would you finish this old pine floor?

heartygrainOctober 2, 2013

And if so, how would you do it? We were thinking of overlaying this with a finish-in-place new hw floor, but this seems to be a good quality old growth pine. This part of the house is 150 years old so these boards are really old. There are some big gaps between the boards and a few split boards. It would definitely be a rustic look.

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heartygrain

Photo after a tiny bit of effort sanding. I should also note that we have two kids and a dog, so we are probably not going to be gentle on the floor.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:50AM
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millworkman

Are you sure that is pine? The part of the flooring in the center of the picture almost looks like D. Fir.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:33AM
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millworkman

dam duplicate post

This post was edited by millworkman on Wed, Oct 2, 13 at 20:30

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:49AM
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heartygrain

It may well be fir. How do I tell the difference? Is fir better or worse? The part in the middle is where I went over it briefly with an orbital sander to see what it looked like cleaned up. Took very little time to do that.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 1:04PM
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jfcwood

I would agree that it looks more like Fir or maybe Cypress. Both are softer than old Pine. They are both more likely to indent.
How would I go about finishing it? I would call a few people who specializes in wood floor finishing and get a few quotes.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 4:39PM
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gregmills_gw

Regardless if its fir or not it will dent and scratch eitherway. Both pine and fir are "soft".

Im more concerned if that paint contains lead. Old house + pine or fir + paint makes my lead alarm go off.

If it does contain lead you need to take the right precautions in removing it.

If it does not contain lead you could continue to do what you are doing with the orbital. But its gonna take awhile. If doing the entire floor is too big of a job with the tools you do have then you could rent a drum sander. But with it being a "soft" species its going to be really easy to sand through the planks.

If you want a professional look. Hire a professional.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 6:19PM
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heartygrain

I know it is probably lead paint and I would have it professionally removed. The house is located in MA and was built in the late 1800s. I don't think Douglas Fir was used here at that time, that is why I think it is Pine. I was also going to have it sanded with a drum sander, so I was wondering what sort of finish to put on it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:37AM
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kalindi615

You might try the woodworkers forum here on GW. I also don't think that it is pine, but agree it may not be D. Fir either. I have something similar in my upstairs I am planning on re-using also. I forget what someone told me it may be, but they thought it is no longer grown/used any more. It is a bit harder than both pine and fir though. It has the same grain pattern.

I was thinking a regular polyurethane rated for floors or a shellac. When we get to that section of our house we will be pulling the floor up, planing them down slightly, and re-using in another room, so I will have the ability to test both. I would be interested in what advice you are given on your floors though and what you decide. Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 2:10PM
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kalindi615

Sorry, you may also want to try the old house forum here on GW also. Between the two you are bound to get more people who have come across this type of floor and are more apt to want to save it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 2:12PM
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lazy_gardens

I would try stripping the old paint, and then sand it very lightly (no drum sanders, use a "screener" on it, and then finish it with something that can be retouched or recoated easily.

If it works, you have a lovely antique floor. If it doesn't work, you can still install the new flooring.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 6:02PM
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kashka_kat

Yeah, just go for it! People pay good money for antique, reclaimed, and/or distressed wood flooring. No "ifs" - It WILL work, if you do a careful sanding and finishing job. If the sample in the photo is any indication, you'll have beautiful honey colored floors and IMHO, removing them does compromise the authenticity of your 150 yr old house. It will look "rustic" in the sense of being old, but not in the sense of being rough or crude or grungy.

I just re did my old pine floors on its last legs using Bona Deeptone sealer + Mega poly finish and it exceeded all expectations. Others may suggest using Waterlox or some other easily renewed finish (I would go the latter route if your floors are still reasonably thick - I only went with the poly because mine were sanded down by PO to the tongue and groove and there was still poly on it in places - so I was pretty much stuck with poly)

Don't use drum sander, don't get hung up on it looking "new" or unblemished but do sand enough to brighten the wood, take out surface scratches and stains and smooth to a silky smooth feel. The buffer or orbital sander using a higher grit would do it - maybe start with 80 and end with 180-240. If hiring it out, make sure they're in tune with the concept of antique floors and not into extreme sanding to make them look new. Some guys are, but some aren't.

They are not making 150 year old old growth flooring anymore and leaving it/preserving it is really the best thing esthetically and in terms of dollars and sense. Law of supply and demand right?

Yes soft woods will dent but just a little care is all you need - remove shoes, go over with a dust mop periodically to pick up dirt and abrasive matter. The wear your family puts on it just becomes part of its history - and having an easily renewed finish means you'll just re-do it periodically without it being a big deal.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:38AM
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eaga

Yes, I would.

We are just completing reno/restoration of our 137 y.o. home, and went with stripping and refinishing much of the original pine flooring. Sorry, I don't know the specifics of the sanding and finishing, but I do know how pleased we are with the result. Our floor finisher removed as much of the old finish as possible without taking away too much of the wood, and coated with a clear satin finish that brought out the character of the wood. It absolutely transformed the space and we are so glad we had it done.

I agree with Kasha_kat that if you decide to hire a professional make sure he or she gets that you want to restore the floor, not make it look like new.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:36PM
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TXBluebonnet11

I would keep the original floors in place and refinish them. As others have said, it adds to the character of the house. It would be a shame to cover them up. I have antique longleaf heart pine flooring that we are considering installing upstairs. It was removed from an old house and I got it for a steal on Craigslist. If this is what you have, almost everywhere I have researched - they all say not to stain the floors but to keep the floors the natural wood color and just cover with a clear coat, such as Waterlox. If we keep the flooring, I am going to use a satin hard wax oil finish called Osmo. I've played with samples and liked the effect. But I'm not sure about the orange color so I'm still wavering on my decision.

Good luck with your project And don't forget to post lots of before and after pictures if you decide to go for it!

This post was edited by TXBluebonnet11 on Fri, Oct 11, 13 at 1:10

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 1:04AM
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