Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Shellacking Floors (Again!)

This weekend we were so busy, I am tuckered out! I was so excited about the extra day off I kept adding projects to the list. Ha! At the top of the list was re-shellacking the floors! I posted about the floors Here and Here previously.
Before - with all the furniture moved to one end.
The floors didn't fair very well this winter, especially in front of the door where snow and salt was tracked in. After mulling it over while waiting for the weather to warm; I came to the conclusion I made a few mistakes.
Mandy and I hard at work.
 (Mistake #1) When shellac is old it doesn't dry properly. Thus it is very important to get a good can of shellac, unfortunately it also has a very short shelf life. If the can is bulging or looking like it might explode in any way, pass it by! Shellac should also look like coffee with plenty of milk in it and not separated looking. (Mistake #2) On the back of the can it states, do not thin. I completely ignored this statement and thinned it out with denatured alcohol according to advice I read on the internet. (This was suppose to help it go on smoother.) Not good at all. Even though we did three or four coats the first time around, it wasn't even as thick as one non-thinned coat! There was such a world of difference this time. 
First coat on one side.
I must point out we love our wood floors, but didn't expect them to come out perfect. The floors are 90 years old and had paint splatters, pet stains, thousands of staple holes and discoloring from the sun. But we love them the way they are! And are happy to coexist with them. 
After- and so glossy!
One of the wonderful things about shellac is, unlike other finishes, you can add another coat at any time. When you apply another coat is softens the layer beneath and melds together. This is very good news for scratches and scuffs as applying a coat over them makes them disappear! (The very deep scratches didn't disappear completely, but they do look much better.) It also enabled us to do one side of the room at a time and one can't tell where we stopped or started!
After- second side.
  We used a gallon and a half of shellac on the living room and dining and it took us two days. The living room and front hall the first day and the dinning room and hallway the second day. About every hour and a half to two hours we would apply another coat. Then we let is dry overnight before shuffling the furniture to the other side. We are so excited to have it done! It is heavenly on bare feet! Though we have noticed if the humidity is high it gets a bit sticky, but it should harden completely in a week. (In a perfect world we probably shouldn't have moved the furniture in for a week, but ah well!)
After- through the front door.


  1. Thank you for the tips.
    Your home looks so cozy. Keep up the great work.

  2. Oh Heide! They are beautiful!!

    1. Thanks! Of course they were worth it! And really not as much work as I thought.

  3. Oh, they turned out beautifully! I really like that the shellac lets the grain and character show through.

    1. Thanks Kari! You are right, I do think the shellac lets the wood shine through. My brother-in-law says my floors have an "old library floor" look! They certainly aren't perfect, but there is still beauty in them.

  4. These are gorgeous! Want to come do ours? lol It's on our to-do list for the Summer, but so far, we've had no time to tackle it. Maybe next year? lol

  5. Beautiful floors....I miss my wood floors....can I tell you how much I hate carpeting..mine anyway. T hanks for the info on shellac too.