How to Fix Uneven Stains on Hardwood Floors?

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Hardwood floors can hold on to their charm and allure with hardly any maintenance. Additionally, you do not have to take high-level care for keeping a hardwood floor in pristine condition and retaining its resale value.

However, you’ll need to apply a fresh coat of ‘wood stain’ to hardwood floors from time to time to keep the surface looking as good as new.

But refinishing a hardwood surface is not as simple as applying a new layer of paint to a wall. Wood stains, unlike standard colors, tend to filter through the surface before they can settle down and dry up effectively.

Once you refinish a hardwood surface, you’ll have to wait for a day or two to allow the dye to saturate and the solvent to evaporate.

Hence applying a wood stain requires an advanced level of craftsmanship, and the chances are that you end up messing the refinish if you’re not a professional.

However, you can always fix an unevenly stained surface, set right sticky stains, and put right stains not infiltrating the hardwood.

Start by Sanding the Area

Many homeowners undertake a DIY staining job to save money, and often the result is an eyesore. The quality of refinishing is so weak that the proprietor is compelled to carry out the staining job all over again.

Nevertheless, you’ll first need to sand the entire area before reapplying the wood stain thoroughly.

However, make sure you carry out the sanding in a very mild manner, or else the surface might become uneven.

Start by Sanding the Area

And it does not bear emphasis that the wood stain may appear uneven on a floor that is not entirely flat or smooth. Sanding helps in eliminating the right amount of the stains besides doing away with the varnish in that particular area.

Once you’re through with sanding the area, you’ll still have to daub a small quantity of the wood stain even if the expanse looks perfect.

Reapplication of the stain allows the dye to permeate the hardwood floor thoroughly for guaranteeing an impeccable and smooth finish.

However, you should be very careful in applying the stain, smearing the piece of cloth with a small amount of dye each time.

Let the stain thoroughly saturate the hardwood by allowing the dye to stand for two days to facilitate drying. Once the stain sets in perfectly, see if you need to apply more of the wood stain.

Apply an Additional Coat Over the Uneven Section

Applying an extra coat of stain is the best way to get rid of the uneven stains on the hardwood floor. Staining or refinishing a hardwood floor is a job that calls for exercising extreme caution, and easier said than done.

More often than not, you might end up staring at pockets of uneven stains despite taking all the necessary precautions.

apply an additional cost over the hard floor uneven section

If some areas on the hardwood floor stick out like a sore thumb once you’re through with staining, appearing lighter or darker than the adjacent areas, then you should follow this method.

Before you start applying an extra layer of stain over the target sections, keep the following items ready:

  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Acetone/mineral spirits
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane sealer
  • Rags
  • Dust mask
  • Floor buffer
  • Wood conditioner
  • Vacuum

Start by wiping down the uneven areas using acetone or mineral spirits to get rid of the stains. However, the chemicals in the acetone may not temper the stain, thereby preventing you from removing the blemishes.

In case you have already applied an outer coat of polyurethane, eliminating the blotches would be a challenging task.

Nevertheless, you can get around the problem by mildly sanding the areas with 180-grit sandpapers. Now apply the stain on the imperfect sections and wait for at least a couple of days before the areas thoroughly dry up.

After two days, inspect the recoated parts to establish if the look is in sync with the contiguous or surrounding areas.

Once the finishing looks completely even, use the polyurethane sealer for sealing the floor and shielding the stain.

If the hardwood floor still appears patchy or uneven, use a microfiber cloth moistened with mineral spirits for mopping the floor.

Wipe down more on areas that seem more blemished or darker in contrast to the bordering or neighboring sections.

Wait for at least half an hour to allow the stain to dry out thoroughly before you can conduct an inspection once again.

Coat the entire area with the wood stain all over again

Sometimes, a quick refinishing job might prove ineffective in dealing with the uneven stains on your hardwood floor.

This usually happens when the differences or contrasts (of the stain) are too subtle for you to notice or spot. In such an event, refinishing specific areas for fixing the unevenness might turn out to be a futile effort.

Coat the entire area with the wood stain all over again

You’ll be better off coating the entire hardwood floor with the stain all over again. The recoating job will go a long way in removing all the disparities or inconsistencies in the coloration.

At first, apply the wood stain on the entire floor, moving from one section to another in a prolonged manner.

Thereafter, reapply the same dye on the surface but this time work at a faster rate to avoid the possibility of some areas becoming darker than others.

After you finish, take care to remove the extra pigment, and allow the stain to saturate the surface and settle.

Using a Thinner for an Evening out Stains

Another effective way of dealing with uneven stains or blemishes that stick out like a sore thumb is to use a thinner.

Though you’ll come across several more lightweight brands in the market, it is better to opt for one that is recommended for the wood stain you’re using.

To check out whether you’ve purchased the right thinner, pour a small amount of the solvent on a rag, and wipe the dark sections carefully.

Focus on wiping only those areas that appear darker, or else the unevenness will become more conspicuous.


If you do not feel confident about fixing the uneven stains on your own, you can always engage a professional for the task.

On the other hand, you can get in touch with a professional who can offer you some useful tips in dealing with blemishes and dark blotches. Also, keep in mind never to stain a hard maple floor (there are soft maple varieties as well).

Stains or dyes do not permeate well on floors made out of hard maple.  Never leave a rag smeared with wood stain on the floor as it is highly flammable.

To say the last but not the least, always use a stain whose hue corresponds with the existing one.

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