Q: I’m through sanding and cleaning my floors and am getting ready to apply an oil based semi gloss finish. Someone told me to clean the floors with mineral spirits, is this true? Should I use mineral spirits on sanded wood?
A: I wouldn’t do that on bare wood. Just vacuum well, and if you like, wipe the floor down with a micro weave mop. Make sure there is no dust on window sills, etc., and no air movement across the floor while it sets up. Make sure your finish and applicators are clean and free of debris also.
Related Q: We are having unfinished sawn white oak installed and the installer used mineral spirits to show us the color of a few boards. There is a white residue on parts of the boards. We had the mill do a light wire brush and the installer was going to buff the floor before staining it. Will these marks buff out of the floor? Is it safe to use mineral spirits on unfinished hardwood? Would paint or laquer thinner be better? Thank you.
A: Mineral spirits, paint thinner (unless you mean turpentine), and varsol are all the same, though unless virgin mineral spirits is used there can be other contaminants in the mineral spirits. Having said that, I wouldn’t expect any issue with the spot. Get a piece of fine sand paper and give it a rub.
I would use water on the wood to give an indication of the colour of the wood if using an oil based finish. If it is non ambering water borne, best to apply a small sample with the finish. It dries fast and can be easily removed.