help! nails all over wood floor

Old 11-30-02, 06:52 PM
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Unhappy help! nails all over wood floor

I recently pulled up the carpet in my living room and found to my horror that someone had nailed down the wood flooring with very large nails - probably 1/4" heads. They nailed down every wood slat and in rows about 16" apart. In other words, hundreds and hundreds of nails. I am able to drill into the nail head, then pop the head off, leaving the nail in the floor. This seems to do the least amount of damage to the floor, because every nail puller I have tried mars the wood. Now the question - I can fill the holes with wood filler, and then stain, but whatever I do, I can't get an exact match because every piece of wood is shaded slightly different. So now instead of nails, will I be left with rows and rows of filled nail holes that are noticable? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make these fill holes less noticable? Is there any type of stain that is not transparent that would look good on a beautiful old oak floor? I'd love to do a natural stain, but I'm afraid my options would be limited. In fact, if the nails were in nice straight even rows, it might look kind of like pegs or planked wood, but they aren't straight and even. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated as I really want to try and redo these floors.
Old 12-01-02, 02:24 PM
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This might help. Use a sharp center punch on the center of the nail head. Use a drill bit the same size as shaft of nail. After the head pops off use a small nail punch to set the nail at least 1/8" below surface. Check to see how much wood you have above the tongue. Drum or belt sand with 36 grit paper and after you have cleaned off all the old finish. Make one more pass with a new piece of 36 grit. Then vacuum the floor and fill the whole floor with a commercial waterbase wood floor filler with a similar color of the floor. Woodwise, Famowood, Syntec and Precision are some good manufacturers. After the filler has completely dried. Drum sand the floor with new 40 grit paper. You will now see what nail heads are going to show. In an inconspicuous place on the floor try staining one small area and in another spot put some clear poly to see what the filler spots will look like. If you are happy with the way it looks then start to final sand the floor. You can make more passes to take out more of the filler dots but at no point should you have less than 1/8" of wood above the tongue. The closer you get to the tongue. The less times you will be able to refinish the floors in the future. Go to the NOFMA site and the finishing wood floors section It will tell you what to do.
Good Luck, AL
Old 12-02-02, 07:22 AM
Eric Pommerenck
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Lots 'o nails

I ran into the same problem in a newer home with oak floors. 30'x 60' great room. Real Wood Floors hit the nail on the head with the drilling suggestion. As he mentioned you must score the nail heads or the drill bit will walk. If the joists are exposed below you may have some nails that were not sunk into them. These can be pounded up from below and pulled out from above. In my case we had three guys drilling nail heads for 10 hours. Thats a lot of nails! I use a different sanding method than Real Wood Floors and rarely go more coarse than 60 grit with a drum. in fact I use a plate whenever I can. Everyone has their own sanding technique. Fear not on putty matching. Apply first coat of finish prior to filling holes so your putty fills the only the hole. use a few different shades of putty. Oak is such a "busy" wood as far as grain goes and your fill holes so small that you will be the only person who knows the fill is there.


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