Can you use paint thinner to pre-condition a new pine floor?

Q: Can you use paint thinner to pre-condition a new pine floor instead of the min-wax pre-conditioner? A paint guy told us to just use paint thinner. It’s cheaper – $300 cheaper, but I’m not so sure of his guidance. 

A: These so called ‘conditioners’ are for the DIY crowd who don’t know what they are doing. I’ve never and would never use them. The difficulty with pine staining is of course, how soft the wood is. It is very easy to get a blotchy look and lap marks. First, you are better off using a Dura Seal stain, Quick Coat. This is their commercial stain line and can be purchased from wood floor retailers. You need to apply the stain row by row, with the grain. Limit the width of the rows to 2 feet or so if you feel more comfortable because you do have to work promptly. Apply with a rag, on hands and knees. Soak the cloth. Don’t let it sit in one spot. Keep it moving. Overlap when you have to soak it again. Then go back and wipe off the excess before proceeding to the next row.

Follow-up: Thanks for your insight. This is incredibly helpful.

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