07 October 2006

First Coat of Polyurethane

Here are a few shots of the floor I just took. It dried pretty well overnight.

This one is with the flash

Same shot with just the natural light from the windows, no flash.

Also just the natural light...Looking in the door to the room.

It amazes me how well the polyurethane levels out and soaks in as it dries. It really seemed like the waxer was putting it on a little thick when I was applying it...But looking at it this morning it seems to be smooth and level with no puddles.

So the next step is to lightly sand this coat. When I did the living room floor I used the floor machine with a 100 grit screen for the poly sanding. Since I learn as I go along, this time I'll be using a 120 grit (or maybe even a 150) when I sand and I'll be doing it with my drywall pole sander (sanding by hand, not machine). The in-between poly sanding isn't like the previous floor sandings where I was removing the old finish and smoothing the floor, this one is just to help the next layer of polyurethane adhere to the one that's already on. So the hand sanding is better because it won't remove as much material as using the machine would. It will also make any sanding marks with the grain of the wood in stead of the swirls the big machine makes.

When I did the first floor, I actually broke the borrowed floor machine trying to sand the poly in-between coats (the plastic part that holds the screen on the machine cracked...Probably because the screen was sticking so much to the fresh poly). So this time I'll hand sand. Live and learn.

06 October 2006


After some debate today with a friend of mine with a MUCH better sense of design than I have...I decided to not stain this floor and to just go ahead with the polyurethane.
I shot these pix about 5 minutes after I finished.
Unlike most of the other pix, these are being taken at night (like 10 minutes ago) so the color is completely based on the flash.

Applying the polyurethane is pretty simple. You use something called a 'Waxer"
It's a wooden clamp thing that goes on the end of a broom handle that holds a lambs wool pad that you dip in the poly and 'paint' onto the floor.

04 October 2006

To Sand or not to Sand

I just finished up the first hand-sanding using a sanding screen and my drywall pole sander. This sanding is 120 grit. I also did a little with my hand held drywall sander where I wanted to use more pressure and work smaller areas than I can do with the pole sander.
At this point I'm debating how far I will actually go with the sanding. The last floor I did I never went over 100 grit. The bulletin boards on the minwax site recommend going up to 180 grit with the sanding. I don't think going any higher with the grits will help as far as any of the swirls from the big sander or with any of the other marks on the floor at this point...And as far as the overall look of the finish goes, I think the last floor I did where I stopped at the 100 grit and did no hand sanding, looks really good. I don't see it getting any better if I go up 2 more grits. And the 120 sanding was done by hand with the grain of the wood to smooth out any marks left from the machine sanding. 150 grit sanding wont remove marks left by the 20 grit sanding...Each subsequent grit will only remove the marks left by the previous grit. So any swirl marks left on the floor at this point would require back-tracking a few grits and working my way back up in that area.

I did an extra-good shop-vac job before I took these pix. Before I stain or poly I'm going to have to do the super-extra-good shop-vacing including vacuuming all of the walls in the room because they are completely covered with a thin layer of dust.
But...Here's the floor as it looks right now.

So at some point I need to figure out where the mentor's statement, "Enough is enough and enough is too much" comes into play and I should just move on to the stain. The house is almost 100 years old, the last sand and re-finish job was done poorly (there are major divots around the edges of the room from the last guy not doing a good job with a drum sander). So at some point I need to decide it's not going to get any better than it is now if I keep going and just move on to the next step. The anal retentive perfectionist in me has a hard time with this.


Helpers do a much better job when you show them how to do something rather than just tell them what to do.