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Service #4:

STAINING...change the color of your floors

Staining gives you the chance to change up the color of your hardwood floor without changing the actual wood. If you don’t like the current look of your floors, this is a great option. We stain about 90 percent of the hardwood floors we restore here in New Jersey.

stain samples on wood floor
applying stain on wood floor

The way it works is after the final sanding pass, and before we put down the first coat of finish, we apply a professional staining product that gives your floor a different color. It’s quite a big process and you can read about the extra steps involved below.

Why it costs extra to stain a floor...

When we finish a hardwood floor without staining, we use a buffer and screen to blend the scratch pattern left by the belt sander and edger. The clear finish coating doesn’t show any micro scratches left in the floor from the various sanding machines.

However, when stain is applied to that same sanding stage, you would see obvious sanding marks. That’s because the pigments in the stain sink down into those micro scratches and look darker… because there’s twice as much stain in that spot.

Planetary sander
with fine

After the sanding with the belt sander and edger is completed, we go over your floor once more. This time with very fine sandpaper attached to a special planetary sanding machine with steel plates. This set-up gives your floor the smoothest and flattest possible surface. It removes the micro sanding marks that will show up when the pigment in the stain hits it.

planetary sander for wood floors

Handheld random
orbital sanders
on perimeter

As the step above with the planetary sander doesn’t reach the perimeter of the room, we go over all the edges and corners with special handheld sanders. The same sandpaper is used as the planetary sander to ensure the exact same surface preparation is achieved. For the corners we can’t reach, we hand sand with the same sandpaper.

random orbitol sanding hardwood floor

Tape off areas
that won’t
be stained

The last thing you want is to get stain over your carpet or linoleum floors. Stain can ruin carpet very quickly. We take special care to tape of any and all transitions between rooms and hearths etc. to prevent that from happening. We also take great care when staining around your wood work. (We don’t tape up basebords though as stain can wick up the tape and make things worse.)

taping off areas before staining

Water pop the
floor to raise
the grain

Water popping the floor helps us remove any remaining sanding marks by raising the grain of the wood. It also helps the stain to be applied more evenly, resulting in a deeper, richer color. Your floors are very delicate during this process. Simply dragging a shoe across the floor will compress the fibers of the wood, causing a different shade once stained. If that happens, we need to start over.

water popping hardwood flooring

Finally the
floor can be

As soon as the floor has completely dried, we apply the stain. This has to be done as quickly and evenly as possible, without leaving lap marks or damaging the raised wood fibers.

Then the stain needs to be left to dry before we apply the first coat of finish.

buffing on stain in New Jersey

These steps are why a professionally stained floor costs more. It’s almost twice as much work verses a natural unstained floor.

WHAT COLOR should I choose?

Selecting a stain color is probably the toughest decision you’ll have to make for your floor restoration project. So many choices. We understand it can get a bit overwhelming. Hopefully the following 2 questions will make the choice somewhat easier as you narrow down your selection…

QUESTION 1: What interior decorating style do you have?

If you have a specific style of interior design in mind, it will be a huge help in deciding on a stain color.

For example, if you want a country or farmhouse interior design theme, then you won’t want to stain your floors Ebony as it would clash with your rustic furniture. You would go for a stain like Early American or Nutmeg.

On the other hand, if you’re interior design is a modern contemporary style, Sedona Red would look completely out of place. Ebony or a modern gray shade may be a better choice.

Find a color that will highlight the interior design you’re going with. You want a shade that will ground the rooms styling and compliment your décor. Because many of us can’t visualize things in our heads, a good idea is to gather together some interior design, architecture and home improvement magazines for inspiration.

contemporary floor
Do you want a contemporary look...
traditional floor
... or something more traditional?

There are plenty of great online sources of help too, like Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz.

Look through them and see what others, especially professional designers, have done in similar situations to what you envision.

What grabs your eye? Do you like the light, airy, clean look of a lighter colored floor? Or do you prefer the deep, elegant and bold look of a dark floor? Maybe you like the reddish-brown shades in between these two ends of the color spectrum.

When you find something you like, save it to show us. We’ll be able to help you come up with a similar color.

QUESTION 2: Should I choose a dark or light stained floor?

Let’s divide this into 2 sections: Looks and Functionality.


This is quite subjective and will depend a lot on the color walls you have, but we’ll talk about basic design principles here…

In general, lighter colored floors are a good option for small, dark rooms that don’t have much natural light. They will brighten up the room, making it seem larger. Dark floors absorb the light and have a way of making a room feel smaller than it otherwise would

Lighter stain colors will highlight the natural grains in your floor, while still giving it some depth and color. Dark shades like Ebony will mute the grain in the wood and make the floor look more monotone and even.

light natural wood floor
Lighter floors highlight the grain, keep the room open and bright and are easier to keep clean


As we talked about previously, one of the reasons many people choose a dark stain is to hide imperfections and damage caused by pet urine or water stains.

If you do choose a dark stained floor, realize that keeping them looking their best is going to be more challenging than with a lighter floor. Scratches and dust will be much more noticeable. Think about how everything shows up on a black car—the same goes for dark floors. If you have kids, pets or live in a dusty area, you will be cleaning up much more often. Lighter floors are much easier to maintain.

dark stained hardwood floor
Considering a dark floor? Staining your floors dark will ground the room, giving it depth. Keep in mind that keeping them clean will take more effort than lighter floors.

Additional Thoughts

Try not to be too swayed by what’s currently popular. This is ok with clothes, sunglasses and hairstyles as they can easily be changed or replaced. Changing the color of your wood floors once the finish is applied isn’t that easy, or cheap.

Also remember, what’s trendy now could be out of style down the road.

Ten to fifteen years ago, red toned floors were all the rage and fell out of fashion. Back in the 80’s it was white-washed floors. Currently it’s different shades of grey and super dark floors. Choose something that will look good, suite your tastes and that you’ll be happy with long-term.

It’s your home and you have to live with your floors for many years after the latest trend has moved on. A classic color that suites your interior design style is a better choice than choosing a short-term trendy color on a whim.

Considering having your floors stained?

Whether your preference is dark floors, light floors, reds, greys or browns, I’m certain you’ll have no issue finding a color that perfectly matches the style of your home.

There are a LOT of colors and shades to choose from.

Our Collingswood NJ showroom floor samples
Our showroom has a huge selection of big stain sample boards for you to look through.

We suggest coming over to our showroom to see the huge selection of large samples we have in person. If you can’t do that, then make a choice of which color group you would like to go with below. We will bring out 3 stain colors and put them down directly on your floor. This way you can see exactly how they look on your floor to ensure you’re happy with your choice.

stain colors

If you need some extra help in choosing a stain color we’re here to help. We’ll be more than happy to lend our professional expertise in getting you the perfect color for your floors.

Just ask us when we provide you with your quote.

PHOTOS from past projects


So happy that we chose Dustless Hardwood Floors. Our floors look stunning and we couldn't be happier. They restored our old pine floor that had been covered in carpet for years. Wow! Couldn't believe how nice they turned out!! Brian and his crew were just terrific. Sharon Moran - Cherry Hill, New Jersey | 5 Star Review on Google
Google Review
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