Staining and Painting Wood Floors
Floor stains are available in a good range of timber colours. The colour of the stain is described as being light oak, dark oak, mahogany, etc., and it does not mean that the stain so described is only used for painting those kinds of wood — it is not worth while for the handyman to mix his own floor stain. The general use of stains described asstains should be avoided for floors as they have a tendency to chip and flake after hard wear, and are difficult to remove. Proprietary brands of stains may be divided into three main kinds, water stains, oil stains and spirit stains. The latter, which are most suitable for handyman use, may also be described as wood dyes.
Before staining a floor it will be necessary to prepare the surface. The floor should be swept clean. During the application of the stain, frequent use of a dusting-brush should be made. Any tacks or lino-sprigs in the floor should be extracted and any protruding Cracks between floorboards and nail-holes should be filled in and if the boards are old it will be found advisable to scrub them before applying the stain. If this is done the floor should be left to thoroughly dry out before staining. The stain or wood dye is applied with a paint-brush — a 2-in.-wide brush should be suitable for most purposes. The stain should always be applied the longest way of the boards and if the complete floor surface is being stained it will be found advisable to complete the length of two or three boards at a time rather than working across all the boards. This will avoid dark overlaps caused by the rapid drying of the stain.should be punched in just below the surface of the floor-boards.
The stain should be well rubbed into the woodwork and it is not necessary to flood the boards with an overcharged brush. Evenness of colour may be obtained by wiping the stained surface with a piece of rag immediately after each brushful of stain has been applied. The direction of the wiping rag should always be in the longest way of the boards. The work should be commenced at a point farthest from the door so that it is not necessary to walk over a freshly stained floor to get out of the room.
Once completed, the stain should be left to dry before any further treatment. Newly stained floors are best finished with a wax polish before continuing with usual cleaning with furniture polish or cream. In the case of floors that are subjected to a great deal of wear, such as hallways and passages, the stained boards may be protected with an overcoating of shellac. The shellac, which dries very quickly, is brushed on the floor in the usual way. The work should be given at least two coats. Between the application of coats the previous coat of shellac should be cleaned down with soft wire wool. The final coat of shellac should also be scrubbed with wire wool and the floor then finished with wax polish. Floors so treated require very little after cleaning to keep them fresh and shining.
Parquet floors are stained in the same way as described above for colouring floor-boards and in this case the work should be divided into easy manageable sections — each section finishing with the edges of a group of the wood blocks to avoid any dark overlaps. Parquet floors should be well sanded and brushed before the stain is applied. Sanding by hand is a laborious process and it is much easier to use a small power tool for sanding this type of floor. These power tools may also be used with polishing mops for after treatment. Although it is not worth the special purchase of a power tool for one job the small power tools based on electric drills are invaluable for many jobs. It is possible in some towns to hire power drills locally from tool shops.
In addition to being decorated with stain, floors may be painted and special floor-quality paints are obtainable in a good range of colours. Preparation of floors for painting is the same as for staining. The paints are applied in the usual way with a brush. Floors may also be decorated with linoleum paint. This is sometimes described as liquid lino, and reliable proprietary brands are available. Lino paint is applied in the same way as other paints and it is advisable to apply two coats, the first one of which may be thinned up to 50 per cent of the bulk with turpentine substitute. The finish of these paints resembles linoleum and they are specially suitable for borders round the edge of carpeted floors. These liquid-lino paints may also be successfully applied over worn linoleum which they will revive to give it a greatly increased life.
Colouring Solid Floors:
Solid floors of stone or concrete may be coloured with tile polish or with liquid-lino paint. There are also obtainable proprietary brands of floor dressings which are combined stains and polishes. These are applied in the usual way with a brush, after the floor has been swept, scrubbed and allowed to dry. The floor dressing sinks into the concrete or stone and one application will last for several years.