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looking for tips on flooring


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I bought some very tiny mother-of-pearl tiles that I want to use on the bathroom floor. If I was tiling a real bathroom, I'd be using grout to lay the tile. What do you use in mini-land?

I also bought coffee stirrers to use in rooms where I want "hardwood floors" (so to speak). Any tips on how to stain these and lay them down so it looks realistic?

Thanks!!

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For tiling I make a pattern the size of my finished floor and lay the tiles in the pattern I want. 'Then I transfer them, one by one, with a dollop of tacky glue on the back of each, onto the finished floor. Once the glue is dry you can pipe your grouting between the tiles; since I usually lay mine so they butt each other I use spackle for the grout (no surprises there) and use my finger to spread it between the tiles. I use a damp cloth to wipe it off the tiles.

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For the woodsies/coffee stirrers floors, be sure to stagger the ends and cut random lengths so you don't get a nasty pattern of ends all lined up. I stain after the floor has dried and been sanded. Some people stain the sticks first, but I'm usually a really careful gluer.

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For tiling I make a pattern the size of my finished floor and lay the tiles in the pattern I want. 'Then I transfer them, one by one, with a dollop of tacky glue on the back of each, onto the finished floor. Once the glue is dry you can pipe your grouting between the tiles; since I usually lay mine so they butt each other I use spackle for the grout (no surprises there) and use my finger to spread it between the tiles. I use a damp cloth to wipe it off the tiles.

Great idea to make a pattern of the floor and work out the tile pattern there, first. So you use real spackle for grouting... Why not, now that I think about it. Thanks for the tips!

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Great idea to make a pattern of the floor and work out the tile pattern there, first. So you use real spackle for grouting... Why not, now that I think about it. Thanks for the tips!

I use spackling compound for EVERYTHING!

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For the woodsies/coffee stirrers floors, be sure to stagger the ends and cut random lengths so you don't get a nasty pattern of ends all lined up. I stain after the floor has dried and been sanded. Some people stain the sticks first, but I'm usually a really careful gluer.

Somebody here (can't think of her name - something like Dasque?) posted a link to her very beautiful Rosedale house with wood flooring in some rooms. One of the reasons it looked so great was the slight variation in color - not flat. It looked just like the oak floor in my apartment, with some strips of wood naturally lighter or darker. Do you have to do anything special to get that effect with beech wood? (I think that's what the stirrers are made from.) I don't think beech is a hard wood, though I'm not sure - also not sure the type of wood matters.

After it's stained, do you polyurethane or wax?

How come you prefer to stain after laying the floor? Is there an advantage? Seems like it would be easier to do it in advance. I could make a template of the floor, like Holly suggested, figure out the layout, then stain the strips I'll need.

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If it's a parquet or inlay floor I'd use my template method; for boards I glue them directly onto the floor, beginning along the far wall. I use the iron-on wood veneer strips if I'm going to stain after, they come in red oak and pine, so you get natural variations whether you stain or not. With the stirrer sticks or craft sticks if you apply the stains with a rag rather than a brush you might get some nice variation in color.

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I stain first because I'm NOT a careful gluer and if a drop of glue gets on it, the stain won't come out the same in that spot - even if you "wash" it off right away. The polymer in the glue creates a mark on the wood.

That said, sometimes I have to touch up the floor after it is in if something doesn't look quite right after it is installed.

I use a poly to seal it with, esp for the popsicle/stirrer sticks. I do that after it is installed.

If you had high quality wood strips, wax would be lovely but the cheap woods don't carry the products the same way, imo.

As to the spackle, I've picked up holly's habits (thank you hh) and use it for tons of things. It can be tinted, if you prefer to, for grouting or matching something else.

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I stain afterward so I can wipe it off with a rag and get the variations you mention. Usually I use a satin polyurethane finish, then buff with a piece of brown paper bag. Wax kind of collects dust but the poly can be polished with furniture products for a quick clean.

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I stain afterward so I can wipe it off with a rag and get the variations you mention. Usually I use a satin polyurethane finish, then buff with a piece of brown paper bag. Wax kind of collects dust but the poly can be polished with furniture products for a quick clean.

Interesting point about wax and dust. I wonder if that would still happen if the wax was polished enough.

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What kinds of things do you use spackling for?

Grout, stucco, stonework, filling gaps, tile, finish for smooth surfaces and edges, with wee brass stencils for mini pargets, piped for architectural features... I haven't ev en begun to scratch the surface of all the things spackliing compound (polyfilla) can be used for.

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Somebody here (can't think of her name - something like Dasque?) posted a link to her very beautiful Rosedale house with wood flooring in some rooms. One of the reasons it looked so great was the slight variation in color - not flat.

You might be thinking of Debora's White Rose? When you stain the stirrers there is some variation, some will come out darker than others. You can also do multiple coats on some pieces. But I'm not sure how she did her (gorgeous) floors, maybe she'll come weigh in.

For the coffee stirrer hardwoods I stain first, just because it's too hard to get my hands into the half scale rooms to sand and stain after. Make sure you stain the floor the same color as the coffee stirrers in case any peeks through. (And if you're gluing onto a template, use a color that will blend in - not bright white!)

Here are a few examples of coffee stirrer floors that I've done:

http://www.emilymorganti.com/blog/?p=2074

http://www.emilymorganti.com/dollhouse/fairfield/hardwood.html

http://www.greenleafdollhouses.com/forum/index.php?app=gallery&image=53373 (these are actually the Woodsies skinny sticks from Michaels, a bit too bulky imo)

The benefit to sanding and staining afterward is that you can get a nice smooth finish that way. The Woodsies and coffee stirrers aren't totally straight and you end up with lumps in some spots where the boards meet. It gives a fine illusion (in half scale, at least) but it's not perfect. Gluing to a template could be the best of both worlds, but I haven't tried it.

I took a Guys from Texas class where we learned to do a beautiful hardwood floor. We laid the boards, sanded nice and smooth with an orbital sander, smeared on thinned-down woodfiller to fill in any gaps, stained again, and then applied wax. The finished floor is perfectly smooth and sleek -- it almost feels like a piece of paper. Some pics of that process are here.

I don't think I've tried wax on my coffee stirrer floors, but I did on some floors that used Little Wonders flooring strips (love that stuff! but impossible to find!) and I didn't like the result. I think grain was too pronounced, the wax looked like dusty streaks all over the wood. Another case where sanding first probably would have helped, if only I could have fit the mouse sander into the rooms...

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Hi Emily,

Thanks for the GREAT info!! And sorry for my tardy reply. I had foot surgery recently, and it's really slowing me down. I spent the first week or two afterwards asleep, and I sort of want to take a nap right now. :)

Yes, it was Deborah and the White Rose I was thinking of. I asked how she made her floors, but she didn't answer. Maybe she's been offline.

Perhaps I'll try the "Guys from Texas" approach. Thanks again, very much!!

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