We asked wood flooring pros to offer their best advice for staining success. Here's what they said about techniques for creating great stain jobs:
You can't have a good stain job without a good sand job.
Cut all airflow and don't sweat it ... literally, don't sweat on my floors!
Take your time sanding, and water-pop.
Proper dry time on everything, then extra drying time.
Ron Begg Jr.
Make a good game plan for large jobs, don't drag your feet, and never trust another worker's detail sanding—always look it over.
Understand your grit sequence, and learn how to blend your edges in with the field. If done properly, no water-pop is necessary unless you want the stain to be a little darker.
Use the proper sequence of sandpaper. Orbital around the edges with the same grit you finished with the edger. Watch for j-hooks, and finish by screening with a 120 screen. Water-pop for a more consistent color.
Nicholas C. Maxson
Bright lights. So many bright, bright lights.
Sand every job like it's going true black. If you sand every floor the same way, every time, you get consistent results and it's not a big deal when they do go dark.
Give it the appropriate amount of time before adding finish and be sure to charge good money for your hard work.
Make sure to remove every last scratch. The edger and belt sander will cut the wood different, making the edges look darker or lighter. Also, the last edge-sand should be one grit lower than your last belt.
The difference between an "OK" stain and an "awesome" stain job is about 45 minutes. Take the time to double-check all your details.
Sand each sequence, watch your drum drop feathering in, watch your machine lines, don't lift the edger, use good lighting, vacuum between your final cuts, and don't forget the corners.
Quality sanding with no skipped steps is key. Understand your type of abrasives, not just the grits.
Good sanding techniques and paying attention to the details. Slow down and focus on quality, not quantity. Be sure the stain is stirred thoroughly, and stir as you go.