Homes | Stain without strain

Restore your worn wooden floors

In today's economy, many homeowners are looking for ways to reinvest in their homes without breaking the bank. Staining wood floors is an inexpensive do-it-yourself project that can restore worn or damaged floors caused by daily foot traffic. Periodically staining and finishing your wood floor helps preserve and protect the wood while adding life and beauty to a decorated room. Homeowners can save a lot of money by following these helpful staining tips from Sean Morris, product manager for Cabot Stains:

• For large projects, it is best to sand the floor with a drum sander. Sanding to open wood grain is necessary prior to staining so the stain can soak in. If you're working in a high traffic area, such as a main walkway, sanding the edges to match the center will lessen the contrast once the work is finished.

• Depending on the type of wood, you may want to use a prestain conditioner, which helps certain species of wood, such as soft woods, obtain an even, uniform coloration.

• To decide which color of stain to use, test small samples of colors on an extra piece of similar wood, to determine final appearance. If you're concerned about odor or ventilation, a water-borne finish may be best. These low-odor products dry quickly and provide a suitable alternative to solvent-based materials. Oil-based stains are professionals' first choice because of their durability.

• Stain in sections to allow people to walk across your project area, but make sure to complete full boards without stopping in the middle. Rosin paper can be placed on top of a freshly stained area if it is necessary to walk across it, but this should be avoided if possible. If someone does accidentally step on the stain before it dries, wipe with a cloth dampened in a cleaning solvent appropriate for the stain and the wood, and reapply as necessary.

• An average-sized living room is typically ready for re-coating the next day, but this depends on the type of finish you use, the coating thickness, ventilation and room temperature.

• Safety is a big priority when staining floors. Odors and fumes must be ventilated continuously during the finishing and drying process. If you're working in a small area, try using an organic vapor respirator. Safety glasses and gloves will never hurt and a good pair of knee pads always helps. Keep in mind that small children respire faster and are closer to the finishing surface. They may be affected by fumes much faster than an adult and it's best to have them out of the house if possible.

• After staining, some people opt for a polyurethane finish. Because of its durability, polyurethane is commonly used for application in high traffic areas.

• When you're finished with your project, clean up tools safely by following all label instructions.

For more tips on staining floors and information on selecting product, visit www.cabotstains.com.

Restore your worn wooden floors 01/31/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 31, 2010 3:30am]

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