Oak floor refinishing advice needed

hgtvdream.comApril 19, 2011

The oak floors I need advice about are in my deceased parents' 1950s, split-level house. I don't know how they were originally finished (maybe shellac?), but I think my mother used to have them waxed. The flooring in the closets looks beautiful. Everywhere else, the wood feels smooth, but there are variations in color (especially between areas where furniture was and wasn't), maybe some water marks, and some black spots (they kind of look like burn marks, but I doubt that's what they are). I really like the look of the flooring in the closets and I'm pretty sure polyurethane was never used. I've been experimenting here and there with Wood Preen and with fine steel wool. The Wood Preen didn't seem to improve the appearance, though it did take up dirt -- but maybe I used it too sparingly. The steel wool improved the look. Advice welcome. Thx.

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I doubt you can touch up the floor to your satisfaction. Usually a floor of that age will need to be resanded and finished for the best results. Heavy walk areas are often worn though, looking gray from absorbed moisture. Other areas are sun bleached etc. Most black spots are urine burns, some sand out others (the majority) do not. The worst of the lot can be patched out to return the floor to its original glory.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Start with mild soap and water on a damp cloth to get up the water-soluble stuff. Then do the same with mineral spirits and 0000 steel wool in any stuck spots to get the rest of the crud.

Then use the Wood Preen as a finishing wax unless you are seeing bare wood.

The dark and light spots are normal, and a waxing and buffing might be enough to get the floors into "cared for by a great housekeeper for half a century" look.

The black spots might be ink spots. I could tell where the first owner of one house had his drafting table set up from the way the ink spots landed.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:35PM
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If there are areas of bare wood, what should be done? If I get the floors sanded, how should I get them finished so that they would look like the flooring in the closets? After sanding, can they just be waxed?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 11:02AM
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A professional ought to be able to give you almost any look you want. There are many ways to finish wood and polyurethane is just one of those. If you finish with a film-forming product, such as polyurethane, then there is no need to add wax to the finishing film.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 3:11PM
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