Revamping These Old Floors

Wood Floors Before The Vibrant Pad

Oh these old floors have been my enemy since the first day we moved into our lovely old home (which we lovingly nick named Casa De Shithole).  Wood floors are usually a great selling point for a home…when they look nice. However, I was blessed with some floors that have seen some better days. It doesn’t matter how great the paint color looks on the walls or the how you finally figured out the prefect furniture layout, shabby wood floors seems to make your space feel dingy and dirty. A girl can only take it for so long and after 3 long years I have paid my penance. It is time to do something, something drastic.

Wood Floors Before The Vibrant Pad

hallway after staining the vibrant pad

Drastic doesn’t happen very easy with a strict budget so I had to forget about replacing or redoing the floors professionally, I needed a creative and inexpensive solution. Time to do some internet research and hope to stumble upon that prefect solution that would trigger that “Light Bulb” moment. Thank goodness I stumble on the information I was looking for!

Gel Stain

According to my research Gel stain is the answer to all my questions. It requires little to no sanding, it can be applied over existing stain, one coat application and fast drying times. Folks, we have a winner!

First off, let’s talk shopping. Here is what you need:

  • 180 Grit Sand Paper
  • 220 Grit Sand Paper
  • Tack Cloth
  • Gel Stain color of your choice (quart or gallon depending on your space size)
  • Polyurethane in Semi-Gloss (quart or gallon depending on your space size)

The tools that make your life easier:

hand sander the vibrant pad

Quality brush the vibrant pad

staining sponge the vibrant pad


Here is how the project went down:

I lightly sand the floors with 120-grit sand paper, to remove any surface blemishes. After the the old paint splatters were sanded away, I washed with floors down with clean warm water..forget the soap.  Once the floors were dry I used the tack cloth to pick up any hair/dirt/dust that my wash job may have missed.

With a clean surface to work on I applied my first coat of gel stain working with the grain of the wood. I did a 2ft. x 3ft. section at a time, allowing 3 to 4 minutes of drying time before I took a staining sponge lightly over the top.  This step is extremely important because you want the stain to dry as evenly as possible plus if the stain is applied to heavy it can take a lot longer to dry. I allowed the stain to dry over night. Roughly 8 hours. This project did take 2 coats of gel stain to achieve the color depth that I was looking for, So don’t get discourage if the first coat doesn’t give you the look you are after.

Here is what my floors looked like after the first coat of stain.

1st coat of gel stain the gel stain

2nd coat of stain at the vibrant pad

After the 2nd coat of stain dried overnight (at least 8 hours) I applied the first coat of polyurethane. The poly directions suggested that I wait 4 to 5 hours in between coats but I found 6 to 7 hours was the right amount of time. I gave the poly a light sanding with 220-grit sand paper between coats making sure to wash and tack cloth the floors before applying the poly…for a total of 3 coats of polyurethane. It’s quite the process but so worth it in the end!

Total cost for this project $50.  Onward to the dining room floors! Happy staining!!

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