How to Stain Floorboards

Updated February 21, 2017

Staining the wooden floorboards in your home can be immensely rewarding, particularly once you are finished. As with many do-it-yourself projects, the preparation of the floor is extremely important. There are several varieties of wood stain, but stains with different bases cannot be mixed. Therefore, if you choose a water-based stain, you must use the same variety throughout the project. Other options include spirit-based and oil-based stains.

Sand the wooden floorboards thoroughly to ensure a smooth surface the stain can adhere to. Use a fine grit sandpaper to do this. A power sander will make the job go faster, but it is not necessary.

Clean the floorboards to remove all dust, dirt and debris. Any loose particles will cause the stain to fail in that area. Sweep the floor carefully and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the last traces of debris if necessary.

Stir the stain while it is still in the container with a paint stick. This is to mix the pigments throughout the stain base and will ensure an even colour. Stir the stain periodically while you are working as well.

Begin working from a back corner of the room to avoid painting yourself into a corner. Moisten a lint-free cloth with some of the stain and use the cloth to apply the stain to the floorboards. Rub the cloth along the grain of the wood, pressing firmly against the floorboards. An even pressure will keep the colour uniform across the boards.

Allow the stain to dry for at least four hours to six hours before applying a second coat. If you choose not to apply the second coat (it isn't necessary), then wait 24 hours before allowing anyone to walk on the floorboards.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Power sander
  • Broom
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Wood stain
  • Paint stick
  • Lint-free cloth
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About the Author

Marsanne Petty has been a writer and photographer for over ten years, and is currently pursuing the combination in tandem. She attended Madison Community College, receiving a degree in Administration. She has published several articles for magazines, including Jack Magazine, and the local newspaper, the Jasper News. Her latest creation, a pictoral history of Hamilton County, Florida, was published in early 2009 through Arcadia Publishing.