staining borders of wood floors


Hi Woodfloor Doc,

Love your site and thought I would forward a few pics of a floor I just installed in our dining room. I am an amateur and the only experience I’ve had is installing about 1500 sq ft of pre-finished flooring. The floor enclosed is in our dining room and I based it upon a picture I came across. It is 2 1/4″ x 3/4″ unfinished red oak. I started by laying a 3′ x 1′ red oak plank in the center and worked each section out from that.

Things I learned from this project:

I stained the center and border cherry (see first pic). Oil based poly darkened the natural part of the floor so much I lost almost all of the border.

I have used a drum sander for refinishing a friends old floor. I decided because my floor was new that I could get away with using a “square buff” sander rented from Home Depot. Big mistake. Took nearly two full days. Next time (if there is a next time) I would rent the drum sander to level the new floor.

I have never finished a floor, but I am happy with my results. I used 3 coats of oil based poly and used my palm sander fitted with a scotch brite abrasive pad in place of sandpaper (this was a life saver) between coats as I did not want to rent a orbital sander to scuff (only a 12′ x 14′ room). After final coat I rubbed out using a Makita auto buffer with a foam pad and “3M’s Finesse It” polishing compound (auto detailing trick). Finish came out like glass.

I used your site a couple of times for this project so thanks again!




Dear Eric

Thanks for the pictures. I regret we don’t have an article about bordered floors. They are really supposed to have a spline or biscuit attached to the ends, to keep them firmly in the floors. And I did warn you about the limitations of the Orbital Floor Sander, in the Case in Point article.

But all in all it looks like a great job, and I’m sure your are very proud. We will archive the photos for now, but when we get enough of them, we’ll post them in a section of the site, along with the things you learned the hard way. We like to use boarders of cherry or walnut to contrast the oak.

Many thanks again, it was good to hear you found the site useful, we have just begun.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor