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Applying Polyurethane to Floors with Lambswool

After the installation of a hardwood floor, one final step to take is to apply floor finish or coating. A hardwood floor finish protects the floor from scratch and moisture. Polyurethane is one of the commonly used hardwood floor finishes out there. When applied correctly, it protects the floor and makes it last longer. Polyurethane comes in oil-based and water-based forms.

One of the things to consider when applying polyurethane to a hardwood floor is the right finish applicator to use. There are different finish applicators out there like, brushes, trim pads, rollers, T-bars, and Lambswool applicators.

This post aims to explain the process of applying polyurethane to hardwood floors using Lambswool. A Lambswool applicator comes in handy when applying oil-based polyurethane to the hardwood floor. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used when applying water-based polyurethane. But it works best for oil-based polyurethane.

Materials Needed to Apply Polyurethane to Hardwood Floor

The right materials make the process easy and leave a good job. You need the following materials for this process.

  • 220 grit Sandpaper to remove the coating on the old floor.
  • Polyurethane is the main ingredient in the process.
  • Lambswool pad and applicator.
  • Orbital Sander
  • Protective gloves
  • Respirator

How to Prep Lambswool Applicator Before Finishing A Hardwood Floor?

Before you use your Lambswool applicator to apply polyurethane, it is recommended you prep the application. This prevents fibers on the Lambswool from getting stuck in a wet finish. Follow the steps below to prep your Lambswool applicator.

  1. First, comb out the lambswool to remove loose fibers on it.
  2. Fill a bucket with mineral spirits and soak the lambswool pad in it for about 30 minutes. The lambswool becomes more absorbent and in turn, spread the polyurethane evenly on the hardwood floor.
  3. Remove the Lambswool pad and wring it to remove the excess liquid. Don’t squeeze very tight to make it dry. It should be damp before use.
  4. Remove the two wing nuts on the applicator and attach the lambswool pad to it.
  5. Fold the lambswool pad around the bottom part of the head to make the wool face out. Ensure you leave an even amount of pad to overlap the top of the head on both sides of the applicator.
  6. Finally, place the top of the head to the bottom to trap the lambswool pad between the two parts. Screw-in the wing nuts you loosened earlier to hold the pad in place.

How to Prep Your Floor Before Applying Polyurethane

Prepping the floor is very essential before you apply the polyurethane. This is to ensure the floor coating is evenly applied. Follow the steps below to prep your floor.

Remove debris and objects off the hardwood floor. Use a vacuum to thoroughly clean the floor. Make sure the floor is dirt and dust free after your cleaning.

Sand the floor using a sanding screen or orbital sander to remove the old finish off the floor. When sanding, avoid spending time in an area to avoid dents or deep scratches on the surface.

Vacuum the floor the second time after sanding to remove the debris and dirt off the floor.

Wipe the floor with a damp cloth. Make sure you wipe along the grain of the wood to avoid leaving cross-grain stains. At this point, your floor is ready for the application of polyurethane.

Applying Polyurethane To Hardwood Floor with Lambswool


Prep your floor and get it ready for the process. The process of prepping the floor involves sanding and cleaning which we have outlined in the previous paragraph.

Step 2

Spread the polyurethane on the hardwood floor starting from the corner of the room far away from the door. The right way to spread the polyurethane is to pour a small pool of polyurethane in the corner and droplets along the wall and two inches away from it. The droplets should be created in the direction of the grain.

Step 3

Deep the applicator in the finish to get it wet and drag it along the all. Makes you keep the applicator angled with the leading edge against the wall. As you drag the applicator, the finish should form a pool.

Step 4

Drag the applicator until you get to the other side of the room. Turn the applicator and drag it to the starting wall without lifting it off the floor. As you go, remember to pour more finish if there is a need for it. Overlap the first line of polyurethane by a third of the applicator width.  

Step 5

The process continues until you cover the entire floor. Always remember to drag in the direction of the wood grain and not lift the applicator from the floor.

Step 6

Use a paintbrush to fill in spots the applicator can’t reach.

Step 7

Allow the floor to dry. The drying process depends on the type of polyurethane used. For oil-based polyurethane, it takes at least 12 hours to dry and two hours for water-based polyurethane to dry.

Step 8

Finally, screen the floor with a bugger and a sanding screen. Vacuum the floor one last time and wipe.

Guideline For Applying Polyurethane to Floor

Use a synthetic fiber applicator when applying a water-based polyurethane and a lambswool for oil-based polyurethane.

Make sure you clean off the drippings before they dry as you apply the finish.

Don’t shake the polyurethane can before applying. Rather, stir with a stick.

Always start from the corner farther away from the door and work your way to the other parts of the room.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best applicator for polyurethane?

The best applicator for polyurethane depends on the type of polyurethane you apply. For water-based polyurethane, the best applicator is a synthetic fiber applicator. While for oil-based polyurethane, the best applicator is lambswool.

Can I apply polyurethane without sanding?

Yes, you can apply polyurethane on a hardwood floor without sanding. But it is advisable to sand especially if there is a coat on the floor. This helps to ensure the finish is evenly spread with bumps. But you have to be careful when sanding to avoid leaving deep scratches on the floor. 

89 thoughts on “Applying Polyurethane to Floors with Lambswool”

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