How to sand, stain and finish pine flooring

Q: We’re installing pine flooring. I’ve searched your site and can’t find your recommendation for the proper sanding, staining and finishing technique. Should the floor be sanded prior to staining? What type of stain? What type of finish? I’m a newbie to wood floors..

A: All wood needs to be sanded prior to staining and finishing. Pine can be challenging because it is so soft and the sand paper can leave scratches, especially with the edger. I’d probably start with 50 grit on the big sander. 60 grit on the edger. 80 grit on the big sander. 100 grit on the edger. Finally 100 grit on the big sander. I prefer a random orbital sander rather than orbital because it tends to leave fewer marks. any abrasive that picks up some pitch or resin, even a tiny particle will leave squiggle marks. Special attention needs to be given to the edges, hunting down and removing fine edger scratches. I use 80 grit on the random orbit sander for this. I also generally go over the entire floor with this tool. Then proceed as normal. Vacuum and stain. I like Dura Seal Quick Coat. It dries reliably and contains some polyurethane resin. Love Poloplaz Primero polyurethane. it is a tough finish that dries well and cures fast.

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