I recently finished the installation process of hardwood floors,
Not easy. But not impossible!
You think I simply enjoy the stylish and brilliant vibes of my hardwood floors.
Well, not exactly...
Before I can start making free use of my floors, I need to apply polyurethane to wood floors.
You're curious to know more?
Let's get started.
Chapter 1 - how polyurethane works?
Due to this finish, I ensure that my hardwood floors are protected. It safeguards the wood flooring from spills, scratches and everyday traffic.
You purchase polyurethane in 2 types and has a few levels of sheen, which range from matter to glossy.
You can apply urethane yourself by following a few instructions.
Before attempting to apply a polyurethane finish, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Chapter 2 - How to Apply Polyurethane to Wooden Floors?
Throughout this guide, I will teach you :
- all about the tools you need,
- how much each cors,
- walk you through the steps for applying either oil-based or water-based polyurethane to your hardwood floor,
- how to cover larger areas effectively
- how to cut into the edges.
Before embarking on the polyurethane application journey, it’s worth to give it some thought.
- How much money are you saving on this DIY project?
- Are any skills you don’t count on that may cause accidents?
- Should you hire a professional in spite of wanting to undertake the application on your own?
If any of these questions spark doubt, consider calling a professional for quotes and advice.
But before considering this,
(and your wallet says thank you)
Read the next chapter.
Chapter 2 - Oil-Based VS. Water-Based Polyurethane
Beforegetting to work, decide which polyurethane type you want to apply.
Both oil and water-based will protect hardwood.
And this, no matter if you installed engineered hardwood or traditional.
However, there are some differences worthy of pointing out.
1. Water-Based Polyurethane
Polyurethan that is water-based layouts clear. It does not modify the original color of the wood.
This solution is thinner compared to others and dry much quicker.
Within 8 to 12 hours of application, you will be able to walk freely on your floors.
This type of finish doesn’t contain harmful VOC’s and is less flammable compared to oil-based polyurethane.
If you’re not a fan of strong fumes and odors,
And I get it,
Then, water-based is the right choice.
It terms of cleaning up after the job, you only need water and soap.
Nevertheless, this polyurethane type of less durable and more expensive.
For maximum protection, you need to apply several coats of urethane. This because the urethanes are composed of fewer solids.
And for those that seal wood floors with water-based polyurethane, they will need to repeat the process at least every 2 years.
2. Oil-Based Polyurethane
Oil-based urethanes boost the wood’s natural color.
They offer a gentle glow.
But, oil-based products take longer to dry and are thicker due to their composition.
These will definitely emit fumes, you will need a respirator.
A considerable advantage of this urethane type is the way it fortifies the wood with a more solid layer of protection.
Compared to water-based polyurethane, oil-based will take a fewer number of coats,
With that, it’s time to learn more about the supplies, tools and costs.
Chapter 3 - Supplies, Tools, and Costs for Polyurethane Application
You a few elements to successfully apply polyurethane to your wood floors.
You can find most of them at your local hardware store or online.
Your Tools Checklist:
You have everything you need to successfully apply polyurethane to your wood floors.
Prior to getting to work, take some time to prepare the workspace.
Yes, this is the most tedious part of the application process.
And least fun, too.
Chapter 4 - Preparation Prior to Application
It’s time to sand. This part of the process includes some endless sanding. If not sure how to use a sander, look for some online YouTube videos for tutorials. Make sure you start with the thickest paper and work your way down.
But don’t spend too much time in a single area. Or else you will score the wood.
Once you’re done, inspect the surface for any dents or splinters.
Vacuum or sweep away the dust when you’re done.
Use mineral spirits to wipe the dust on the boards with a lint-free piece of cloth.
Chapter 5 - Step by Step Application Process of Polyurethane to Hardwood Floors
After thoroughly cleaning the floors.
Mop with some white vinegar and water mixture, use a 1:10 ratio.
Use the brush to apply the polyurethane to the flooring edges.
Use the pad or roller to apply to the center of the room.
Step 2 In Depth
it’s important that you learn to cut in the edges, here’s how:
- Extract the baseboard trim, if you can’t, cover it with painter’s tape.
- Stir the can of polyurethane, don’t shake or whip it. Prevent as many air bubbles in it by simply stirring.
- Start at the back of the room and work your way forward. This means the farthest corner from the doorway.
- Dip the brush and cover at least ½ of the bristles. Clear excess polyurethane from the tip of the brush by gliding it on the edge of the container.
- Start by gliding the brush with strokes for about 12 inches, go back twice and do a “Z” pattern. This is to ensure the final stroke and the second will overlap and look homogeneous.
- Repeat the process on the next section, make sure you slightly overlap and continue for approximately 10 minutes.
How to apply coatings to the center of the room:
- Submerge the pad or roll in polyurethane
- Start at 1 foot from the edges and work towards them from the center, work according to the grain of the wood.
- Use good back and forth glides off the brush with the roller pad, due to 3-4 feet for the scroll.
- Alternate between the center and the edges of the floor every 10 minutes as the polyurethane dries. Remember, water-based dry quicker.
- If you decide to add one or two more coats, sand the floor between the coats with a steel wood pad (oil-based) or abrasive pad (water-based)
Chapter 6 - How Many Coats of Polyurethane Should Be Applied to Hardwood?
Best practices say to apply at least 3 coats of polyurethane and sanding between coats and allowing the floor to dry off.
Some finishers will allow for a lower number of coats.
If you want the maximum level of protection, I suggest you do 3.
Remember that scratches easily reach the surface and ruin the floor if not thoroughly protected.
Ensure the protection of your floor and save future money on refinishing by applying more than 2 coats.
My Last TipOnce you find yourself in the application stage, make sure you don’t rush it.
Rushing tasks like these will result in uneven hardwood floor finishing.
If you can, take all the time possible to ensure you are doing it right.
Along with proper preparation, careful selection of products and tools, you can surely finish your floors and ensure their protection for years to come.
Take some time to practice on old wood scraps.
Also, let your floors dry completely before sanding again or walking around.
Now It’s Your Turn
Applying polyurethane on your hardwood floors yourself is not rocket science.
But it may be difficult to work with. And it requires your utmost attention to detail.
So that's it,
Are you going to apply polyurethane by yourself?
Or maybe you want to ask for professional services.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.