If you haven't read Part One or Part Two, then please do so :)
If you're all up to date, let's continue, as we're onto the finishing coats!
Well, we've sanded and re-stained and now we needed to select the perfect finish coat.
Basically, there are 2 main types of finish coats. Oil based and water based. Each of them usually come in matte, satin or gloss. I wanted a matte look so I tried the water based matte formulas on a test piece of wood. I noticed it came out very matte looking which was great, but it looked like it was a plastic finish, with an almost gray/white look - not the look I'm going for. It didn't let the beauty of the wood shine through.
I also tried the satin finish, in both the water and oil based finishes. It showed the stain of the wood a little better, but it was very glossy. The Satin was so glossy in fact - that I knew not to even try the Gloss finish!
Can you see the original unfinished stain on the left, and the water based matte on the right above?
I wanted a warm rich, but still matte look - as we have so many huge floor to ceiling windows - I didn't want more glare from the sun showing up on our floor. Here's the oil based matte stain above on the left with unfinished wood on the right. I still wasn't loving that plastic sheen look in either the water or oil finishes.
I learnt that tiny particles of sand are added into the matte finish coats in both oil and water based finishes. Hence the dull, whitish look on the left.
So I decided, after about 6 hours of research online to try out a 3rd option - an oil rubbed finish. I did a sample on one board, and loved it, so decided to try it on a larger area of the actual floor, and finally had the tradesman (a different man this time, as Clinton had no expertise with the oil rubbed finish) apply the oil to the whole floor. See below. My flooring re-finisher brought in a $7,500 machine that had a Scotch Brite type pad on the bottom, it applied the oil beautifully, heated up the oil and almost burnished it into the wood. We let it dry for 2 days then applied another coat of the hardwax oil. This oil goes on as a liquid, then dries to a rock hard wax finish. This is why I always hire professionals, they put the money into the top notch machines/tools that really make a difference.
It looks absolutely stunning and is exactly what I wanted! Yipee!
I used Eukula Hard Wax Oil. Read on for the application procedures.
Now, we've finally finished our floors and after a few days, we've been able to walk on them, one week later, we've moved the furniture back in.
Just to be safe, I'll leave the area rug off for a month or so, to ensure the finish really hardens. I'm absolutely thrilled with it. Look below to see the old original orange shiny floors on the left, and my new neutral brown oil rubbed floors on the right. It was a LOT of work, but was certainly worthwhile!
We finally found out what went wrong with the first staining. The flooring should have been sanded with a screen sander, it's a large square sander that gives a very even finish, but not too smooth of a finish, as you want the stain to penetrate the wood! It was sanded very smooth, to our feel, but this special machine had a screen on it which gives a different sort of sanding, which worked on the different grain patterns in our red oak.
Now the floors look so great, (thank you God!).
So the next step that I'm onto is refinishing my kitchen cabinets, and new quartz counter tops and maybe a new sectional, and maybe a rug, and lighting, don't forget the lighting....
If you haven't read part 1 of this exciting post, please do, then join me back here.
If you've already done that feel free to tag along...
So, I've left you, my dear readers, where we've sanded and stained. Due to the horrible spots that have appeared on the floor (still do NOT know why that happened), we'd had to redo the whole floor. Now we've re sanded down to bare wood AGAIN (see part 1). Yup.
I have decided to try a different stain. I'm not sure if it was the stain that was the culprit, showing those horrid white stripes, but thought, let's change everything! So this time I've decided to go with Varathane Espresso stain, another oil based stain. This is a wiping stain - you apply it, wait 10-15 minutes then wipe it off.
I've tested the stain on different samples of the same wood. As we have red Oak flooring, the grain is so pronounced that I wanted to try it on each 'type of grain'. See below - Note on the top board - left side, I did apply a second coat, as it didn't appear to have 'taken' the first time. Usually you don't need a second coat ; as the first coat almost seals the wood , not allowing the stain to penetrate.
We decide to condition the wood. There are several ways to go about doing this. One is to apply a wood conditioner. The other is to lightly mist the floor with water, wait 15 minutes for it to dry, then sand with 100 grit sandpaper - called water popping!. Note when preparing the floor to accept the stain, I recommend between 100 and 120 grit, this allows the grain to 'open up'. If you used a higher numbered grit (finer) sand paper, it would tend to 'seal' the wood and not allow the stain to penetrate. You do need to remember to very lightly sand to remove the 'hair' of the wood that will be raised up after watering.
Now Vacuum thoroughly, everywhere before applying!
Once the wood is conditioned, by lighting spraying a little water on the raw wood, then lightly sanding the wood to remove the 'hairs'; we take a pad applicator dip it into the stain, apply to the floor, in the direction of the grain or wood. Wait 5-15 minutes (we waited 10 minutes), then wipe off with a clean dry lint free cloth.
Here's my contractor Clinton Adrian working hard. Love working with him.
Yup his knees were killing him after this - poor guy!
Here's the coat of stain applied to the whole floor - now we wait for 7 days! The instructions only said 24-48 hours, but I do not want to do this again. (Note the cabinets will be painted later!).
Next step will be to apply the finish coats! Stay tuned!
Update: Click here for Part 3 on how to refinish your red oak flooring.
Being an interior designer, my home and surroundings highly affect how I feel. I have a beautiful new home, but as I did not select the finishes; they are not what I would have chosen . At all.
I have conflicting undertones everywhere and dated finishes, even though the house is just 7 years old.
What's bothered me the most is my hardwood flooring. It's orange, VERY orange, red oak solid hardwood. (And burgundy cabinets, and gold backspash, and black and PINK granite - but that's another story!)
I've decided to bite the bullet and take you on this journey with me. Pardon the dust!
1. First step is to hire someone you trust. I have a brilliant contractor who doesn't specialize in flooring, but he's done great jobs refinishing my client's floors. I trust him.
2. Determine the amount of time this will take, I budgeted 3 weeks, but I'd suggest longer.
3. Determine where you are going to live, whilst your floors are going to be sanded. We live in a large home, so we decided to take over the basement. BUT, the kitchen is among the rooms being sanded, so that will be out of commission for a while. We moved the toaster, Microwave, blender and paper plates and cups downstairs. The fridge ended up on the deck, along with the stove and dishwasher. We've had a very mild winter, so it wasn't a problem to plug in the fridge outside.
4. Next we put poly plastic sheets over everything, the cabinets, counters, railings, fireplace, lighting, stairwell, and entrance to the foyer.
5. My contractor started with a 100 grit sander, and worked about 6 hours and finished a spot only 10 ft x 4 ft. It seems every flooring finish is different, and this finish was EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to remove. To make a long story short, we ended up going with a drum roller with 36 grit paper. And the dust started to fly! We also found out the guest bed was very uncomfortable. Karma I guess.
It took him 4 days to remove 600 sq. ft of finishing and get the wood down to bare wood. We selected the perfect stain colour - not too dark, no red and NO ORANGE undertones. Varathane wood stain in Espresso We applied it, looked great, did the second coat the next day, then were told to wait 24 hours, but waited 72 hours and applied the top coat. Everything looked good, so after 2 days we applied the second top coat and left it to dry overnight.
The next morning the flooring looked good but a little different. That night I noticed white patches appearing on top of certain boards. We left it another day and yup... it looked worse.
I went on every online site, talked to all sorts of professionals that I could find, to research the cause of these random white patches. It looked like someone had poured milk on the wood and let it dry, leaving a dry powdery white coating on about 25% of the boards. No one knew what to do so we....... resanded the whole bloody thing again!
4 more days of sanding - and dust. Aggh...
We vacuumed the walls, windows, floors and everything else again - and started all over....
To be continued in Part 2 of 3 refinishing your Red Oak hardwood floor.
Jil Sonia McDonald - Interior Designer of Jil Sonia Interior Designs.