• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

09 June 2010

mirror, mirror, on the floor...

I can see a light at the end of the tunnel (and it's reflecting off our beautiful sunroom floor)! In this, the sixth (yeah, sixth!) chapter of the sunroom floor project, I'm going to shine it up.

So, in the photo below, you can see the stained floor, a gallon of high-gloss polyurethane, and the recommended lambswool applicator (purchased at Lowes).

stained and ready to seal

I followed the instructions on the applicator (you're supposed to rinse it thoroughly with mineral spirits (paint thinner) before using it). I was all excited to start applying the first coat. I poured some of the poly on, made a stroke, and then another. Let's see how it looked!

uck. stupid lambswool applicator

Failtastic. That's how it looked. The goddamn applicator was leaving linty fuzzies all over my extremely clean, sanded and stained and previously-perfect (well, maybe not) floor. WTF is that about. Reading the can told me I could also use a foam brush, and so that's what I did. I discarded the stupid $15 lambswool applicator, picked up the slimy, sticky fuzzies as best I could, and found a $0.50 foam paintbrush in the basement. It was small, but I did the whole floor with two of these:

A time-consuming process [42/365]

It took a while. Here it is, almost done!

finishing coat #1

after 1 coat of poly

So shiny!

I gave it a generous 3 days to dry, in which we did not walk on the floor or even open the door to that room. Apparently 24 hours is enough, but with our humidity I wanted to be sure it was dry before I did any sanding. This Old House recommended a pole sander for sanding between coats.

Y'all: this is what a pole sander looks like.


I looked at them at Lowes. They're about $20 for the tool, then you have to buy special sanding attachments for them. Lucky me! I already had a comparable tool in my basement!

make-shift pole sander

It did a good job, too.

my 'pole sander' at work

See? The floor isn't as glossy anymore.

1 coat; sanded with pole sander

I put a second coat of polyurethane on after sanding. I did not take any pictures. Just scroll up and look at the first coat when it was done - it looked exactly the same. After that second coat dried though, I wasn't entirely happy with the smoothness of the floor and I didn't think that hand-sanding was the trick. I broke out my orbital sander (with 220 grit) and quickly went over the floor with that. I think I used up four pieces of sandpaper getting the bumps and lumps off. I assume these imperfections occurred because I did not sand the floor well enough before staining. If I could travel back in time, I'd tell myself to go over it one more time with the drum sander, using a finer grit. Anyway, sanding it this way really helped.

2 coats; sanded with orbital hand-held sander (220 grit)

Because after three coats, look! (But take note: the color is truer in the photos above. It is not quite this golden (though I wish it was!!). I will try to pay more attention to my color-correcting in the future.)

It's shiny after 3 coats!!

And Rusty was so happy to be allowed access to his window once again!

Rusty couldn't wait to get back in his window

I took these photos on Sunday.

Taped and read to fix the trim

You can see that I have taped up the floor. I decided to go this route to touch up the quarter-round trim rather than removing it prior to beginning work on the floor. There were two reasons for this:
1) I forgot/it didn't occur to me until it was too late.
2) The quarter-round trim is really painted on. It'd probably damage the rest of the trim if I tried to pry it off.

Anyway, I painted the trim on Sunday (but neglected to take any photos). The end of this project is near! I can feel it!