I have already sanded about 600 sq/ft of white oak flooring that now feels very smooth. I applied a Minmax water based clear protective satin finish on a small area, with a roll. Maybe it's because it hadn't completely dried out yet but I felt that the surface was not smooth at all when I touched it. I would therefore have 3 questions:

  1. What can I do to make the finish feel smooth?
  2. Applying the finish with a brush on such a large area is not an option. What is the best type of roll that I can use?
  3. What mechanical means can I use over a large area to make sure it's evenly and finely sanded prior to applying the second coat?
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    Is the problem that you have raised the grain, or that the finish has trapped dust, or that you didn't apply the finish evenly and without bubbles? A pad can be a good tool for applying a clear finish, but a roller really isn't. For any of the above, i would either sand lightly, apply another coat (not with a roller), and see if it needs a bit of very light sanding to remove surface dust... or bury it under enough additional coats of varnish to level things out... or a combination of the two. – keshlam Nov 5 '16 at 8:11

As implied by @keshlam in his comment, you should do some reading about finishing wood floors with waterborne finishes.

  • waterborne finishes are typically applied in several thick coats, it is especially important on woods that are prone to raised grain; the thick coats will bury the raised grain.
  • for large areas, water based varnish is most often applied with synthetic applicator pads, working quickly to maintain a wet edge. A brush is used along edges and in corners.
  • required large area sanding between coats is often accomplished using a stand-up random-orbit vibrating sander specifically designed for use on flooring. Supplemented by use of a hand-held sander along edges and corners.

You should visit a good paint shop near you, much advice can be had. Often these shops rent the equipment needed as well.

  • Sanding between coats can be reduced by hot-coating -- applying another coat shortly after the first has dried, without sanding. The manufacturers often include this option in the instructions these days, at least for every other coat. – keshlam Dec 10 '16 at 2:25

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