Finished Floor Grate

Last time I posted, I anticipated having to trim the floor grate to squeeze it into the hole in the floor. When visiting our friends, I test fitted the grate into the hole and it was just a wee bit too large. I could have probably used a rubber mallet and forced it to fit, but it’s the kind of thing you might want to remove for cleaning. The floor may also expand and contract due to humidity changes from summer to winter and I would hate to cause anything to warp or break. I took it back home, trimmed it up by running one end and one side through my table saw, taking just a sliver off. Then I sanded the top perfectly flat, trimmed the glue that had squeezed out inside most of the square holes (what a lot of work!), and started rounding off the edges of the squares so they wouldn’t be so sharp on bare feet or sock feet.

This is how I did that:

Filing the edges
Rounding over the sharp edges

Remember, woodworking friends, files can be very helpful tools for shaping and finishing work. I use them all the time.

After the filing and a bit of touch-up sanding, I chose a semi-transparent stain in a colour that was as close to the floor colour as possible and spent an hour staining all the edges with a half-inch craft brush. I had a little trouble with the stain running, but I quickly figured out that if I stood the project on edge, the bottom side of all the squares could be done without the stain being able to run. it was a simple matter of brushing all the lower sides of the squares, rotating the grate 90 degrees, staining all the lower sides of the squares, repeat.

After letting the stain dry, I sprayed the grate with Varathane Diamond Finish with a matte finish, and really loaded it on as thick as I dared, and did so with 4 coats, sanding lightly between coats.

I really liked how the Diamond Finish ended up. It feels very hard, but yet feels nicer than lacquer.

Finished Cold Air Return Grate
Finished Cold Air Return Grate

My friends’ wood floor is not new. It shows all the scuffs, dings, and marks that give it character. I wanted the floor grate to fit in with that look, so I left some of the sanding marks and deliberately scuffed it up a little before staining it so that the stain would gather in those marks to give it a similar character. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the floor. Time to go make a delivery!

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Published by

Grant McMillan

I am the University Registrar at Trinity Western University, and I've been in the profession since 1997. I have an MA in Organizational Leadership, and have made a career of going into organizations that are in very difficult situations and leading them to a much better place. I teach Leadership to budding managers in the Adult Degree Completion program at Trinity Western University. I speak and consult, with organizations. Contact me at grant.mcmillan@twu.ca

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