Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

kentuck_8bSeptember 12, 2010

Updating this thread...

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

Hello all, I was directed here from a woodworking forum and told that many a pro visits these boards. That would be great because I am in need of some serious help. I recently decided to tear up the old carpeting left over from the previous owner, all was great until I discovered this.

I made the mistake of trying to bleach out the stain (you'll see the disastrous results soon) and after realizing that oxalic acid wasn't working, I decided to replace the boards.

I purchased 20sq ft. of flooring from Menards, and went to work.

So far so good right? Everything was going great with the poly (I just went with the Varathane water-based) until I hit the spot with the bleach. It really shows up and looks terrible compared to the rest of the wood, and this didn't show up with mineral spirits, just the poly. I also have a few drip spots where I must have been sloppy with the bucket of bleach.

I tried to sand down the poly in a few spots, as it was only one thin coat, sand down past the bleach, and then re-apply poly. You can still see a difference in color on the small spots where I removed the bleach drips. The larger circular area where I scrubbed in the bleach is beyond sanding I think.

So....what are my options? Is there any way I am ever going to get the poly on the freshly sanded areas to match the original layer I put down? If I just proceed with coat #2 is there any chance it will even out? Could I try and stain the bleached wood to match the darker stuff? Am I fooling myself because I'm going to have to remove more boards and replace them?

As if the job isn't frustrating enough, I chose to do half the room at a time (my knees and back were killing me) and probably made a mistake in stopping half way lengthwise. So you can also see a difference in each half of the room where I stopped the poly on Saturday and finished on Sunday. I'm at least hopeful that the second coat will even that mistake out

I sure hope I don't have to re-rent that sander and start from scratch as I have already invested a lot of time and money...and sanity.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I really want to salvage this job. What a learning experience this will be!

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

  • Posted by floorguy (floorguy@austin.rr.com) on

    Tue, Aug 7, 07 at 19:27

What kind of sealer are you using???

Universal sealer Parks or Zinzer.

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

  • Posted by glennsfc (sohmflooring@covad.net) on

    Tue, Aug 7, 07 at 19:28

Looks like you did a fine job, except for your finishing attempt. You are not lost here, but I think you may have to resand the floor...or at least the area that you bleached. You need to sand away the bleached wood fibers and get down to unbleached wood...that ought to help. Take your random orbital sander and sand a small section of the area you bleached and then hit it with the varathane and see what you get as a result. If it matches the rest of the unbleached flooring, then you know you can get it all to look right when you resand. Wood bleaching is something even most professionals won't touch. I used it a couple times and decided that I'd never do it again. Just too dangerous.

Why did you hit the floor with mineral spirits?

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

@Floorguy. I'm using Varathane water-based.

@Glenn. Thanks for the input and compliment. I used the MS instead of tack cloth to try and pick up all the dust. I also wanted to see the wood with a 'wet' look and hopefully pick up and imperfections before I started to poly. That's why I was so disappointed that the bleach marks didn't show up with the MS.

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

  • Posted by glennsfc (sohmflooring@covad.net) on

    Wed, Aug 8, 07 at 8:25

With waterborne products you do not tack with anything but water. Mineral spirits or any other oil based cleaning product can leave a chemical residue that might lead to contamination of the finish product. The same can be said for impregnated tack rags...do not use them.

Does the Varathane packaging say anything about this and does it recommend what sealer to use before the polyurethane?

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

The packaging actually recommends using MS to prep the floor before putting on the first coat.

I have posted this thread on 4 different forums and haven't really heard from anyone with a sure fire solution. I think I'm just going to mask off everything but the affected boards, resand to bare wood, clean the bleached areas with water, sand again and then try to use some different colored stains to hopefully match the original wood tone a little better. Wish me luck.

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

I am refinishing my oak floor as well.
Just finish first coat this morning.

I am also using Varathane water-based poly.
In the instructions it stated to clean with MS before applying the finishing.

I read a lot of posts saying using only water.
Why the difference?

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

  • Posted by glennsfc (sohmflooring@covad.net) on

    Wed, Aug 8, 07 at 15:23

Interesting. Most professional use waterborne finish manufacturers do not recommend mineral spirits.

I have no idea why there would be a difference in recommendations.

There actually is no reason to tack bare wood with any solution, whether it be water or other. In fact, if you tack with a water solution, do that totally if you intend on staining, because what you will be doing is 'waterpopping' the floor to receive more stain color. You would want to be sure that you have 'waterpopped' the entire floor and not to have left any holidays.

All I do is vacuum well and wipe with a clean towell to remove any residual dust.

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

If I sand in between coats, can I wipe up the dust with MS or just with clean towel?

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

I'm a little confused. I thought you said that the bleach didn't work but then you said it worked but made the area much lighter than the rest of the floor. Did that bleach remove all of the black stain? Did the resanding of the bleached area work out to even out the color?

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

I've been watching this thread for updates too. Just about sure part of our floor will look like that under the carpeting. One thing I learned from this, though, is don't bleach it. That would have been my first impulse.

Hope OP comes back but he seems long gone. Sandy

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

I just ran across this thread while looking on the internet for flooring to patch an old wood floor. Very interesting thread. Could someone tell me a good place on Garden Web to find a thread about removing sticks of the old floor and replacing. I found information on utube but not about how to figure how much flooring to purchase. Mine will need repair much like mrplows. I have one very bad area which will need thirty two 2 1/4 wide sticks. Each stick would only need to be 8 inches long which is because a wall was torn out and there was no hardwood under that wall. I will need to figure out how much wood to get to make the lengths varied. My other area needs fourteen of the 2 1/4 and each is 60 inches. I have a feeling I am going to need to purchase a lot of hardwood for the repairs.
Thanks for any information.

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

I took the piece of linoleum off and the one area will need fourteen sticks to cover an area 26 inches long instead of 60 inches long. Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

  • Posted by: trailer_gal (My Page) on Mon, Sep 13, 10 at 11:55 I am trying out the new Dremel Multi-Max today. Just trying to get the hang of it. It is smoking, getting hot and once the blade came loose. This very old maple is so hard. Do woods get harder with age?
    I am thinking I should get a 3 or so inch circular saw and cut across most of the board and then do the edges with the Dremel and then maybe a chisel. We have a chisel but it seems so thick. Do they have sharper and thinner chisels for wood?
    Here are pictures of my project to be.

    rows on west wall, 32 rows


rows on east wall, 13 rows


rows between the problem boards 13 rows

Would anyone be able to estimate how much maple flooring I would need?
Thanks for any information.

RE: Hit a big snag in refinishing oak flooring

  • Posted by: JJ (jessie0225@aol.com) on Tue, May 24, 11 at 14:13 Hi, we are having the same problem with our wood floors after bleaching. The color was even when we wiped the wood down with mineral spirits, it was even when we stained, but now we've put the polyurethane down and you can clearly see all the areas that were bleached: they are lighter than the rest of the floor. Did you ever find a solution to this problem?
    Thanks.

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mrplow

Hello all, I was directed here from a woodworking forum and told that many a pro visits these boards. That would be great because I am in need of some serious help. I recently decided to tear up the old carpeting left over from the previous owner, all was great until I discovered this.

I made the mistake of trying to bleach out the stain (you'll see the disastrous results soon) and after realizing that oxalic acid wasn't working, I decided to replace the boards.

I purchased 20sq ft. of flooring from Menards, and went to work.

So far so good right? Everything was going great with the poly (I just went with the Varathane water-based) until I hit the spot with the bleach. It really shows up and looks terrible compared to the rest of the wood, and this didn't show up with mineral spirits, just the poly. I also have a few drip spots where I must have been sloppy with the bucket of bleach.

I tried to sand down the poly in a few spots, as it was only one thin coat, sand down past the bleach, and then re-apply poly. You can still see a difference in color on the small spots where I removed the bleach drips. The larger circular area where I scrubbed in the bleach is beyond sanding I think.

So....what are my options? Is there any way I am ever going to get the poly on the freshly sanded areas to match the original layer I put down? If I just proceed with coat #2 is there any chance it will even out? Could I try and stain the bleached wood to match the darker stuff? Am I fooling myself because I'm going to have to remove more boards and replace them?

As if the job isn't frustrating enough, I chose to do half the room at a time (my knees and back were killing me) and probably made a mistake in stopping half way lengthwise. So you can also see a difference in each half of the room where I stopped the poly on Saturday and finished on Sunday. I'm at least hopeful that the second coat will even that mistake out

I sure hope I don't have to re-rent that sander and start from scratch as I have already invested a lot of time and money...and sanity.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I really want to salvage this job. What a learning experience this will be!

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrplow

Hello all, I was directed here from a woodworking forum and told that many a pro visits these boards. That would be great because I am in need of some serious help. I recently decided to tear up the old carpeting left over from the previous owner, all was great until I discovered this.

I made the mistake of trying to bleach out the stain (you'll see the disastrous results soon) and after realizing that oxalic acid wasn't working, I decided to replace the boards.

I purchased 20sq ft. of flooring from Menards, and went to work.

So far so good right? Everything was going great with the poly (I just went with the Varathane water-based) until I hit the spot with the bleach. It really shows up and looks terrible compared to the rest of the wood, and this didn't show up with mineral spirits, just the poly. I also have a few drip spots where I must have been sloppy with the bucket of bleach.

I tried to sand down the poly in a few spots, as it was only one thin coat, sand down past the bleach, and then re-apply poly. You can still see a difference in color on the small spots where I removed the bleach drips. The larger circular area where I scrubbed in the bleach is beyond sanding I think.

So....what are my options? Is there any way I am ever going to get the poly on the freshly sanded areas to match the original layer I put down? If I just proceed with coat #2 is there any chance it will even out? Could I try and stain the bleached wood to match the darker stuff? Am I fooling myself because I'm going to have to remove more boards and replace them?

As if the job isn't frustrating enough, I chose to do half the room at a time (my knees and back were killing me) and probably made a mistake in stopping half way lengthwise. So you can also see a difference in each half of the room where I stopped the poly on Saturday and finished on Sunday. I'm at least hopeful that the second coat will even that mistake out

I sure hope I don't have to re-rent that sander and start from scratch as I have already invested a lot of time and money...and sanity.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I really want to salvage this job. What a learning experience this will be!

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrplow

Hello all, I was directed here from a woodworking forum and told that many a pro visits these boards. That would be great because I am in need of some serious help. I recently decided to tear up the old carpeting left over from the previous owner, all was great until I discovered this.

I made the mistake of trying to bleach out the stain (you'll see the disastrous results soon) and after realizing that oxalic acid wasn't working, I decided to replace the boards.

I purchased 20sq ft. of flooring from Menards, and went to work.

So far so good right? Everything was going great with the poly (I just went with the Varathane water-based) until I hit the spot with the bleach. It really shows up and looks terrible compared to the rest of the wood, and this didn't show up with mineral spirits, just the poly. I also have a few drip spots where I must have been sloppy with the bucket of bleach.

I tried to sand down the poly in a few spots, as it was only one thin coat, sand down past the bleach, and then re-apply poly. You can still see a difference in color on the small spots where I removed the bleach drips. The larger circular area where I scrubbed in the bleach is beyond sanding I think.

So....what are my options? Is there any way I am ever going to get the poly on the freshly sanded areas to match the original layer I put down? If I just proceed with coat #2 is there any chance it will even out? Could I try and stain the bleached wood to match the darker stuff? Am I fooling myself because I'm going to have to remove more boards and replace them?

As if the job isn't frustrating enough, I chose to do half the room at a time (my knees and back were killing me) and probably made a mistake in stopping half way lengthwise. So you can also see a difference in each half of the room where I stopped the poly on Saturday and finished on Sunday. I'm at least hopeful that the second coat will even that mistake out

I sure hope I don't have to re-rent that sander and start from scratch as I have already invested a lot of time and money...and sanity.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated because I really want to salvage this job. What a learning experience this will be!

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
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floorguy

What kind of sealer are you using???

Universal sealer Parks or Zinzer.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 7:27PM
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glennsfc

Looks like you did a fine job, except for your finishing attempt. You are not lost here, but I think you may have to resand the floor...or at least the area that you bleached. You need to sand away the bleached wood fibers and get down to unbleached wood...that ought to help. Take your random orbital sander and sand a small section of the area you bleached and then hit it with the varathane and see what you get as a result. If it matches the rest of the unbleached flooring, then you know you can get it all to look right when you resand. Wood bleaching is something even most professionals won't touch. I used it a couple times and decided that I'd never do it again. Just too dangerous.

Why did you hit the floor with mineral spirits?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 7:28PM
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mrplow

@Floorguy. I'm using Varathane water-based.

@Glenn. Thanks for the input and compliment. I used the MS instead of tack cloth to try and pick up all the dust. I also wanted to see the wood with a 'wet' look and hopefully pick up and imperfections before I started to poly. That's why I was so disappointed that the bleach marks didn't show up with the MS.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 7:37PM
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glennsfc

With waterborne products you do not tack with anything but water. Mineral spirits or any other oil based cleaning product can leave a chemical residue that might lead to contamination of the finish product. The same can be said for impregnated tack rags...do not use them.

Does the Varathane packaging say anything about this and does it recommend what sealer to use before the polyurethane?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 8:25AM
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mrplow

The packaging actually recommends using MS to prep the floor before putting on the first coat.

I have posted this thread on 4 different forums and haven't really heard from anyone with a sure fire solution. I think I'm just going to mask off everything but the affected boards, resand to bare wood, clean the bleached areas with water, sand again and then try to use some different colored stains to hopefully match the original wood tone a little better. Wish me luck.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 9:37AM
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kanji4ever

I am refinishing my oak floor as well.
Just finish first coat this morning.

I am also using Varathane water-based poly.
In the instructions it stated to clean with MS before applying the finishing.

I read a lot of posts saying using only water.
Why the difference?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 12:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
glennsfc

Interesting. Most professional use waterborne finish manufacturers do not recommend mineral spirits.

I have no idea why there would be a difference in recommendations.

There actually is no reason to tack bare wood with any solution, whether it be water or other. In fact, if you tack with a water solution, do that totally if you intend on staining, because what you will be doing is 'waterpopping' the floor to receive more stain color. You would want to be sure that you have 'waterpopped' the entire floor and not to have left any holidays.

All I do is vacuum well and wipe with a clean towell to remove any residual dust.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 3:23PM
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kanji4ever

If I sand in between coats, can I wipe up the dust with MS or just with clean towel?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 7:03PM
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premier

I'm a little confused. I thought you said that the bleach didn't work but then you said it worked but made the area much lighter than the rest of the floor. Did that bleach remove all of the black stain? Did the resanding of the bleached area work out to even out the color?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 2:25AM
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breenthumb

I've been watching this thread for updates too. Just about sure part of our floor will look like that under the carpeting. One thing I learned from this, though, is don't bleach it. That would have been my first impulse.

Hope OP comes back but he seems long gone. Sandy

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 7:13PM
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trailer_gal

I just ran across this thread while looking on the internet for flooring to patch an old wood floor. Very interesting thread. Could someone tell me a good place on Garden Web to find a thread about removing sticks of the old floor and replacing. I found information on utube but not about how to figure how much flooring to purchase. Mine will need repair much like mrplows. I have one very bad area which will need thirty two 2 1/4 wide sticks. Each stick would only need to be 8 inches long which is because a wall was torn out and there was no hardwood under that wall. I will need to figure out how much wood to get to make the lengths varied. My other area needs fourteen of the 2 1/4 and each is 60 inches. I have a feeling I am going to need to purchase a lot of hardwood for the repairs.
Thanks for any information.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:33AM
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trailer_gal

I took the piece of linoleum off and the one area will need fourteen sticks to cover an area 26 inches long instead of 60 inches long.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 1:15PM
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trailer_gal

I am trying out the new Dremel Multi-Max today. Just trying to get the hang of it. It is smoking, getting hot and once the blade came loose. This very old maple is so hard. Do woods get harder with age?
I am thinking I should get a 3 or so inch circular saw and cut across most of the board and then do the edges with the Dremel and then maybe a chisel. We have a chisel but it seems so thick. Do they have sharper and thinner chisels for wood?
Here are pictures of my project to be.

rows on west wall, 32 rows


rows on east wall, 13 rows


rows between the problem boards 13 rows

Would anyone be able to estimate how much maple flooring I would need?
Thanks for any information.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 11:55AM
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jessie0225_aol_com

Hi, we are having the same problem with our wood floors after bleaching. The color was even when we wiped the wood down with mineral spirits, it was even when we stained, but now we've put the polyurethane down and you can clearly see all the areas that were bleached: they are lighter than the rest of the floor. Did you ever find a solution to this problem?
Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 2:13PM
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