Tag Archives: Polyurethane

Humidity is the Devil…

11 Jul

The stairs are coming along, but I definitely thought we would be farther along than we are.  We did take a few days to relax over the 4th and this week has been a bust because of work, but I’m still blaming humidity.

Apparently I picked the perfect time to stain and poly a floor – high 80’s/low 90’s and extremely high humidity. It literally felt like someone dumped a bucket of boiling water on you when you walked outside. Not my thing.

Last Saturday we ripped up all the carpet and dug out all the staples. The stairs weren’t in too bad of shape.

Then we hung up plastic sheeting to trap all the dust (We kept calling it the “Kill Room”. People who watch Dexter will understand that, people who don’t probably think I’m crazy).

I trapped myself inside this for hours.

I kept saying it was like I was the reverse Bubble Boy.  Trapped inside with all the bad stuff.  Every now and then I was let out and would jump outside to get some fresh air.

It really did it’s job though. There was no dust anywhere else throughout the house.

I taped off the doors upstairs and those rooms were dust free too.

A few hours later we were left with this…

I sanded with 60 grit to get all the polyurethane off, then again with 150 grit to give it a smooth finish. I used the orbital sander as well as a sanding block with the 150 grit. I wanted to make sure I got it as smooth as possible.

I taped off the treads for staining with Frog tape – my favorite stuff ever.

Since I was worried about the stairs sopping up the stain I started with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner.

It claims to help make a more even stain. I would have to say it definitely worked.

You have to stain within 2 hours of the pre-stain so I gave it a good 30 minutes to dry (the wood just soaked it right up).

With just the pre-stain…

Then I said a few prayers and started staining. I worked my way from the landing down the stairs with a roll of paper towels, a plastic grocery bag to hold the used towels, a foam brush, and a small can of stain.

I would stain, then let it sit for no more than 5-7 minutes, wipe, and move on.  It worked out well. The color came out very close to our hardwood on the main floor – which made me happy! The bottom step even stained nicely. I was so worried about it but I really think the pre-stain made all the difference.

The lighting makes the landing look more yellow/orange. It’s definitely not that color in person. It’s a nice warm brown. No orange!

It’s Minwax Wood Stain in Early American.

I let the stain dry 24 hours before the first coat of polyurethane. I just wanted to be really sure it was dry and with the crazy humidity we were having it was taking way longer than the recommended drying time.

The first coat of polyurethane went on the next day. I used Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane in Clear Semi-Gloss. Fast drying it was not.

Because of the humidity it took 24 hours to dry. We ninja’ed our way up the stairs that night with the dog under one arm and the dehumidifier in the other. We set up the dehumidifier in the bathroom and let it run through the night. That really helped speed up the drying time.

The second coat went on the next morning.  I sanded the first coat with a 220 grit sanding block, cleaned it up, and then made sure to put it on really thin to decrease the drying time.

It was nice and dry 12 hours later.  We made sure to stay off it as much as possible until 24 hours after it was applied.

So here we are…

I know this last photo is blurry by it shows how it matches the floor the best.

A nice before and after…

This weekend we are hoping to get the backs painted white and some trim hung up.  Hopefully I can start measuring out what we’ll need for the board and batten. PLUS I need to scotch guard the runner, staple that sucker to the stairs and find a carpet store that will cut and re-bind a rug for the landing.

Busy, busy, busy!