After days of sanding we finally got all of the paint off the floor and the scrapes were looking as good as they were going to get, so we decided it was time to move forward.
While we were researching this process I had in my mind two steps that were going to go down—sanding, and putting down the poly. I was sorely mistaken, however, because dust removal is no joke and deserves to be a step all of its own. I wrote earlier that the dust was rather underwhelming in its terror, but while it wasn’t flying around choking me to death, it was quietly settling on everything. Particularly the floors that now needed to be coated in polyurethane.
From what we had heard, vacuuming was our best option to get this stuff off the floor. We even rented a vacuum but soon discovered that all it did was suck up the dust in a small track and leave all the dust everywhere else. So then we tried a method of sweeping up the dust then vacuuming up the pile and that worked kind of but not great. So we alternated the sweeping and the vacuuming until we got smart and bought some tack clothes. If you don’t know what they are, they’re these cheesecloths covered in beeswax so they are sticky. You rub them all over the floor and they pick up the dust beautifully! We tack clothed everything, then left for the night so the dust could settle before doing it again in the morning before we put down the sealant. We went through about a million packs of those guys but they’re cheap and, most importantly, our floors were dust free!
After the dust eradication we poured the poly into a paint tray and got ready. To spread the sealer around you get pieces of lambswool that attach to a wooden block. You screw a broom handle into this and basically just mop the floor with the grain. We were mildly terrified about this step because people tell you horror stories about screwing it up and then being stuck with it forever, but really, this was by far the easiest thing we had done since starting the whole process. You just mop the floor. You do have to be careful to not leave a edge too long or it will dry and leave a line, but we worked quickly and it wasn’t a problem. After the floor dried for a few hours we lightly sanded it, tack clothed, and repeated the process twice again.
And now our floors look beautiful.