Everything You Need to Know to Refinish Hardwood Floors with Bless’er House

By: Minwax Partner

A step-by-step tutorial for refinishing an existing hardwood floor, including a complete list of materials and tips for a seamless process.

This post is sponsored by Minwax.

Ever since we moved into this house last year, I couldn’t WAIT for when I could go all #demoday on this bedroom.

Rip down the valance, paint those greenish walls, pull out the ceiling fan, the whole nine yards.

But the one thing that excited me the most was ripping up this carpet just to see if my gut feeling was correct.  There HAD to be hardwood floors underneath, right?  I mean, that’s how all happily ever afters in home renovations start.

Robert pulled up a corner of the old carpet, and we held our breath just hoping and crossing our fingers.  Lo and behold, we. were. right!

The original hardwood floors were in fantastic shape, so Robert and I did cartwheels and victory booty dances to celebrate.  (Well, okay, we victory shimmied… because doing a cartwheel when you’re 7 months pregnant is not exactly a piece of cake.)

The number one priority once we started embarking on our nursery makeover journey was dealing with this floor.  And since we were knocking out this big job in my third trimester when I can’t do any hard labor or be around fumes, we knew we had to call in the pros for this one.

So if any of y’all are planning to go through the same hardwood refinishing process in the near future, I thought I’d share all of the details and materials we used to help yours go smoothly.

But first… Exhibit A.  The original state of our floors.

Those lovely black spots aren’t mold, if that’s what you’re thinking.  They’re just remnants from the old carpet pad.

Supplies Used:

We handed over the job to our contractor who ripped out the old carpet and pad to see the full scope of what we were dealing with.

The Steps:

  1. To remove the carpet, use the hammer and pry bar to remove the quarter round molding from your baseboard.  Then, pull up the carpet from the corners and cut sections with a utility knife as needed.

Make sure to wear safety glasses, a dust mask, and knee pads when necessary. It’s a good idea to turn off your HVAC unit, open windows, and seal off vents with plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to prevent dust from seeping into the rest of your house.

2. After you haul out the old carpet and pad, remove staples from the floor using the locking pliers.

3. Once all of the carpet and padding was hauled away and the staples were removed, our contractor sanded around the edges and corners of the floor first with 180 grit sandpaper to remove the existing stain where the large floor sander wouldn’t be able to reach.

4. Then remove the existing stain on the rest of the hardwoods using a large floor sander.  You can usually rent a floor sander for a day from your local hardware store, if you’re choosing to do the job yourself.

5. Once all of the sanding is finished, remove the sanding dust leftover on the floor using a shop vac and tack cloth.

6. Then stain!  Our contractor was able to match our existing refinished hardwood floors to Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stainin the color Provincial. (If you want a better idea for other stain color options, you can check out this postwhere we tested a few.)

Wear a respirator mask and knee pads for this task, and start in the far corner opposite from the door in the room.

Use a Purdy lambskin staining pad to work in sections by applying the stain and wiping away the excess, always in the direction of the wood grain.

Repeat the process all across the floor until you have worked your way out of the door (because nobody wants to stain Baby into a corner).

Let the stain dry on the floor for at least 24 hours (hot, humid conditions may take longer).

Here’s what our floor looked like just after the stain was applied:

7. When the floor is fully dry after staining, apply the sealer step.

Start again with the edges/corners of the floor by applying Minwax Super Fast Drying Polyurethane for Floors using a Purdy XL 2.5″ angled brush.  Make sure not to overwork the polyurethane.  Just brush it on in one smooth stroke at a time.

Once the edges and corners have sealer applied, start again in the far corner opposite from the door just like you did with the stain and roll on more polyurethane using a Purdy lambskin roller in a smooth, even coat.

We chose a satin sheen for ours.

Once the polyurethane is dry (after about 4 hours), apply one more coat in the same way.

Let the sealer dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it again, and even then make sure not to drag furniture and always wear just socks or covers over your shoes to avoid any damage before it cures.

8. For routinely cleaning the floors, we use Minwax Hardwood Floor Cleaner.  But wait at least a week after your floors have been sealed before using it.

Squirt it on and mop and you’re done.  I love that I don’t have to mess with a bucket and rags.

The entire refinishing job took about 4 days to complete from start to finish.  (If you’re a local to the Charlotte area, we used The Hardwood Giant Co, and they were awesome.)

It’s definitely not a quick, simple job, but walking into this room to see this gorgeous floor gleaming in its newly refinished beauty was totally worth every bit of it.

Now that this nursery floor is finished, we still have Robert’s office left as the only carpeted room in the house.  And I’m betting my bottom dollar there are hardwoods hiding underneath just begging to see the light of day too.

Since I won’t be pregnant when we give that space a big makeover, I’m really tempted to do that one ourselves.

But it was a great lesson to see how the pros handle it this time around.


DIY Wall Cabinets with 5 Storage Options

By: Brad Rodriguez

I’ve needed to upgrade my shop cabinets for awhile now, and I wanted something with lots of storage.  These DIY wall cabinets with five storage options was the solution I came up with.  With this system you can build custom DIY shop cabinets to fit your specific needs.  You can even add the door storage options to existing wall cabinets you already have installed!

I love the way these storage cabinets turned out, and the Polycrylic from Minwax really protects and seals my cabinets.  Thanks to Minwax for sponsoring this build!

How to Build DIY Wall Cabinets with 5 Storage Options

Before we get started, make sure to follow me on YouTubeFacebook and Instagram to keep up with all my latest builds!

Here is what you’ll need for the project:


DIY Wall Cabinet PlansClick Here For Plans

How to Build DIY Wall Cabinets

  1. Breakdown Plywood Parts
  2. Prep Dividers and Adjustable Shelves
  3. Assemble Cabinet Frames
  4. Build Shelves and Door Racks
  5. Assemble and Attach Door Rack
  6. Build an Prep Doors
  7. Apply Finish and Install Cabinets

I’ve had cheap particle board cabinets in my shop for years, and they were great…until this happened.  Yeah, the right one literally fell apart from the weight and dropped down 2 inches. So I threw a wood peg leg on it decided it was time to upgrade my cabinet game and started these DIY wall cabinets.

The old shop cabinets are made from ½” particle board and knockdown hardware with no back.  I wanted the new cabinets to be heavy duty and able to hold a ton of weight, so I’m using ¾” Baltic Birch Plywood for the carcass and I’ll have a full ½” back to tie it all together.

1. Breakdown Plywood Parts for Wall Cabinets

I started by breaking down the plywood into the right widths for the frame of the wall cabinets.  Labeling your parts is a great way to keep them organized.  There’s nothing worse than realizing you drilled into or cut down the wrong piece because you grabbed the wrong one.

The tops, bottoms and sides are the same for both cabinets and I cut them to width using my crosscut sled and a stop block on my fence.

Shop Organization

2. Prep Shop Cabinets for Dividers and Adjustable Shelves

One of the storage options for the DIY wall cabinets is to make flexible cubby storage with removable dividers.  I’ve found the easiest way to cut the slots for the dividers is to cut slots in a larger piece then cut it into two perfectly matching pieces.

DIY Shop Organization

The slots are sized for ¼” plywood and I made the cuts in two passes using a test piece to get exactly the right fit for my plywood.

When I was finished I ripped the piece down to a bottom and center shelf for cabinet B.  And the slots will line up just right at assembly.

Before assembly the sides need a few more steps done.  I’m attaching the ½” back into a recessed rabbet on the sides.  I switched over to my dado blade to make the rabbet cut, but this could also be made in two passes with a regular blade or with a router bit.

I used a test cut here to make sure my setup gave a good fit.  Then I made the rabbet cut on the inside back edge of each side.

Several of the storage options come from a variety of different shelves in the cabinets.  Drilling the shelf pin holes now before assembly is much easier than after it’s together.  I used my shelf pin jig to drill holes on all of the appropriate pieces for the adjustable shelves.

For the center divider I made holes on one side then drilled straight through that hole to make the holes for the other side.

3. Assemble DIY Wall Cabinets Frames

The bottoms and tops are joined into the sides to keep a clean exterior for the cabinet.  I used 1-¼” pocket screws and a corner clamp to hold things tight while I secured the bottom to the side.

I finished up the frame assembly for cabinet A attaching the top to the side then putting the remaining side on and securing everything with screws.  The key during assembly is to make sure all the front faces are flush and the corners are square.

The center divider for cabinet A went in next.  The divider was held in place flush with the back with a long clamp.  Then I predrilled through the top and bottom and secured the divider in place with 1-¼” screws checking for square as I went.

Cabinet B is assembled much the same way as cabinet A.  The only difference is having the center shelf instead of the center divider.  I used wooden spacers to get consistent spacing between the bottom and center shelf and attached everything together with pocket screws.

Then I measured the shop cabinets and cut the backs to size from ½” plywood.  The backs sit in the recessed rabbet on the sides but fully overlap the top and bottom.  I laid down a bead of glue all around the perimeter then secured the back onto the cabinets with brad nails on the sides and 1-¼” screws into the top and bottom.

4. Build DIY Wall Cabinet Shelves and Door Racks

All the shelves in cabinet A are made from ½” plywood.  I ripped a few strips to width on the table saw then cut them down to length based on my cut list.  Check out my detailed plans that have a full cut list, parts list and step by step instructions.

The right side shelves will just hold cans, but the left side of the cabinet will hold spray cans.  I used a small strip of ½” ply as a lip to tilt the cans towards the back.  Then  I laid out 5 marks on the strip and made a small notch on the back side of the spacer strips with a chamfer bit in my router.  This was just enough to hold the cans in place and keep them from rolling.

Then I glued and nailed the strips to the shelves and moved onto the shelves and inserts for cabinet B.

The top of this cabinet gets a full length shelf.  I used ¾” plywood for this one to prevent sagging since it runs the width of the cabinet.  This is a basic but great storage option for your wall cabinet.

For the lower cubbies I cut down ¼” plywood into a series of small panels that I’ll slide into place later.

5. Assemble and Attach Cabinet Door Racks

If you’re not ready to build shop cabinets yet these door racks could be a great way to add some storage to your current setup.  The racks are made from ½” plywood that I cut a to size per my cut list to make four different size racks and holders.

To give the door racks a little refinement I laid out a curve on the top corners of the sides using a small section of PVC pipe to trace a nice radius.  After that I taped each pair of sides together and cut the majority of the corner off at the bandsaw.

Then I went over to the spindle sander and sanded down to my line.  This can easily be done with a jigsaw and hand sander as well.

I started off making the racks for tall items using a right angle block clamped down to the bench I attached the sides and fronts with a 23 gauge pin nailer and glue.

The final two door racks are a series of small shelves with lips.  I switched over to my 18 gauge brad nailer and just held the parts in place.  The brad nails held together way better. I was trying to hide the holes better with the 23 gauge nailer, but it just isn’t beefy enough.

You could also use screws obviously, but this is a quick and easy method and the wood glue along should be plenty strong to hold it all together when dry.

6. Build and Prep Doors for the DIY Wall Cabinets

The last thing I needed before final assembly was the doors for the wall cabinets.  I cut the doors from ¾” plywood and used a large sheet to get continuous grain between them.  I laid out the locations for the hinges on both the doors and cabinet bodies.

I’m using full overlay European door hinges.  Using my concealed hinge jig I drilled holes for the hinge cups on the doors at the marks I’d made earlier and drilled two small pilot holes for the screws.  The hinges fit right in the holes and stay out of the way.

To hold up to the extra weight of the door racks and contents I’m using three hinges per door.

On the shop cabinet side I used a template from the hinge packaging to lay out for the mounting plates.  I marked the locations and drilled pilot holes for installation later.

7. Apply Finish and Install DIY Wall Cabinets

To give the DIY wall cabinets some protection I’m using Polycrylic from Minwax, the sponsor of today’s project.  It’s a water based durable protective finish that goes on easy with a foam brush and dries quickly.

I’ve been using this finish on all my shop cabinetry and I love the low VOCs and easy cleanup.  And I personally like the water based look vs the yellow look of oil on a light wood like birch, I think it looks more modern and less like pine.

In between coats I use a small section of craft paper or a brown paper bag to smooth the surface.  When the paper picks up this white dust you know the finish is dry and ready for another coat. Using the paper bag after the final coat also knocks down any dust nibs for a smooth finish.

I installed the door hardware then mounted all the door racks to the doors with small right angle brackets.

The first wall cabinet here will hold all my finishes including the fresh supplies Minwax hooked me up with.  It can hold 9 quart cans and 20 spray cans on the shelves with room for taller items at the bottom. The large door rack holds 16 pint cans or mason jars and the other door holds caulk and small items.

DIY Wall Cabinets Shop StorageDIY Spray Paint Can Storage

The other shop cabinet holds a lot of my finishing supplies and the cubbies are great for storing stuff that wants to go everywhere like rags and chip brushes.  And having a spot on the door for my nitrile gloves is sweet for grab and go usage when using stains, epoxy or finish.

If you’re looking for more DIY Shop Storage Solutions head over to the Shop Projects section of my site where I have tons of different shop storage plans available.

DIY Wall Cabinet Plans

Minwax provided me with product and/or monetary compensation as a sponsor of this build.  All opinions are my own and are not filtered by the sponsor.


Affiliate links are used on this page.  See my disclosure page for info on affiliate programs.

Check out more projects from Brad at fixthisbuildthat.com.

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DIY Barnhouse Entry Table

I have been looking for a table to put into the entryway of the Barnhouse for a while.  I had something very specific in mind, but was not finding it anywhere for a reasonable price. After seeing this photo, I figured I would try building one that would fit the space, and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out! The total cost was about $30, and it took under 3 hours to make and stain. That’s not bad at all when you consider how long it can take to assemble ones you get in the mail, ha!

For those just starting with power tools, all you need is a drill and a miter saw. The miter saw is honestly my favorite power tools, and a great one to start with because it can cut all the angles you need (it also sits stable on a table, and has safety guards which makes it less intimidating). With a few cuts and some screws it was assembled, and staining was super simple using the Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths. I tested out the Walnut and Natural Oak, and ending up loving how the Natural Oak gave the bench a weathered barn wood look. The wipes come in a handy pack pre-soaked in stain, with a pair of gloves, so it’s easy and quick to clean up; making them perfect for a small project like this. Below are all the step and supplies!

What you need:
1×2 Cedar board (I used cedar, but any wood can be used)
2×2 Cedar board
1×6 Cedar board
1×3 Cedar board
Minwax Wood Finishing cloths – Natural Oak
Minwax Water Based Polycrylic
Gorilla Wood Glue
Exterior Wood Screws
Miter Saw
What to do:
I liked the width and look of the 1×6 with a 1×2 on each side. Measure and then cut all the boards to the desired length with the miter saw, my table is 5 ft.
Next, measure the width of the boards and cut the 1×2 to fit. Cut 2 pieces the same length.
Then, glue the piece to the boards (this will hold them together), one foot from each end, and let dry while you cut the other wood.
Cut the 2×2 boards into four 30in legs with 30 degree angles at each end.
Once the wood glue is dry, flip the top, and line up the legs on the cross board.
Start by drilling a pilot hole, going at an angle into the leg.
Drill in the wood screw following the pilot hole angle, repeat on the 4 legs.
Next measure and cut the 1×3 brace between two legs, then screw into place with two screws to stabilize the legs. Repeat on the other side.
Next cut the cross braces, Hold the the 1×2 piece in front of the bench at the angle you desire. With a pencil, mark the angle by the cross piece and under the the top (a little more then the center) I suggest cutting the cross braces a little long, so you have room to make adjustment cuts.
Once the cross braces sit flush to the brace between the legs, and under the top. Drill pilot holes at following the angle, and then drill in wood screws.
Prep the wood for staining by sanding the wood smooth, and then remove any sanding dust
Wipe on the stain with Minwax Wood Finishing Cloths using the pre-soaked cloths.
Wipe off the excess with a clean rag, let dry for an hour.
Finish by spraying on Minwax Water Based Polycrylic, let dry, and you are done!
I can’t wait to see your version, make sure to post on Instagram and tag with #ispydiy!

Check out more projects from I Spy DIY at ispydiy.com.

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Repurposing a Vintage Crate

Tools Needed:

  • Minwax Wood Cabinet Cleaner
  • Minwax Water Based Polycrylic
  • 4 casters
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Dust cloth

Old vintage crate ready to use in refurb project

I’ve had this old wooden beer crate so long I couldn’t recall where I got it. But when my son Eric, who enjoys a good craft beer, asked me to keep an eye out for a vintage beer crate, I was still able to recall where I had stuck this one.

1. Clean the wood with a wood-cleaning spray

Using Minwax wood cabinet cleaner spray to clean old vintage crateNeedless to say, it had accumulated some barn dirt, so the first thing to do was to clean off the dust and grime with Minwax Wood Cabinet Cleaner and a soft cloth.

2. Apply a protective polycrylic finish
Minwax polycrylic spray

As soon as it dried, I applied two coats of Minwax Water Based Polycrylic, knowing the clear finish would protect the original stenciled letters without affecting the color. The aerosol can made getting the polycrylic inside the crate even easier than using a brush.

3. Attach casters to the bottom of the crate

Attaching casters to old vintage crate makes it mobile

Then to make it easy for Eric to move it around in his apartment, I added four low casters to the underside of the crate.

Finished vintage crate project with casters

And with his birthday coming up, Eric will soon have a unique, vintage beer crate in his apartment for magazines, books — or whatever he chooses to store in it.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!