How to varnish a wood floor

How to varnish a wood floor - Bona

Varnish is the most common wood floor surface treatment, favoured for its high wear resistance and low maintenance. Compared to oil and hard wax oil, varnish gives the wood a light colour, more consistent with natural wood.

Primer and topcoat
The floor is treated with two different types of varnish, a primer then a topcoat. The primer produces a well-bodied surface and emphasises the colour and structure of the wood. The topcoat provides durability and decides the gloss level of the surface.

Avoid direct sunlight on the floor, pull down curtains if you need to. Avoid any type of draft to ensure no particles "dry" in the wet varnish. Vacuum the floor carefully.

To apply you will need a good quality microfiber roller, an extension bar, brush and a container to pour the finish in. It is also good to have some paper and a plastic bag handy in case of spills, and somewhere to place the tools when you have finished.



Sand & Varnish

Here you can watch our step-by-step video for how to sand and varnish a wood floor. Below you can also find more detailed and written information that will cover your needs.


Priming the floor

  • Shake can thoroughly. The primer can be poured directly into the floor or in a tray. 
  • Imagine the floor divided in sections and plan how you will apply the primer. Start by applying primer with a brush to the inner corners and edges of the floor.
  • Smooth out the edge application with a roller and roll out primer to the remaining part of the section. Distribute across the grain and smooth out along the grain. There is no need to put any pressure on the roller. Allow it to roll freely and be generous with primer.
  • Continue with the edges on the next section and roll the center. Overlap the previous section by approx. 20 cm. When the entire floor has been treated allow it to dry fully, 1-3 hours.
Priming wood floors - Bona

Top coating the floor

  • When the floor is fully dried, apply the top coat varnish the same way as the primer varnish described previoulsly. For the best result don't put the overlap the same place.
  • Allow to dry overnight or at least 16 hours.
  • During treatment of the floor, some of the wood fibres will rise and the surface will feel rough. It is essential to sand lightly between layers of top coat varnish for a smooth finish. Do this either with a buffing machine and a sanding screen grit 150, or by hand using a sanding block.
  • Carefully vacuum the floor and wipe away the final dust with a cloth.
  • Apply a final layer of varnish. Let dry for 1-4 hours. Done!

Tip: You can carefully return furniture to the room 24 hours after the final application, but wait at least one week before laying any carpets. Enjoy your renovated floor!

Top coating along wood floors - Bona