Is Minwax gel stain an easy option?

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I have old oak flooring in pretty good shape. APPX 500 sq ft. I've had anywhere from $700-1800 quotes to refurbish. There's about 1800 reasons not to go this route. HELP!! I've been told Minwax Gel stain was a good option. FYI bad knee issues.

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  • Cathy Dillon Cathy Dillon on Aug 12, 2018

    Stain is stain and will change the color. I use polyurethane to seal, protect and shine up the floor. I have found that the polyurethane with out any added color/ stain still changes the shade a little bit, as you would expect : a bit more yellow/ orange. Depending on the color you like that might be enough and you could skip the stain, and Just polyurethane. I have not used any actual WAX product on the floors in years. I have used a minwax " polyshades" product which combines stain and polyurethane in the same can in store bought pre-mixed proportions of stain and poly so you get a pretty uniform color - you still need to stir!

    What was included in the price quotes you got? A gallon of polyurethane is now i think around $35? plus the brush separate (smallish) paper or plastic bucket ( so you don't risk contamination of the whole gallon)and mineral spirits and rags/ soap water eventual cleanup. Wearing disposable gloves is smart and maybe disposable/ don't care long pants and socks. Oops forgot some sandpaper - and a block of wood ? if you plan to do that " very light " sanding in between coats.

    If you are thinking that you need power sanding; that is a different level of work and a bigger level of mess!

  • Cathy Dillon Cathy Dillon on Aug 12, 2018

    Sorry about your knee issues! now that I re-read the question.. well- i would be doing this basically right down there on the floor and the knees would take a bit of a beating, I sort of scoot around on the floor with knees tucked under me. I have tried to apply Polyurethane with a lambswool spreader and a roller. and was sort of horrified at how much product is " soaked up " into the roller, so i went back to the brush. I know other people use those tools , making it more like moping the floor, but I have never done it myself.


    Who is going to move furniture out of the way and back into place?


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    • Cathy Dillon Cathy Dillon on Aug 13, 2018

      It's lovely to see your reply; even if it it not exactly the information you really need.

      About moving the furniture - I have oak flooring except in the kitchen, bathroom, and foyer. Depending on the room, I have done the floor in two installments just shifting the furniture from one side and back to the other.


      I do multiple coats ( usually two) and put the furniture legs on an old towel to help avoid scratching up the newly polyurethaned area, since it is rather delicate when dry ( a day or so) but not until fully cured ( a couple of weeks?)


      OR furniture into the center, where the edges of the room will get just one coat, and once the furniture is back around the perimeter- the center which gets more traffic will have two or more coats.


      I would not want to do this if I was power sanding because the dust seems to get into everything. Even if furniture is covered the sawdust lands on top of your plastic tarp or whatever you have, and once you move the tarp or the furniture the dust is all over the place again.


      Remember that the drying time still exits, so depending on the product and the weather you could estimate a day for each step/ coat. If there's an "extra day" I would let the new finish dry / cure longer before moving furniture. The " quick dry" Polyurethane seems to work well for me- I think the mixture is a little bit thinner.


      I forgot another project item that I DO use.. it is the " tack cloth" to wipe and get up the little bits of dust / dirt/ hair/ that will contaminate your final finish. Generally a STAIN product is not sticky, but a Top Coat product - such as polyurethane will hold onto every bit of dust/ dirt/ hair/ lint.


      As far as the price estimates .... if the materials can be purchased for $100- $150? ( I also forgot Tarp/ plastic to cover furniture oops) If estimate was $700 minus about $200 ( including the planning and trip to the store) then $500 pays the people/ person for multiple visits which I would expect to be at least 4 days - in order to do two coats on each section. The 5th day might be moving all the furniture back to normal.


      I try to do three coats ( of Polyurethane) if an area is heavy traffic and especially important if subjet to wet or muddy paws! I did use the Helmsman Spar Urethane ( it is indoor/ outdoor) in the area of an outside door, and ALSO where I have noticed wet feet from leaving the bathroom after a shower. It is a slightly thicker product and needs a longer drying time.


      SInce I like the shiny look, it is easy to see when the floor looses it's shine and the finish is wearing off/wearing out. Im sure when you can see most of the floor you will be able to see a difference between traffic areas.



  • Elena Moore Elena Moore on Aug 14, 2018

    Thank you so much for your insight. Just Another quick question. Do you hire out? I'm really joking(a little bit)I'm truly so thankful for the information you've provided.

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