How To Refinish The Top Floor Flooring In Your Brownstone In Anticipation Of Renting It Out

If you're looking to rent out the top floor of your family brownstone, then a great way to make it more attractive to potential tenants is to consider floor refinishing. This is an easy way to make the space look attractive, and it is something you can do without spending too much money. Because you are dealing with the top floor in a brownstone, and you and your family live there while you are working, there are few special methods that you will need to consider. Here's a quick guide to get you started.

Liquid Strippers Are Your Friend

The old stain and cracked poly needs to be removed from the floorboards. There are two ways to do this. The first involves heavy machines that sand the floors. These work well, but you would have to rent them and then carry them upstairs. As everyone who lives in a brownstone knows, stairs are narrow, and carrying a heavy-duty sanding machine up three flights would be incredibly strenuous. So, you should use a liquid stripper.

The important part is that you get one that has very little fumes. Even if you're not staying in the top floor, the fumes from most chemical strippers will waft down. This can give you and your family headaches. You can find these at your local home improvement center by asking for indoor-safe, low-fume stains.

The chemical stripper will be applied with a foam paintbrush. After it has sat on the floorboards for the required time (consult with the directions on the container) you will remove it with rags, a paint scraper, and possibly a heavy bristle brush. Finally, clean the floor with mineral spirits. These evaporate and won't soak into the floor and damage it like soap and water would.

Water Based Stain Not Oil

When you're ready to stain the floorboards make sure to choose a water based stain and not an oil based stain. The reason for this has to do with fumes. Again, you don't want heavy fumes to waft downstairs into your families main living area. Water based stains don't have the same heavy smell that oil stains do. Of course, you should still properly ventilate when working.

You should look to get a wipe on stain. It's easier to apply than stains that require you to brush them on. Wipe on stains eliminate the problem of brush strokes that many first time DIY's struggle to deal with.

Wipe On Poly

Finally, you should apply a wipe on poly. If you leave the stain on bare, then the first time the tenant spills wine or food on the floor and cleans it up with a wet rag, the stain will begin to wipe off. Poly will seal the floor and allow them to clean the floor without damaging the stain. You should only apply one coat. Multiple coats can be tricky because you might get bubbles or high spots. Expert floor refinishers use machines that scratch the top-coat and then allow second, and third coats, but for your purposes one properly applied coat of poly should suffice.