Tips for finishing new hardwood flooring?

lindareneeApril 1, 2011

We are using Black Walnut boards from our property for flooring in our son's new house. (dining and living room areas) My husband has installed the boards. They are beautiful and ready to be sanded. The finishing process is making me nervous. Any tips for a flawless finish? Any preferences in polyurethane? The kids have two dogs. Thank you!

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We have finished and refinished wood floors in previous homes. I am no expert, but I will say we had horrible experience with minwax products. (Wouldn't dry, peeled when it finally did dry.)
We had good experience with Verathane and Waterlox and also Deft.
A relative of ours told us do NOT sand above 80 grit or the stain will not soak in properly. He also recommended a method called "water popping" where you damp-mop the raw wood with water first to open the grain a bit. You could probably look this up. (He does this for a living in Napa Valley, so I trust him!)
My main point was to stay away from Minwax on floors!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 10:50PM
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Thank you, I appreciate all advice! I want the kids to have beautiful floors to enjoy for years. We will stay away from minwax and research the water popping.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:55PM
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If you can't hire a professional, then you are going to have a steep learning curve to negotiate. Be aware that most floor finishing products available to the average consumer are not a good quality. If at all possible, you want to purchase from a floor materials dealer or an internet vendor after you decide what finishing product you want to use.

Lots of ways to finish wood...learn all you can, even if you go with a professional. You will then know what you are paying for.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 11:24PM
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Do you want to go toxic or non-toxic?

Check out the different finishes with Polyurethane versus Tung Oil. May change your mind. With the poly on the floors at my other house, my dog tore it up. Next year I'm redoing the floors in this house with Tung Oil. Check out the website for more info...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:41PM
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Thanks everyone. I need to research quickly because they are hurrying to get the house finished. Perhaps the professional finishes will be more durable than the polyurethane available at Lowes or a Paint store. I don't think they will go for Tung Oil. I am going to use the left over walnut in my bedroom and would consider the Tung Oil for myself.
Thanks again, I'll start googling and see what I find.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:15PM
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My colleagues advise two coats of oil sealer and two coats of a quality two part waterborne polyurethane. Another says waterlox as a sealer and two coats of Poloplaz. And another says simply two coats of Poloplaz. And one more says Glitza seal and lite scent satin. And the last says Pallman Magic Oil for a velvety and satiny look.

See how many option there are for finishing a floor?

I'd specify what I happen to find works for me most of the time...i.e. Bona DriFast Natural Stain and then two coats of Bona Traffic Satin after the stain is absolutely dry.

Your head is going to swim on this one. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 10:43PM
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This does get confusing! I'm the researcher and my husband just likes to "get 'er done". I value the experience of others and I'm hoping our experience is not a bad one. The right finish, dust issues, sanding, application technique, fumes - there is so much to consider. I wish a professional was doing the job!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 12:34AM
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You will get less 'fumes' using a "professional use only" waterborne polyurethane, such as Traffic by BonaKemi or an equivalent product.

Sanding and preparation will be very important...finish hides nothing. Machine use requires knowledge, skill and experience to get a near flawless result. Dust control is also important. Any dust left on the floor will interfere with the appearance of the finished floor. The flatter and cleaner you get the wood surface before applying anything, the better the final result will be. Vacuuming is very important...sweeping alone is not enough.

Finally, there are no 'shortcuts' when finishing a floor. You must follow all the preparation steps and application rates and dry times.

Again, good luck.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:58AM
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I just did my floors with great results using Bona. You stain with an oil base wipe let dry overnite. You don't have to use a sealer, 2 coats with a lite sand in between and you will have great results. The only downside is the Bona is expensive. Check it out at:

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 4:53PM
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Here is the link for the previous post.

Here is a link that might be useful: Floor Mechanics)20.php)

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 4:58PM
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Thanks folks, I'm leaning toward the Bona Traffic and believe I have my husband talked into using it if I buy it. Seems worth it to me. He has already purchased oil based polyurethane but it can be returned. The people on the Garden Web forums are the best. I appreciate your help!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:26PM
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Keep rags handy to wipe up any excess. The pigments of the stain are in suspension, not in solution, so the stain must be stirred regularly during application. Be sure never to store oily rags together. There is always the threat of spontaneous combustion.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:56PM
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"Do you want to go toxic or non-toxic?

Check out the different finishes with Polyurethane versus Tung Oil."

Is this a joke?

Even tung oil based finishes are pretty far from "non-toxic."

Try reading a few labels.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 1:54PM
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We're refinishing our oak floors. Previously had polyurethane. 8 years ago we had some water damage (20 sq ft) and rather than just fixing one small area we had to refinish a whole big area (400 sq ft) -- because the flooring ran from the kitchen through dining nook to family room.

This time around we checked out samples of finishes at a reclaimed flooring store and got hooked on the idea of using hardwax oil. We got samples of Woca (oil) and Osmo (hardwax oil) -- both European products. We like the look of them because it doesn't create a "plastic-y" film like poly does. It's a bit truer to the wood (in my opinion).

This type of product also has as an advantage that you can fix one area if there is damage or it needs maintenance rather than re-doing the whole floor. Of the two products we liked the Osmo much better because it had more "solids" in it and seems like it will protect the wood better.

A very supportive / responsive online retailer for Osmo is in Deleware (I'm in California). If you're interested, check out their web site and get some samples to try on wood scraps. It's actually pretty hard to find in stores--even in a major metropolitan area like L.A.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 6:26PM
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This guy has a blog and is researching the different oil finishes. Here is one and you can find the first on this site. He's testing a third one in the next few weeks:

I spoke on the phone with the owner (who called me back immediately). He can't help us because we're out of his area, but man was he helpful! Just a wealth of information and said I could email if I had any more questions. And this is from a guy who can't get our business. Impressive.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 12:10PM
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"Do you want to go toxic or non-toxic?

Check out the different finishes with Polyurethane versus Tung Oil. "

Do NOT try to drink the "non-toxic" tung oil.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Did some of you choose the hardwax oil finishes, if so, what kind and how do you like it?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:43PM
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chiming in a tad late but I have recently been forced into accepting this system of finishing with a proven track record of german engineering / specifications/ to standards we have yet to learn.

clearly and at least twice, I read that you should be a professional to even consider using our guidelines in that some things are difficult, if not impossible to achieve

the âÂÂimpossibleâ caught my attention

I am a fond lover of this product, but wish I had a tad more notice, as to learn its limitations.

I really like how it can make a piece of wood as dry, as if you picked it up a sunbaked piece of driftwood off a beach you paddled by in a canoeâ¦. the âÂÂdry lookâÂÂ

there is a certain attraction, to making wood, look âÂÂdryâ not even a fraction of moisture, ⦠raw in nature, and yet hold a finish for standards only know to europe that trys to level the field.

its a nice finish, in the hands of those who love the craft

Im a tad new with the product, but so far its the best Ive ever seen, at keeping things âÂÂnaturalâ whilst maintaining the comforts of âÂÂeasyâ living

a question for those who care to share their experience

have you ever had any luck shading the parts of the tree, that bares the light part of the grain, that rears its beautiful light, or have you been able to shade it ?

or are parts of the pdf, file, on using this product, âÂÂunlikely or impossibleâ to achieve

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 11:27PM
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Reading up on tung oil, since I'm about to have my floors refinished, I saw that pure tung oil is non-toxic. However, there are some finishes that are tung oil mixed with other things that might be toxic. Also, the other wood finishes are not toxic once cured, I have read.

I like the duller hand and/or wax finish, but I don't know if that's enough protection against my dogs.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:31PM
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