How To Sand Wood Floors Like a Professional - Without Leaving Machine Marks!
This eBook will be cheap insurance when it comes to sanding your wood floors. This is a must read before you pick up that floor sander. It may save your floor from a fate worse than death. When pulling around that heavy floor sander, you need to think about gouging or sanding your floor unevenly, I will teach you how to make a perfectly flat floor. I will also teach you how to sand to ensure when you apply stain that it blends evenly. If you want to have a beautiful wood floor, you need to know how to sand extraordinarily well. Any mistakes you make will be highlighted on your once beautiful wood floor. I will not teach you the big box store "1, 2, 3 and you're done" - this is a professional guide to sanding your wood floor. I will also teach you the inner workings of a drum sander. You will learn how to prepare your drum sander so that it won't leave those dreadful chatter marks all over your living room floor. You will be able to select the right kind of sandpaper for the job - every job is different. When you work with your edger, you will know how to avoid those ugly roller marks. Most importantly, if you read this eBook, you will be able to do a perfect sanding job that will impress your family and friends.
Can it be Sanded?
I always start off by going over the whole floor on my hands and knees. This is only way to check an old floor for split boards and broken top grooves. I may find at this point that the floor is just too thin or damaged to handle the extensive sanding process that a stained floor needs. This is the time to decline a job. Before you end up with bad results, and every body blames each other. Just remember in all the small claims court cases that I have served as an expert witness, it was assumed that the floor mechanic alone had the expertise to determine if a floor could be sanded with good results.
Now if you are a amateur and have never done a stained floor before, and you think you are going to simply rent a floor sanding machine and sand the floor yourself, please consider this. I have another (free) article that discusses in detail whether you should consider doing this rather difficult job yourself. You might instead, hire the pro to do the floor sanding only. Have a professional follow the prep for staining as I will describe in this article. If he won't do all the details I mention, do the final vibrator and buffer sanding yourself (and this you CAN do, and they do rent good equipment for this).
This way you can be sure that all the proper steps were taken to prepare your floor for the wood stain. This article will be cheap insurance really. You will know exactly what to look for after a floor is sanded, (before you pay) so as to avoid even this contractor leaving machine marks. Might have him read this article, so that he knows, you know. A proper "sand only" job will cost about a buck a square foot or less.
A well sanded floor will be a breeze to stain and finish, and this article will save you from hiring the wrong contractor. I do have another article on how to stain a floor, and another on how to apply polyurethane to a floor. These tasks are often done better by the knowledgeable amateur as opposed to the so-called pro who is in a hurry to make money.
Start with Fine Turning Your Drum Sander and Choosing the Best Sand Paper
Besides the rental drum sander cannot be tuned up like I am about to instruct, and will always cause "chatter" marks. These will show up as stripes across the grain of the boards once you stain, and by then it's too late. These rental machines are just too lightweight to do a decent job. And it does take months of training to use a floor sander without gouging your fine wood floor.
"Tuning up" your professional floor sanding machine is essential. Even the best of these machines can create those dreaded chatter marks. I first start by tightening the rear wheel. And I make sure all the wheels are free and spin well. Then I will take any sandpaper off the drum, and place a new sheet of 60-grit sandpaper on the floor below the drum. I stand on both edges of the sandpaper to keep the paper tight to a level floor (or have a trusting assistant do this), turn on the sander and lower the drum slowly down to the floor.
Just do this once, and you will see how level the drum is sanding. I like to have my drum sanding just a tad to one side. I can see this as the pink drum rubber is just a bit thicker on one side of the sandpaper I'm holding to the floor. But if you find that the drum is dramatically sanding to one side, adjust it so that it runs flat, or like I said, only very, very slightly to one side. When you have it running favoring one side this will always dictate the direction your floor machine will travel across the floor. You will always want the feathered edge side of the drum to be the trailing edge of where you have already sanded. For instance if the sanding drum is tilted down slightly to the left (as viewed standing behind the machine), you will always sand the floor starting on the right side of the room and work you way row by row to the left. You can see that the feathered (high) edge of the drum will sand the floor last in this case and will leave less of a drum mark. You can also make the drum flat if you wish, but it rarely stays flat. I would rather know which direction to sand instead. Oh, and be sure to keep the dust bag on the non-feathered side also or in the center. It keeps this rather top heavy machine from tilting. I would also like to suggest that the pulley will affect the drum feather at high speeds. So I choose the non-feathered side of the drum to be the on the same side as the pulleys. This has worked best for me.
And speaking of the drum rubber, if it's too old or worn down, it may not have the cushioning effect that is needed to keep the drum riding smoothly. If this is so, have the drum rebuilt and rebalanced before you attempt any more custom stain jobs.
I have for the last 5 years used anti-vibration pulley belts on my floor sander, instead of the standard ones that come with the machine. These are sold at www.leevalley.com, and are called link belts. The easy way to see these marvelous belts is to simply click on this http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page=30051&category=1,240,41067&ccurrency=1&SID=
These pulley link belts are easily adjusted to any machine, and never seem to wear out. They will help reduce vibration even further. Use these for sure if you do any stain work, as they will absorb some more of the motor's vibration. The only disadvantage is that they make a shrill whistle as they cut the air at high speed. But the ear protection you wear (I hope you do) will make this unnoticeable. And I have found that they will never develop a "set" when left on the machine for a long time. If you insist on using those regular one-piece belts, release the tension at the end of every day, so that they don't develop a flat spot.
The last thing you need to do is to carefully apply the sandpaper to the drum or belt-sanding machine. You want the paper installed evenly and with no flat spots. On the newer belt machines there should be no flat spots on a good quality sanding belt, so just make sure that the paper travels evenly. But be sure to release the tension on the belt if you have stopped the machine to take a break. Always hang those expensive belts on a wide tube so that it won't be creased. And never lay these sanding belts on a concrete floor. They will loose their tracking ability as one side of the belt wicks moisture and expands. Oh, and speaking of storage, keep all sandpaper at 60-80 F and about 45% relative humidity if you want consistent results from your rolls or belts. Use really good quality belts, then there will be not flat spot in the belt were it is joined.
Also be sure to blow out all the dust that may have collected inside your drum or belt system after each job. A dust clogged drum will certainly cause the dreaded chatter marks. This is a good idea anyway just to remove the-grit from ruining the bearings.
The drum sander is a bit trickier, if you cinch the sandpaper too tightly it will easily create a flat and chatter prone spot on the drum. You must have the paper tight enough, and perfectly aligned just before you use the tightening wrenches. You will find that a good quality cloth backed sandpaper cinches better on these drum sanders. Cheap paper backed sandpaper can actually rip during cinching or create a bump of loose paper on the drum.
A quick flick of the wrenches is all you need so the sandpaper cinches immediately. Any further tightening will compress the rubber and create that annoying flat spot. I hope at least you have a drum that has the sandpaper slot cut on an fairly high angle to the drum. And you will have to use the proper sandpaper shims in this slot, to aid in this instant cinching of fine sandpaper I just described. I find that the better quality cloth backed sandpaper cinches better that the paper backed variety. Get this last thing wrong and you will have a chattered floor, and an angry client.
If your machine is still leaving chatter marks, take it in to your local machine shop and have them balance the drum. At the same time have the wheel bearings checked, and even the vacuum system looked at. Almost anything out of balance on this fast spinning machine can build up a vibration, which is then transferred to the floor. I am lucky to have Galaxy Electric nearby. They will simply exchange the old worn or out of balance drums for a new reconditioned one. You may find a few of these companies will handle all this through the mail also.
The Right Sand Paper Makes The Job For The Initial Rough Sanding 36 Grit
Set any protruding nails at this point and do any repairs of split boards. But don't fill all the nail holes at this point. If you apply a stain on numerous filled holes, these will turn quite dark, almost black. This may give the floor a peppered look if there are too many. Fill the holes after the stain and at least one coat of finish is on the floor. You will then be able to match the filler to the color of the floor. And you may find that you have to use different colors in early and late wood, like oak, to get a good match.
I always start off sanding a new floor and most old floors with 36-grit sandpaper. Use high drum tension but be careful not so high a tension that the machine starts to vibrate or stall. This alone can cause chatter marks. Be sure to use the silicone carbide (SiC) or for really hard finishes (or really dense wood like hickory) try the new zirconia-alo variety. Both have their economical uses. I'll be doing a separate article on sandpaper types, as this is a complicated subject itself.
On old floor I want to remove ALL the old finish, down to the clean white wood, no exceptions. Keep sanding until the wood is clean, or your fine sanding will never work. Fine sandpaper clogs too easily on still dirty and waxy floors. On new floors I want to remove all the over wood efficiently and quickly, so this coarse 36-grit paper does it's work quite well. I will pencil mark any uneven board ends, so that when I go over it again I can easily see if I have sanded these flush. This is especially important in older houses with very uneven subfloors. I commonly have to sand the newly laid hardwood floor at a 30-degree angle at first to help level the new wood. I will always do this on a newly installed parquet floor. If you don't do this, your machine may skip over the low boards. If you don't see this before you stain the floor, this will create a defect in your stain, as it will be apparent that these boards didn't get sanded. You may have to start the job all over if the customer complains.
Oh, and I might add that when resanding those prefinished floors it might be best to use the zircon-alo sandpaper. You have to accomplish two things with the coarse sandpaper, one is to level the prefinished floor for the first time. The installers of these varieties of floor rarely do any prep of the subfloor, so it will be really critical that these floors be sanded at a 30-degree angle to flatten out the entire floor surface. And you should try to remove those annoying side and end bevels.
On the latest generation of prefinished wood flooring these should be quite shallow and you should be able to remove the beveled edges but not take too much wood off. But on the last job I was on, I had to scrape the V grooves out by hand after the coarse sanding. The V groove was just too deep, and I would have removed far too much of the wood, if I had tried to sand them out. And these hard factory conversion finishes really impede the progress of the coarse sanding. The zircon-alo 36-grit paper becomes worth its extra expense in this situation. You won't have to move to coarser sandpaper using the zirc/alo to get through these finishes. If you sand with say a 24-grit SiC paper you will have to do an extra sanding with 40 or 36-grit to take these deep 24-grit trenches out. This turns out to be a real waste of time and sandpaper.
If I have to sand a floor at an angle, I later straighten out the sanding lines with the same somewhat worn 36-grit sandpaper still on the machine. But if the floor is more than 300 square feet I will change to a fresh sheet of 36-grit, and just dull it a little with a piece of fine sandpaper pressed to the drum as it is running on the machine. You can make higher-grit sandpaper with this burnishing method but be careful to do it evenly across the whole sheet spinning on the machine.
As it wears down the broken edges of the silicone carbide remain somewhat sharp and effective. After the coarse sanding, I then get on my hands and knees and take a good look at the sanding lines and make sure all the angled sanding lines and high spots are removed. If not I will again pencil mark any defects and sand those spots again with the same 36-grit sandpaper. Don't ever expect the medium-grit sandpaper (60-grit) to take out any of these defects, it simply doesn't have the power.
Repairing Gaps and Second Sanding Stage with 60 Grit
I will fill any gaps (not holes) at this point, and it would be best to use dark filler if the floor will be darkly stained. Wood filler in any gaps will crack out eventually, and the floor will look better in the future if the filler is dark all the way through. New floors should have few if any gaps, and an older floor to be stained should be in quite good shape also, so this would be a minor filling. I like to use the new latex fillers is those tubes, it allows you to squeeze the filler deep into those gaps. I never use those poorly adhering trowelable fillers in those big tubs.
Continue sanding now with 60-grit sandpaper, and go SLOWLY with this paper, with medium tension on your drum. You might at this point consider using Aluminum Oxide (ALO) sandpaper for this-grit, as the ALO-grits are a bit more rounded (than silicone carbide), so the wood will be less grooved. This is the most important paper, as it alone will remove all the deep grooves that the coarse paper created. On dense closed grain woods like cherry or maple you must remove all the coarse grain sanding lines. They will never be disguised no mater how many coats of floor finish you apply. Whatever you do NEVER skip this vital medium sanding.
If you want to start with 40-grit (good idea on cherry and maple) on new floors, that's fine. But in this case be sure to sand with 60 and then 100-grit sandpaper. Ignore this at your peril. I see a lot of badly sanded floors, done by paid professionals. Smoothly sanded floors wear better, because there are no high spots (sanding ridges) to wear off first.
When sanding a room there will always be a long sanding run, and a shorter run to finish up the other side. I want you to always to reverse the long and short run for each-grit of sandpaper. This avoids the possible creation of a overlap mark as you wrongly repeat the same sanding pattern. These slight marks across the whole width of the floor will show up only when you stain the floor, and by then it will be too late.
Final Drum Passes with Burnished 80 Grit or Regular 100 or 120
After 36 and 60 the next-grit of sandpaper will be 80-grit, and then the last pass with the large drum machine will be done with burnished 80-grit. Or you can use 100 or 120, but I prefer to burnish the 80-grit on the drum. The-grits in this 80-grit paper can be dulled creating a 100-120 buffing paper, by simply touching a piece of fine paper to the spinning drum. Again, be sure to use a piece of fine sandpaper and touch it lightly but evenly across the whole drum as it is turning. This saves you from having to buy a roll of this very fine sandpaper, and in my opinion will do a better job of polishing the wood. Most sandpaper makers cringe when they hear this, I wonder why. Now if you have done a good job of tuning up your floor sander, you will see almost no chatter marks in the floor. But if you do, don't worry too much we will address them later in this article.
On the last two sandings with the finest-grit paper you will want to ease off the drum tension just a bit each time. During fine sanding you also have to take care with this tension. You may find that too light a drum tension will start to make the drum skip across the floor or create chatter marks. In this case try increasing the tension. And slow down your pace of sanding across the floor.
Edging - Using the Edger Without Effort
Now you'll notice that I haven't even mentioned the edges yet. There is good reason for this. I will do all my edging only when I have completed the drum sanding, this avoids having any sanding-grit get under the drum sander. This can create deep scratch lines in the middle of the floor during the final sanding. Further, I want to eliminate all the drum marks or what we call the "roller marks" at the edge of the floor quickly and effectively.
When I drum sand up to the wall I very quickly and abruptly lift my drum, just before I reach the wall. I don't create a trench there but there is a pronounced mark there. So now I have to remove just that "little plateau", but it is only 4-5 inches away from the wall. The rest of the floor has been perfectly sanded with the drum sander, so I have no wide feathered edge that has to be corrected. I'm sure you won't find this in any floor sanding instructions, but I have used this method for 25 years, and I get better and quicker results that most floor mechanics.
On a new oak floor I find that all I need is 80-grit disks on my edger to quickly remove the "little plateau" on the edge. But on some harder woods like maple you may have to edge with 60 and then 100-grit. Find the best method for the wood you are using. Some really resinous woods like pine and a lot of exotic species will continually clog up the fine sandpaper on the edger and sometimes even on the big drum sander. Be sure to take the time to change the paper more often in this case. You have to be certain that the fine edger paper is doing it's job, and removing all of the drum mark. Open coat sandpapers (that are only 50-70% covered in abrasive-grits) are better for these sorts of wood. And having an edger that sands at a slower speed helps prevent the heat that causes this paper glazing on woods like pine, teak and other tropical oily woods.
But on a old floor I will have to use at least 36-grit disks to remove ALL the old finish at the edge, then very carefully finish up with the 80. If you find that wax is glazing even the 36-grit edger disks, you can switch up to 24 or simply clean off the wax with naphtha, before you start sanding the floor. Don't do the edges any finer than 80 at this point as finer paper will tend to burn the floor and the paper wears out too fast. But if your edger has a slow speed on it you may be able to use fine edger disks up to 100-grit. But be careful. Really worn fine paper won't be doing its job to remove the 36-grit sanding swirls. Just remember to change the 80-grit or finer edger paper often, so it does it's task. Oh, and if you fail to remove ALL the old finish with the coarse 36-grit paper, the fine sanding of the edge won't go well. It will simply clog up with the old finish. You will have severe edger marks. These will be too difficult to remove later, don't skip vital steps toward a good job.
Scrape all the corners at this point. Learn how to use a 10" mill bastard file to sharpen a wood scraper meant for wood floors. I use the Richard brand scrapers at : http://www.richardtools.com/paint/paint_the_w_series.shtml
The new bade is fairly sharp, but you will have to hone even this new edge with the file. But at least the new blade will show you the proper angle that it must be filed to. A nice wide bevel (called "relief" in the sharpening business) with slightly rounded corners is best. It's quite an art to sharpen these scrapers so they pull smooth ribbons of wood off the floor. If you find that it only powders the wood as you scraper, file it again. Some woods like pine won't take well to scraping and will turn a bit fuzzy. Don't worry about this you will take any fuzz off with the final vibrator sanding.
The last edging is not done with an edger at all, but with a half sheet orbital vibrator sander. I have found that the only one with the power to remove fine edger marks in hardwood is the Porter Cable model at http://www.porter-cable.com/cgi-bin/products.cgi?method=byid&prod_id=505
I still use no sandpaper finer than 80 -100-grit with this great machine, as I want to be very sure to remove all the edger's marks. The marks of the vibrator sander are little 1/8" circles, so are a lot less noticeable than the big swirls of the edger. In any case I start where I have had to use the edger a lot (say across the boards, down a hall). By the time I have gone a dozen feet along the wall with the orbital vibrator, the sandpaper is quite a bit duller, and is making marks now almost imperceptible. And I can go over this starting area once again with dulled sandpaper to smooth out any marks that may have occurred where I started.
It is SO important to remove all these edger marks if you are intending to stain the floor with a pigmented type of stain. The pigment particles will lodge in the sanding scratch lines and really turn them dark. You will see this as a dark edge shadow around the perimeter of your floor. Everywhere the edger has been will be quite evident. It will be an alarming mistake when the stain and one coat of finish is on, by then you have to sand the whole floor over again.
How do I tell when I have ALL the edger sanding marks out? Well here's the secret. I use a trouble light with at least a 60-watt bulb. Put the light just ahead where you are fine vibrator sanding, and after you think you are done, brush the floor edge with a horse hair hand brush, and look toward the light. LOOK TOWARD THE LIGHT! You should see no edger marks, and only the faint 1/8" vibrator swirls if you look closely. If you do have some errant edger marks, remove them with well-sharpened scraper and then be sure to vibrate sand again on that spot.
But when I do stair treads I can hand sand even the small vibrator sander marks out, again with a dulled 80 or 100-grit silicone carbide floor sanding paper. I use a hand-sanding block to keep from making gouges in the fine surface of the wood. And if you are a real perfectionist, you can sand these vibrator marks out by hand on your floor's edges also, but I rarely find this necessary. I do however think this final hand sanding is necessary on stair treads, as you will be viewing them closely as you ascend the staircase. Anything but perfectly sanded wood in this case will get you job complaints. The really expensive job (for you) is one that has to be done twice.
Screening and Final Preparation for Staining or Finishing
Once you are sure that you have removed all the edger marks, vacuum the floor again to get rid of any stray-grits. Then you should buff the whole floor with a floor maintenance machine with a 100-grit screen on it. You can see now, I have not sanded the floor too finely, but it will feel very smooth to touch, and will be really free of any coarse sanding lines. When you sand a floor past 120-grit sandpaper and then stain it, the stain may not be able to penetrate the slick surface of the wood. Pigment stains (the easiest to use) need the pores of the wood to lodge in, otherwise the stain color will not take. When you wipe these stains on a floor that is too smooth, most of the color will come out too. The final buffing of the floor should be done just before you are ready to stain, or else the grain might rise if the weather is humid at all. The buffer should be worked slowly back and forth against the grain of the floor and then using the same screen (by now quite dull) with the grain of the wood. Some floor mechanics take the extra step and hand buff the areas that the machine couldn't reach. But in all cases be sure to get as close to the edge as you can to help blend in the edges where the two different machine marks can show up through the stain.
Now, if you are simply going to clear finish (no stain) the floor, you could have skipped some of these steps. Always start out with 36, then 60, but then all you need to do is burnish the 60-grit paper when it is spinning on the machine. Again use a piece of fine sandpaper for this burnishing, and you will have easily (and cheaply) created a fine paper for polishing the floor. In fact you will find the floor so smooth that the no final buffing of the wood will be needed. Any sanding marks will be so fine that a clear finish (any lacquer, OMP, but not water based) will flow out smoothly. Just read my article on how to apply OMP (oil modified polyurethane), still by far the best looking finish out there.
If you are sanding a floor with the intention of applying water based finish, you will have to use the more lengthy method I described in sanding for a stain. Sanding lines are just too visible with this rather bluish pale finish. Water based finishes are a coalescing type of finish. The solids of the finish are contained in little droplets, surrounded by glycol ether solvents. These are held in suspension in the water. They thicken quickly on the bottom of the finish layer after they are applied and will not fill up the fine scratch lines in a poorly sanded floor. In fact the finish bridges over small scratches creating light colored air pockets showing up quite alarmingly in strong light. Most pros charge quite a bit extra knowing that they will have to sand a lot finer for water based finishes. If they don't know that, they leave you with a poorly finished wood surface, for these less than forgiving water borne finishes.
And that fact that the water in the finish raises the grain on the first few coats, means starting out with a very smooth floor is essential. Some flooring contractors pop the grain of the wood with a wash of distilled water. Let this dry overnight, and vibrate the edges and screen the whole floor the next day. But in this case use a dull screen so you only sand off the "popped grain" wood. This will prevent really severe grain rising caused by water based finishes. You can see why we have to charge a lot more for these finishes.
Oh, and I should also mention that if you are doing a clear finish you should still attack those edges with the vibrator, but don't bother with the trouble light. The few remaining edger marks won't be terribly visible with a clear finish. Just be sure that when you fine edged all the coarse edger marks are gone. The vibrator cannot touch these.
The exception to what I have just said is for parquet or herringbone floors. Even without a stain these floor need a buffing. You will need to remove the final cross grain scratches created by the drum sander. These marks will be at the minimum if you follow this advice : When you sand a parquet floor you need to change the sanding direction each time you change to a finer-grit sandpaper. And be sure to check to make sure all the marks from the previous paper are gone. But on the final two sandings, use the same direction across the slats. The final direction should be either along a long wall or pointed toward a large window or a focal point (like a fireplace). This last sanding is best done with burnished sandpaper, which makes very faint cross grain marks. After all the edging is done, switch to the buffer, to remove all the cross grain scratches in at least half the parquet pieces.
Some parquet installers use a special flat aluminum-sanding disk on their buffer that removes these sanding lines a little quicker, but this is a rather specialized and expensive tool. You can do a quite adequate job with a 100-grit screen, just change it often so that it does it's job. I should say however, the flat sanding disk will do a better job. It would be worth investing in this tool if you do lots of stained parquet. Oh and here is a great place for the vacuum attached buffers. You wouldn't believe how much dust a buffer can make when you are trying to remove fine cross grain scratches on the parquet.
Whether the floor is parquet or strip now is the time to take a look at the floor surface in the afternoon light to see if there are any chatter marks in the floor. You won't see these marks with an overhead light, and rarely in the morning or midday. It's the 3 - 6 PM afternoon angled light that really shows up these errant sanding marks. If they are really obvious, you either haven't tuned your machine properly or there is a sympathetic vibration between the machine and the floor. This sympathetic vibration problem has only happened to me once in 25 years. An out of balance machine is more often the cause. You could either try buffing the floor one more time, or you could sponge (as I described before) the whole floor with distilled water, allow it to dry over night and begin the buffing all over again. And this time you will have to vibrate the edges first. But do this all gently, just taking off the rough wood. It would be a good idea if you have a really chattered floor to use a flat metal sanding disk on your buffer. This will prevent a dishing out of the grain if you find that you find the chatter marks are taking a long time to buff out. Keep the buffer handle low in this case to prevent the long swirls marks of too aggressive buffer marks.
One warning here about buffing the floor too much with a screen. If your final drum sanding has revealed severe chatter marks and you spend hours with the buffer and sharp screens to take the chatters out, you may over screen the floor and cause a dished out grain effect. I just saw this on a finished floor last weekend, and it was so bad that the flooring contractor, who made the mistake, was terminated from the contract, and lost about $4,000. And new floor mechanic had to be hired to do the job all over. The original floor guy could have avoided this by using the flat aluminum disk with minimal padding on the buffer. And instead of a screen he could have used a double-sided sandpaper disk. These double-sided disks will stay flat even if used with just the rubber pad that is on your wooden buffer disk. Try it without the maroon pad as a cushion.
Let me just review one more time the drum sand-grits I always use on new or old floors in prep for a stain. They are 36 (or 40 if you prefer), 60, 80, then burnished 80. Then the edges are done, and finally a 100-grit screening with a floor buffer. For a clear finish 36, 60, and then burnished 60 (or 100-grit). And then do the edges like I have already described.
Now this concludes the article on preparing a floor for a stain or a clear finish. And if you really think you know all about how to stain a floor you need NOT get my companion article on what stains to buy and how to use them. But did you know there are at least 4 different kinds of commonly used stains and each type has their best application method and preferred wood species? After you have stained the floor be sure and purchase my article on how to apply the oil modified polyurethane finish, without those annoying bubbles and pits. I also address drying and adhesion problems normally associated with this good finish. I'm sorry I had to separate all the articles like that, but doing it one big article would have been too long a read. I want you to be able to digest these vital steps, and the important details, a piece at a time. No other article or book will do this for you. As you can see, I omit no details, or any of my trade secrets that I have learned over 25 years. So this article is quite a bargain after all, I hope you save it and use it.