Project Description

I Have Dark Spots in my Floor Stain

Does that dark spot look kind of like a paw print? Is there a chance you sweat on the exposed wood?


 Besides the natural variations in wood stain absorption, a huge culprit of dark spots discovered during the staining process are from “Water Popping”.

What is “Water Popping”?

Wood is a rather porous material. As you strip and sand your floors you decrease the size of the pores when you move to a higher grit number, i.e. 100 grit. Water popping reverses this. As the wood absorbs the water, the pores expand, increasing its capacity to absorb stain.

How do I fix it?

Unfortunately, these marks are difficult to spot once the water has dried. You will need to re-sand the area starting with your lowest grit and working back up to your highest. You don’t necessarily need to re-sand the entire room. Let the stain dry and come back through sanding the damaged area. Vacuum sanding dust frequently so that the remaining stain remains clean. You will probably have to do some creative blending with the stain as there will be overlap points from the existing stain and the new stain.

I do like how it makes the stain darker, though.

Water popping can enhance the richness of the stain and also makes it look more uniform, but it is a technique that is better left to the professionals, in Bauen’s opinion.  Water must be applied to the floors in an even manner, with the same amount of water being applied to all areas. Moisture level post water popping should return to pre-water popping moisture levels. The wood grain is very fragile post-popping and a carefully crafted plan of how to traverse the floors for staining must be planned. Stepping on water popped wood can cause the pores to tighten. If you thought dark marks were bad, image giant streaks! Eeeek! We don’t want to scare you, but more reiterate – leave it to the professionals!

ottom Line. Keep your furry friends out of the room and sweat restricted to a rag. Leave water popping to the professionals!