden editor for BellaOnline, with years of gardening experience. Being the caretaker of her parents led her in the direction of medical issues, especially natural remedies.