Refinishing Wood Floors (lead??)

CalandApril 27, 2012

We are seriously considering purchasing a home built in 1930. MThe home has hardwood in a hallway, den, and bedroom. It appears to have hardwood under carpet in the living and dining areas as well. The owner, an adult now, grew up in the home and said it was always carpeted as far as she can remember.

My questions (I'm sorry if they are silly/we've never lived in an older home):

1. If I do refinish is there a danger of lead dust from the sanding part of the process? Were wood floors finished with lead in varnish or similar?

2. Can I tell if these are waxed or polyurethane? What would typically be on floors of that era?

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lazy_gardens

NO lead in varnishes ... lead was used in paint because it made white paint white, cheaply.

You never know what was on them ... probably a varnish, not urethane. You can test it with shellac thinner (alcohol) and laquer thinner in a small spot. If it dissolves

You might be able to "screen" the floor, which is just a light sanding to remove the old finish, then re-finish with a good modern finish.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 2:16PM
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bostonpam

Our floors are older and some were painted around the edge (2-3'). There are 3 different colors of paint. THIS I may worry has lead since my guess this paint was from 1890-1940's. When I had another house tested for lead the inspector told me some stains did contain lead paint (that house had natural woodwork).

    Bookmark   April 27, 2012 at 5:25PM
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brickeyee

"lead was used in paint because it made white paint white"
Lead pigment went away a very long time ago.

The most common 'lead' in lead paint is lead acetate 9AKA'sugar of lead' for its sweet taste).

Lead acetate was a dryer an gloss improver, not a pigment.

Lead acetate paint is hard when it dries, so hard that chips can cut skin.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:45PM
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