About to stain a pine floor

9 Replies

So we are almost done our lower unit reno. I'm going to tackle the floor, I've sanded it down and will be applying a light stain. I refinish furniture and mainly use a sponge to apply the stain. Any tips/tricks to apply the stain to a floor? It’s a small 1 bdrm unit and one of our (very) long term tenants is moving downstairs and we wanted to do the floors for her, she is so excited to move into this unit and comes to see how we are doing when we are working away.

Tomorrow am will be prepping the floor and I should be able to stain shortly after, weather says rain all day so it's perfect inside work time.

Sponge will work. I've used a roller to apply stain and poly. I'll probably try painting existing hardwood floors gloss black using an oil-based paint rather than refinish if they are in bad shape next time. I've painted floors grey before and it came out nice but I think black might be more stylish and less labor intensive than refinishing.

@Tina C.   Have you tested the stain on a sample piece of the same material as the floor? Test using a rag. Brushes are a bit messy and tend not to hold stain that well. I would not use a roller either.

As long as the color is what you expect once it dries on the sample piece you are ready to go to town. You might try applying the poly over the sample once dried, too. 

Water base poly is nice, no stink, dries fast, and does not yellow, but it's not as hard as oil.

I re-did the hardwood in my own house.  Took about 5 days all said and done.  After you have sanded, I would test on a small spot to see how it looks.  I used a stain sponge to apply the stain, don't rush the job, make sure it's applied evenly.  After it has dried good do 3 coats of poly, make sure to use the stuff specifically for floors.  I used a finishing pad on a 4' handle, again, go slow, don't get bubbles in your poly.  After each coat has dried use at least 150 grit on a pole sander and do a light sanding to break any bubbles and smooth out the coat.  Then I use mineral spirits on a rag to clean up the sanding dust.  Repeat for each coat, (I don't remember if I sanded my final coat or not), and apply the stain/poly in the direction of the wood grain.

@Tina C.  

Was the pine the finish floor pre-rehab?  I'm always curious how pine holds up over time.  I think it depends a bit upon what species of pine it is.  Did you sand out a lot of dents, etc.?  

Pretty much as Jesse mentioned. Same here.

I use a water base stain in past woodworking, the trick is to stir constantly keeping the same consistency, use a sponge, apply in even long strokes. water base doesn't get the overlap of heavier staining as old oil stains do or at least use to. Wear some heavy dishwater type gloves so you can still feel the work without getting that stuff under your finger nails, looks nasty. I let set at least 24 hours before applying finishing clear coat or wax;

Vac the entire room, wipe the floor, walls, woodwork and ceiling , I know, extreme, but there will be no dust to settle on the floor for pre stain and clear coats, I use a cotton T-shirt as a cleaning rag, prevents lint you may get from other rags. :)


Not knowing the age of the wood you are speaking of, I am going to take a guess and assume that the pine is fairly old.  I rehabbed a Victorian-era home a number of years ago.  The bedrooms upstairs had painted wide plank pine floors.  I had them sanded (I didn't do them myself) and we simply applied semi-gloss poly over the wood.  Because of the age of the wood, the natural color/patina was beautiful and by using semi-gloss poly, it turned out very classy.

This didn't really answer your question, but I thought it was worth throwing out there.

I would second the comment on testing.  We did both fir floors and large plank pine that were older. The softer wood was better off without stain.  The overcoat actually made it darker so it did not need additional staining.   Make sure the color you pick in stain will not be too dark for you.  I would also say oil based poly is great and 3 coats is what I have used on all my floors, longer to do but definitely harder finish.  Since pine is soft I recommend  investing in the harder finish.

You've probably already put on the stain, but if you haven't, you might consider sealing the wood first. Pine, being soft, tends to take stain in differing amounts, creating a blotchy effect, especially since it's just been sanded. Putting down a sealer first creates a nice, even surface for the stain. One traditional product is shellac; there are other things that also work well.

Something to consider - it only takes a little more work to get a tip-top job. Good luck!

Hi all!

Yes we are almost done with this unit and I will post before and after pictures. I ended up sanding the old finish off, staining with oil based, light sand and oil based poly (2 coats)

They turned out nice, I liked the lighter colour hubby and long term tenant like the darker. Either way it changed up the look of the place a bit. They aren't in great shape but it certainly cleaned them up and will have them looking good for years to come.

We are just finishing the front exterior and I'm starting to paint inside with the front needing to be stained after (weather is really co-operating with us so far)

Tenant who is moving in is a long term tenant of ours (24+ yrs at that address) and will be moving to the lower unit with no stairs to climb. She comes down everyday to see what's been done and is very excited about her move.  She helped pick out our paint colours and loves what has been done so far.

As soon as I get all my pics organized i'll post them.

Have a great day everyone!


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