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What is Water-Popping for Hardwood Floors?

Also known as raising the grain, water-popping is a technique used to open up the grain of a hardwood floor to let your stain of choice penetrate the wood more effectively.

Why do I need to water-pop my floors?

Basically, after sanding your hardwoods down, the floors isn’t open or porous enough for the stain to be applied evenly. Essentially, without water-popping, the stain will simply sit atop the hardwood floor and won’t soak in.

Applying water to the wood after sanding allows those pores to reopen and lets the stain soak in. This results in a darker and more even stain.

How do I water-pop my floors?

While different pros use different techniques to perform water-popping, essentially you are just putting water on a freshly sanded floor.

Some may use a t-bar to spread the water around. Some use a misting bottle and some just use a damp towel. The most important point is to ensure you get even coverage of the water on the floors. Missing a spot means the stain would be ruined and you would have to redo the entire floor.

After the job of water-popping is complete, you need to let the floor dry completely. If you didn’t soak the floor, it should only take a couple hours and you’ll be ready to stain the hardwood.

Can I water-pop my own floors?

While it is possible to water-pop and stain your own floors, we really recommend having a professional do the work.

The floors can be relatively delicate after the water-popping process. Even though the process is somewhat simple, with multiple high-technique tasks in that process, water-popping and staining is usually a job best left for the professionals.

We’ve had years of experience working with floors and would be happy to offer advice and our services.

Overall, water-popping adds a lot of quality to your hardwoods and the stain which will help your floors look newer for much longer. With a stain that has penetrated deeper, the stain should continue to look great even with heavy foot traffic.

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