Help. Stain on new hardwood floors is blotchy


  #1  
Old 04-26-08, 10:04 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Help. Stain on new hardwood floors is blotchy

I installed a new oak hardwood floor (select and better grade) then had it sanded by a professional hardwood floor finisher (3 passes with different grades).

We are now at the staining stage but have run into a problem: the stain is coming out blotchy. We are using Sherwin Williams Wood Classic Stain. We then tried a different brand (MinWax) to see if it was the stain but the MinWax turned out blotchy too so it's obviously not the stain.

We then tried another area using MinWax Wood Conditioner first (following directions). It only made a slight difference.

Obviously I don't want to go ahead and finish the floors only to have a blotchy floor. Has anyone else experienced this or does anyone have any suggestions as to what may causing the problem and how to remedy it?

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 04-26-08, 10:57 AM
HotxxxxxxxOKC's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 7,754
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Sometimes it is necessary to "wet" the floor first, let it dry, and then stain. Wetting the floor with water (not soak) will allow the grain to appear at the top of the wood. You will probably have to sand up the blotchy areas again, carefully.
 
  #3  
Old 04-26-08, 12:45 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,693
Received 840 Upvotes on 737 Posts
How did you apply the stain?

A wood conditioner shouldn't be needed on oak. Stain should be applied in 1 coat with the excess wiped up.
 
  #4  
Old 04-28-08, 12:00 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Application and "wetting" the floor

for HotinOKC:
my floor contractor has tried that in the past. he says that it raises the grain causing the floor to be slightly rough (the wood will be similar to the condition prior to sanding) and it remains that way.

for marksr:
the stain was applied with rags
 
  #5  
Old 04-28-08, 05:17 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,693
Received 840 Upvotes on 737 Posts
I prefer to apply the stain with a brush or pad and then wipe up the excess with a rag. When you applied the stain did you wipe over what you applied with the stain rag with a dry rag to remove any excess stain?

If you didn't remove the excess, you can wipe over the wood with a damp thinner rag - this should rewet the excess and allow you to even out the stain.

Could you supply any pics of the blotchy stain?

btw - the floor should be sanded lighty between coats of poly, this will make for a nice slick finish.
 
  #6  
Old 04-29-08, 09:52 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
here are a few pics:
http://flickr.com/photos/13752607@N0...7604793463312/

the excess stain was wiped within minutes of applying so i don't think it was that.

i'm not sure how well you can see the "puddling" problem in the pictures. to be clear, though, i am NOT referring to the variations of the stain cause by the grain.

thanks
 
  #7  
Old 04-29-08, 02:18 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,693
Received 840 Upvotes on 737 Posts
Thanks for the pics - that helps a lot

I don't believe it is an application issue. It's more like the natural staining differences between different hardness in the various pieces of wood. A wood conditioner would have helped a little although it tends to make the stain lighter - the wood won't obsorb as much stain.

Unless the pics are very misleading, I think it will look ok once you apply 3 coats of poly. You would be suprised how much difference a little sheen will make.
 
  #8  
Old 04-30-08, 09:07 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply, Mark.

I was actually afraid to go further for that very reason. I was worried that the finish might magnify the problem in the same way that paints with even the slightest sheen magnify imperfections in a wall (versus flat finish paints).

Before i give it a shot do you think i could put on a second coat of stain and try to work it into the lighter areas more? I really would like to get the color more rich anyway.

The floor contractor i hired claims a second coat will come out streaky and was against doing it. He seems like an honest guy and he definitely has floor finishing experience but I am beginning to think that his experience is pretty much limited to the basics.
 
  #9  
Old 04-30-08, 03:11 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,693
Received 840 Upvotes on 737 Posts
IMO it is never a good idea to apply a 2nd coat of stain. The 1st coat seals the wood just enough to make it hard for the 2nd coat of stain to be obsorbed. When/if the stain isn't fully dried, when you apply poly it will lift some of the stain = a recipe for disaster.

Keep in mind that I don't have the luxury of being there to throroughly inspect it but I believe you are worring about nothing. If you have some scrap pieces left, stain several of them and apply poly - that should give you an indication of what the finished product will look like.

In the past I've had customers that didn't like the stain they picked out but once it had poly/varnish they liked it. Some folks are thrown off by the dull look of stain only, not realizing that the look of the wood will change again once the sealer is applied.
 
  #10  
Old 05-01-08, 07:26 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
so i decided to do a test. i put 1 coat of clear poly in a 2' x 3' section of the floor where a cabinet will be going to see how it will look.

the coat of poly made the floor look more finished but it didn't really help to even out the blotchiness. nor did it make the stain color look richer. perhaps i should have put on 3 coats??

arrrrrrrgh. it's crazy that i am having this kind of problem with good quality oak hardwood.

i realize i might be asking for trouble but i am going to try putting on a light second coat of the stain in the laundry room (which i am using as a test area). it seems like i don't have much choice seeing that i don't like the way it looks now.

thanks again Mark.
 

Last edited by jimyyz; 05-01-08 at 09:59 AM.
  #11  
Old 05-01-08, 02:31 PM
HotxxxxxxxOKC's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 7,754
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
You need to apply 3 coats of poly and lightly sand after each coat.
 
  #12  
Old 05-01-08, 04:09 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,693
Received 840 Upvotes on 737 Posts
"lightly sand after each coat" ....... except the last one

jimyyz - make sure the stain has plenty of time to dry!!
 
  #13  
Old 05-02-08, 09:36 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
ok, after my tests i am now 100% convinced that this is a stain absorption problem caused in parts by the wood, sanding too fine and possibly even the stain application and a problem that will not be resolved by the poly coats.

i am going to look at having the floor resanded with a courser grade and then water popped before staining.
 
  #14  
Old 05-02-08, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 4,857
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
When staining, the last grit used needs to be 80 grit, you may get the same results by going to 100 grit and then "water popping the grain for the stain to absorb into. Sanding with too fine of grit, closes the grain and the stain doesn't take. Like burnishing the wood, creating a surface tension.

(I swear I have answered this question somewhere else on the web recently)
 
  #15  
Old 05-05-08, 07:42 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2007
Location: FL
Posts: 51
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
thanks for the replies.

so it's either 80 grit OR 100 grit plus water popping not 80 grit plus water popping.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: