Excess stain wasn’t wiped off

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Q: I paid a handyman to stain pine floors I had just put in. Came back 4 hours after he was done and the floors still look VERY wet. After asking him several questions, I find out that he “painted” the floor with stain, never stopping to wipe off excess. Do I have to re-sand? If so, how long do I wait? For reasons not to discuss here, the project needs to be done in the next 48 hours.

A: How does the floor look? Like paint? You might be able to ‘get lucky’ because it is soft wood. Are you using a water borne coating? If the stain isn’t 100% dry, all the solvents having left the stain, your finish will likely peel off. You could try coating a board behind a door or in a closet to see how it reacts before proceeding.

Follow-up Q: Thank you very much for replying. I’m in serious need of help here. The stain applied is Minwax oil based from home depot. Right now it’s just stain, nothing on top of that. He put down way too much and never wiped off excess. Can I use a solvent to remove excess off the top of the wood? It looks like it will never dry.

A: Try mineral spirits. Don’t leave the rag laying around after and be careful of fumes. It might help, or it might make the floor blotchy. Apparently the guy not only didn’t know what he was doing, but he didn’t know how to read either.

If you finish with a solvent or oil based finish you won’t have to worry about a bit of solvent since there won’t be any compatibility issues there.

Follow-up Q: Mineral spirits works great. Thank you. It’s taking me about 10 minutes per sq ft. At 400 sq ft, that’s 66+ hours. At least it’s progressing, but that’s a bunch of elbow grease. First sq ft took almost 20 min of scrubbing. So then I started soaking several sq ft at once and keeping them wet with mineral spirits. That loosens it up a little, and now I’m down to 10 min. Anything else you can think of to speed it up a little more? I really appreciate your time and help. Thanks again.

A: Perhaps 000 steel wool. Good thing you didn’t apply any finish. It likely would have peeled off.

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