Uneven Stains on Hardwood Floors

How to Fix Uneven Stains on Hardwood Floors

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If you already have hardwood floor installed in your home, then it’s likely you’re aware of the priceless charm and allure this type of flooring offers to your interior space and décor. But, despite the charming and lustrous looks hardwood floors offer to your home, maintaining this type of floor can be very tricky. That’s because wood is a very unpredictable medium that can react in myriad ways in case the wood stain is applied imperfectly. And since your floor needs to stay in pristine condition at all times, learning how to fix uneven stains on hardwood floors is definitely an inevitable topic you can’t afford to shy away from.

Now, if you read most home improvement posts, you’ll notice that most of them always mention how easy it is to apply wood stain on hardwood flooring. The truth of the matter though, is that this process requires a high level of advanced craftsmanship as the refinishing process isn’t as straightforward as reapplying a layer of paint on the wall. So, with that said, this short guide has managed to compile a simplified step-by-step procedure on how you can fix uneven stains on your wooden floor to restore its former shine and luster.


How to Fix Uneven Stains on Hardwood Floors: Step by Step Guide

Just as we’ve mentioned earlier, fixing uneven stains on your floor requires a high level of advanced craftsmanship. Since hardwood is quite unpredictable, this guide will discuss four key methods you can consider. So, if you’re ready, then let’s begin.

1. Sanding the Affected Area

Things You’ll Need

  • Microfiber mop
  • A watering can with a sprinkler head
  • Dust mask
  • Floor buffer
  • Paint roller
  • Paintbrush

In case you apply wood stain on your floor and you later notice some imperfections along the way, the first step you’ll need to take is to sand the affected areas. Here, the sanding process will have to be done gently and mildly to avoid ending up with an uneven surface.

Just to get back a bit, you need to be very careful not to sand the floor when the previous stain is still wet. Therefore, in case you’ve just applied a coat and you’ve noticed the stain isn’t even, you’ll need to give the floor enough time to dry up before you can sand it. The reason for this is to avoid damaging the floor by allowing the stain to settle deeper into the wood.

So, once you’re through sanding, fix a 180 to 220 grit sandpaper on your orbital sander and start sanding the floor from side to side while following the direction of the grains. When you’re satisfied with the outcome, use a microfiber mop to remove the wood powder from the floor.

Once your hardwood floor is clean, pour a decent amount of wood stain on plastic can then use a 3” paintbrush to polish the baseboard and other profile areas across the floor. When you’re done, use a long-handled paint roller to apply the rest of the wood stain across the floor. Make sure that you apply the stain across the grains while overlapping each pass.

When you’re through, wait for at least 3 hours before applying another coat to allow the current coat to saturate thoroughly into the wood. Finally, allow the floor to settle for about a week before using it. This will facilitate even drying.


2. Applying an Additional Layer of Stain

Things You’ll Need

  • 180 grit sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Mineral spirit or acetone
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Floor buffer
  • Vacuum
  • Dust mask
  • rags

Another procedure you can consider to fix uneven stains on your wooden floor is applying an extra layer of stain on the affected areas to even them out. Now, in most cases, this procedure is easier said than done. That’s because the entire process is the somewhat complex meaning you have to exercise extreme caution to avoid damaging the floor further even after taking the necessary precautions. So, if you notice that some areas on your hardwood floor are lighter or darker than others, then here’s a detailed procedure you can follow.

First and foremost, you need to get rid of the extra stains on the affected areas. To do that, you need to use acetone or mineral spirit. The reason for this is because both of these agents do not contain any harsh chemicals that can tamper with the wood stain. In case you had already applied an outer polyurethane coat, then you’ll have to sand the floor mildly using 180-grit sandpaper.

Once you’re done sanding, mop the floor and apply one coat of wood stain on the imperfect sections. Leave the stain to soak inside the wood for at least 2 days before inspecting the recoated parts. In case the recoated sections don’t sync with the surrounding areas, then you can consider applying another coat of stain to see whether you’ll get the desired results. In case you’re satisfied with the outcome, then you can finalize the process by applying the polyurethane sealer to seal the floor against spills and water.


3. Applying More Stain to Fix Sticky Wood Stain

The reason why I’ve added this remedy is simply that most people, both enthusiast DIYers, and professionals end up making this critical error when applying wood stains to their hardwood floors. You see, when you apply a coat or two of wood stain, the stain soaks inside the wood to allow the color to get saturated from the inside. Now, if you happen to apply a generous amount of stain and miss to wipe away the extra paint, the excess wood stain will fail to evaporate leaving you with a sticky wood stain.

In such an event, recoating the affected areas might seem to be quite worthless leaving you with only one option of recoating the floor all over again to remove the inconsistencies. At first, you’ll have to apply the first coat all over the floor followed by a second coat. When applying the second coat, you have to do it so fast while the wood stain is still wet to avoid any inconsistencies. When you’re done, use a rag to wipe off any excess paint to allow the wood stain to saturate inside the wood evenly.


4. Using Thinner to Even Out Wood Stain

Apart from step 3, steps 1 and 2 are mostly considered when there are lighter stains on the surface of your hardwood floor. But, in case the situation is the opposite such as a sticky wood stain or dark spots/ sore thumbs on the floor, then using a stain thinner can help to even out these thick blemishes. Although there are a huge variety of stain thinners available in the market, it’s highly advisable that you use the exact thinner recommended for your specific wood stain.

To do this, simply pour a small amount of thinner on a clean rag or cloth then wipe your floor gently. Here, you need to focus more on the dark areas on your wooden floor to ensure that you remove as much wood stain as possible. Always check your cloth to see whether there are stains. This way, you’ll guarantee that the stain thinner is working perfectly.



So, there you have it. In case you’ve read up to this point, then congratulations! You’re now aware of the ins and outs of fixing uneven stains on your wooden floor. You see, staining your hardwood floor is usually considered a form of art that takes a significant amount of time to master. Thankfully, by practicing frequently, it becomes much easier to perfect making you an expert in the long last.

But, before you get there, you’re bound to make a few mistakes here and there that can lead to annoying blemishes and dark blotches on your hardwood floor. Thankfully, this insightful guide has discussed four methods you can count on to remove such imperfections to give your floor a charming refinish that can improve your home’s resale value.

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