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 Post subject: Refinish 95 year old floors -- a few questions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:46 pm 
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Hey All, I am planning on refinishing my hardwood floors (95yo red oak floors). It's about 400 sq ft. I settle on the house 12/16, so I figured it would be a good time to refinish before it's furnished. I've been researching this topic for the last month, and I think I'm up for the challenge, but there are a few questions that have yet to be answered, and I was hoping I could get some feedback.

Sanding Questions:
My grit sequence with a drum/edger will be 36-60-80 and will alternate b/t drum and edger. I plan on finishing with a 120-grit screen. I'm not planning on using a buffer, but the clarke square buff sander. It seems like it's effectively the same thing and easier to control than a buffer, BUT does anyone believe that will be an issue or should I just use a circular buffer?

Filler Question:
Because of the age of the house, I kinda want to keep some of the character in the floor. So, I'm not planning on filling the entire floor, just the spots that REALLY need it. I have heard to use the sanding cuttings from the 60-grit and mix it with wood glue, but I have reservations on that. Is that a good idea, or should I just get the filler? I've heard woodwise is a good filler, but can anyone confirm that?

Water Popping:
I'm planning on staining the floor a darker color (Bona DriFast Jacobean), so I want to water pop the floor. Is there a max time I should allow it to dry, or just until it feels dry to touch?

Staining Questions:
I'm planning on using Bona Jacobean stain for this, and just using rags to wipe on/wipe off. Bona's TDS sheet says that it should be on for at least 2-3 hours, but that seems way too short...Any opinions on that??

Finish Questions:
I am planning on using Bona waterbased finishes...I'm leaning towards Mega Clear HD, but is the extra money for Traffic HD worth it?

Any answers or opinions would be great! I plan on posing photos here since a lot of my information has come from searching previous posts here!


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 Post subject: Re: Refinish 95 year old floors -- a few questions
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:58 pm 
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Hello, where are you located? How many floors have you sanded and finished?
Do you have a sub-floor? And the width of the flooring?
I would recommend sanding to 100 grit before starting with the screening, for a dark stain. I have not used a square buff, ever. We used to never need to buff after edging and final sanding with the drum machine, just hand sand where the big machine changed direction in the middle of the room and next to the wall where the edger and drum meet, after scraping the corners and any signs of edger swirl.
Buffing between coats of finish was where the buffer was used. Now with very clear water-based finishes we buff before staining.
Gaps between rows that get filled with wood flour and glue should hold better when the flooring is loose. I like to preform some repair/fastening loose boards/ends with power cleats or finish nails before any sanding because the filler usually rattles out with the sanding process. Setting nails and filling nail holes is the standard of the industry. I have never used glue and wood dust. Wood patch works well when staining. Color putty after the first coat of finish is another option.
Water popping really opens the grain so more stain penetrates, darkening and making a more even color. You can get a cheap moisture meter at Harbor Freight to compare the moisture content of the floor before you water-pop and after you think it's dry to get a more accurate sense of when you will be able to stain. Otherwise you will be able to feel if the floor seems "cold" from being still damp. Do a color test where it won't be too noticeable and have some neutral stain handy to thin it down if the popping made it too dark. Don't use paint thinner if it's too dark. Dark stains always take longer to dry and harden. This time of year the floor is colder than summertime, so it will take longer. I always like to protect my work with the best finish available. The best finish usually has the best characteristics that the company has developed, so far, also.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinish 95 year old floors -- a few questions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:01 pm 
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Hi Pete, thanks for the response. I am located just outside Philadelphia, about 30mins west. I've done some sanding with the big sander before, but it was the roll down type, not the ones with the levers. The floor boards are 2-inch.

I will go with a 36,60,100 grit with the belt and edger. The square buff I was planning on using is a Clarke American OB-18. It seems like it's easier to use than a buffer. It's just a large random orbital sander, typically used for decks or screen and recoat applications. I am going to use a pad and a 120 screen.

My plan is to fix the any squeaky areas with a finish nailer. Those were the type of areas that I was planning on filling. I'll use filler instead of wood glue and shavings.

Thanks for the info on water popping.. I'll take a look into a moisture meter.


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 Post subject: Re: Refinish 95 year old floors -- a few questions
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:37 pm 
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With 2 inch flooring you probably have a sub-floor. I find that a lot of the looseness that causes squeaking comes from the sub-floor being loose. You will need to find the floor joists and nail a sufficiently long nail to secure it. The finish flooring looseness is easily secured with finish nails wherever you can deflect the flooring by pressing with your foot or thumb. If you have a top-nailed floor you should not have any gaps between rows of boards, five-sixteenth inch by two inch.


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