Weekend #11 – How to Whitewash or Pickle Wood Floors… Or not

I’ve been researching online how to whitewash our living room floor.  Every set of directions I came across uses whitewashing and pickling interchangably.  That is, until I came across the latest set of directions on the DIY network.  Apparently whitewashing is best suited for pine wood, whereas pickling is best used for oak wood.

It looks like our floor is oak wood.  Correct me if I’m wrong. 

So what’s the difference between whitewashing and pickling?  I was trying to figure that out myself.  It sounds like when you’re whitewashing, you’re wiping the paint with the grain.  When you’re pickling, you’re wiping the paint against the grain to make sure the paint gets into the pores.  Apparently oak floors have large pores. 
It sounds like I’ll be “pickling” our floor .  Whether you’re whitewashing or pickling, the goal will be same – trying to stain the floor while allowing the wood grains to show through. 
If you can’t tell from reading my previous posts, then let me tell you – I like making up my own set of directions.  Usually I research quite thoroughly how to do something.  I would go to forums to see if there are novel suggestions.  And if something doesn’t make sense to me, I would type the question in google search and see what comes up.  From all that, I would compile my own set of directions of doing something based on the supplies we have on hand or what we can buy economically. 
Here are my compiled instructions for pickling our oak floor:
1. Clean the floor thoroughly with a mild detergent.  (If I remember correctly, someone suggested somewhere to used a mild detergent and not your typical wood floor cleaner because it wouldn’t leave any residue). 
2. Sand the floor to remove any varnish.  Sanding also raise the grain so it will show through the white stain. 
3. Prepare the white stain mixture.  1 part white paint and 1 part water.  You can do more or less of this depending on the opacity you want.  You can also buy white stain made for whitewashing or pickling.  Since we have leftover white floor paint that we used on the kitchen floor, I’m just going to make my own stain rather than buying it. 
4.  Use a paint roller to apply the white stain to the floor.  Wipe the stain against the grain to get it into the pores. 
5.  Use a clean rag to wipe off excess stain. 
6.  If you noticed that the stain is uneven, lighter or darker in some areas, then you can use a dry brush to even it out.
7.  After white stain has dried, apply a coat of poly.  Repeat as necessary.  We’re using the same poly we used on the kitchen floor.  The direction said to put down a minimum of four coats of poly. 

I made a schedule for us so that we can efficiently pickle our oak floor and put down all four coats of poly on a Friday night. We’re basically pulling an all-nighter. Yea, we hardcore like that.

I had to wait for KT to come home before we start pickling. He has the final say on how dark or “white” he wants the stain since this is his room to decorate.

We started at 8:15PM. I rolled down the first layer of the white stain. KT wasn’t totally sure he wanted the white so transparent. So we gave it a few more minutes for the paint to dry a little more so he won’t be wiping off so much of the stain. Still didn’t like it. Tried evening out the stain with a dry brush. KT wants it whiter still.

Finally we decided we’re just going to paint the floor white. Which means we’re not going to finish tonight. Silent sigh of relief. We can go to sleep tonight after the second coat of paint.

Here it is after the first coat of paint.

I know the angle is a little weird. I have to take it from the kitchen to avoid stepping on the fresh paint. We also can’t use the bathroom until the paint dries enough for light foot traffic.

Second coat of paint went down around 1AM.  We have to let the paint dry “overnight” before putting down the poly.  We couldn’t quite figure out how many hours “overnight” equates to, so we just waited until the paint was no longer tacky before we started on the poly.

On Saturday, our schedule basically revolves around the drying schedule of the paint and poly.  After every coat of poly, we let it dry for two hours.  We put down the third coat of poly at 2AM.  Fourth and final coat of poly went down this morning. =)  How does it look? (Yea, that’s my hand print on the purple wall from when I was sanding the floor.  I’ll clean it off later).

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