Rejuvenation of old maple floors | Madison, Wisconsin area

Posted by Aaron Schaalma

In older Wisconsin homes we mostly find old maple floors. It's interesting when I talk to some of my other wood flooring friends that live across the United States and hear what species of wood are in the older houses that they work in. In most cases I hear from them that it's red oak floors. You way be wondering why there would be this variation? Them main reason is that the soil conditions in Wisconsin are perfect for maple trees, making it one of the most readily available hardwood. Because of this, it is fitting to find a lot of maple floors in homes built in the 40's and older.This job we worked on was a hardwood floor refinishing in Madison area. The new owners had just purchased the house in Waunakee, Wisconsin, but the floors had seen their better days. The new owners wanted the floors refinished and also stained a darker color. We were able to provide them with different options to accomplish this, even though an often misconception is that Maple cannot be stained a darker color.


We started the wood floor refinishing to remove as much of the imperfections that where in the old maple floor. When refinishing a maple floor that is going to be stained, there is a much different approach that needs to be taken. What I have found is that as maple ages and is exposed to light and moisture it has a tendency to become harder and darker in color. This means that we need to sand the floor to a much higher grit than we would a maple floor that is not being stained. Choosing a color There are many different ways you can achieve consistent color on maple floors, but making sure that the floor is properly sanded is a crucial part to keep the color more consistent. The other technique we use is called water popping. This technique uses water to open up the grain of the wood so that the floor receives stain in a uniform manner. Before we apply any stain, we have to make sure that the wood fibers are dry and not still saturated with moisture from water popping the floor. Now that the clients had chosen a color for their old maple floors we can begin the staining process. After the floors were stained, we began the final process of sealing and finishing the floors. Sealer There are different types of sealers, some which do not even need to be sanded, and in most cases sealers are not required over most stains. However, on this Madison hardwood floor refinishing project we applied a sealer that required no sanding because the clients had chosen to go with a UV finish. When using a UV cured coating the manufacturer suggests using a sealer over top any stain before application of the finish. UV Curing On this particular job the clients decided to go with the UV cured finish. They decided on this finish option for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is the hardest floor finish we offer which allows it to hold up better against normal traffic or if pets are involved. Secondly, it allowed the clients to get back on the floor right away. The unique thing about UV finish is that after it dries we are able to instantly cure it. This means that you don't have the curing time like you do with non UV finished floors. Now, this doesn't mean that the UV finished floors are indestructible, but simply that we are able to achieve their maximum hardness without having to wait a couple of weeks. This allows clients with busy lifestyles or short completion times for the job to be able to continue on with normal life as soon as we finish the project. Finished Project The finished product was very fulfilling and I love the look of stained maple floors and how it showcases the grandeur of the space. Below is a short video of the work that was done and the final product. Here is google customer review from this job. "I contacted Aaron after reading his article on refinishing old, hard maple flooring - exactly what I wanted done. Providentially, our schedules aligned and he was able to complete the work before I moved in. The floor looks great, and we regularly receive compliments and inquiries about who did it. We're happy to recommend Aaron: 5 stars each for the beauty and quality of finished floor, customer service, and expertise." - Damian Lenshek