Hardwood Floor Makeover for Under $100!

2nd Grace Vintage
by 2nd Grace Vintage
7 Materials
4 Days
We bought a new house in July. Our floors were painted with a buttery color yellow. They were not in good condition to begin with and the estimates to replace them were close to $2k for our dining room/living room combination. I decided to take matters into my own hands and find an easier, more cost effective solution.

The floors were painted, but I really didn’t want to repaint them. I also didn’t want to sand them down and restain them. So I did a little research on using gel stain. Unlike regular stain, gel stain can be applied over an existing finish. My go to brand General Finishes, didn’t let me down!

After a few test areas, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I tried using an orbi sander, but it was too messy. There was dust everywhere and a lot of clean up. So I tried using a deglosser. I poured a little on a rag and wiped it on and wiped it off. The surface was cleaner and felt less glossy, but the test area wasn’t the best. The last test proved to be the best. I poured a small amount of deglosser on a test area and let it sit for a few seconds before wiping it off. I cleaned the area with mineral spirits.

And now now the magic happens!

I applied the stain with a paint brush. I chose one that is good to use with oil stain and a wide soft brush that is used for porch paint. After I applied the stain, I used the wide soft brush to dry brush it off. I had a rag soaked in mineral spirits at my side for the whole projleft. When I dry brushed the stain off I made sure to dip the wide brush on the rag to discharge the excess stain.

My floor took two coats of stain. I chose a water based General Finishes High Performance Top Coat to finish. Since the gel stain is oil based and the top coat is water based, you have to wait at least 72 hours before apply the top coat.

In total, I used about 1/2 quart of stain for this project. For less than $100 in materials I have a new beautiful floor!
Materials for a Beautiful New Floor
I performed several test areas to see how I could achieve the look I wanted with the least amount of effort and expense.
General Finishes Jave Gel Stain and High Performance Top Coat
Our painted floor and our new stained floor
Our gorgeous results!
No sanding or removal of paint was done before we applied the stain.
After just two coats, all evidence of the painted floors is gone. There are surface scratches etc that I did not sand away or try to fill. The stain color is dark enough to hide them all.
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions
  • Hmb9245673 Hmb9245673 on Apr 23, 2019

    How long should I wait between stain coats?

  • Kari Niemann-Fuss Kari Niemann-Fuss on Apr 18, 2020

    How is is holding up after a couple of years?

  • Jen Jen on Apr 20, 2020

    I would love to see how this has held up over the past couple of years. We recently purchased a house with hardwood and if I ask my husband to sand and refinish the floor, I may be looking for a divorce attorney haha

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 1 comment
  • 2nd Grace Vintage 2nd Grace Vintage on Nov 22, 2017

    I did not sand the floor. You’re not missing a step. To prepare my floor, I used a deglosser/liquid sander. I applied this liberally and then used a 0000 steel wool pad. I used an old towel to make sure I removed all of it. I also used some mineral spirits but it was just to make sure the floor was clean and no residue remained of the deglosser. Gel Stain is not like regular stain. There is a lot more time to work with the stain and mistakes can easily be cleaned up with mineral spirits. I feathered it out with a paint brush and then dry brushed it off. I found that i was able to get a much more even coat this way. When I use it on furniture, I dab it on and wipe it off.

    Even though the floor dries to a shine you still need to seal i before using it. I applied 3 coats of water based polyurethane over the top. I waited at least 72 hours before applying it. I chose water based poly over oil because it dries faster and I like the easy clean up.

    Hope me this helps!