At this point your floor should be all clean and flat, ready to be stained if is the case or just coating with polyurethane and that can be oil or water base, this will depend of the preference and application of the floor.
THE SHINE YOUR FLOOR DESERVE
Stain is an oil based product that gives a seal and color to the floor. Stain is applied by hand with a trim brush around the edges and cotton cloths on the rest of the floor. Stain must be immediately wiped off after application and, in most cases, steel wool is used to pick up excess stain and smooth out the floor. When stain or finish is applied, the wood grain is raised and becomes rough. Steel wool knocks the grain back down, smooths, and helps seal the floor.
In the case of finish being applied, steel wool is not used, but the screening process between coats serves the same purpose. The floor must be screened (abraded) in between coats of finish, because the first coat raises the grain and the grain must be knocked down smooth. Once the finish is no longer raising the grain, the floor needs to be abraded to give some teeth for subsequent to adhere to.
The Finished Floor
Separations in the floor (gaps) are not uncommon. Gaps are mainly a seasonal condition. The wood expands in the more humid months and helps close gaps in the wood. In dryer months, as in the winter, gaps become obvious because the wood contracts with lack of moisture (humidity). These types of gaps are considered normal. Filling these gaps is not recommended, because with expansion and contraction of the wood, filler will pop out and sometimes unevenly. This makes the floor look worse than the original gap, being filled in parts and unfilled in other. As far as gaps are concerned, every floor and home is different and each floor can react differently even if the floor is on the same level as another in the home. One can have larger gaps as much as maybe an eighth to a quarter inch, while the other floor has virtually no gaps at all.
Finished floors in an uncontrolled environment may have small dust particles, animal, or human hair in the finish even after the final coat. Obviously, we try to produce the perfect floor with no imperfections, but, if you do happen to see particles or a hair in the finish, you can use a fingernail to remove these. These should not be widespread across the entire floor, but it can occur in a small amount. Small imperfections in high traffic areas will wear down under normal traffic.
Wood is a natural product and has imperfections at times. This is an aspect of the beauty and character of hardwood and should be enjoyed.
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