You’ve got the stain on and let it dry per the manufacturer’s directions. Now, it’s time to apply the Polyurethane. Because I was on a bit of a time crunch, I went with this fast-drying, water-based Varethane Semi-gloss Polyurethane, which only requires a couple hours between re-coats.
Applying Polyurethane is really simple. The first thing to do is to sweep and vacuum up your floor to get rid of any specs. Next, gently stir your poly and pour a little bit into a paint tray.
I used this applicator and pad attached to the end of a broom handle and it worked really well. When the Varethane polyurethane is wet, it’s white like Elmer’s Glue, but dries clear. Soak up a bit and apply it with the grain of your floor in long strokes. Pay attention to where the brush starts and stops each stroke, as you’ll need to smooth these areas out so there isn’t too much, or too little, applied. Slowly work your way through the floor, and make sure you don’t paint yourself into a corner.
Let the floor dry for the minimum amount of time. The instructions said you don’t need to sand between each coat, but I did anyway. I used 220-grit sheets of sandpaper and lightly hand-sanded the floor. Then I swept and vacuumed the dust up before the next coat.
I did four coats and let it dry for another 24 hours before moving the furniture back. The finish looks great! It’s got an almost plastic look to it.
One of the nice things about the water-based polyurethane is that it cleans up with soap and water, so it’s easy to clean up the brushes between each coat.
If I had more time, I think the oil-based Polyurethane might have been a more durable choice. I’m already seeing scratches from the dogs’ claws, but hopefully those are just happening in the “hardening” phase, which is about a month.