How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors:

10. Continue to soak the floor but now remove the solvent with paper towels. I soak the whole area I’m working on and roll out the towels to absorb the mineral spirits as they lay flat on the floor. Try to blot the solvent up. You will know when all the goop is off the floor when your white paper towels come wet but clean. Expect to use a lot of paper towels. Use the wash bottle to irrigate and remove any stripper that may have gotten stuck in gaps or holes.

11. Repeat this process row by row until the whole floor is done. I never do more than about 100 square feet per day. Then let the whole floor dry for 2 days. Don’t walk on it much as it now has no protection from water or dirt. And don’t smoke or strike a match around this solvent laden floor, else you will have no floor and no house.

12. When the floor is dry it should be quite a bit lighter in color unless it was previously stained. The stripper will not remove a dye or pigmented stain. All this solvent may have raised the grain a bit giving the floor a rough hairy appearance. This can be easily removed with a gentle sanding by hand (try a drywall pole sander) or if you have a large area you can rent a floor buffer and with a 100 grit screen disk polish the surface smooth again.

13. If the floor has darkened with age I sometimes apply a medium dark stain to the floor that helps even out the overall color. The Behr ® brand Oilwood pigmented stain, is quite easy to use, and can be applied several times to deepen and adjust the color. Or try Watco ® or Deft ® oil stain finishes. Because of their asphaltum base will show old sanding marks the least. Let these stains dry and apply 3 coats of polyurethane (oil based) finish scuff sanding and cleaning between coats. I’ve got a great article on “How to Apply Polyurethane without the Bubbles”.