I sanded it well and taped it down the middle, using a damp rag on the right side only.
After waiting for it to dry, I whipped out the stairway stain we were planning to use on the upstairs floors:
This color is amazing. Until this came out, so many online message boards were filled with people trying to 'create' an espresso stain. People were mixing minwax Jacobean and Walnut, Ebony and Jacobean, etc. This is one-stop shopping for the perfect shade. Just don't be scared that it looks BLACK on the rag!
And here is the end result after one coat of stain:
The water-popping really worked well to help the stain absorb more fully. And this is just soft pine, so I knew it would look even better on our oak floors. Here is Shaun 'popping' the floor, his drawers were also doing a bit of 'popping', so you can thank me for not showing that angle!
We let the floors dry overnight and put down our first coat of stain the next morning. The stain had to go on in stages. We used a lambswool applicator to put down a thick layer of stain on 1 foot sections, and then went to the next room to do the same, giving each area about 8 minutes to soak into the wood. It looked like this:
After the allotted time of 8 minutes (this is a highly scientific measurement. Just kidding, I don't do anything scientific. Unless you count me trying to cook things) we would go back and work the stain into the wood either in circles or simply against the grain, like so:
And then I would come in afterwards and smooth everything out with the grain.
And so it went...
Until the entire first coat was complete. We weren't happy with the first coat, though. Because of the age of the wood and various water issues, we had quite a bit of splotchiness.
We also found some spots where the old poly had not been completely sanded off, which meant a light stripe was showing through where the stain didn't absorb. We ended up doing this to take care of the problem:
Resanding those areas wasn't ideal, but it helped to eliminate that tiger-striped look. After the second coat, things were looking better.
Because a second coat of stain doesn't absorb as easily as the first, we waited a full 48 hours to walk on it or apply the poly. Many experts say that you should never do a second coat of stain, because the wood has already absorbed as much as it can. However, if you allow enough drying time, you can successfully apply a second coat. Next week I will share the 'poly' and 'after' pictures!