Pro Shop Talk

Bona Drifast Stains: Easy To Use & Wide Color Palette

Looking for a way to speed up your staining process?

As a two-in-one stain and sealer, Bona DriFast stain is designed to be easy to use with a quick dry time. In our Pro Shop Talk episode with Bona, we take a closer look at Bona DriFast stains and how to best use them to get the perfect finish for your hardwood floors.

What are Bona DriFast Stains?

Bona DriFast stains are quick-drying, penetrating stains that enhance the natural beauty of hardwood floors. With 24 colors from light and natural to dark and rich, you can mix these together to create custom looks for your customer.

Drifast Stains are also designed to be easy to use and can help you avoid lap lines and marks on the flooring. If you see a mark after applying the stain, you can use a pad to quickly and easily touch up a spot. These stains act as a stain and sealer, so once dry you can move right on to the finish.

Lastly, Bona DriFast stains are VOC compliant, making them a safe choice for a home. They are also compatible with all of the Bona finish products.

How to Apply Bona Drifast Stains

Sand the Floor:

Start by sanding the hardwood floors to remove any existing finish or imperfections. Sand the floor using a medium grit sandpaper, and then finish with a fine grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface.

Bona’s recommended sanding sequence:

To achieve a smooth surface, start sanding with 50 grit, followed by 80 grit, and concluding with 100 grit. for darker colors or 120 grit for lighter or natural colors.

Remember: don’t skip more than one grit. You can vary where you start and finish to the condition of the flooring you are sanding. For rougher 2 common flooring boards with abundant over/under wood you may want to start with 36 grit. If so, you would progress to 50, 80, and 100 grit. However, for most select and quality hardwoods, you can begin with 50 grit and proceed as stated above. Skipping more than one grit sequence results in sander marks, grooves, and lines that the higher grit sandpaper won’t remove. If you’re thinking of saving a few dollars on sandpaper by using only a 40 grit and 80 grit, think again. Just one call back may end up encouraging you to adopt best practices when the floors are rejected by the homeowner because of uneven or splotchy stain, sanding marks, or white lines in the finish.

Clean the Floor:

Once the floor is properly sanded, clean it thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, or debris. Use a vacuum or broom to remove any loose particles. A tip for dislodging caked-on dust from cracks is to swap out your buffer head for the Bona Tampico Brush. This soft horse-hair bristle brush loosens dust from boards and is extracted more thoroughly with an attached dust containment vacuum system. After vacuuming the edges, dry tack to pick up any residual dust and you’re ready to apply the DriFast Stain.

Whatever method you use for cleaning up after sanding, be sure that you’re thorough and get all the dust. This will ensure that your stain adheres directly to the flooring rather than sanding particles.

Do you need to water pop?

No water popping is needed with these stains, but it can certainly be done to create deeper colors and more uniform appearance. Be sure to sweep and vacuum the floor well before water popping the grain.

Apply the Stain

Apply Bona DriFast stain using any methods – rag, brush, or buffer. Buffing on and off is the easiest and most effective to get the most use out of the product and also can give a better look. You’ll get 800-1000 sqft per gallon of stain.

Using a buffer with a 16″ carpet pad:

Have two pads – one to put stain on (aka your on pad) and one to buff off the excess (aka your off pad). For a 1000 sqft job, you may be able to use just 3 carpet pads and 4-5 rags.

  • Apply a 4-6″ circle of stain onto your on pad.
  • Flip it over and put it on your buffer, then use that to apply the first coat of stain in a 3-4 ft area.
  • Rag on, rag off the edges.
  • Next, use your second carpet pad – your off pad – to buff off the excess.
  • Use your on pad to apply more stain and add more stain to the pad when it runs out. It’s easy to tell when you need more stain because the pad won’t be adding color to the floor.
  • Typically, you’ll be able to stain 500-750 sqft before you need to change out your on pad. You’ll know when you need to do this when the pad spits out stain around the edges.
  • When your on pad is saturated, use your off pad to apply stain and use a new one to buff off the excess. Keep repeating this as needed.

Make sure to apply the stain evenly. If overlap marks appear, go over the area again to smooth that out. Like we talked about before, Drifast stains are easy to re-work if mistakes happen.

Mistakes are easy to address because of Bona Drifast Stains’ self-dissolve formula. This allows the stain to be re-activated so that you can blend in any mistakes made. Watch Bona’s video about how this works and how to repair any light or dark spots.

How should you address mistakes?

Because the stain can be reactivated, use a maroon pad with some stain to touch up any marks. If needed you can take out the sander to re-sand and re-stain.

What finishes work with Bona Drifast Stains?

For best results, stay within the Bona system. Any Bona finish – from Mega to Traffic HD – works with Drifast Stains.

Can you layer stains?

With Bona Drifast Stains, you’ll run into adhesion issues if you try to add a second layer. You can add a bit to a specific spot to fix a mark, but it’s not good to add it to the entire floor. For a two-tone effect, try the Bona Craft Oil 2K instead.

What’s the dry time for Drifast Stains?

While drying times will vary based on the environment, Bona recommends applying the stain in 60-80 degrees F with 35-75% relative humidity. Typically, the stain dries within 2-3 hours in appropriate conditions. There is some variation based on the color – the white stain will take 6 hours and other heavier pigments are 12-18 hours. If you mix colors with different dry times, go with the longer dry time.

After it’s dry, vacuum and tack to make sure the floor is clean before applying finish. If the stain has been dry over 48 hours, do a light buff with the maroon pad to abrade it. This will open the stain back up so that the finish will stick to the stain.

What are the most common problems people have with Drifast stains?

The easiest pitfall to avoid is to not skip grits. Dialing in your sanding process is the best way to ensure your floor looks great when finished. Any marks left from the sanding process will show up after you stain and finish.

Additionally, halos around the walls can be a big problem. When you’re blending the field to the edges, watch out for this. It’s a likely problem when using a screen after sandpaper. To avoid this, you can use a multi-head sander or a double-sided disc. A multi-head can use the same paper as an orbital, creating the same, uniform scratch pattern.

Try Bona Drifast Stains

By following these steps, you can easily and quickly add color and depth to your hardwood floors using Bona DriFast stains. With their quick-drying formula, deep penetration, and 24 color options that can be mixed, these stains are an excellent choice to add to your floor stain repertoire.

Want to try these stains? Stop by one of our Pro Shops near you! We’re happy to answer any questions you have and can also get you in contact with a Bona rep to do a jobsite training session with these stains.

Thanks to Bona for photos and videos.