Floor Talk With Wayne Highlander

Staining With a Buffer

A young floor mechanic may look at a three-thousand foot job and think, “Damn, this is going to be a lot of money!” An old floor mechanic may look at the same job and say, “Damn, this is going to hurt!”

Staining a floor is a lot of work. Traditionally it’s on your knees, and there’s a lot of wiping on and off, standing, crouching, walking, and grunting. Why not try and use the buffer method? The idea of staining floors with a buffer has recently gained popularity. Most people that try it wonder why they didn’t start doing it earlier.

Why you should consider staining with a buffer:

  • It’s easier on your body. Enjoy the benefits of staining while standing up!
  • You’ll go through much less product. It’s amazing how far the stain can go when you buff it on.
  • Your stain will dry faster since it’s being applied quicker and more evenly.
  • There’s less chance for bleed-back since the stain won’t flood the floor.

When staining a floor by hand there is a tendency to “flood” the floor by dropping wet rags onto the surface. When this happens, stain can potentially seep into the area between planks and cause the floor to not dry properly. The top of the floor may have every indication and appearance of being dry, but the cracks in the end joints and seams might still be wet. If you run into this, your floor may have adhesion problems after being coated. Some people believe that this can contribute to “White Line Syndrome”, or any occurrence of white lines between boards in a wood floor. You can help avoid WLS by trowel filling your floor before applying a coat of stain.

Please also be aware that your floor may be a little lighter in color than you’re used to after using the buffer. You can address this by staining a shade darker.

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