How to Darken Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

A prefinished floor has already been sanded and covered with multiple layers of stain before it is installed in your house.
Most prefinished floors have a polyurethane coating. The only way to permanently darken such a floor is to basically start over. This entails removing the original stain, sanding the floor and applying a new, darker stain.

Step 1

Seek help at a home-improvement or flooring store to find a darker stain for your floor. Look at samples to see how the stain appears once it has dried on the wood. Don't assume that the stain will look the same on your floor as its color on the front of the can. The stain can appear lighter than desired once it's applied to the floor.

Step 2

Prepare your refinished hardwood floor for sanding. Hammer down any nails coming out of the floor. Nail down any loose boards. If any parts of the floor have been dented or are missing, then fill in those areas with wood filler.

Step 3

Sand the floor with a machine sander to remove the finish. A varnish remover will also remove the finish, but this method takes much longer.

Step 4

Sand the floor with a medium-grit sandpaper, then sand it again with a finer-grit sandpaper. Sand the floor a third time with a very-fine-grit sandpaper. Continue sanding until the grain of the wood can clearly be seen. The wood should be smooth to the touch.

Step 5

Vacuum the floor to remove dust and debris from sanding.

Step 6

Test the new stain on a small and inconspicuous part of your now unfinished floor. Let the stain settle into the wood overnight.

Step 7

Apply the stain to the entire floor, if you are happy with its color.

Step 8

Apply a new finish to your floor.

Things You Will Need

  • Wood stain
  • Hammer
  • Wood filler
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Vacuum
  • Wood finish

Tip

  • Consult an expert as to what kind of sander is best for your floor. Although uncommon, it's possible that your prefinished floor will have a wax finish instead of polyurethane. If this is the case, then try darkening it by applying a new wax that is darker in color.

Warning

  • Be careful to always sand in the direction of the grain of the wood. Get it right the first time. Sanding a floor too many times will shorten its life because sanding gradually removes wood.

About the Author

John Smith is a writer with over 30 years experience. He has worked at a newspaper, various magazines and websites, and he has interests in a wide range of subjects including sports, politics and entertainment. Smith earned a bachelor's degree in history from the College of New Jersey.