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 Post subject: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:20 pm 
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Hello to everyone and thank you in advance for any oversight / expertise you may be able to lend to my questions! I will do my best to be as brief, yet as detailed, as possible.

I removed the carpeting in my home to find that we have actual wood floors about a week back. It is pretty beat up and has seen much better days, but I'm still very interested in trying to bring it back to life. I have the plan laid out but I just have a few concerns that are rattling my confidence a bit.

Sanding passes will utilize the following grits:
1) 24
2) 60
3) 80
4) 100 - Finishing

I'll only be adding filler (saw dust + wood glue) in the areas that are damaged, and of course any nail / staple holes. I feel like having honest gaps will, in the long run, look a lot better than trying to do an amateur fill job that's going to just break down after a year and look like junk underneath the clear coating. I will be staining after sanding / filling, I've been working with wood as an amateur for a few years so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on timing and technique, so that isn't an issue.

The crux of my issue is this: I'm going to rent a drum sander for the weekend, I've read up on technique so I know with this particular unit that moving from left to right across the room will keep the machine as level as possible, it's got a feathering handle on it so I know raising and lowering the drum is crucial to making sure everything comes out correctly, but what I struggle with is my first cut across the room. I intend to cut the machine at an angle to help level out the floor but after I'm done working with my 24grit passes, do I need to then continue my passes at an angle or can I then transition to sanding parallel with the grain? Once I have that figured out, I'm confident I can address the rest. I just know that the first cuts are going to set the tone for how this project is going to go and I just don't want to mess it up right out of the gate.

Again, any oversight anyone can lend would be incredibly appreciated!

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:36 pm 
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If you have a selection of sandpaper I would start with 36. 24 grit will leave deep scratches. Maybe even 40 grit which will take off old varnish if any wax is worn off. You will be ahead even if it takes 2 or 3 papers. You should be able to return what you don't use. Check before you agree on the materials list.
Commercial wood patch is my go to wood filler. It takes stain well so it blends in.
The reason it pops out is because of movement of the flooring. I find that all old floors need to be repaired before the sanding starts. Loose butt-joints and traffic patterns in doorways are where I check closely.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:44 pm 
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Pete,

Thank you for your suggestion. I will make sure to re-evaluate my grits before I start the sanding process to make sure I'm not going in with overkill. If I may ask, do you have any opinion on the actual sanding technique once I get started? Am I ok to start sanding parallel to the grain after my first run through with the sander at an angle?

Thank you for your time.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:11 am 
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Once the floor is flat I go with the grain. A slight angle of 7 degrees will cut a little faster and on some floors make it more flat, where the butt-joints have been trimmed close to knots at the factory when it's made.
Straighten off with the same grit. Fine sand to make everything smooth, even low spots/character spots.
Sometimes it will be best to wait until a coat of finish is put down to putty nail holes or gouges. Crawfords Putty will take color, raw or burnt sienna and raw or burnt umber colors ground in oil from an art store will get the colors you need mixed in with a putty knife.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:54 am 
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Pete,

Thank you very much for the advice, I greatly appreciate it. You've set my mind at ease, now I just have to execute the game plan.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:03 pm 
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Pete,

I just wanted to follow up and thank you for your input. After taking everything into account, the sanding came out very well. I was incredibly impressed with how well I did for only my second time doing it. I got the stain down and everything WOULD have looked wonderful but I ran into an issue, a rookie issue. I used wood glue to fill all of the nail holes around the room and got a little lavish with how much I was putting down. I smoothed it out, sanded it all down, and when I laid the stain well…let’s just say it’s pretty evident where the wood glue is on the floor. So, before I lay down my clear coat I need to go back over it and sand those areas again and see if I can get the glue up. Would you have any suggestions on the best approach? I was going to start with a 36 grit on my palm sander and work my way up to 60, 80, 100 and hope that does the trick. Is there anything I should keep in mind when I’m restaining those areas? Also, as I’m sanding the individual areas, how far out from the end of the glue line should I go? Any input you have would be incredibly appreciated! I've come so far, I'd hate to screw it all up now.

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:59 pm 
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Do you have a scraper? A sharp scraper will shave off the glue a little at a time as shavings. Use a mill bastard file to keep the edge. A little sanding with the grain using 80 grit will open the grain so it takes similar to the first time. Disturb as little of the surface as you can, but use the wood grain to blend. You may get some smudge where the sanding overlaps good color. Take it off with a T-shirt rag after the stain has dried for an hour or so, carefully. No need for a palm sander when trying to blend new staining. Use the palm sander in between coats of finish with fine paper, or a screen under the buffer with a nylon drive pad.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:50 am 
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Location: Burlingame, CA
using-acrylic-paints-for-touch-hardwood-floor-repair-t11649.html :

You can use acrylic paints, and color in the glue to match any other putty. Info is in the link above. Paint, and then touch up the spots with some of the same sheen you used on the final coat. Or put down another full coat.

_________________
Farrell Wills
SF Peninsula, California
http://www.farrellwills.net/


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:59 pm 
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Thank you both for your input.

Pete, I did as you directed and I fear I may have been too conservative with my wiping after waiting an hour because I very clearly have a lap line running all the way around the room. The stain on either side of the lap line matches up but there is a dark line that cuts right through the middle of everything and it is very noticeable. I'm going to let the stain dry a good few days before I make my next move but assuming things won't improve, what options do I have to lighten things up. I don't have time to fuss with bleaching and truth be told my wife is already pissed at me that I've torn up her living room this long. Would a light screening on the darkened areas serve to lighten them at all? Once I lay down the clear coat it's my last chance to dance so I'm still dealing with just stained wood at this point.

I'm so close to done but feel so far away. Any life line someone could throw me to get my wife off my rear end and help me be proud of this work would truely be appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:43 pm 
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Better use steel wool and paint thinner or turpentine to clean the smudges before the oil in the stain gets too hard.
The color you will see when the solvent wets the floor will be the color that you get with another coat of finish applied. Wet the areas where the stain has overlapped so you see the color and then polish out the extra stain where it is too much.
You can do this after a day or so, but don't wait too long. After you get the color right where the areas meet, then you will be ready for a coat over the whole floor, or touch-up, wait for the touch-up "seal" to dry and then coat over the whole thing.
Two coats are enough for a long time, maybe ten years. You can apply another coat to make it smoother and add wear layer, but there will still be fine scratches after ten years, so if you don't wax or apply an acrylic polish, you can scuff and coat then.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:09 am 
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Pete,

Again, thank you for lending me some of your expertise, I really do appreciate it. Just so I am clearly understanding your instructions. I need to get a fine steel wool and some paint thinner, apply an application of the thinner with a towel, use the steel wool to rub down the stain, let the paint thinner completely dry, and then hit the area with another helping of stain if the thinner makes things too light? I really don’t want to hit the whole floor with another coat of stain if I don’t have to, I’ve already got two on there and it is pretty dark as it is.

I’ve not put polly on the floor yet and the stain I’m using is oil based stain. Do either of those factors have any bearing on how I need to proceed? Additionally, I had used mineral spirits on a small section of the floor about a week back when I was dealing with the issue with the wood glue and it seemed to suck all the pigment right out of the floor immediately. I know mineral spirits and paint thinner are essentially the same thing so are there different levels of intensity you can buy with paint thinner or does it really matter?

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:00 pm 
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You may not need to use paint thinner to remove the extra stain. Before you apply the first coat of finish you can use paint thinner wiped on with a rag to show how the floor will look. The stain should be dry so no dyes or pigment come off, just as it should be when you apply the first coat of finish. I use #2 steel wool to buff the stain , which also helps to dry it, before the first coat of finish. This takes off any color that is not bound to the surface and since this is a penetrating stain you don't really want any surface coating to speak of left on the surface of the floor, just what has soaked into the grain. Go over the floor with the steel wool and a buffer, there are large pads available at floor distributors for this. Then go over the edges by hand or vice-versa to remove any extra pigments and color on the surface and if it looks even you will not need to use solvent to show what it would look like with the coat of finish on it.
Use a very firm pressure to polish with the #2 steel wool. The floor should have a polished shine when you are done in preparation for the first coat of finish. Any dark spots can be removed with extra pressure working in these areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:19 pm 
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Thanks Pete! So far, with the exception of my ignorance getting in the way, everything you've suggested has worked so I appreciate your guidance once again. I'll go home tonight, see how things work out, and report back with an update.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Finishing Old Floor
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:21 am 
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Pete,

Just wanted to check in and let you know how things turned out. I went and got both the paint thinner and steel wool and on a whim grabbed some 120 grit sanding blocks as well. I started with the steel wool, and it took the intensity of the stain down but I don't know if the steel wool I was using was cheap or what but it was leaving tiny bits of metal all over the floor and I didn't want to make a bigger mess with it than I needed to. So, I pulled off the wool and tried to sand down a small section. It lessened the intensity of the stain but was a ton of work. Finally I grabbed the paint thinner and carefully rubbed it into the areas I was having the most issue with. After making two passes, it lightened the stain and removed enough dried pigment from the top of the wood that I felt comfortable finally getting some poly down. I re-prepped the entire floor after cleaning it up and laid the poly down last night. The first coat came out pretty good, I'm hoping the second seals the deal. I don't think I have the energy to try and hit it with a third coat, nor do I think my wife has the patience to let me, haha!

Anyway, again, thank you very much for your help with this. I really do appreciate the tips you have given me to help me get this project wrapped up!


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