This is part 2 of the bedroom carpet removal saga. To see how I got this far, click here for part 1 of the tutorial.
Starting out, our bedroom had wall to wall carpeting. The people who lived in the house before us kept it in immaculate condition, but it just wasn’t practical to have a carpeted bedroom with three dogs and so I decided to rip it out. As a refresher, this is what it looked like before I got to work:
And this is what it looked like after I finished laying all the planks, with some help from Matt at the very end.
All of the boards were finally down, and I was ready to add the stain. Before I did, I vacuumed the floor really well, using the nozzle to suck up any sawdust or debris that had fallen between the cracks as we were working.
After testing out a few different colors, I settled on Minwax Pickled Oak as my stain of choice. I love the look of whitewashed flooring, but using paint seemed like it would defeat the purpose of all that sanding, so this stain was a good alternative. Keeping the floors light will help camouflage any dog hair or dust (I’m a dirtbag, who cares?) and give the room the coastal vibe I was going for. I also thought that if I had stained them darker, it would result in them looking more like plywood.
To apply the stain, I used a 7.5″ Shur-Line stain applicator and it worked really well! It went on smoothly and evenly, and took no time at all to cover the floor. I did inside the closet first, and then worked my way from one side of the room to the other, going towards the door so I didn’t box myself in. It was kind of hard on my eyes because the stain is so light and made it difficult to determine where I had already applied.
The difference was subtle initially, but definitely there. Now (one week after staining) the difference is much more prominent. The stain took down any remaining ‘yellow’ tone on the planks, leaving them a natural, sun-bleached hue. I think if I’d used a paint for the white-wash, too much of the wood grain would have been covered.
I let the stain dry for a full 24 hours before adding the first coat of finish. I used Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish, because it claims it will never amber over time, making it ideal over light stains. (I swear to God, if it turns my floors yellow, I will burn this house to the ground.) I used satin because I wanted a matte finish, but it comes in gloss and semi-gloss as well.
Aside from claiming it dries (and stays) crystal clear, some other perks of this finish are that it’s soap and water clean up, low odour, you can re-coat in two hours, and no sanding between coats is required. Also, the directions state if you’re applying the finish over stain, only two coats are necessary. (I did three just because I wanted the extra protection.) I applied the finish the same way I did the stain, using a fresh Shur-Line applicator, starting in the closet and then going from one side of the room to the other. It went on so nice and smooth, and was also really quick! There was virtually no smell, and it was dry to the touch in an hour. I did one coat after work, another the next morning before work, and then the final coat the following night. Less than three days to stain and clear coat a floor is pretty great, especially for someone as impatient as me.
Even though it’s not necessary, it does say you can sand before the last coat with a fine grit paper for maximum smoothness, which I did. I used 400 grit and lightly sanded the entire floor by hand (the knee pads come in handy here) to take down any rough spots that were a result of the stain raising the wood grain. It only took me about an hour, which I think was well worth it because the floors are now as smooth as hardwood! I vacuumed the dust and applied the final coat of finish, a little more thickly than the first two.
After the floors were finished, I painted the walls and trim a nice, fresh white (it’s called Polar Bear, by Behr). I decided to paint after laying the floors because of the amount of cutting and sanding we did in the room during installation. I didn’t want any dust or debris to stick into freshly painted walls, so I waited until after the floors were down and was just suuuuuuper careful, which is very uncharacteristic of me. I laid down drop cloths and everything.
It took three coats of paint to cover the mint green, which was torture because I hate painting almost as much as I hate zits on my chin (honestly, why am I still getting zits anyways I am 32 years old ffs). Matt put all the baseboards back on for me when I was finished painting the walls, because he was super eager to get moved back into our bedroom. And also because he is a nice guy.
After a week and a half of hard work (plus a month of sanding!) the room is finally finished and I could not be happier with how it turned out. The floors ended up costing us about $1.27 per square foot, including the stain and finish. Under $400 for new bedroom floors? Yup, I’m pretty much tooting the shit out of my own horn right now. I honestly cannot believe what a difference there is in this room; it just feels so much bigger and brighter. I am happy as hell and can’t wait to finish the rest of the upstairs!
Even though I used satin finish, there is still a bit of a sheen to the floors when the light hits it, so I’m glad I didn’t use gloss or semi-gloss.
I put this project in the win column 100%, and will report back in a few months on how it’s wearing for my six loyal readers. You can see our entire bedroom makeover here. What do you think? Would you ever try plywood as a budget friendly flooring solution?
UPDATE: If you’re curious about how these floors are holding up a year later, visit my post here.