How To Stain Wood Floors Without The Blotchy Effect

Lastly we get to the Ebonizing floor stain, which has been vexing wood workers and floor mechanics for years. Just how do you make a wood floor black in color? And I mean an even and deep tone of black, showing the wood grain and having the early and late wood (of a ring porous wood like oak or ash) come out with almost equal tones. Well it’s not easy and the bigger the floor the more difficult it will be to control wiping and dry times.

An easy solution for a new floor installation is to go with black pigment stained prefinished hardwood. Be sure to ask if it is pigmented stained, else the color will fade in time. Some prefinished floor makers have added UV inhibitors to the factory finish, Lauzon Ltd. is one of these brands. Visit their site at This will give you the factory consistency that you may never be able to achieve on site. Find out first though if they have used a dye stain on these factory boards. And if the warranty covers fading of the dye stain color. I doubt it.

But if it is an older floor or if you object to the harsh light reflective qualities of prefinished floors, you must use a black dye stain for sure on all woods to create an even color. A water based black dye stain will do well on most woods, except oak. The pores of many ring porous woods won’t be well stained with this kind of dye. So in this case you will have to go over the floor again (after the water based dye stain has had 12 – 20 hours of drying) with a black pigmented stain to color the pores evenly. Make sure that the pigment stain is a oil/varnish type so it doesn’t wipe out the water based dye stain. It’s a tricky operation to keep everything consistent on a large floor area. You may have to price a job like this on a time plus material basis, in order not to leak profits.

Here are some more hints to working with the water based dye stains. It will take about a 1/2 pound of dye power to make a gallon of wood stain. But you should mix the first batch twice as strong and then dilute it. Use distilled water for all these dyes. And weigh the amount you are using, and measure the water volume accurately. This is a must if you ever want to repeat the same color, keep good records. You can mix small amounts of dye stain using a drinking straw to hold a measured amount of water, and an accurate scale to weigh a small amount of stain. Once you have the right mix, scale up the amount and mix the usable batch.

If you can find a good NGR black stain you may be able to do the staining with one product. Be prepared to stain the wood with dye stains several times to achieve the blackness you want. But don’t over do it or you will have a floor so black you might as well have painted it. Some NGR stains contain lots of alcohol or lacquer thinner, so they may be unsuited and dangerous for large areas. They tend to not be as clear as the water based dyes, and are less color fast in some cases.