I'm going to sand down some oak floors enter image description hereand stain them with a darker color. I'm struggling with finding the correct products and process to do this. (I already have a plan for sanding)

I have two 50lb dogs so I want the most durable end result that I can get in hopes their claws can't scratch anything when i'm done.

According to Sherwin williams website they recommend: enter image description here

While SW recommends oil based it seems everyone else recommends water based.

Bottom line is i'm confused on what process to take here. Oil based stain vs water based. Use a varnish or dont use a varnish. Some sort of polyurethane protection? Thanks.

It would be great if someone could post the exact products they used (maybe even links too) and the process they took. Thanks.

  • Is that pre-finished flooring? You can tell if there is a micro bevel on the edges (the edges are rounded, or non planar with the rest of the board).
    – Chris
    Jul 24, 2016 at 16:32
  • @Chris if you look in the bottom left corner (see the shiny spot), I think you can see the bevel. Jul 25, 2016 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


Your floors are prefinished and likely have an aluminum oxide finish on them which will be tough to sand off and require more time and sandpaper than normal. It also appears to have microbevels as mentioned by previous posts. You will need to either sand to a consistent depth or completely sand these microbevels off. If you do not sand them off completely there will be residual finish in them which will make applying finish to the floor via T-bar or paint pad difficult.

Environmental regulations have made polyurethane less desirable and it levels more poorly than it did previously.

Some of the most durable finishes available for site applied applications include Bona Traffic, Vermont Natural Coatings Polywhey and Basic coatings "Streetshoe". You should choose a finish and then select a stain as recommended by the finish manufacturer. Bona sets up in a few hours and therefore you can seal and do two coats in a day.

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