Stain part 1: Miscalculations

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I have never tackled a project on this scale.  In my old house, I put in wood floors upstairs, but did not stain.  I sanded and put poly down.  I did the bathroom at a different time than the rest of the floor, and planed the boards before installation, so no rigorous sanding was required.  So, the largest area I had done previous to this from scratch at one time was about 500 square feet.  The area I’m working with now is about double that.  It’s also been several years since I did the floors in my old house….it’s amazing how time dulls the memory!

Because of the stains on the floor, I knew I was going to want to stain at least in the bedrooms.  I calculated an approximate square footage, and went to the store earlier this week.  I have used Old Masters’ wiping stain before and greatly preferred it to Minwax.  I found a store that carries the Old Masters’ line, and so I went in.  The guys were very helpful.  They didn’t have the color that I really wanted in a gallon, but they had one lighter and one darker.  He told me that I would need 3 gallons to do that surface area.  That seemed excessive, but how do you know?  They offered to attempt to mix pigment into the lighter to more approximate the medium color….that kind of made me nervous.  In the past, I’ve been able to wipe on several layers to get the color I wanted, from light to dark, so I decided to just stick with a gallon of the light and one of the dark, and see what happened.  (I’ve used about 1/3 of a gallon, and have done more than half of the floors!)

I also went to the Lubbock Paint Store to get the poly, and some white paint for the kitchen cabinets.  I figured I could work on them while I was waiting for the floors everywhere else to dry.  He didn’t have the gloss, just the satin, but called another independent paint store that he knew carried the brand he recommends and they had it in stock, so I was able to go there.  When I arrived, they had it boxed and ready for me!  The guys at both stores were very helpful.

Yesterday, I hand sanded the areas that the big sander couldn’t reach, and then began to stain.  I started in the closet of the east bedroom in case it was horrible.  I started with the dark stain because of the irregularity of the color in that room.  I liked what it was doing in the closet, so I moved out into the room.  I got about 10 square feet done, and panicked a little bit.  The contrast was startling!  I tried to wipe more off with mineral spirits, but that didn’t do much.  As I was right in front of the door, I texted my parents a picture, and we all decided that I was pretty much at a point of no return.  I might be able to sand off a bit of the color, but would need to stain the entire floor first or it would look even odder than it did originally.

I continued on staining.  After I got about half-way done in the room, I started to relax.  It was looking much better!  It was also taking me a lot longer than I thought it would.  There are quite a few deep dings and such, and a few boards that are quite rough, so I was having to really work the stain in to those areas.  I would wipe on a couple square feet, and then wipe it off.  This is not according to the directions on the can, but it’s how I usually stain unless I’m doing something I want very, very dark, because I like the control it gives me.

You can still see that it’s not perfectly even, I might try and go over the lighter areas again.  …or maybe not.  The stain lightened a bit as it dried, but if you consider the vast difference, you might be able to see why I panicked a bit!  These pictures are taken from 2 different doors into the room.

After a break for a late lunch, and getting emails and texts returned for a couple of new clients (Yay!!!), I went back and worked on the middle bedroom.  I remembered that they had left some cushions in the closet, so I grabbed one to sit on instead of the towels that I had been using before.  I was beginning to realize that I was going to run out of time to get to the living/dining room floor that day.

I pressed on, and went to the west bedroom.  This is the room that had the water stain in it.  I got about a quarter of the way done, and realized that I was running out of time physically as well as daylight hours.  I had not anticipated that my arms would get so sore, because I had not realized how much I would need to work the stain into the wood.  …or rather all the irregularities in the wood.  However, I pressed on and got it done.

 

I have been thinking about not staining the living and dining room floor as dark as the bedrooms, but I’m afraid that that will look odd.  It also seems that this color will be very close to the color of the ceiling….

The ceilings are 9′ high, and it is quite a large space.  I’ll probably be painting the walls a light cream color.  I’ll also be replacing the narrow trim with wider boards more in keeping with the craftsman style of the house.  Right now, the only window is that that’s behind the couch in the second picture, and is quite large at about 5’x6′.  Also, you may remember that there is/was a window beside the front door.  At some point, I’ll be putting that back in.  But, not in the immediate future.  My main goal before moving in is to finish the floors and to repaint.  I can then work on the other projects a little at a time.

From here, I hope to get the living and dining room floors stained tomorrow, and get the first coat of poly on.  I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do the other 2 coats on Tuesday, so that it can then be curing.  Here’s hoping that goes more according to plan!

So, what do you think?  Leave the living and dining room floors light?  Or stain to match the rest of the floors?  (I’m exempting the kitchen at this point, as I hope to restore the original hardwood floors in there as well….but NOT right now!)

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