I purchased my first home in February 2006. I could not have been more proud, but I did understand what everyone meant about everyone might not be able to afford a home. I thought it would be easy, managing a mortgage and everyday utility costs. However, my first unexpected surprise happened just days before I moved in. Who knew I’d have an interior decorating disaster so soon.
The exciting project:
It was an older home. All refinished except the beautiful original hardwood floors. My boyfriend and I decided to help bring out the natural beauty, because it would be a shame to cover any of the original woodwork. Later, we would work on stripping some of the white paint around the home to uncover the rest. It would be easiest to sand the living and dining room floors and then stain them. Or so we thought.
We rented an orbital floor sander. It made the process easy. I thought sanding meant getting down on my hands and knees and sanding, so I was very relieved. I even helped a bit.
The oil-based stain we had was a rich reddish-brown color. So it was a bit darker than our floor, but we were sure the color would turn out great. We used a roller since both rooms were very large. The instructions said it could take anywhere from 4-6 hours to dry, but we had four good days. We were so sure it would work out. February is cold in Kenosha, WI, so humidity definitely wasn’t against us.
Once we completed the staining, we noticed no area was dry. It had a bit of a sticky feeling. So we decided to call it a night and come back the following afternoon. Well, to our surprise, the floor still felt a bit wet and was still sticky. So now, even with booties on, we were creating an ugly mess walking across the room. We got the bright idea that we could just apply the water-based sealant and allow everything to dry until Friday’s move.
Thursday we checked on the place and it was still wet and sticky. Desperate now, we tried to use mineral spirits to help thin it out. We figured it might have been just too thick. Apparently, all this was doing was creating spots throughout our floor now. We turned the heat on, wondering if it were just entirely too cold.
My lesson learned:
Friday was our big move and no change. The beautiful hardwood floors were just ruined. Even worse, our entire home was tracked because we just couldn’t avoid stepping on the floor in certain areas.
The best advice we received was from a carpeting company to place laminate flooring down. This was expensive, as we were only four months into our move. It was a great investment in the home though. As it worked out well, we were still upset we had to cover our beautiful original hardwood floors.
My advice to you:
- Use an oil based stain with an oil-based sealant! Water and oil do not mix in all areas of life.
- Humidity will work against you.
- If after 24 hours your stain is not dry, it may be on too thick. Wipe it down with mineral spirits. Afterwards, you can apply the sealant once it has dried.