Finishing Your Sanded Floor
By sealing, staining, varnishing or waxing you can really bring out the beauty of a sanded floor.
Once you have sanded your floor, make sure you remove all the dust in the room. Vacuum the room from the ceiling down towards the floor making sure to wipe down all the walls, windows and doors to get rid of all the dust. It's a good idea to do this more than once to make sure that the room is completely dust free. Vacuum the floor and damp mop the floor and leave it to dry. To make sure you have removed every speck of dust, go over the floor again on your hands and knees with a tack cloth to pick up any lingering dust. Wear socks so that you don't bring dust or dirt into the room from the rest of the house. Once you are sure your room is dust free you are ready to finish the floor.
Planning Your Exit
However you want to finish your floor you need to plan your exit. As you go around the room working on your hands and knees you will find kneepads come in handy. Start at the corner of the room diagonally opposite the door and work with the grain of the wood towards the door. Professionals start with a strip of around 4"-6" around the perimeter of the room where the wall meets the floor before working in the main part of the floor. Make sure that you do your last strokes from the doorway, so that you can close the door and leave the floor to dry.
Staining Your Floor
Depending on your floorboards, you may want to stain the floor before sealing it or varnishing it. You can either do this as a separate stage or buy a varnish that includes a stain. You can hire a machine designed to stain floors or save on the expense and do it by hand. Read the instructions on the tin and apply the stain using a brush, cloth or even a paint roller on a stick. Make sure to only apply a thin layer of stain and wipe it off. The longer you leave the stain on the deeper the color of the floor. Let it dry thoroughly before applying your varnish.
Sealing Your Floor
Some products recommend you seal your floor before applying a varnish. Another choice is to use a traditional oil or wax finish to seal your floor. This type of finish isn't sturdy and requires a lot of regular maintenance but can be a good choice if you suffer from allergies to chemical products.
Varnishing Your Floor
Ask advice from your local DIY store about what varnish would be suitable for your wooden floor. Oil-based varnishes usually last longer but take much longer to dry, whereas water-based varnishes are easy to use and dry quickly. If you choose a colored varnish or prefer a clear look, you can skip the staining stage. Carefully read the instructions before applying the varnish. Use a brush, or applicator pad to apply a very thin layer of varnish to your floor. Leave the floor to dry overnight. Then lightly sand the floor by hand using a fine grade of sandpaper. This 'keys' the varnish so you can apply a second coat. Make sure to wipe away all the dust and then varnish the floor again.
Using three coats of varnish will give you a really good-looking floor.