Where to begin with this one. I either start at the beginning, or just dive right in with the down and dirty, and believe me, there’s a lot of that. Wait until you hear this one.
The mudroom floor needed a redo. The dogs had scratched it up something awful, and just the heavy traffic alone, along with dirty garden shoes and boots mixed in for dessert made it look something like this:
I’ve wanted to paint the floor black and white striped for a long time. I thought the stripes would brighten the room and make it look a little more jazzy than just a room full of coats, jackets, etc. I got this crazy idea in my head that since the floor takes so much pounding and claws that I needed to apply a tough varnish to it. Like, really tough. Let’s say, like, marine varnish tough. Of course that would make sense. After all that’s what they paint over basketball courts, and look at all that foot traffic. (Forget about the peeps that polish and maintain those floors to keep up their shiny surface. Let’s just stick to my fables.)
Everything was going status quo. I cleaned out the room, sanded the floor and smoothed out the scratches, and I started to paint. Black stripes first, and then white.
Thennnnnnnn, I kicked in with the marine varnish. I wasn’t too intimidated working with it as I applied it to the door of the chicken coop, no problem. Well, there’s a huge difference in size between a floor and a door, but who’s keeping score here. Oh yeah, and, I watched a couple YouTube videos on how to apply. That right there should make me a pro. That’s hilarious.
Marine Varnish, basically, is liquid plastic that hardens in a quick fashion; in the right conditions, such as not cooler than 70 degrees. So when working with it, you must be swift, but not fast. Precise, but not slow. Focused, but thinking ahead. Heck, the stuff is more fickle than a child going through its terrible two’s. It doesn’t like to be rolled onto the surface ( I learned that the hard way) and it eats through a foam brush in about a minute and a half. (Found that out too.)
The marine varnish I use comes in two parts. Part A and Part B. Mix them equally, and stir, not vigorously, until well combined. So I poured my first round and I was off to the races. I got one board in, and the mixture hardened. Just like that. Like, to the point where I was jabbing it and it wouldn’t budge. Of course I was mad at myself because the stuff isn’t cheap; time is money, blah blah blah. I poured another round and decided to roll it on. Stupid, stupid idea. Air bubbles all over the place, not the least bit of a smooth finish and everywhere I rolled needed to be dried, then sanded, paint touched up, then start again.
After a sustainable pity party, I headed to a local mom and pop hardware store to buy more varnish and to get some advice. Found a knowledgable guy that offered up tons of know-how, from weighing the stuff for equal parts in weight, not by eye, and using a bristle brush is key. But since they didn’t have the varnish I was using, he sold me on some other stuff that would do the same thing.
Got home, opened it up, and the varnish had a brown tint. Big problem when you’re trying to varnish over white boards. But the can said “clear.” Now I’m really frustrated, hence pity party #2.
Desperate to get the job done, I painted on this varnish just on the black boards while I waited for my original varnish to come in the mail. And in a matter of a second, I swatted a mosquito away from my face, I sneezed, and our Bernese Mountain dog walked in front of my fan and everywhere I looked was a strand of his fur-hair. Varnish got on the white, I stepped wrong and more got on the white. It was a mess. Pity party #3, and poured myself a vodka tonic.
Received the A/B varnish and started again. I used an old scale and made sure I weighed the parts this time, which turned out to be a game changer. I measured out enough to get me through a couple boards until I needed to mix more. I applied with said brush, and moved slowly yet swiftly, and did everything in my power to make the coverage even and no feathered brush strokes. I had sanded and painted over the white boards that got the brown varnish inadvertently, and they got varnished, too. The caution tape went up, I got the fan set so it would circulate the entire floor, and no one walked into the room for 7 days.
On day eight, I did a test walk, in my socks, to see the progress and to pat myself on the back for a job well done. Third step in my sock stuck to the floor and came off my foot. I lost my footing and stepped in another sticky spot and I thought I was going to rip the skin off the bottom of my foot. I did a pivot and my other sock stuck. Purple sock fuzz got stuck on with every step. I finally got out the door, immediately pity party #4 arrived with great intensity, and I poured myself another vodka tonic. It was 10 a.m.
So this is what I’ve come up with: it’s a wicked hot summer in New York and the humidity is equally high. This is a major reason the varnish didn’t dry in the allotted time. And, after looking at the floor with some afternoon sun coming in, the varnish is uneven, feather-like, and the floor needs to be completely redone.
I have submersed myself in more YouTube videos, called the varnish company for more application info, and picked my handy man’s brain for advice. The common denominator is to put a space heater on the floor for the dry heat, but only after applying a truly even coat.
So I’ve tabled this project until August. Maybe even late August. I need a break from the mud room and the liquid plastic, and decided that running would be the best way to get out my frustrations. Until then, I hope you like the way this photoshopped floor is looking. You get my vision, right??
I am determined to make good on this floor. And I will. Fables of the marine varnished floor.