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How to varnish painted wood floors

Updated March 23, 2017

Painting a wood floor adds instant life to a room, but furniture and shoes can leave unsightly scratches and scuffs. Minimise the problem by adding a coat of varnish. Keep in mind, however, that not all painted wood floors can be varnished.

Allow the paint on the wood floors to dry for at least seven days.

Test the varnish on an inconspicuous spot--ideally, a 1-foot square section. Apply the varnish with a badger-hair paint brush or sponge paint pad.

Watch the area for three days. If you notice any peeling, blistering or other defects, do not varnish your painted floors.

Use a craft knife to cut an X into the varnished area. Try to peel the varnish up from the paint. If you can peel it up, the varnish won't stick to the paint, so do not varnish the floors.

Use a sponge roller or badger-hair roller to apply varnish in strips from one wall to the other, moving with the grain of the wood.

Work quickly and carefully. If the varnish dries before you apply the neighbouring strip, there will be a ridge between the two sections.

Allow the varnish to dry, untouched, for 24 hours.

Check the floor for imperfections. If you notice any, add another coat of varnish. Alternately, lightly sand the area, then add another coat of varnish. Use 2400-grit sandpaper and an orbital sander on the lowest setting.

Things You'll Need

  • Varnish
  • Brush
  • Craft knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Sander
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About the Author

Casey Holley is a medical writer who began working in the health and fitness industries in 1995, while still in high school. She has worked as a nutrition consultant and has written numerous health and wellness articles for various online publications. She has also served in the Navy and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health administration from the University of Phoenix.