Restaining Hardwood Floors–The Easy Way

November 15, 2016

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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Friends, Friends, Friends!!! Let me tell you about an amazing product I found!! Too sales-pitchy?? But, seriously!! This product!! General Finishes Gel Stain. I have used this stain a few different times, but was completely unaware of just how awesome it actually is!! I seriously, can’t get over it!!

As I mentioned before, I’m in the process of re-doing my guest bathroom. (Remember, I removed the toilet? 🙂  ) Well, kicking and screaming, I finally tackled sanding down the floors.



(This was the original color of the wood floors)

Have I told y’all how much I loathe sanding!! If I can, I avoid it like the plague. But I didn’t THINK there was anyway around it!! So I sanded, for what seemed like an eternity, with a 60-grit sandpaper, using my Ridgid Orbital Sander. The room is not big at all, so it really wasn’t THAT bad. But after this step, I sanded AGAIN with a 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the floors…


After vacuuming and washing the dust off EVERYTHING, it was time to stain. YAYYYY! I researched this part a lot before tackling this project and felt very confident about my choice of General Finishes Stain. Originally, I had decided to use their flooring line of stain. But, I would have had to wait for that to be delivered and I was anxious to move forward with this project. Sorry Amazon Prime! I love ya, but I wanted it NOW.

After a little more research, I discovered that gel-stain can be used to stain floors AND it can be done with minimal sanding!!!


Maybe I’m behind the 8-ball in just learning this, but I’m completely stoked! Yes, I did waste much precious time completely sanding my bathroom floor down, BUT, my next big flooring project is my kitchen. And well, let’s just say, sanding down those wood floors completely, seemed like an overwhelming, daunting task. Can you understand my excitement now?

So, I ventured over to my favorite local store, Saving Grace, and purchased a pint of General Finishes Java Gel Stain. One pint covers 100 sq. ft, so this was more than enough for my little 4×5 bathroom.

My first coat, I was not loving AT ALL. Actually, I pretty much hated it!

(And, insert picture of hated first coat…oh wait, I can’t because my phone keeps glitching and not saving my pictures!!) ERGHHHH!!

So, I went back to the drawing board…I called around to ask some questions about how to get rid of the blotchiness that had appeared. And after talking to the fine folks at General Finishes, I was told to apply it on a little thicker. And it worked!! I absolutely LOVE them!!! They are exactly the deep, rich, dark color I was going for…


Working with gel-stain is pretty simple. It has a thick consistency and therefore will not drip, when being applied to a vertical surface, like a furniture piece. I prefer to use a paintbrush to apply it. However, a clean cloth will work too. You definitely want to work in sections. If you can paint an entire line of boards at a time, that is most recommended. To get a lighter look, you will want to wipe off the excess stain.

After allowing it to dry for 48 hours, I applied 5 coats (yes 5…sigh) of GF High Performance Semi-Gloss Top Coat.


Because this area is so small, I’m giving this top coat a try. But I would recommend for a larger area, to use a high-foot traffic top coat. From my research, I found that General Finishes Pro Image Top Coat is rated highly for scratch and scuff resistance. AND it only requires two coats. 🙂

My next steps for this bathroom project, are putting up all new craftsman trim, painting the walls and cabinets, maybe add a little shiplap 🙂 , AND…. put the toilet back in.

I’ll keep you posted and be sure to follow me on Instagram to see the progress as I go. 🙂

As a side-note, I receive no compensation from General Finishes for these recommendations, I just really like their products. However, if you click on a link to any of the products, you will be taken over to my Affiliate page of Amazon. There is no extra cost to you in purchasing through this affiliate link. Thank you!!!

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