Skip to content
Home » How to Stain Hardwood Floors Darker Without Sanding?

How to Stain Hardwood Floors Darker Without Sanding?

This page contains affiliate links, As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases (with no extra cost to you). Learn more

A stained floor can always add some extra style to a room or change an old style into something new. However, it can be difficult knowing where to start. It’s important to do your research about what steps you should take, with sanding your floor being tossed around often. But is sanding necessary for staining?

How to Stain Hardwood Floors Darker Without Sanding?

Sanding can help with staining a floor but is not exactly necessary. Just make sure to clean the floor and degloss if necessary, before applying the darker stain oil. After the stain is set, allow 18 to 24 hours for drying and everything should be set.

Sanding down a floor before staining is mainly done to allow the stain to take hold stronger in. However, this is can be ignored if money needs to be saved or what have you.

Why you want to sand your Hardwood Floors before staining?

While sanding before staining is not necessary, it is still recommended for various reasons:

  1. Light sanding can add a bit of tooth to your floor to make the staining material stick a bit stronger.
  2. Sanding generally makes wood smoother. This helps the staining material to absorb into your floor more evenly, without forming unsightly blemishes.
  3. Sanding makes wood flatter and thus harder. This prevents the small dings and nicks that will inevitably appear as soon as any furniture is set on top of the floor.

You can ignore this portion if you don’t want or feel the need to sand, but just be aware of the advantages with sanding.

How to Stain Hardwood Floors Darker without Sanding?

Staining hardwood without sanding is rather easy, you just need to know the proper way to go about it.

Clean the Floor Before Staining

It is always a good idea to clean your wood floors before staining. Avoid getting dirt on your floor when you are cleaning, since this will make the stain not adhere correctly.

Make sure you remove all of the dust and other particles that have accumulated on it, as well as any wax or polish buildup present. This is necessary because they can and will obstruct the way the new stain adheres to the surface of your hardwood.

TIP: It’s a good idea to invest in Acetone or TSP when cleaning your floor, cleaning through your floor for any grime. You’ll want to wipe and residue down with a damp cloth afterwards to avoid compromising your finish after cleaning.

Do Not Strip Old Stain

If you are staining hardwood because the old stain has begun to wear away, you will want to avoid stripping it. This is because it can allow your floor to become extremely porous and uneven throughout, and also create a much harder time adhering the new finish (stain) correctly.

Use a Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner

There are several reasons for this, one of them being that it makes the surface smoother before staining is applied. This helps you avoid unsightly “stain pockets”, where the stain does not adhere to some areas of your floor.

You also want it to penetrate deep into the floor before you stain over top of it, which will allow you to achieve a more even finish with a deeper color overall.

TIP: Try out Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner on your floor, it is great for helping you get your floors darker without sanding.
Minwax 618514444 Water-Based Pre- Stain Wood Conditioner, quart
Check Price and Helpful Reviews

Do Not Rush the Process

Do not try to rush the application of stain to your hardwood, since applying too much in one go can lead to major messes and mistakes with the overall appearance of your floor. It is better for you to apply a bit at a time, in sections, and then go across the entire floor with it after you have applied it.

TIP: Use a brush to apply your stain since this will help you avoid any bleeding or mess-ups that can occur if you use a rag instead (which is most common).

Stain Your Floors with Stain Pens

This is by far the easiest way to stain your floors. Stain pens will allow you to get into any nook or cranny on your floor without worrying about spilling anything all over while you try to apply it itself.

Furniture Repair Kit Wood Markers - Set of 13 - Markers and Wax Sticks with Sharpener Kit, for Stains, Scratches, Wood Floors, Tables, Desks, Carpenters, Bedposts, Touch Ups, and Cover Ups

This is also better for making sure that you don’t miss any spots while applying the stain, which can be very costly if you don’t get it all over.

TIP: Make sure to buy stain pens that match the color of your hardwood flooring, so that they blend in seamlessly with your floor after using them.

Let Your Stain Dry Out Completely

You will want to let your floors dry out for at least 24 hours before you apply any type of topcoat or protector to it. This is because you want the stain to completely sit on your flooring for at least this amount of time, otherwise it can cause some issues when putting something over top of it.

Stain Your Floors Right

The end result will depend entirely upon how you apply your stain onto your hardwood flooring. If you do it wrong, it can lead to major issues later on with the appearance of your floors as a result.

In order to avoid this from happening, be sure that you follow these three steps to get the best overall results:

  1. Be careful when applying stain – It is very easy for something like spilled coffee or a dropped rag to create a stain on your hardwood floor. If it is minor, you can remove it by using a clean white cloth and some warm water with a neutral cleaner. It is even better if you have a steam mop as well as its easy to use and will save you time.
  2. Be sure that there are no water stains on your floors – Water stains can easily form and spread out in certain patterns. This is one of the fastest ways to ruin your hardwood floors, and it can be costly to remove them afterwards if you don’t catch them quickly enough. Be sure that you wipe down your floors after each time you use water, otherwise they will build up and look extremely ugly.
  3. Go for the high-quality stain – If you go with a low-quality and cheap stain, it can lead to issues later on in terms of adhesion and security. This means that it will take longer for your floors to dry out after staining them, which also causes your area rugs and furniture to become damaged. Get a high-quality stain and follow the rest of these tips, and you will be able to get your floors stained dark while avoiding any potential damage down the line.

Should you Apply protective coating after staining your hardwood floors?

Yes, you can apply a protective coating after staining your hardwood floors. One of the most common products that people will use to protect their floors is polyurethane. It helps provide additional security for your floors against scuffs and scrapes, which are both very common when dealing with hardwood floors.

Preferably, you should use a water-based polyurethane for your floors, as it will dry out much faster than other types.

Minwax 255554444 Polycrylic Protective Wood Finish, Clear Gloss, ½ Pint

Using this type of coating can help you protect your hardwood floors against any damages that may occur down the line, and it is an affordable solution to making sure that you don’t have to worry about your floors anymore.

Is it cheaper to refinish or replace hardwood floors?

Refinishing hardwood floors is almost always cheaper than replacing them. This is because you can do it yourself, and it doesn’t cost nearly as much as an entire new set of hardwood floors.

Refinishing also takes less time in general so if you are in a hurry or have other things planned in your day then this might be the best idea for you.

If you decide that replacing your floors is a better option, then you will need to remove all of the furniture from your house first as well as taking out the flooring materials. This can be a very difficult process and one that definitely isn’t for everyone. It will take most people several days before they are able to complete this task, which ultimately means more time spent without furniture in your home.

TIP: If you want to save money on the overall process of refinishing your floors, use paint pens to touch up the areas that need it instead of using stain all over again after staining your floors dark with a different color.

How Do I Make My Stain Look Lighter?

If you think your stain is a bit too dark, you can always go over it with a cloth to lighten it. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible though, otherwise, the oil will set in before you get a look you’re satisfied with.

Should I Use Painter’s Tape?

Painter’s tape isn’t necessary but can help protect walls and other pieces of furniture that may accidentally get some stain on them. If you are worried about this, feel free to use painter’s tape to avoid any potential issues.