Are you dreaming of lush, light Nordic floors at home just like the ones you see in Scandinavian homes? Look no further, because her is as promised my step by step guide to stain your hardwood floors with white oil and create that Nordic feeling in your home.
Before we start I must warn you, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but once done they are very easy to keep. I first did this to the floors of my old home four years ago. Before that they were stained with white soap, which looks kind of similar, but takes a lot of effort to keep in my experience.
Ah, yes. Let’s begin!
This is what you need:
1 // sander (you can do without this one if you don’t have one)
2 // pads for the sander
3 // pad for the doodle bug (that I forgot to include in this photo – see photo 7)
4 // paint brush – the bigger the better! (get a good quality one otherwise the hairs will fall out and get stuck in the oil)
5 // floor oil – comes in neutral and (extra) white. I used this one in extra white
6 // turpentine – to clean the tools with
7 // wood cleaner/stripper
8 // scrubbing-brush
9 // special cloths for polishing
Also a few thick regular floor cloths and rubber gloves – unless you want your hands to get that Nordic look too!
This is what you do:
First you need to look at your wood floor. What kind of surface does it have? If it is varnished, you need to sand it down before you begin. If you are starting with a raw wood floor, like I did, you need to scrub it down – and I don’t mean just washing it. You need to strip the wood completely of all the soap, products and dust it has ever seen. This is where no. 7 & 8 come in.
Mix a big bucket of wood cleaner and water (follow the instructions on the bottle to get the right dosage). And fill two other buckets with fresh clean water. This is a two persons job – one will do the scrubbing, the other will get fresh, clean water (which you will need constantly). Make sure you have a few thick floor cloths in your reach. Now this is dirty and hard work! So take turns being the one who does the scrubbing and the one who gets clean water.
Use a floor cloth to wet a portion of the floor (4-5 floorboards if they are wide like mine – a few more if they are smaller). This is where you get down on your knees and start scrubbing. And I mean scrubbing! When you see the amounts of dirt that has been hiding in your floors, you will be shocked!
See? I’m not kidding. Now the trick is to always scrub in the same direction as the veins in the wood. Use the other floor cloth to soak op the dirt and dirty water and rinse with the clean water. A bucket of clean water wont be clean for long, so this is why you need a helper to constantly change the water in the buckets.
When the portion of floor boars you are working on are done, wash them with fresh clean water and then move on to the next portion. Continue till the whole floor is done.
The floor will need 24 hours to dry – don’t walk on it untill completely dry or you will leave footmarks.
24 hours later, you have a clean, dry floor ready to be oiled. If there are any marks that you couldn’t remove use a piece of soft sandpaper to get rid of it.
Vacuum the floor. You want a completely clean and even surface to work with.
Let the oiling begin! You want to shake that bottle of oil real good to make sure it is properly mixed before you begin. Get a disposable cup (wide enough to stick your brush in it) and pour some oil in that. Start in the far corner of the room. You want to paint a nice thick layer of oil on a portion of the floor – one floor board at a time. Keep going til you have covered about 5 floorboards (or an area small enough so that you can reach the board farthest away from you while never stepping on the boards with oil on). Again you want to follow the veins of the wood and go one board at a time.
Let is soak for about 15-20 min meanwhile you keep applying more and more oil to the dry spots, where the oil has completely soaked into the wood. If this keeps happening again and again, keep applying and let it soak for a bit longer.
Time to rub it in. When you are done you will have saved yourself 3-4 trips to the gym, as this is a great workout for your arms. If you have a sander attach the special pads to it and start rubbing the oil in. If you don’t have a sander, use the doodlebug instead. Honestly we used the doodlebug for the most part, as you have more control with this in hand and it is easier on your back as you can stand up while doing it as opposed to being on your knees with the sander in your hands.
Keep going till the oil is rubbed in evenly all over the portion you are working on.
Get out the special cloths for polishing. Cut them into smaller pieces and start polishing the floor. You want to use nice, round, even strokes. Make sure you don’t leave any wet spots or puddles of oil anywhere.
This portion is now done – repeat the whole procedure on the next portion. Keep going untill the whole floor is done. This is important – do NOT step on the floor once oiled.
As soon as you are done, clean the paint brush in turpentine. Make sure to collect all the cloths, pads etc. with oil on and soak them in water.
Warning: The cloths can ignite, so make sure to soak them in plenty of water and keep them in a metal tin or the likes untill you can dispose of them in the proper manner.
Let is dry for 24 hours. Make sure to let in fresh air as the oil have a very distinctive smell. Do NOT step on it at all for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours you can walk on the floor in bare feet. It will need 7 days to cure before you can walk on it in shoes. Also don’t drag any furniture across the floor for the first 7 days or it will leave marks. If you want to move in the furniture before the 7 days have passed, make sure to leave a piece of plastic or coarse paper between the floor and the furniture.
This is the look you will end up with. Same floor – hard to believe right?
In my experience, oiled floors are easy to keep. Note that I don’t have any pets and never wear shoes indoors. If you do have pets you might need to wash them a bit more often. You want to wash them with oilsoap – this is a soap that will clean your floor and at the same time add a little bit of extra oil to make up for wear and tear. I use this one, but there are other brands on the market.
My favourite thing about oil is that it adds a sort of membrane to the wood, so that if you spill something (let’s face it – who doesn’t?!) it will be easy to clean up as opposed to floors stained with white soap. Also when done properly, the oil will add a satin finish to the floor, that white soap doesn’t.
As long as you take good care of them, you won’t have to redo them in my experience. But if you do, I know there is a brush up oil on the marked, which doesn’t take as much effort as the original layer.
Be warned that it will take a lot of effort, but it is so worth it afterwards. I hope this guide will answer all your questions. If something isn’t clear or you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
If you go on to oil your floors after reading this guide, I would be very happy if you will come back and let me know. As I said in this post, this is one of the questions I get asked the most on both Instagram and the blog. So I hope this will be helpful. I know a few of you have waited for this – all across from Australia to the UK. I hope you will keep me posted.
Happy oiling my dears!
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