pplease recommend stripping product for floors?

girlndocsJune 4, 2010

In the next month we will be refinishing the original pine or fir floors in our house. A lot of it is worn completely bare (we will sand lightly) and around the edges it has old paint and some kind of old wood finish.

I was looking at Soy-Gel (from the Real Milk Paint Co) because it's not supposed to have any fumes and we could strip the floor bit by bit *before* we pack the kids off to Nana's for the weekend, move out all the furniture, sand and shellac. But that stuff is expensive. I was wondering if there's a less expensive product I can get somewhere like Lowes or Home Depot that will allow us to remove the old finish without noxious fumes -- we don't have the option of closing off our main room for all the time that we're using the stripping product. (We can put fans in the windows for ventilation, though.)

Thanks.

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hendricus

I did a bedroom floor, washed five times with Dirtex and finished with Polycrilic, looks real sharp. Never emptied the room, just moved stuff back and forth. Didn't have room to move stuff to anyway.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 12:11PM
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liriodendron

I would go ahead and try the SoyGel. I know of no other product like it. If you haven't tested it on your particular floor, you won't know if it will work for you. And give it plenty of time to work. You can cover it up with plastic wrap and set cardboard on top to allow extended working in room that is occupied.

Part of the expense of SG may be the shipping. I buy it at a local janitorial supply house, where it is cheaper.

The alternative stripping products at the big boxes are often very foul to work with, even with good ventilation and none could be lived with while in "on the job".

There may be a "non-toxic", citrus-based stripper. Keep in mind that nothing that can remove paint is truly benign.

Remember, in order to not make yourselves nuts: figure it will cost twice as much and take at least twice as much effort and time as you planned. If it works out better then you'll have the (very rare, so be sure to savour it!) experience of getting what you want done, quicker and with $$ left in your pocket. Plus you'll be spared the enormous stress of struggling vainly to meet a self-imposed deadline.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 7:46PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Hi,
I have chemically stripped many square feet of flooring during my preservation carpentry career. The first one was a 32x36 ballroom floor. It literally could not be sanded because the whole thing was pitch pine, and would clog the abrasive on contact, so we stripped it with methylene-chloride stripper.
In my own house I have stripped one room (M Br.) with Kutzit stripper. If you wear chemical gloves and a VOC respirator there are no physical effects, except to your knees.
I have not yet tried Soy Gel, but I wanted to bring up one potential disadvantage to some of the safer paste type strippers. I have used citrus strippers and notice that they never totally evaporate on their own as do the liquid M/C (kutzit) strippers. This could be a real headache if there are gaps in your floor boards (and what old house doesn't have gaps?). I see the scenario of having to manually clear the goop out of hundreds of feet of floor seams before being able to apply the finish.
If I'm wrong about soy gel (and cripes, I really owe it to myself to try the product, having heard good things about it here at GW), let me know the error of my ways!
Casey

    Bookmark   June 6, 2010 at 9:47AM
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karinl

That disadvantage (not evaporating) is exactly the advantage of EZ Way. It smells, so I wouldn't recommend it for indoor use unless very well ventilated and with time to clear, but it leaves no residue and does not require water or solvent clean-up - it basically is a solvent.

In Canada we have something called Organic Stripper that may be similar to your soygel. I tried it recently and it really has low/no odour and does work, but cleaning up the residue at the end is a pain.

Just saw the old thread pulled up about Paint Shaver. There's a cool idea that might work on a floor.

KarinL

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 1:48AM
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girlndocs

Well, I did get the Soy Gel, and I did a small patch with it earlier today. It went well and about 2 hours of time on the floor under a plastic bag was enough for me to easily scrape up the layer of varnish that was there. I scrubbed the area twice with water and there's no goopiness or tackiness left.

I'm not sure this gallon I ordered is going to be enough to do all that I need, though, and I shy away from spending another $80 on the stuff. The 3M Safest Strip is a third of the cost at Ace so if I run out I'm going to try some of that. I wish I'd tried it first in case it does work as well.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 12:59AM
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brickeyee

If you are going to need to sand anyway, just sand the surface clean.

A flooring drum sander will make short work of paint, just like the old finish on the floor.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 9:59AM
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girlndocs

No, we're not going to sand the floor clean. I don't want it to look like a new floor, and I don't know how much sanding it can take without being damaged. We're going to very lightly sand to remove any raised grain and make sure it's silky smooth but that's it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2010 at 6:13PM
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karinl

3M isn't as good as my Organic Stripper product. YMMV wrt Soygel.
But if all you're stripping is varnish, should be OK. Maybe do the areas that have paint with Soygel to be on the safe side.

KarinL

    Bookmark   June 16, 2010 at 11:58PM
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jamesbodell

recomendation: user Waterlox over Shellac.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 12:46PM
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brickeyee

"I don't want it to look like a new floor, and I don't know how much sanding it can take without being damaged. We're going to very lightly sand to remove any raised grain and make sure it's silky smooth but that's it."

By the time you remove the grain raised by the 'safe' strippers you will end up sanding the whole floor.

The floors were designed to be periodically sanded to renew the surface.
That is why the tongues and grooves are not in the middle of the edge of the flooring, but paced more towards the bottom.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 5:09PM
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girlndocs

By the time you remove the grain raised by the 'safe' strippers you will end up sanding the whole floor.

Having used the Soy Gel on about a quarter of the floor now, I disagree that it raises the grain especially. I can't feel a difference between the rest of the bare wood on the floors and the stripped sections. All of it will receive a gentle hand sanding (it's not a very big floor and we have strong knees and backs).

I like the texture it has acquired with age, and I have no idea how many times or how deep it may have been sanded before we came to live here.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 5:39PM
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brickeyee

"I disagree that it raises the grain"

If it is water based and water clean up it raises the grain.

There is no way around that problem.

Wood absorbs water.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 9:37PM
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