Is your once beautiful and mark-free hardwood floor now marred by unsightly black stains?
Don’t worry. It is a common problem which can be easily fixed. With a little effort and the right equipment getting stains out of wood is something you can do yourself quickly and affordably. This useful guide to wood floor stains will explain the root causes of stains and types of stains before providing all the best tips for getting stains out of wood for good and finally providing tips for preventing staining wood floors for the future.
What Are Dark Spots?
The dark spots you can see on your wooden floors could be due to several factors. It’s a good idea to try to work out the cause of the black marks before you begin to erase them from your wooden floor to help you prevent them from returning.
What Causes Dark Spots?
If your wooden floor is in an area of your home where there is high humidity such as bathrooms or kitchens then black mould is likely to thrive making black spots on your wooden floor. This is why we recommend that wood flooring is not always suitable for these high humidity zones. Also, in areas where there is a higher chance that water or other liquids will be spilled or otherwise end up on your hardwood floor then it is likely that you will have dark stains and spots on your wooden floor. Spillages by children and pet messes will cause staining if not cleaned up immediately using the recommended products.
Food, Blood, Coffee and Other Common Stains
Accidents happen and all of the above may leave stains and marks that even if wiped up and cleaned immediately might leave a more permanent mark.
Using the wrong finishing product for your type of wooden floor or poor sanding could leave you with a stained and blotchy finish. Always use the recommended products for your floor and a reputable flooring company.
Sometimes, especially if you are buying your wooden floor from an unreputable company then sap stains may occur. These are stains caused by fungus present on the surface of, or inside your wooden floor.
If you are using an unfinished product or you buy from a company that doesn’t effectively clean the wooden floor before applying water-based finishes then there is a possibility that dark speckled stains will occur if iron particles are left behind. They are caused by iron, water, and wood tannins coming into contact and causing a chemical reaction.
Tannin occurs naturally in trees. Darker wood species such as mahogany and walnut and some oak subspecies have particularly high levels of it. The tannic acid that is within tannin can, if the wrong finishing product is used, react and cause dark stains and patches on your wooden floor.
By chemicals, I don’t mean those you would only find in a laboratory or those used by the flooring manufacturers. There are chemicals all around us every day. Some of the everyday chemicals that could cause stains on your wooden floors include oils including edible oils, acetic acid (found in vinegar) and lactic acid (found in milk). Spillages of any of these things could stain your floor even if cleaned up quickly.
How to Remove Dark Spots
Once you have established the cause of the dark spots or stains you can begin the job of stain removal.
Spot Clean the Area
Sometimes people suggest that you use household products such as spirit or white vinegar mixed with water, a peroxide bleach solution, or a paste made of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and water to remove stains that are proving troublesome on your hardwood flooring. However, the products may (as part of removing the stain) damage the finish or even the wood itself and for that reason we, at Wooden Flooring UK strongly recommend you DO NOT use any of those methods.
To safely remove black spots and stains on your wooden floor we suggest using a product specifically designed for the job such as Woca Stain Remover. This is an intensive spray solution and therefore it is recommended that you try a small amount on a small inconspicuous area to check for any unexpected and undesirable results.
Once you have done a patch test you then apply the solution directly onto the stained area. Allow it to soak into the stain for up to 20 minutes before g(choose a suitable brush for the size of the stained area). Once the stain is no longer visible wipe with a lint-free cloth and warm water then buff dry. Repeat this procedure if necessary.
Sand the Area
Using sanding and polishing tools most stains and dark spots can be removed. It is important to ensure that you protect the surrounding area with masking tape unless you are going to re-sand and finish the whole floor. This will depend on the type of stain and how widespread the problem is. It may also be your only real option if you are unable to correctly match the finish/stain on your wooden floor.
Remove the Stain
If the stain is so deep that sanding the floor did not remove it, you may wish you follow up with the Woca stain remover.
Cover With New Matching Stain
Similarly to when you paint your home, it is a good idea to retain a small amount of the paint or in this case the stain or other finishing product in case you need to use it following the removal of a black spot or stain.
However, if you have been unable to do this you should be able to find a matching finish from the company you originally bought from. If you need help identifying or finding a matching finish or wood stain then please get in touch with us for advice.
Wax/Finish the Treated Area
Once you have successfully removed the stain/s you will need to reapply the right finishing treatments for your types of wooden flooring. This will ensure that your floor has the best level of protection from potential future black spots, stains and other marks.
How To Choose The Right Cleaning Method For Your Floor
Always consult the manufacturer or a reputable company to ensure you are using the most suitable products and methods for cleaning your floor. Using the wrong products could cause dark marks and stains rather than help avoid or remove them.
How To Prevent Dark Stains
To help prevent dark stains on your wooden floor you should ensure that you purchase your flooring from a reputable company like Wooden Floors UK who only use the finest quality hardwoods and engineered wooden flooring.
It is also of paramount importance that you choose a finish that is compatible with the type of flooring you have purchased. Alternatively, you can choose ready-finished flooring to skip that process entirely.
Keeping your wooden floor clean and well maintained, especially by clearing up any spills immediately is also key to avoiding stains and black marks. Follow the manufacturers' advice on the best methods and products to use or consult professionals like our team at Wooden Floors UK for advice on the most suitable products for your needs.