Hardwood flooring is so popular that its sales comfortably reach 9 figures each year. In the US alone, the hardwood floor sales generated more than 2 billion dollars in 2016. Considering its almost ever-growing popularity, it is no wonder people are looking for more and more ways to customize what which they own. One the ways to do so is using water popping on your hardwood floor before staining it, in case you decide to change its colour.
What exactly is water popping, when to use it and how does it help in changing the colour of hardwood flooring? We’ll find the answers to these questions in this two-part blog.
What is Water Popping?
Water is popping is also known as grain popping or raising the grain by some people. Basically, it involves putting a thin and even layer of misted water on your floor before you try to stain your floor. What this does is that it makes the wood more prone to accepting the stains. The result is a deeper more vibrant colour after the staining is done, particularly if you are trying to go with the darker look.
What Does Water Popping Do to the Wood?
During the sanding process, the level of grit being used becomes finer after each pass. This makes the floor nicer but it also just about shuts down the graining in the wood. Dousing the wood in moisture makes the pores in the wood open up, making the staining more likely to go deep into the wood and create a colour that is more pleasant to the eye.
However, the layer of water has to be even throughout or you will find places where the colour ends up deeper or lighter than others. This patchy, uneven staining will force you to re-sand your floor and go about the whole process once more, costing you time, money and resources. That is why it is extremely important to make sure the water layer is not uneven in places.
It is important to note that water popping works only if you are using wood stains and any other means of changing wood floor’s colour. That too for only certain species that respond well to sanding, moisture and staining. We will discuss that later in this piece.
Which Hardwood Species need Water Popping?
Oak, and all forms of it are the most suited to the process of sanding. Red oak and white oak, when sanded evenly and properly, react very well to water popping. As oak is one of the most popular species used for hardwood flooring, many people prefer to use natural colours and don’t need any popping or staining. However, if you are looking for a change of colour, water popping produces the best results.
On the other, wood species like birch, pie and maple are better off without water popping. It would be counterproductive as these species are usually coloured using conditioners that work on the exact opposite principle of water popping.