Step 6: Roll Out the Poly

applying polyurethane with long-handled roller to a freshly buffed wooden floor
Photo: Reena Bammi
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Pour out a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish in line with the grain—only as much as you can spread in 10 minutes. Using a long-handled roller with a ¼-inch nap cover, roll out the finish with the grain, then across it. Overlap each pass and work quickly to keep a wet edge. After 10 minutes, brush more finish along the edge, then pour and roll again for 10 minutes. Continue until the floor is covered. Wait 3 hours before recoating and a week before putting back furniture.

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    Tools List

    • terry cloth mop
      flat mop with terrycloth cover and microfiber cover
    • buffer
      floor buffer fitted with maroon buffing pad
    • shop vacuum
      vacuum fitted with clean filter
    • respirator
      respirator fitted with organic vapor canisters
    • watering can
      plastic watering can with sprinkler head removed
    • drywall bucket
      small plastic container
    • 3-inch wide paint brush
      3-inch wide paint brush
    • extension pole
      roller frame and extension pole

    Shopping List

    water-based polyurethane

    hardwood flooring cleaner

    180-grit sandpaper

    disposable booties

    cone filter