I finally had a chance to get back to the hallway flooring project. I was determined to get the floor stained and at least one coat of polyurethane on by last night. Well, I met my goal, but with pretty horrible results. But let’s back up a bit.
When I last wrote about this hallway flooring, I was dealing with a paint stain from where Cooper knocked over a quart of blue paint on the unfinished floor…
After reading all of your suggestions, I decided that paint remover was the way to go. I was concerned that other options like wood bleach would bleed over onto the unaffected areas and lighten the wood that didn’t need to be lightened. Paint stripper seemed like the safest option. So I covered the area with Klean Strip paint stripper, let it sit a few minutes, scrubbed the area with a wire brush, cleaned it up with Klean Strip After Wash, and let it dry.
I did this about three times, sanding between each application. After the third time, I decided it was good enough.
After sanding the entire floor with 34, 60, 80, and 120 grit sandpaper on my handheld belt sander (which I chose to use instead of renting the big floor sander since this is such a small area), I referred back to my posts that I wrote when I refinished my floors the last time so that I could follow the exact process.
You can see those posts here:
So after refreshing my memory on the process, I started with the pre-stain conditioner on the whole floor…
And then I mixed the stain just as I did before — 50% Minwax Dark Walnut and 50% Minwax Special Walnut.
And that right there is where I should have realized that things weren’t quite right. Do you see the new stain against the stained music room floor at the bottom of that picture? There’s no way those two floors would end up being the same color with them so different at that stage.
But rather than trust my eyes, which were telling me that this wasn’t right, I decided to ignore my eyes and just press forward with the exact process that I had used before. With one small change.
This stain seemed to stain the floors much darker than the stain did the last time. So I convinced myself that all I needed to do in order to correct the situation was just to sand away some of the darkness. And that’s what I did to the whole floor.
With the whole thing sanded and lightened up a bit, I was ready to move on to the next step. Once again, I decided to ignore my lying eyes which were telling me that those two colors are still nowhere near the same!!! The hallway was way more of a true brown, and the music room had way more red/orange in it.
But I kept telling myself, “This is the exact process I used last time. I just need to trust it.” Plus, when I would step back a few feet and look at it, the color difference seemed to be way less noticeable. So once again, I convinced myself that somehow, magically, the end product would be just right even though things seemed way off at this point.
So I continued on with the next step — mixing some of my stain with the first coat of polyurethane in a 1:8 ratio. I tried it right next to the music room floor. Now I know you’re thinking, “Surely THIS is where Kristi can see that this isn’t going to end well, right?” Wrong.
I mean, I could see it. But y’all, I was just having a really stupid moment where some wiring in my brain clearly got crossed. Because while I could see those color differences, I kept telling myself to keep on and trust the process. I mean, it’s the exact same process that I used before! There’s no reason it shouldn’t work, even though my eyes were telling me, “Hey!! It’s not working!!! Stop!”
I didn’t stop. I kept on. I put that first layer of polyurethane on the entire floor.
And sure enough, when it was done, it was awful. I hoped that things would magically transform as I slept last night, but I got up this morning to see this mess…
So why did this go so wrong? Well, I could have saved myself a whole lot of trouble had I taken the time to look back on my pictures I took right after I finished the floors last time. Here’s what they looked like…
I tried to find the most recent picture showing my hardwood floors, and this is it…
Those don’t even look like the same floor. I have no idea why, but my floors have lightened over the years, and they are decidedly more orange now. They’re still not that obvious orange that they turned when I used Waterlox on the floors, but they are definitely more orange than they were right after the new finish.
I had honestly never noticed this happening over the years. When I look at my floors now, the orange doesn’t stand out to me at all. And I certainly hadn’t noticed that they were lighter than they used to be. But comparing the current floors to old pictures, it’s obvious. And it became all the more obvious when I tried to used the exact same staining and finished process and products now to match a floor that was finished years ago.
So at this point, my only option is to re-sand the whole floor and start over on the stain. I’m so glad this is just a very small hallway. If this were a bigger area, like a bedroom, I’d be in tears right now. But it’s a small area, and I’m determined to just get it done. There’s no time to waste on tears. I’m ready to get this ridiculous floor project behind me so that I can move on to much more interesting things.