I made some mistakes. Need help removing newly applied stain / re-sanding.

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Marty Rose

New Member
Jun 11, 2019
Astoria, NY 11103
I sanded my hardwood floor with a belt sander and it came out very smooth. I used 40/60/80/100 grit paper. I used an edger with the same grits. I also used a hand sander to smooth out some areas that I filled in holes. I made some mistakes and need advice.

I didn't use an orbital sander, so when I applied the stain it wouldn't hold in the spots I used the hand sander. Also, all the areas that I used the edger show through the stain. Some of the floor looks great with nice rich stain, but other areas look very light so the floor looks unfinished

I need to remove the stain, blend the floor and re-stain.

Since the floor is very smooth from my sanding, what grit paper do I need to remove the stain? Do I have to go back to 40/60/80, etc?

By going to 100 grit, did I sand too smooth where the stain wouldn't hold?

Is there anything I could do to help the stain penetrate? I read that using rubbing alchohol helps.

Do I need to use a belt sander, edger and then an orbital sander to remove the stain? Or, can I just use an orbital sander to remove the stain and blend the areas together?

Thanks for your help.


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Might have used too fine grit, like you said.
Only thing I can think of, is sanding the area with a coarser grit, and stopping at each individual boards ending point. That way, if the color is off, it ends at the beginning or ending point of a board. Very labor intensive because of having to carefully hand sand. I have no idea the grit needed, as I don't do floor finishing.
Pretty rough mate....honestly you're best off doing it over again, as much as that sucks but hang in there, you worked too hard in the first place. I do hardwood refinishing for a living heres the rundown....We use Hummels but any rental can do the same thing.

1. Rough Cut with your big belt sander, in your case I recommend 50 grit, or 40 if the stain is being stubborn. If your floor is not flat run the machine at a 15 degree angle to the boards.

2. Rough Edge at the same grit don't try anything fancy, go straight forward and straight back, move over.

3. Belt sander 80 grit

4. Fine edge 80 grit. Use one of the pads like the photo.

5. Orbital sander 80 grit everywhere the edger touches

6. Rent a buffer. Don't run it into your wall. Use a 100 grit screen across the whole floor.

7. Vacuum the living shit out of everything

8. Stain

9. Shellac

10. Buff 120 grit.

11. Oil base poly get the best you can afford. Poloplaz is top notch

12. Buff 220 grit

13. 2nd coat of poly.

14. DONE


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I'm surprised about the use of shellac. Is that what sealers are made of. I don't do wood floors, but I assumed sealers were thinned down finishes.
I'm surprised about the use of shellac. Is that what sealers are made of. I don't do wood floors, but I assumed sealers were thinned down finishes.

Shellac is old school, it's actually made from the shell of a shellac beetle lol look it up.... it's alcohol based so it evaporates quickly. It also brings out a very rich color to your stain. Kinda pricey but worth every dollar if you ask me.

Sealer is a penetrating product it's designed to soak in to the wood closing the pores you've just opened by sanding. Poly finish CAN be used alone but it gets much smoother when sealer is applied first from my experience.

Shellac can be substituted with another type of SEALER, but a sealer should be used that is compatible with your finish. I.e. oil sealer, oil poly. Or water sealer water poly.

Do not use Shellac if you are doing water base finish though!!!! They don't interact well

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