Home Improvement Questions? Ask a Handyman for Answers
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If you plan on doing this yourself your best bet is to rent a large format random orbit sander. It takes 24" square sheets of sandpaper. It is far easier to control than a typical drum type sander rental which I would avoid since this is your first attempt. you can edge with a hand held random orbit. Doing the entire floor with a hand held is not practical and could leave divots if you aren't 100% careful 100% of the time. Minwax makes first rate stains and finishes. I'd use Minwax Polycrylic as a finish coat.
would like more specifics please, how much stain and poly to purchase, how to apply both, drying time, also are there any great "how to" videos online?
You apply the stain with a brush or a rag. Brush or wipe it on, let it set for ~5 minutes then wipe off the excess. If the color isn't dark enough you can apply 1 more coat (only 1 more) after the first coat has dried for 24 hours. Once the stain is dry you apply the Poly. It's normally applied with a wool applicator but this is tricky so using a brush is best for a first timer. Be careful stirring the poly in the can you don't want to stir fast or shake the can which will introduce air bubbles into the Poly which will transfer to the floor. You want to apply at least 2 coats minimum 3 is better. Follow directions on the Poly can. You can search YouTube for videos. I don't know and can't recommend any from first hand experience with these DIY videos. BTW I'd shop around for more quotes. $5k is outrageous for 500 sq ft. Here in the Boston area the going rate is more like $2 a sq ft.
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