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Staining Your Wood Floor On Need To Know Basis
Staining and Finishing
It seems that a lot of people simply confuse the process of wood floor staining and the process of finishing. They often call to ask for a service without understanding the nature of the service they want.
The purpose of the stain is to change the colour of your floor. The finish, on the other hand, is a product meant to protect your hardwood surface from any source of damage and is applied on top of the stain. This means that the only way to change your floor’s colour is to sand the finish and the stain or on other words to completely remove them.
How Many Types of Staining Products Are Our There?
According to Wikipedia, a wood stain is made of ‘a colourant suspended or dissolved in an agent or solvent.’ There are two main ways to change your floor’s colour – with dye or pigment. Dyes come in four types - chemical, nitro stan, water dye, and spirit dye. They are translucent and do not obscure the grain.
Pigments can be water or oil-based (pigmented) and work in quite a different way from dyes since they are a coloured substance consisting of miniature particles which obscure the grain. The vast majority of stains for commercial use pigments but there are rare cases where the dye is mixed with pigment and a binder.
The fact that you can change the colour of your floor doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to, though. There are cases when the process might even lead to unpleasant results which we simply did not anticipate.
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Nothing Remains Hidden with a Stain
Stains can really refresh the surface of your floor, especially if you are feeling like you have seen it all your life and one more day is simply too much. However, you first must be sure that your floor has been sanded properly. Some DIY enthusiasts can attempt to sand and refinish on their own. Let’s say that they do more or less acceptable jobs but lack the experience to complete them professionally. Those people can, for example, sand unevenly or damage the grain. They can also skip grits or lack the knowledge of how to use the equipment properly. And these are just a few of the things that can go wrong. The point of all of this is if you have a perfectly sanded floor, a stain will look great. Unfortunately, any flaw and imperfection will also be a lot more noticeable on a stained surface.
Not Every Type of Wood Is Suitable for Staining
Every tree is unique. Each of them reacts differently to stains and the results vary greatly. Do you want to stain your floor grey? White oak is a perfect choice. Try it a red oak and you’ll soon find out that you need darker grey to counter the natural reddish colour of the tree. Species like maple, pine, ash, cherry and birch have a tighter grain which makes any stain applied to them look blotchy. To combat this effect, you can use a ‘stain controller’. This product can fill the pores of the wood and allow to stain to be absorbed more evenly and consistently.
This is Not the Colour I Wanted
People can often become unsatisfied with their wood floor staining because they see one colour on the sample given to them and another shade on their floor. What is causing this? The samples supplied by the manufacturers should only be taken as a general idea. Even something which at first sight has no influence can affect the final result. For example, the colour of the walls or the lightning in the room.
As you can see, staining is a quite difficult task because it requires knowledge that not everyone possesses. The skill needed to achieve the right colours is named ‘colour matching’ and is arguably the most difficult to perfect in the flooring industry. This is simply not a job for an amateur. We recommend seeking a specialist for such a task.
Careful What You Wish For!
Before choosing a stain, you must be aware of the advantages and disadvantages each colour may bring. For example, did you know what is extremely trendy in the last few years? Dark brown and ebony floors. Very stylish, aren’t they? Especially with the right decoration around them. However, they come with certain drawbacks. If a scratch manages to penetrate the protective finish and the stain below it, it will reveal the bare wood.
The colour difference between the dark stain and the bare wooden surface will make every scratch very noticeable. This is also true when it comes to dirt and footprints. They will also become more visible which makes regular cleaning and maintenance harder.