I just found this site - it's fantastic - sure wish I'd found it before I started my project. Here are my questions:
I removed the carpeting from a flight of stairs (Cat urine never goes away...) and have installed 3/4" x 2 1/4" White Oak hardwood T&G planks on the stairs (over the existing 1"x12"x38" "subfloor" treads). Basically, the installation is exactly what is found on this site at:
http://www.hardwoodinstaller.com/hardwo ... -prep2.htm
I'm now ready to stain the harwood and apply finish. I already purchased the stain (Minwax Oil-Based #209-Natural), and the Polyurethane (Minwax Oil-Based Fast Drying Clear Satin). I now found this site and have read tons of posts about preferred stains and finishes - eg - Water based -vs- Oil Based, various brands like Traffic, etc.
My first Question is simply this - Is the Minwax Stain and Poly I already purchased OK to use? (I tried it on one stair tread and it seems fine and does seem to match my other adjacent floors.)
What are the pros and cons of the Minwax? Would I be better off using a better product like Traffic? Is Water Based or Oil Based better? The Minwax seems ok, but as much effort as this "weekend" project has required, I want to complete it as well as possible.
1) I'm sanding the wood with 80 Grit, then 220 Grit paper - is this correct?
2) I'm using 2 coats of stain - seems almost dark enough to match my adjacent flooring - should I try to do this "Water Pop" method I've read about here to make it darker - or is that difficult? If so, do I just wipe on some water with a rag (after sanding is done) then let it dry?
3) How many coats of the Polyurethane do I put on? The Minwax label says 2 or 3, with 3 being suggested for flooring applications. The guy at the store I bought the wood at says "Put as many coats on as possible..." However, I read on this site that additional coats don't really add protection and can just get scratched.
4) I'm applying the stain with a cotton rag. I'm applying the Poly with both a bristle brush and a "Sponge/Foam" brush. Is this ok or should I be using a Lambs Wool applicator?
5) I'm sanding between coats of Poly using Steel Wool (0000 Grade) then using a tack cloth. Is this OK, or should I use 220 grit sandpaper?
Thanks for your help !
Imagine my surprise when I almost did the project right without having first found this site. The only thing I didn't do was cut off the stair tread "nose" on the 1x12 subfloor treads - so with the original 1 inch subfloor nose, plus the 1 inch bulnose on my installed planking, I have kind of a double bullnose on each tread - not really a big deal - can't really see it, and I plan on installing the good carpeting remnants back on the risers. I had considered putting in a plywood backing on the risers and painting it white - but I can't due to the "double bullnose" - the carpet riser cover will be at a bit of an angle - but I guess this is all moot since the hardwood is all installed and I am NOT going to remove it to do it properly now - should have found this site sooner. Is this any big deal?