Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Err of one's ways...


On my list of things to do during my unemployment, I wanted to remove the carpet from the landing halfway up the stairs. It had "that odor" that at some point it had been used inappropriately by perhaps one or several of the cats-which is why they are all pretty much banned from the house.

So, I pulled up the carpet and took it out to the street for the pick up guy. I was pleased to discover that there was no damage to the floor underneath. It was still funky though as the PO didn't bother with cleaning or stripping it before adding another layer or two of poly to the thing. Ewww.

So, I stripped it all with a liquid stripper and got all of it off. As I went along, I washed it down with some warm water and Dawn (that stuff is coming in pretty handy) and cleaned all the extra mess off.

Between the time I finished stripping it and the time I came back to it, it had been a couple of days. I was definitely procrastinating, but finally I got the sander out and sanded it down. I didn't want it to be perfect since I wanted some of the history to remain. With the sanding done, I gave it a good vacuum to get all the dust off and put a nice coat of varnish on it and sat back waiting for it to dry.

Several days later, it seemed like it was kinda dry, but still a little sticky. Never had that happen before. No clue as to what went wrong until I was thinking about it today and reviewing the process I used. Somewhere between the late night I got the stuff all stripped off and the day I sanded, I forgot to do one crucial step. Paint stripper is a mineral spirit clean-up product. At no point did I deactivate it with the mineral spirits! Crap! So, I did the mineral spirit clean-up today-not that it's going to help since the damage is already done, but if it's wrecked already, might as well use the experience to see what all the consequences of doing it the wrong way are.

The problem is, for anyone unfamiliar, that the stripper continues to try to strip if you don't get all of it off. It isn't as potent as it is when it's fresh, but the new finish still won't adhere properly. So, this is what is happening on some of the boards on the landing. You can kind of scratch some of it off with a fingernail. Nice. Anyway, I slapped another coat of varnish on it just to see what happens. I'm guessing this will need to be restripped, but if it will hold up til I strip the rest of the baseboards, I'll handle it then. In the meantime, I'll probably run some experiments on it just for the sake of education.

I checked it out an hour ago. It seems to be drying. By morning maybe it will be dry and I can postpone a restrip for a week or so. I does look better just the same. What I think is interesting is that you can see where the area near the newel post didn't get any wear and is still kind of light colored. Never noticed that before.

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