After removing the door rails on this closet, the hardwood underneath is quite different. Is there any way of "fixing" it or getting it close to the rest of the flooring?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

image of floor

EDIT: By the way, this is the semi finished product. We will eventually add a threshold, but right now just leaving it!

enter image description here

  • 4
    That's a shame that someone took a lazy shortcut there. I'd do a little careful wiping with some paint thinner. You might just get enough of that heavy stain line to dissolve that you can blended it onto the lighter strip.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


The rest of your floor has been stained a darker color and has also weathered with exposure to air.

You have a few choices of how to handle this, listed here from hardest to easiest:

  1. Refinish the entire floor and then it will all be bright and shiny like that strip. (This will be both time-consuming and expensive).
  2. Find the correct stain to match the rest of the floor and carefully fill in the space, applying one light coat at a time until you have matched the existing color. (This will not be expensive, but it might be difficult to find the correct color, will be time-consuming, and a small mistake making it too dark will probably call for stripping and starting again. You will probably also have to strip a little finish right along the work area because the lines are so sharp.)
  3. (Suggested by @Ack) Strip the existing finish from inside the closet only, then refinish the entire closet floor (including this strip). If it's not the same color, it will look like it was meant to be that way to define the closet space. It should probably be a darker color than the main floor.
  4. Nail a threshold to the floor over the spot. You can get a wood threshold and stain it to match (the floor or the rest of the doorway trim) or deliberately leave it contrasting to mark the edge of the closet, or a metal or plastic one.

If it were me, I'd do option #3 or #4. Since the closet is already an obvious doorway, having some difference on the floor (whether threshold or stain) would not be out of place.

  • 4
    Re #3: to avoid any item -on the floor- an option could be to stain the line and the closet a darker color to contrast the main floor which would give the illusion that it was done on purpose as a design choice. I would sand the closet floor first so that the floor takes the stain the same or there will be a difference in the closet and at the line
    – Ack
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 14:41
  • 1
    @Ack great idea! I added it as another option. For future readers, what Ack says is #3 is now #4 because I added the suggestion as a new #3.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 14:46
  • 1
    That's what's known as a "H@ack"!
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 23:00
  • #4: threshold (put the candle BACK), +1. You didn't throw it away did you?
    – Mazura
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 23:18
  • 1
    @Mazura There was no previous threshold. At the bottom of the photo you can see the rails that the closet was on. Those were screwed into the floor
    – Derek
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 23:45

The darker color is probably due to light, unless you have had ammonia gas in there for decades :). (Look up fuming oak). The floor probably has a finish over the stain, probably polyurethane, and stain won't penetrate that. You would need to sand it off for the stain to penetrate, run a strip of tape on each side of the strip to prevent oversanding. I would also test a corner first to see how much work it is and how it looks with the stain you choose. Remember that the final coat of finish (polyurethane) will darken it slightly. Another solution is to celebrate the line as if it was on purpose. I think it's kind of cool.

  • I kind of like that last idea.... maybe run a pair of black pinstripes along the color change and give it an "inlay" look... Heh. It might be cool. "Fake it...and make it look like you meant to do that..." is sometimes excellent DIY advice...
    – gnicko
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 20:01

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