restoring moisture content in oak flooring


  #1  
Old 01-07-03, 06:16 PM
ts43201
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restoring moisture content in oak flooring

I am in the process of rehabbing a home built in 1878. Prior to my purchase, the house had been vacant with fire and water damage for more than 10 years. Amazingly enough, most of the wood flooring is in restorable condition.

The flooring appears to be white oak (stip) that was manufactured by Bruce. I'm guessing that this was made between the 20's and 40's due to the paper lable found on some of the boards that I removed. The stips are about 1.5" wide and maybe 1/2 inch thick. Bruce was not able to provide any additional information about the specific product.

Most of the flooring is severely dried out and buckled in places. It will be easy enough to flatten everything out but I would imagine that I should restore the moisture content of the wood before using some type of poly sealant. Any suggestions on products or processes?
 
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Old 01-07-03, 07:46 PM
RealWoodFloors
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Check the flooring with a moisture meter. You don't want to add any moisture content to the wood. The normal humidity should have already come to an equilibrium by now. Unless water damage has increased the MC of the floor. Find out normal MC for your region of the country and that is what you should aim for.
 
  #3  
Old 01-08-03, 03:37 AM
T
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Finishing wood floors

Gaps and buckling in old wood floors that have been subjected to adverse conditions in years gone by tend to be beyond your control. When sanding to refinish, you can flatten and perhaps minimize the appearance of problems. As you indicate, you can flatten with sanding, but other than maintaining temperature and humidity at occupancy levels to maintain dimensional stability of the wood, you can do nothing about the gaps. It is not recommended that gaps be filled because boards tend to expand and contract as temperature and humidity levels change. This change can cause fillers in gaps to fail, crumble, and pop out. It is normal to expect expansion and contraction and gaps to widen and narrow as temperature and humidity changes. If you are in the process of refinishing wood floors, go to www.finishingwoodfloors.com for technical tips and instructions. Remember, the imperfections found in older homes add to their character and history.
 
  #4  
Old 01-09-03, 10:26 AM
brickeyee
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If the floor expanded so much that it buckled, there is probably permanent damage. Wood is not damaged by humidity changes unless it is restrained. If the humidity drops to low, the gaps in the floor open because only one side of T&G is actually fastened. If the humidity gets to high, the wood expands and can crush the cells in the wood. If enough force was created to buckle the floor crushing probably occured. Face nailed and pegged floors have it even worse if there are pairs of fasteners. The damaged wood may take stains and finishes differently than the undamaged parts. I would still try and repair/reuse it, but depending on your tastes it may have a lot of 'character'.
 
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Old 01-11-03, 08:12 AM
ts43201
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Thanks to all for your suggestions. I will definately see if I can get my hands on a moisture meter and start from there. Perhaps the word "moisture content" was a poor choice on my part. In the places where the water damage was the worst, the wood is lighter and brittle, so maybe what I really need is a wood conditioner. Others in my area with this problem have saturated their floors in boiled linseed oil and covered it with a plastic tarp for a few days. However, it is my understanding that the only finishing option after this is to wax the floor. For obvious reasons, I would like to put down a poly finish rather than wax.

I am prepared for all the character that will result; in fact, it will match the rest of the house. This thin strip flooring is unique to my house and I enjoy keeping the architectural integrity of the structure, especially since I am in a "historic district".
 
  #6  
Old 01-11-03, 04:09 PM
RealWoodFloors
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Be careful. Some of the extremely light locations can be wood rot. I take a flat head screwdriver and push down on those locations with the tip. If it goes in easily than replace the board. You don't want anyone wearing spiked heals to show you their best backflip or forward tumble.
 
  #7  
Old 01-11-03, 10:03 PM
T
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Wood floor restoration

Should you run into boards that have to be replaced, the pros usually pull some boards from an inconspicuous location to replace. Then, put new boards back where the old ones were. New boards won't match old boards because of age and color change.
 
 

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