How to Gel Stain over Your Existing Wood Flooring

New wood flooring can cost you anything from a small amount of money to a small fortune. You can choose real wood flooring, tile that looks like wood, or even laminate that mimics the look of wood. If you have wood floors already but just aren't pleased with the coloring, there are things you can do yourself to change the look. The best part is that you don't even have to sand down your floors. See below for tips and instructions on how to gel stain over your existing floors.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Gel stain (in any color you prefer)
  • Paint brushes
  • Foam brushes
  • Clean cloths
  • Painter's tape (or masking tape)
  • Paper or plastic (to cover the lower portion of your walls)
  • Polyurethane (optional)


  1. Clean your floors thoroughly using a broom to sweep up any dust and dander, then scrub your floors clean using mild detergent and warm water. Then allow your floors to dry completely.
  2. To help protect your walls, apply protective plastic or paper to the lower portion of your walls and baseboards and use painter's tape or masking tape to hold it in place.
  3. Take your gel stain and begin on one side of the room, applying the stain using a paint brush or a foam brush. For lighter coverage, wipe the gel stain using a clean cloth (just as you would with regular stain). For deeper coverage, do not wipe the stain off. Work your way across the room, applying the stain in even coats until the entire floor is finished. 
  4. Allow the first coat to dry (24–48 hours, read the manufacturer's directions for a more accurate time). If you prefer a darker and deeper coverage, apply a second or even a third coat of the gel stain. Be sure to allow your floor to dry completely between coats.
  5. To protect your newly gel-stained floors, apply a thin coating of polyurethane using a paintbrush. This not only helps protect your floors but also adds shine to your floors.
  6. Your floor will need time to set and dry thoroughly, so be sure not to replace any furniture on your floors for a few days after gel staining. Again, read the manufacturer's directions for a more accurate time.

You can gel stain over laminate floors or even wood that has previously been stained without the need to sand down your floors. This is a great option for changing up the color of your floors. If your wood floors are heavily damaged, a better option may be investing in new floors rather than gel staining over them.