7 Easy Steps to Stain and Seal Hardwood Floors

Staining and sealing your hardwood floors is one of the best investments you can make for your home. It will protect them from scratches, scuffs, stains, dulling due to dirt buildup, and other damages.

Follow these 7 easy steps to get the perfect finish every time.

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Remove any furniture in your living space in a backroom or attic that can’t be moved.

Wipe down the floor with a damp rag, removing any dirt or debris that could interfere with sealant adhesion, then dry it off completely with a clean cloth or towel.

Sweep up all debris and dirt from your hardwood floor. Dust will be easier to remove once it’s dry, so wait until then to dust off any large pieces that might have fallen on the wood. Sweep again to clear the dust away. Vacuum or sweep away any leftover debris after your project is complete.

Step 2: Prepare the Materials

Have the following materials before you continue with the next step:

  • Latex gloves
  • Mop
  • Stain
  • Floor finish
  • A couple of paintbrushes

The first thing you need to do is determine what type of finish you want. There are three options:

  1. A Natural Finish
  2. A Low-Lustre or Matte Finish
  3. A High-Lustre or Glossy Finish

We recommend the second option, which will leave the floor with a delicate sheen that is easy to maintain. The other finishes are much more high maintenance and have a tendency to fade over time.

You will need an acid-free mop for application. The different options include natural bristle or synthetic fiber, but the best option is a microfiber one because it traps dirt better than any of its competitors—especially wood particles that can scratch the floor.

We recommend using two brushes for this project: one for the stain and another for the finish.

Step 3: Ventilate the Room

Check that the room has been sufficiently ventilated for at least 15 minutes before application of the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ventilation ensures that fumes created by the treatment do not accumulate in an enclosed space and become hazardous.

Step 4: Fill any Cracks

Fill any cracks in the hardwood floors with wood filler before sealing using a putty knife to smooth it down into the gaps creating an even surface that will not trap any moisture or allow for mold growth.

Step 5: Apply the Stain

Apply the stain in sections, blotting with a mop between sections to avoid streaks or uneven application of color.

Step 6: Let it Dry

Allow the first coat of stain to dry completely before applying a second coat and let it dry overnight before sealing.

Step 7: Apply the Floor Finish

First of all, make sure to work on small sections at a time (about six square feet) and remove the excess stain that is left on them with your mop. You can then move onto your next section after about five minutes, but make sure to go back over any high-traffic areas or trouble spots afterward to ensure they are sealed properly.

It’s also important to allow the floor finish to dry for at least twenty-four hours before walking on the floor.

This is because it takes time for the chemicals within the product to react with one another so that they can properly protect your floors, and you don’t want anyone’s feet accidentally messing up this process.

If there is any excess residue left on the floors after applying your finish and it starts to dull or look dirty after a while, then all you need to do is reapply another coat of stain and go over that section with your mop to freshen it up again.