7.16.2007

Two

Two is the number of days that it took to finish staining the entire house. It is also the number of brain cells I have left. I suppose that the polyurethane will take care of that.

After the finishing the sanding, we realized that the "pig" (i.e. edge sander) left dents where the wheels rolled (particular on the pine) as well as swirl marks all around the perimeter of each room. This is a common problem, that we were completely unaware of. It meant, of course, that we would have to hand sand all the edges of the floor, otherwise we would have a frame around each room. It wasn't easy, but after sanding the edges by orbital sander and/or hand, we were finally able to start part two; staining.

I chose a stain that was the second darkest stain available from Minwax; black walnut. I was looking for something dark and modern. I wanted the floors to be like this. But that isn't all that easy to do, since my floors are newer oak floors and really old pine slab floors.

We started by staining the pine floors. This meant that we would need to treat the floors with a pre-stain so that they would take the stain evenly. You really only need to do this with pine and other soft woods like maple. We bought enough pre-stain for he entire house, but decided against using it on the oak (more on that later). The directions are simple. You apply the pre-stain, wait for about ten minutes, wipe off the excess, and wait again for another ten minutes. Then you begin staining.

With the pre-stain applied, it was easy to stain the pine floors. I brushed on the stain, waited about fifteen minutes, and then wiped off the excess. The floors were beautiful...until I got to the end of the room. The instructions on the pre-stain say that you should apply the stain within two hours of using the pre-stain. Since this was my first room, I was very slow to finish. By the time I got to the end of the room, the pre-stain was no longer working its magic and I began to see where some stain may have sat longer. There were lines in the floors. I was very upset, but came back the next day, sanded down the areas, cleaned then with pain thinner, and tried a second time. I wouldn't say that it was excellent, but much better.

After some debate, we decided against applying the pre-stain on the oak. I worried that I would see lines in the stain as before. However, the oak stained very easily. We did have a few problems with the stain. The first problem was a set of mysterious footprints in the middle of the room that stained darker than the areas around it. We could not figure out how these footprints arrived and why they were only in the middle of the room without leaving anymore anywhere else. No one had stepped in the stain, and it was like natural oils from the feet remained on the wood and made it stain a different color. After several days of being blamed for the footprints, I stood next to them only to find out they were not my own, but Brice's. So after the stain dried, we came back the next day, sanded out the footprints, cleaned with paint thinner, and re-applied the stain. Perfect! The second problem we had was when some pop dribbled from a leaky garbage bag. If you want your floors darker, apparently a mixture of sugar water will do it, because those drips were slightly darker than the areas around them. Those also were sanded out before re-staining.

Here are the current results...The office is a small room, so the picture is not that great.


Here is the floors before.

Here is the living room in progress...


This is a finished picture of the living room, but it isn't the best quality.



All in all, I was very happy with the way the floors look so far. I was hoping for something darker, but we attempted a second coat in a hidden spot and saw no changes in the color. It appears that this is as dark as that stain will get on oak. I thought that the color was a little "eighties" looking. It reminded me of the dark wood doors and trim that my current apartment has. However, I think once the rest of the house is painted it will be more up to date. If not, Brice thinks we can find a big-haired, permed, leg-warmer-wearing, Camero-driving women who might want to purchase the house.

1 comment:

Andrew from Washington, DC said...

very nice, im staining mine tommorow I was going to go with dark walnut or the "mahoganny red"... yummy. But my wife isn't quite so bold and chose the english chestnut, just like 3 shades lighter than yours.
I think its going to really good with the walls painted like you said and some proper lighting in the room. I am in agreement I think the dark wood floors do look very rich and sleek.
Wish me luck!