How To Blend Stain On A Hardwood Floor

Hardwood may be one of the most pleasing to the eye material choices out there. However, that does not stop us from staining it further! After all, if we can make it additionally pleasing, why wouldn't we? The question is, how to blend the stain in a way that is indistinguishable from the original? Let's find out.

Two methods are involved in blending stains on the hardwood floor; sanding and staining. The following steps help carry these processes further:

  • Choosing the proper sandpaper grit sequence 
  • Sanding the floor multiple times  
  • Vacuuming all waste
  • Choosing the right stain 
  • Stain carefully and letting it dry

However, there are many precise requirements to keep in mind. Keep reading to understand the technique behind performing each step flawlessly so no one can ever tell the wood is stained.

A repairman restoring parquet with a sanding machine, How To Blend Stain On A Hardwood Floor

Preliminary Measures 

A DIY task comes with the responsibility of precautions. Here are a few tips you don’t want to miss: 

  • Grab a paint scraper to scratch off all lumps, dried paint, and varnishes. 
  • Take an observatory tour around the space to identify holes in the floor to fill and nails to pluck off.
  • Remove all furniture from the area and thoroughly clean the floor. 
  • Cover sockets and AC ducts lest the bristles from the sanding cause unnecessary damage. 
  • Remove door entries into the room to have enough space to stain under it. 
  • Protect vulnerable body parts by protecting them. Use a helmet, a face mask, or ear protection as required.

Sanding the Hardwood Floor 

Sanding hardwood floor with grinding machine tool

A sanding process is not a one-time job but a manifold procedure involving a finer level of sandpaper each time. Do not start with super fine sandpaper at first. When you begin low and slowly progress up, you set up a smoother foundation for your stain.

Different Sandpaper Grits 

Each sandpaper is associated with a grit value, the gauge for the size of the abrasive itself. To determine the grit sequence, you will choose a starting grit and progress to a finer level each time as per the condition of your floor. Here is a guide to help you understand how some grit rating works to find out the best for you.


This type is most bristly and harsh in texture. It should be the starting point for hardwoods that have previously experienced extreme adhesion or paint layers.

16 grit

It is coarse sandpaper that may sustain heavy pants, shellac, or lacquer.

24 grit

It works for worn-out, unflattened, or discolored surfaces with foot-soiled marks or swirls from previous staining jobs.

36 grit

It works in upgrading newly installed hardwoods or floors with a bare finish.

60-80 grit

Beginning from 60, each succeeding grit within the range adds finesse to the work of the last.

100 grit

Most sanding jobs conclude at 80 grit, but few may extend to a 100. All available grits after 100 are too fine for DIY projects and used in industries.

Deciding the Grit Sequence 

The easiest way of determining a grit sequence is to perform a test round using the 36 grit paper. If the floor looks fine in result, perhaps your grit sequence should be a 36-50-80. If you would like a slightly better finish, level up to 40 grit as the starting point.

On the flip side, downgrade to 20 should you think the work is too good for a first coat. Nevertheless, be fair in your assessment, keep the use of each grit in mind and make a wise decision.

Putting the Sanding Tools To Work 

Close up of carpenter work with sander on wood floor

Grab an orbital sander, fit in the lowest grit paper and begin sanding around the edges of the hardwood floor. Once done, use a vacuum or dustpan to sweep off the waste. Now, get an edger (you may rent one or use a drum sander) and set it up with the same sanding grit. Use it to sand across the hardwood, eliminating previous scratches and swirl marks.

Buying an edger is a valuable investment in the long run. It could save up on hefty labor costs for most home repair projects while consuming lesser time and energy. Edger models with a vacuum attachment are most practical.

Click here to see this edger on Amazon.

Vaccum, Sand, Repeat

Do not move to the next grit unless you have cleared off the waste from the first. Sanding minerals will interfere with your blend quality if left on the floor. They will also reverse the effect of finer sanding, starting a never-ending loop of unlevel surfaces.

Subsequently, fit in the next grit, use the orbital sander, and so on. Keep the pattern going until the entire floor is sanded with your highest grit value in the sequence. 

Staining the Hardwood Floor 

Dark stain application on new oak hardwood floor

Getting the right blend for a stain is merely a job of accurate timing, gentle pressure, and the right resources. If you have done a great job at sanding, chances are your staining will turn out well.

Choosing the Right Stain Colour 

Since hardwood is very rigid in its structure, it is often complemented well by darker shades. For instance, the rich ebony color is a customer-favorite staining trend and looks great on the hardwood. Moreover, darker shades also come in handy to conceal wood grains or stain marks, if any. 

Getting the Perfect Blend

Before you proceed towards applying stain, allow the wood pores some moisture. This process will open up its pores and allow for a thorough application process. Use pure water and a rag to coat it over the hardwood. Do not mix in any chemically active substance in the water. Let it completely dry before the staining process.

Applying the Stain 

There can be several approaches to coat the stain layer. The easiest of all is to use a simple foam brush and stain. The trick is to be very precise in terms of exerting pressure. Use a gentle yet firm grip and apply a light coat first. Once it dries down, apply another and use the brush to blend it in.

The fanciest yet the most accurate of all is to use professional staining tools. Buy or rent a buffer connected to any carpet pad or underlay. It comes with the benefit of hand-treated yet precision-cut tendencies that make the entire process highly convenient.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Work in small sections and at a swift pace. Should you let the stain dry before wiping off the excess, you will be stuck dealing with the lumps forever. As you move around the floor with the buffer, get somebody to wipe it off after you.

Drying the Stain 

Perhaps the most crucial part of the process is to be patient for the stain to dry. Generally, it takes between 24-72 hrs depending upon your climate conditions. You will lose the perfect blend if you expose the stain to human skin or heat before it has dried.

If you would like a visual guide, here's a YouTube video:

Can You Put Two Coats of Stain On Hardwood Floors?

Depending upon the age of your wood, its condition, and the stain quality, you may have to apply another coat of stain. To identify the need, look for any signs of swirl marks, cavities, or cracks on the surface. However, do not second coat an already perfect surface. This way, all the stains will not penetrate the wood and damage the entire layer. 

How Do You Blend Old And New Hardwood Floors?

Blending two different hardwood profiles would foremost require a similar build structure for both regarding thickness, width, and material. Next, you will have to match a stain color to one of the boards, preferably the older one. Sand the new floor, apply stain, dry it out and seal it with the old one. Resultantly, you have a perfect blend of old and new hardwoods. 

Why Does My Stain Look Blotchy?

Your stain looks blotchy because the type of stain did not suit the wood structure you had. Either you used a pigmented stain, or the varying densities of wood could not soak the stain. Another reason, as some users suggest, could be prolonged exposure of excessive stain to the wood. 

How Do I Fix Uneven Stain On Wood Floor?

Fixing a blotchy stain depends upon the severity of the uneven color. If it is vastly dissimilar, you will have to remove the stain, wash the area, sand it and begin all over again. However, for a moderate tonal variation, one of the following methods may work:

  • Use a glaze on the stain 
  • Apply diluted acetone to the stain
  • Use a 180 grit sandpaper to sand and reapply stain only on the uneven part

Will Polyurethane Even Out Stain?

Squeegee style brush applying clear polyurethane to hardwood floor

Polyurethane is well-reputed for its color-changing effects between stained and unstained wood. However, remember that it is only the oil-based polyurethane that evens out the stain. The water-based formula has negligible effects for making stains even. 

Final Takeaway 

Sanding and staining are different methods but, they each come with loads of considerations. So, be mindful of your technique, follow each step carefully, and you should achieve a perfectly blended stain on the hardwood floor. We hope you found the information above insightful!

Before you go, are you wondering if hardwood stain protects wood? We have the answer! For more information, check out our post here

Additionally, are you searching for hardwood floor and wall paint combinations? We can give you some guidance! For more information, check out our post here.

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