The floor should be the darkest part of the room, according to a basic principle of interior design. This is the reason why most people prefer to use darker stains compared to the natural color of their wood floors. The common notion is that having a darker wood floor is only possible with more coats of stain. Well, this is not true. Adding more coats may help, but not very much. So do not spend too much money, time and effort to darken your wood floors using the wrong methods. Instead, follow the procedures below to make wood floors darker:
- Choose a darker stain. Hardware stores and home stores have samples of different types of stained wood. Use these samples when choosing your desired stain color. Ebony and dark brown are classic examples of darker shades of wood stain. Some companies also offer custom-made colors by combining various stain colors. The latter will yield a unique color but can have unpredictable result.
- Smoothen out wood floors. It usually takes rough sandpaper and a finer one to perfectly sand out wood floors. Remove everything on the floor first and then sweep it clean. Use the same direction as the grains when sanding, applying conditioner, staining and finishing the wood. Start sanding with the rougher sandpaper until all areas are smooth. Sand the floors again using finer sandpaper. Sweep out the dusts then wipe the floor with a special absorbent cloth or damp cloth which is dampened with the same base as the stain. If you are using oil-based stain, dampen the cloth with mineral spirits. On the other hand, dampen the cloth with water if you are using water-based stain. Let the floors dry before applying wood conditioner.
- Apply conditioner. Do this as instructed by the product labels. It does not matter what type of wood conditioner you will use because it will not have much effect on the color. But conditioning will result in a smoother and finer surface. After conditioning the entire floor, leave it to dry for a while.
- Apply stain. Test the preferred stain color on a hidden portion of the wood floors. Start spreading the color on other areas only after the test procedure. It is okay to use either brush or rag provided you apply the stain evenly. Let the first coat dry for about four or more hours before applying another coat. A single coat is fine but more coats will let the stain cling more firmly on the woods. Dry the stain completely before finishing the staining job. Most manufacturers suggest 24 hours of drying period for better results. However, it is more advisable to wait for 48 hours before you apply the finishing.
- Finish the staining. Use your preferred finish and apply it as instructed by the manufacturer. Whatever finish you will use, apply at least three coats for shinier and smoother wood floor surface.
Leave the stained and finished wood floors for about a week before using them again. This longer waiting period ensures that the finishing has hardened enough to handle heavy furniture pieces and heavy traffic.