Hardwood Floor Refinishing

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  #1  
Old 10-10-06, 01:00 PM
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Hardwood Floor Refinishing

I am considering refinishing the hardwood floor that is in the new house we just bought and I was looking for some information.

Is this something a non professional should attempt?

Do you guys know of any links with reliable info?

I have read a little bit about it and it seems pretty straight forward. Can you guys offer any advice?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 10-10-06, 01:38 PM
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Go to www.nofma.org and click Publications. You can purchase or download for free the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers technical manual for finishing wood floors.
 
  #3  
Old 10-13-06, 09:27 PM
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Let a pro do it, and remember you get what you pay for. Ask alot of questions and go with your gut. Typically the cheapest guy is just that. Remember the satisfaction of a cheap price won't outlast the feeling of a poor job.
 
  #4  
Old 10-15-06, 09:30 PM
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Hello,

I thought I'd chime in here (even registered to do so)
Here's what's happened with my floors:

http://home.cogeco.ca/~ldeneau

(see pictures)

I have a feeling I didn't sand enough before applying the stain, but could someone who knows this better than I let me know?

I sanded this floor down for 6 hours with a rotary sander I rented from Home Depot, mind you the floor sat while we did the painting for the next couple weeks before I wiped the floor down with mineral spirits and gave the Varathane a try. As you can see, I'm pretty discusted with how it's turned out. Any suggestions out there?
 
  #5  
Old 10-16-06, 05:59 AM
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Welcome to the forums Sector Z

I'm a painter, not a floor finisher but it looks to me like you didn't sand off all the old finish. You will need to resand and start over

Floors are usually stripped by first using a drum sander which can be very hard for a diyer to operate [without causing damage] and then sanding with a circular floor sander. An edger is used around the perimeter.
 
  #6  
Old 10-16-06, 08:23 AM
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That's what I was afraid of
I've done most of my own renovations up to this point but this might be where I call in someone else to do this for me.

I spent 6 hours sanding this floor down (300 sq ft), with a rented rotary sander the 18" x 18" one, not the orbital one like I should've gotten.
Did 2 hours with 36 grit, 2 hours with 60 and 2 hours with 80.

Guess it just wasn't enough.
 
  #7  
Old 10-16-06, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Sector Z
Did 2 hours with 36 grit, 2 hours with 60 and 2 hours with 80.
The hours spent sanding aren't as important as the amount of material removed. Basically you need to get down to fresh wood with the rougher grit and then use the progressively finer grits to sand away the sanding scratches.
 
  #8  
Old 10-16-06, 12:44 PM
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Well I've got about 1/8 inch between the surface and tongue and groove - so I'm a little nervous about botching the sanding job any further.

Is there a product that you can put on after sanding and cleanup, like some kind of conditioner that would allow you to see how evenly the wood would take the stain?
 
  #9  
Old 10-16-06, 01:30 PM
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I don't do a lot of refinishing so hopefully someone will chime in with better info. Wiping wood down with paint thinner will give an idea of what the wood will look like [while wet] with poly applied.
 
  #10  
Old 10-16-06, 02:07 PM
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Your help is greatly appreciated! I did notice that when I cleaned up some stain that I had applied in a test area, but I was using Mineral Sprits. I'm pretty sure both products would achieve this..
 
  #11  
Old 10-16-06, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Sector Z
I was using Mineral Sprits. I'm pretty sure both products would achieve this..

very little difference between mineral spirits and paint thinner and yes the result would be the same
 
  #12  
Old 10-17-06, 08:50 AM
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What I did in our bedroom that I recently refinished was use a chemical stripper (I think it was Citrustrip or something like that). Unfortunately, someone once decided that gluing carpet padding down to the beautiful oak strip floor was a good idea! I tried a number of things before the stripper and it worked great! No splotchiness or anything. Of course, I sanded after removing the old finish. I used a satin water-based urethane from Benjamin Moore and it looks amazing! In the hallway next to the bedroom (which didn't have glue on it), I sanded, but didn't do a good enough job and got a similar result (though much, much less than those pictures, fortunately).

While it's not the easiest method (it's a MESS), it can help prolong the life of your hardwood flooring, since you take much less material off, thus allowing more refinishes before sanding through. I've also read that it's recommended for people / places that require as little dust as possible (ie: churches or people who suffer from asthma or allergies)

If you take that route, be prepared to make a mess and invest in a good quality mask (that's rated for solvents, not just a dust mask). Even after using thinner to clean up the floor, i couldn't smell anything with that mask on! Oh, and of course, lots of ventilation! Also, be prepared to do touchup work on anything else that's painted (ie: woodwork, walls), since you'll probably end up with at least a few spots that need it.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
 
  #13  
Old 10-17-06, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr
very little difference between mineral spirits and paint thinner and yes the result would be the same
this probably should be in another forum, but since you mentioned it, what IS the difference b/n mineral spirits and paint thinner? my mom ran her own sign painting business for years and even she didn't know what (if any) difference there was. any light shed on this would be great!

thanks,
-g-
 
  #14  
Old 10-17-06, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by iamjero
Is this something a non professional should attempt?
what the people at the local paint shop told me was: "if you know how to paint well, you can refinish a floor." ... there are differences, but it's still a lot of the same principals ... i see no reason why a non-pro couldn't do it ...


Originally Posted by iamjero
Do you guys know of any links with reliable info?
i googled for hours, days, weeks reading everything i could get my hands on about it ... some links that provided useful information to me are:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=howTo&p=Improve/RefinishHardwdFlr.html

and

http://www.nofma.org/Portals/0/Publications/NOFMA%20Finishing%20Hardwood%20Floors.pdf

there are literally thousands more out there, too ...


also, as per recommendation by the local paint shop (and after my initial coat), i went with a 4" brush (176 sq ft room) instead of lamb's wool or foam applicator ... i'm very comfortable with a brush (painted nearly every visible surface in our house over the last year) and i found it left less bubbles than other things i tried (probably due to me not being good at using the others) ... i can't see a single brush stroke in the entire room ... in our livingroom, which was professionally done before we bought the house, i can see drips and some sort of applicator marks (i assume lamb's wool, since it's oil-based) ... nice to see that i at least did a better job than the "pro" that did our other floors!

also, remember that 2 light coats are better than one heavy coat ... you can always add coats (most recommend 2-3 of oil-based finish or 3-4 of water-based finish) later, you can't take them away

oh, and make sure you vacuum EVERY surface of the room before starting to finish... allow dust to settle for at least an hour or so before (and after) vacuuming ... use a tack cloth to get what's left if you're using oil-based finish ... use a damp microfiber cloth (some recommend denatured alcohol, i used mineral spirits) to get what's left if you're using water-based finish

finally, good luck! i had never attempted anything of that scale before and it turned out wonderfully, so even a complete newbie to floor refinishing can turn out a good result
 
  #15  
Old 10-17-06, 09:30 AM
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Would it be a good idea for me to use a chemical stripper at this point before re-sanding? I'm getting the confidence back together to give this another shot.
 
  #16  
Old 10-17-06, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Sector Z
Would it be a good idea for me to use a chemical stripper at this point before re-sanding? I'm getting the confidence back together to give this another shot.

i make no guarantees, but i don't think it would hurt anything if you did ... it'll just get every little bit of old finish up so you can concentrate on smoothing when you sand, rather than removing

i found citrustrip to work extremely well. it's more of a gel than liquid, so it's easier to control exactly where it goes (i'm planning on using it in our livingroom where i've already got painted baseboards). it also isn't nearly as harsh smelling as other strippers i've used ... plus, it has a "pleasant citrus scent" according to the package (it does smell quite a bit like oranges .......... dipped in a vat of chemicals!) ... it also is supposed to stay wet for up to 24 hours, which makes leaving it on a long time to get through really nasty stuff (gobs of glue in my case) easier.

i'm not positive, but what stripper you use MAY be determined by what kind of finish is on there now .. i don't know enough about them to say for sure ... my floors were finished with an oil-based polyurethane, but i'm not sure if you need a different kind of stripper for water-based (what i re-finished with) ... surely someone else on the forums would know for sure

here's a link i just found with some interesting info on a number of different types of strippers ... they're stripping paint, but overall it should be similar when stripping finish:

http://www.briansiano.com/My%20House/Paint%20Stripping.htm
 
  #17  
Old 10-19-06, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the info Glandix,

But I think I'll steer clear from the chemical stripper for this job at this point because I've already got most of the finish out and the only stuff that's on there right now is the same stuff I'll be putting back on once i've sanded again.

Any pointers on operating the disc sander and edger would be greatly appreciated. I'm renting them both and tackling the floor tonight.
 
  #18  
Old 10-25-06, 10:39 PM
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Results!!

Hello Everyone,

I figured the least I could do for all your help would be to post pictures! You'll be able to see the before and after shots of the floor, after following the National Oak Manufacturer's Association's guide to re-finishing hardwood. Worthwhile material for sure!

Thanks again to all who helped.

Cheers!

Pictures at: http://home.cogeco.ca/~ldeneau
 
  #19  
Old 10-25-06, 11:43 PM
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very nice!!! (reminds me of my livingroom with the red walls and white trim ... except i haven't had time to refinish my livingroom floor yet )
 
  #20  
Old 10-26-06, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by glandix
very nice!!! (reminds me of my livingroom with the red walls and white trim ... except i haven't had time to refinish my livingroom floor yet )
It's gonna look great when we get our white leather couches in there...

If I were to do the floors differently though, I would have gone with full gloss finish with 3 coats instead of the semi-gloss that's on there now. doesn't have enough shine in my opinion...
 
  #21  
Old 10-26-06, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Sector Z
It's gonna look great when we get our white leather couches in there...
heh, could never get away w/ a white couch in our house! one 5 year old boy can make quite a mess even on a dark brown couch! :P


Originally Posted by Sector Z
If I were to do the floors differently though, I would have gone with full gloss finish with 3 coats instead of the semi-gloss that's on there now. doesn't have enough shine in my opinion...
oh really? yah, that's definitely a matter of taste, since we're going from an old, ambered glossy oil poly to a clear satin water-based finsih ... really changes the look from a warm 1950's house that reminds me of my grandparents to more of something you'd see in the latest home decorating magazine

the people at the local Benjamin Moore store (where I got my finish and every gallon of paint i've used on my house) said that if you want a finish inbetween full glossy and full satin, you can do things like 2-coats satin, one glossy or 1 coat satin and two glossy, so you're definitely not completely out of luck if you want to raise the level of sheen!

btw, here's mine (many pictures documenting all the stuff we've done): http://lloydnet.org/Gallery/House/Projects/ ... as you can see from the "Floor Refinishing" album (2nd to last album listed), i had my work cut out for me with the carpet pad glue!
 
  #22  
Old 10-29-06, 12:19 PM
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Floor Refinishing

This thread was a great read, as I am about to refinish the bedroom floor of my girlfriends new house. I am leaning towards the stripper route, but I am curious as to how you dispose of the stripped material, etc.
 
  #23  
Old 10-29-06, 06:10 PM
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I scraped it all up w/ a plastic putty knife and put it into a bucket, then put the bucket out with the trash ... i think rules differ on where you are as to how to dispose of it ... i think also citrustrip is supposed to be more eco-friendly than other strippers, but i'm not sure
 
  #24  
Old 11-21-06, 04:29 PM
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Bedroom refinish

Well, I opted to sand, and oh what a PITA it is! I used a rectangular orbital for about 10 hrs and have barely scratched the surface (pardon the pun). I am now contemplating either using a drum sander or citrus-strip.
 
  #25  
Old 11-21-06, 06:18 PM
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what grit sandpaper are you using? because i was cheap, it was a small room, and i wasn't concerned how long it would take, i used a 1/4 sheet sander to do mine ... definitely NOT the fastest or easiest, but it works ... for the next room, which is about a time and a half bigger than the room i already did, i'm still debating whether i'm going to rent a drum sander or a 1/2 sheet sander ... oh well, i still have to finish our bathroom remodel before i bother to even think about the livingroom floor!

oh, and iirc, i started with 60, then 80, then 100 ... can't remember if i went up to 120 or not, offhand ... that was for the main room that was stripped ... in the hallway, which wasn't stripped, i started at 32 grit and worked my way up to the same level as the other room ... i rushed that, tho', so it didn't turn out as nice as the room that was stripped ... i did both rooms in a day (or maybe two) ... i work full time, so it was mostly evening work ... and that was with a 1/4 sheet sander!!
 
  #26  
Old 11-21-06, 06:40 PM
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Sandpaper, sander, etc.

The sander I used is a 1/2 sheet orbital sander.

Room size is 14' x 16'

Grit used in order (trial and error)

Monday afternoon:
80 grit, gummed up,
40 grit, gummed up,
120 grit, gummed up and also deposited gummed crap back on floor.
180 grit, Success! used about 4 sheet of this to knock down the floor high spots, and start to remove the finish.

Tuesday AM/PM:
180 grit, another 8 sheets throughout the day, one pass on the floor until gummed up. After 2nd sheet in the AM, saw no more progress on the floor, no matter what grit was used. Tried them all once again, with no results at all.

Currently, floor has an almost tacky feel to it. Going the stripper route tomorrow. Floor is too level to risk ruining with the drum sander.
 
  #27  
Old 11-21-06, 06:46 PM
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hmm, what kind of finish did it have previously? i used 32 grit and had to go through a number of sheets, but i never had any size really gum up a lot or deposit any stuff back to the floor ... the 32 grit is really to take a good portion of the finish off ... the rest of the sandings are to get the leftover finish and smooth/level it out, along with taking out any scratches from the previous grit ...

Originally Posted by HerContractor
The sander I used is a 1/2 sheet orbital sander.

Room size is 14' x 16'

Grit used in order (trial and error)

Monday afternoon:
80 grit, gummed up,
40 grit, gummed up,
120 grit, gummed up and also deposited gummed crap back on floor.
180 grit, Success! used about 4 sheet of this to knock down the floor high spots, and start to remove the finish.

Tuesday AM/PM:
180 grit, another 8 sheets throughout the day, one pass on the floor until gummed up. After 2nd sheet in the AM, saw no more progress on the floor, no matter what grit was used. Tried them all once again, with no results at all.

Currently, floor has an almost tacky feel to it. Going the stripper route tomorrow. Floor is too level to risk ruining with the drum sander.
 
  #28  
Old 11-21-06, 07:02 PM
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Unknown finish

I have no idea what the finish it, but it is tough as nails. When I was scraping some of the gum-type-residue back off the floor with a small (mini) pry-bar, I barely scratched the finish.
 
  #29  
Old 11-21-06, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by HerContractor
I have no idea what the finish it, but it is tough as nails. When I was scraping some of the gum-type-residue back off the floor with a small (mini) pry-bar, I barely scratched the finish.
weird! mine was a oil-based polyurethane (i replaced it with a water-based finish), but it was hard and brittle, not at all gummy ... it almost sounds like the work my aunt and uncle did when they used pieces from the old high school gym floor! they hired a pro and he spent hours (possibly days) sanding that uber-strength finish off!
 
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