pine floor flaking and splintering

honeychurchFebruary 2, 2012

My house is from 1873 and has original soft pine flooring throughout. We are the 5th owner and have no idea how the floor has been finished in the past.

What we do know is that the finish is wearing away in high traffic areas. At best the top layer is flaking off, at worst it is giving the kids splinters and breaking off in chunks. We do not have it in the budget this year to do the floors completely, so what I am looking for is a stop-gap solution to keep them from getting worse until we can get the floors refinished or replaced next year.

Aside from putting down randomly scattered carpet squares to protect the floor, do I have any options for spot sealing/protecting?


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Ours was built in 1820, and we have the same issues. The only real cure is to refinish the floors, but if you can't do that, and don't care what it looks like, and are planning to refinish within a year or two, then I would get some oil based polyurethane, and brush it on the bare spots.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Thanks for the reply. I don't really care what it looks like in the short term, I just want to keep it from getting worse.

So an oil-based poly won't interfere with any future refinishing (not that we even know it's possible!)?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 4:41PM
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No, when you refinish (sand) the floor, you'll be removing enough wood to remove the poly.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 7:47AM
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You also need to keep in mind tat sanding and refinishing may not eliminate the problem, and it may return.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 10:08AM
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Try brushing on some shellac. It may help with sealing things up. Based on the photos it can't make things worse and you can take it off with some denatured alcohol if it doesn't work out


    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Thanks to everyone for the advice.

Brickeyee, based on the state of the floors the the fact that they are sub-floor/floor all in one, my feeling is that next year we won't be refinishing but rather replacing or covering. The boards may just be past all repair.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 11:08PM
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I'd opt for the shellac idea, especially since it won't need sanding to be removed. My upstairs floors are pine, and the downstairs are oak, probably red but maybe white--and neither has a subfloor underneath. I can't figure why this was so in my 1908 house, but it is.
One warning, you can easily oversand--exposing the tongue and groove joints, at which point you must replace the flooring.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2012 at 5:05PM
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For a cleaner finish, I use a hand rubbed sanding sponge to get rid of any lose splinters (just done in spots) then do one coat of chestnut colored gel stain and follow with a coat or two of orange shellac verses the clear. The finish will blend in so well you won't even see the repairs and the great thing about the gel stain is it won't mar the finish you are working near because it just wipes off. I've done this on several cabinets and floors in our 1890 home and it always looks great.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:53PM
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