It's time to finish the floor! We went for dark teak in the end, which in the samples looked great. But the sample had been watered down so I had a bit of a test run to see how much to water down. I went for 1 part stain and 1.5 part water. As it is a water based stain, the instructions said that you could dilute with water.
Eeek! So dark! At this point I panicked. But I had done too much to go back, so onwards I went!
I started under the stairs which would hopefully be hidden long term to figure out how much to water it down and how to apply it. I also tried wetting the brush as well as already having the stain watered down, but it was too hard to apply consistently.
It's not incredibly environmentally friendly, but I mixed up the stain in a foil tray. It was just the right size to hold as much as I needed, but also small enough to be portable. It is a bit lightweight though so I did have one incident where I accidentally knocked it over :-s
This was after the stain had dried, and you can see it has mellowed a heck of a lot since it first went on - phew!
Next up was varnishing. I used the complimentary Manns Extra Tough Floor Varnish, to go with the Manns Pine Floor Stain I had used earlier. It comes in Matt, Satin or Gloss, but apparently 3 coats (the recommended number of coats) of Matt is roughly the same sheen as 1 of satin, so we went for Matt. We are not a high gloss family! I find gloss things just show up so many imperfections, so if I could avoid that if possible (knowing there are plenty of imperfections on the floor) then that would probably be best.
I made sure to de-nib (rub down any raised grain) between coats too, with a pad that had been recommended during checkout of buying my supplies. I'm not sure if it made any difference but I did it anyway.
The stain has made the floor go slightly darker again, which is a slight shame as I loved the colour it had dried to after just the stain. Saying that though, I still love it a heck of a lot more than the original laminate that was there when we moved in!
The stain and varnish only took an hour to dry per coat so very quick really, but it has still been super tricky to try and get all the coats done! If it was a spare bedroom you would just paint yourself out the rrom and shut the door. As this is the hallway, it's so hard as you need to use it all the time! I ended up varnishing myself to bed, or varnishing my way out to work, so that it would have ample time to dry before I needed to walk on it again. There was one morning that I was up at 5.30am varnishing the floor before I went to work - nuts! I still have one more coat to do on a small area downstairs, but the rest of the hallway and landing have had the full 3 coats so I think that's pretty good going.