New Pine Floor Finish and Underlayment

Old 10-23-06, 12:07 PM
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Question New Pine Floor Finish and Underlayment

I have searched the forum and can't find a conclusive answer:

I have an 1889 Victorian with fir floor and trim. The floor is not in very good cosmetic shape -very rough and a few soft spots (mostly repaired from underneath). The floor is 6" wide planks layed directly over the joists. The joists are on approximatly 24" centers.

Like most people I am working on a budget and have found 5 1/8", 3/4"thick, 6' length, nail down unfinsished pine flooring reasonably inexpensively.

These are my questions:

1. Can I lay the new pine flooring directly over the existing floor? I was thinking about laying it diagonally so that I didn't have to worry about seams matching up. Lumber has become so expensive I was hoping to avoid an entire new sub-floor.

2. I want a dark wood floor, what are the finishing options with pine? How expensive is it to finish myself? Does new floor have to be sanded before staining? I have read several horror stories about the smell and VOCs of the finsishing products.

3. I have also seen some really pretty finished bamboo flooring but I understand the sub-floor needs to be super smooth - like laying large ceramic tiles. Is that true?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Old 10-23-06, 04:49 PM
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Hi there,

I'm no pro, but worked for a flooring company for many years, so this is just my two cents. You can certainly install flooring over top of your existing flooring. You may want to consider driving some screws through the old floor into the joists, at regular intervals, every couple feet or so. This will tighten up the existing floor (which will become your subfloor) to remove any squeaks (or potential squeaks).

Also, remember, if you have any doors in the room, you'll likely need to re-size them in some way (after raising the floor up 3/4").

As far as pine goes, remember that it's not a hardwood, so it won't hold up quite as well. Any heavy furniture could leave impressions in the floor.

If you're worried about having a level surface, I believe you could use some foam underlayment that might help smooth it out and level it.

Pine can be stained, but yes - it would be best to sand before staining. I would suggest applying a first coat of finish before staining. Staining directly on the bare wood might soak in a bit too much - but if you have no intentions of sanding the floor in the future, it's no big deal.

In terms of finish - you can use an oil base polyurethane, which will smell - if you're going to use that, best to do it when you can have some open windows. You could also use a water-based finish, which in addition to much less smell - drys significantly quicker than oil based poly. The drawback is that water base isn't as durable as oil. Remember an oil base will need approx 24 hours to dry well enough for the next coat of finish.

Hope some of that helps.

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