Day 10. The waxing day.
So today is the day I most dreaded. Much of this process was new and scary to me, but for most of it I had some sense of what I should do. Some guide, some hint of the right thing to do. Well, I guess I had a hint about the waxing, but much less than any other part. The video wasn’t that helpful, and the voiceover guy in the video turned out to have been reading almost exactly word for word the instructions on the wax can. So, I got no new information there.
Not really having a sense of how to do this is part of what convinced me to go seek contractor help in the first place. But as it turns out, I rented the equipment Saturday and Joe wasn’t ever intending to work over the weekend in the first place. So, the floor machine is due back Monday by 8:00AM.
One of the bits of information that I did glean from the instructions are that mineral spirits can be used to “soften wax ridges” and help deal with excess wax and although I had lacquor thinner from earlier, I didn’t have mineral spirits, so I went back to Lowes to get that and look for something I could use to attach to my drill that would act in the corners like the big floor machine acted on the rest of the floor. I didn’t find anything, though I did get a buffing pad for it (which I ended up hardly using).
Opening the first can of wax, it seems really watery, but the top of the can has a thick waxy layer on it. I’m confident that it is not mixed well, so I go hunting for a stir stick. I kick myself for not picking some up at Lowes while I was there, but it didn’t occur to me that the wax might have separated until I opened the can. I have lots of spare wood around, so I pull out my hand saw and slice a strip off a 1-foot piece of 2×6 I have lying around, and use it to stir the wax. Sure enough, it had separated, and the stirring seemed to help quite a bit.
I start hesitantly with a hand brush in a corner that’s not particularly visable. It goes on fairly easily, so I take to the machine working on the concave corners by hand, but counting on the machine to get close enough to the walls in the straight sections that it won’t matter.
The instructions say to pour out “no more than 1/4 cup” in the center of the four-foot area you want to work on. (so, a teaspoon is no more than 1/4 cup, and is that a 4 foot by 4 foot area (16 sq ft) or a 2′ x 2′ area (4 sq ft)). I’m really not sure how much to put down. I start rather hesitantly, spooning some wax out onto the floor with a plastic spoon and don’t need to spend nearly the 4-5 minutes “burning the wax in” in the spots as the directions indicate. To my knowledge, I never burned anything. As the floor goes on, my patches get bigger and bigger until near the end I’m probably dumping 1/2 a cup of the wax down and spending 5-6 minutes spreading it around. The wax is much thicker in person than it appeared on the video too. It gums up the brush on the floor machine I rented, and continues to be extremely gross on my back deck slab thingie as I write this. Oh well, we’ll see what the cost of that is when I return to the rental place tomorrow morning.
First coat goes down kind of slowly, but gets better as it goes along. Then comes a light buffing with a medium bristle brush, which is pretty uneventful. Since I want “a little more protection,” I put down a second coat. It goes down like the best of the first coat. Big chunks done at one time. All told, the second coat takes me much less than half the time of the first, and not just because I skip the areas I did by hand the first time. Another buffing with the medium bristle brush and then another buffing with a buffing pad. And I’m done. It’s a little past 5:00 on Sunday the weekend after the weekend I started and I have nothing more to do to the floor itself. There’s still a fair bit of work to do. Shoe moulding needs to be put into place, some sort of border needs to be down at the carpet edges and around the parquet entranceway, the baseboard should probably be painted (so should the walls for that matter, but I don’t have the patience for that right now), and so on. But the floor itself was finished today.
I think it looks great. The color is good (even if it didn’t take well everywhere), there is funkiness (character!) all over the floor, and I really didn’t know what it was going to look like when I finished, but it’s right. It doesn’t look like the slab I started with, that’s for sure. I encourage the local (non-residential) Casagatans to come see it Monday or Tuesday before it gets furniture, area rugs, etc. on it. I’ve posted some new pictures too, but I don’t know how well they really convey the appearance.