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The floors in the top image were recently stained then varnished with 3 coats of Bonakemi water based varnish, by Peter. He has been staining floors for over 25 years since 1988 and is now an expert in this field. Below is some advice but staining is not an easy task and we are unable to cover all the many possible problems you could face when attempting to stain your floor.

This is a job we would not recommend you undertake if you are a novice. Peter has stained hundreds of floors and knows how much skill you need to tackle this job and actually pull it off. He has seen a lot of floors that have been badly stained and it's not a pretty picture. When a floor is stained well, it should have a beautiful even color with depth to it like the floors above. Stained badly, a floor can look patchy and dull with a dirty appearance, sometimes it can end up looking as if it has been painted. If you are determined to try, the following information will help.

The professional way to stain a floor is to sand first leaving your floor silky and smooth, then use a stain or even several stains mixed together and diluted. Look at the instructions of your chosen stain to see if it is water or spirit based and dilute accordingly, to achieve the color you are after. When mixing stains make sure they are both spirit based or both water based. The majority of stains available are spirit based and water based varnish can be used over spirit based stains as long as the stain is left to dry overnight.
It is impossible for us to give you an exact color to use, to achieve what you want the final outcome to be. All stains are effected by the colour of the sanded boards . The original colour of pine boards can vary considerably according to:

1. Age
2. Country of origin
3. Age when felled, etc.

The start color of the boards is the deciding factor as to which other colors you must add to achieve what you want. The only way to tackle this is to do several tests on the already sanded floor to see which you like best. This should be done in an inconspicuous area of the room, then sanded back to original board color before you start to stain with your chosen colour. (We do not recommend that you use a colored varnish as small inevitable scratches from normal house traffic will take you straight back to the lighter color of the original floor.)
The floor is then varnished with a clear professional varnish, we recommend the Bonakemi or the Myland range.
Apply at least 3 coats of varnish
to protect the stain and give the colour depth after the stain has been left over night to dry. If you put down varnish before the stain is fully dry you will have a reaction. If you get a reaction you will have to sand all your hard work off and start again from scratch. Stains are available from your local DIY store or a professional trade outlet.

If you decide to get a professional to do the staining, make sure you can see a floor they have stained recently. If they haven't stained a floor before but tell you it will be a push over then it's time to look for some one else. We would also not recommend giving the job of staining to a builder, as good as they may be at building, and many other things, staining is not usually their territory.
If you feel you really want to try this yourself, it might help to read the emails we have received from customers about this subject. Peters answers might be of help to you and answer some of the questions you may have asked yourself.


Dear Peter
Firstly I would like to congratulate you on having the best floor sanding advice I have found anywhere on the internet. I will shortly be downloading the videos to help guide me through the process.
I wish to stain my floor. The boards date back to the 1930's and have a good color but I would like to darken them down a little. I found a picture on your site of the ideal finish and have pasted it below

I hear what you say about this being a job for the professionals but would still prefer to tackle this staining myself. My questions are as follows.
(1) It seems that you have used a walnut/oak stain on this floor. Can you tell me the name of the stain you have used and can you supply it to me?
(2) Can you give me any tips or advice to aid me in this process.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Kind regards David Innes

Hi David,
The color of the floor you mention was achieved by using 2 stains mixed together, Walnut and Dark Oak. I did this because I find that the color of stains, if used straight from the tin, can be too bright. I wanted to use Walnut to give some 'warmth' to the floor but the color was too red. By adding Dark Oak it reduced the redness but kept the warmth. The mix was approx 3 parts walnut, 1 part oak. The final color was then diluted by about 50% because it was too dark. I used a spirit stain, dilutes with white spirit, and I think it was made by Rustins.


You will need:
Paint Pad for applying stain.
Cotton rag.
Rubber gloves
A 1" brush
Roller tray
Black bags

The floor should be stained in one continuous process without a break.
The work is best done by 2 people.
Plan where you are going to start and how to work your way out of the room.
Spread out a black bin bag and put the tray on it and pour in the stain.
The stain is applied with the Paint Pad working along 2-3 boards.
Apply quite liberally and work at a brisk pace following the line of the boards.
1 person applying, the other coming along behind a minute later wiping off the excess with rag working along the grain.
Use the brush along skirting's and around pipes, door frames etc.
If working on your own, apply stain with pad and then go back to the beginning and wipe off before moving on to the next boards.
Allow at least 6 hours to dry before varnishing, better overnight if possible.
Regards Peter

Thanks so much Peter I have been experimenting with a few colors and really understand what you mean by too bright. Your reply is excellent and will be of much assistance.
Kind regards David

Hello peter, I need a bit of advise. We have approx 70 metres of new pine floor
boards we want to varnish with the Bonakemi product but we want to stain it first. Any recommendations on the type of stain to use? Thanks. Helene
Hi Helene,
There are basically 2 types of stain, water based ( thinned with water) and spirit based ( thinned with white spirit) both can be used with Bonakemi products.
In the case of spirit based it is important that it has completely dried before varnishing, overnight if possible or a min of 6 hours.
The spirit stains are the ones I use and Ronseal Colron or Rustins wood dyes are available in most diy stores.
Hope this helps. Regards Peter.
Here is a link to Ronseals instruction and data sheet for Colron wood dyes. Use the back button to return to this site.

Thank you very much Peter for your very useful advise. After extensive color testing, I have chosen the Liberon walnut spirit wood dye which I will follow up with 2 coats of the Mega Bonekemi varnish. Speaking with you on the phone really put my mind at ease that I was doing the right thing.
Thanks again. Helene
Here is a link to the instruction and data sheet for Libron spirit wood dyes. Use the back button to come back to this site.

Hi, How can I achieve a white stain.

There are 3 ways to tint a floor white.

1 There are some beautiful stains available from Mylands in several different shades of white. The samples shown on their site have been applied to oak boards and will look slightly different if used on pine. These stains are very expensive though. Peter uses these stains when asked to give oak a lighter colour.
2 A cheaper alternative is to sand the floor ready for varnishing and apply a thin coat of white emulsion paint thinned with water. Allow to dry and apply 3 coats of water-based varnish.
3 Sand the floor ready for varnishing. Mix a small amount of white emulsion in with a water-based varnish to make a white tint and apply 1st coat. If effect is ok give two more coats of untinted varnish or apply another coat of tint. In this way the effect can be built up in layers giving you the chance to assess how white you want the floor. Try to finish with 2 coats of clear.
The amount of emulsion to varnish is very much trial and error but as a guide, do a test by mixing 2 teaspoons of emulsion with approx' 250ml varnish and apply with a paint pad to a test area. Adjust by adding more white or more varnish.
Keep note of quantities. You will need to scale up the amounts to make a batch for the whole floor.
Two thin coats are probably better than trying to get it right with one.
I recommend Bona Resident Silkmatt varnish. Although all the Bona varnishes are clear (as an example the Mega does give the wood warmer tones) where as Bona Resident varnish is virtually as clear as water and does have a better effect over white . Use a paint pad to apply emulsion or tint and a roller for the clear varnish