Hard Floor finish removal from hardwood floor

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  #1  
Old 11-20-06, 07:20 PM
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Hard Floor finish removal from hardwood floor

I am in the early stages of refinishing a small bedroom hardwood floor. The room is about 14' x 14' and it appears that the floor has never been sanded. I am using an HTF-2 orbital floor sander as it is all that is available. I started off with 80 grit and quickly dropped to 40, as the results were very poor. The 40 was good for about 5 minutes, but then poor, as it was loading up with who knows what. I have sanded the floor with the 40 and the 60, then back to the 40 again (yes, sanded three times) and it has only accomplished removing the high spots and taking the gloss off the finish. Now what?

If the floor finish was good throughout the rest of the floor, I would simply go ahead and refinish from where I am, however the PO's had spilled something right in the doorway that stripped all the finish down to bare wood, so I am faced with removing all the finish, as I have no idea what the floor was finished with in the beginning (45 years ago)

Any thoughts out there?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-20-06, 07:45 PM
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Not actually being a hard wood guy, this may be of no use what so ever, so view it accordingly, OK? I had to get some old adhesive off a concrete floor once and used an adhesive remover from Do It Best. It worked great, but in the process, it got on part of a wood threshold and stripped it bare, as well as some of the paint on the jamb. (got a little carried away with it.) It made the stuff bubble up and I scraped it off with a putty knife.
 
  #3  
Old 11-21-06, 06:45 AM
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Go to the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers website at www.nofma.org and click publications. Download for free the technical manual for finishing wood floors. The site tells you the different grits for sanding and the recommended sander type.
 
  #4  
Old 11-21-06, 01:20 PM
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In high school I used to work with the janitor in the summer and we had to refinish the oak gym floors. We used a fairly thick liquid stuff that turned the finish into a sort of jelly like stuff which we then scrapped off. It left the floor a bit rough with whatever we didn't get scrapped up, but the sander took it right down without loading up the sand paper. Perhaps a hard ware store or hard wood store would know what it is or if it's even available any more.
 
  #5  
Old 11-21-06, 04:18 PM
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Follow up

so, all told I have run the sander about 10 hrs. I have gone through about 20 sheets of sandpaper, ranging in grit from 40 to 180. I found that the 40 did nothing to the floor, the 80 did a tiny bit, the 120 simply loaded up and caked the floor with overheated finish. The 180 took off the top layer of finish and took the high spots of the floor down to the finish level. Most of that was accomplished by end of last night. Today, I spent 6 hrs on the floor and went through the majority of the paper and got nowhere!!!

The finish has almost a tacky feel to it now. The floor is entirely smooth. IT does not matter what grit I now use, as none of them even scratch the finish.

I am seriously thinking of returning the orbital sander and getting the drum. The only other option I see is to use a chemical stripper, but I have no idea what the finish is.

UGH!!!!
 
  #6  
Old 11-21-06, 04:33 PM
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I'd go for the chemical stripper, (in case you hadn't noticed). Try it in an inconspicuous place and see what happens. How old is the floor? Perhaps, if the floor is old enough, what you're dealing with is a heavy wax build up over the years. Just guessin' here.
 
  #7  
Old 11-22-06, 03:52 AM
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could be wax

I am thinking that it could be wax as well.
 
  #8  
Old 11-22-06, 07:43 AM
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Wax!!!


Your on a huge learning curve there.
 
  #9  
Old 11-22-06, 09:00 AM
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Ace carries a pretty effective wax stripper. Can't hurt to try it.
 
  #10  
Old 11-22-06, 05:45 PM
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Citrus Strip

I used Citrus Strip today. I covered about 2/3 of the floor (in several stages) and sun of a gun, there is wood under there! I put it on heavy and let it sit for about 1.5 to 2 hrs, then scraped off, then scrubbed with an abrasive pad and mineral spirits.

What is up with the "Learning Curve" Please explain.

Current plan is to continue tomorrow stripping, then maybe on Friday rent the sander again and try again.

I came very close today to renting the drum sander, but just could not do it. I do not have the confidence with that thing.
 
  #11  
Old 11-22-06, 08:20 PM
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Looks like you're on the right track. Manual labor, ain't it grand? I am assuming you're using a rotary sander sort of like a janitor's buffer only with sand paper. They are OK, but the drum will give you a better end result. I've seen floors with circular marks in them from a rotary sander that a drum sander won't leave. It is a bit unnerving at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll wonder what the fuss was about.
 
  #12  
Old 11-23-06, 05:18 AM
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Sander

the sander is a 1/2 sheet orbital, not circular, and weighs about 95 lbs. I did not want to use the drum as the floor is not all that bad. Only a few scratches, that don't warrant removing 1/8" from the entire floor.
 
  #13  
Old 11-23-06, 06:15 AM
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Agreed. I'm not familiar with a half sheet orbital sander. Does that mean it oscillates rather than spins, kind of like a palm sander? That would eliminate the circular scratches concern.
 
  #14  
Old 11-23-06, 08:16 AM
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Exactly

It is the size of a standard 1/2 sheet of paper and oscillates back and forth, and fore and aft.

The Citrus Strip is doing great! FUnny though, my GF was there this morning helping me remove the strip that I layed down last night (bad decision to let it sit), and she decided to try some Formby's furniture restorer. WOW, a little elbow grease, but it removed the finish to bare wood in about 2 minutes for a dinner plate sized area.

As for the citrus strip. I find that if I let it sit for about 2 hrs, it works best. After sitting over night (for about 13 hrs), it was extremely sticky and very difficult to remove.

Thinking that I will keep on with the citrus strip, then hit the floor with the formby's where the citrus strip did not all come up. Then tomorrow, back to the sander, with hopes of an evening application of finish.
 
  #15  
Old 11-23-06, 08:20 AM
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Great! I'll remember all this for my own use in the future. Is all this going on in your own house or a customers?
 
  #16  
Old 11-23-06, 05:30 PM
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Not my hourse ;)

My girlfriends house.

All the floor is stripped!!! Tomorrow I sand! Only problem is that there is still some residual stripper on the floor, but I am hopeful that the sander can get through that easily.
 
  #17  
Old 11-25-06, 02:03 PM
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Finish

So, I sanded, more, then used some Formby's to remove some final spots, then vacuumed the entire room and floor and then wiped the floor with Mineral Spirits. lastly, I put on a coat of Minwax Polyshades. That was Friday. This morning, I rubbed the entire floor with steel wool, then vacuumed and put on another coat. Tomorrow morning, I will put on a 3rd coat.

One problem I have is that I get a lot of small bubbles in the finish. Any ideas out there?
 
  #18  
Old 11-25-06, 06:22 PM
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Here comes that learning curve...

Are positive you got all the residue from the stripper?? Bubbles in the finish, eh!

After the finish cures out, do an adhesion test!!!
 
  #19  
Old 11-26-06, 09:43 AM
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Adhesion Test

Please explain.
 
  #20  
Old 11-29-06, 06:12 AM
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Done!

As the floor sits today with 4 coats, there are very few air bubbles. They mostly settled out over time. As for the stroke marks, there are a few, that I should have sanded out, but did not. Funny thing, I just refinished several pieces of teak for my boat by applying 8 coats of varnish, and the very first coat was 50/50 varnish/thinner, then sanded almost smooth before the second coat that was thin 90/10 varnish/thinner. I think I should have gone that route. As for the finish itself, I have talked to a few people that have used the polyshades product with varying degrees of success. I actually like the results. But the traditionalists say to rub on a stain, then put on a sealer. Oh well. Floor looks good to me (except for the hairs I see in the finish, than fell off my head during the application!) Note to self, next time wear a hat.
 
  #21  
Old 11-29-06, 09:43 PM
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Any Pictures?
 
  #22  
Old 11-29-06, 11:22 PM
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Once floors have been waxed or oiled, there are usually adhesion problems. When polyshades gets scratched, you will see bare wood. Staining first and then applying coats of polyurethane allows the poly to be scratched without loss of color. These are a couple points that are usually encountered on the learning curve.
 
  #23  
Old 11-30-06, 07:53 AM
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I have a friend who installs and finishes hard wood floors. He wanted me to look at one he had just done that someone had messed up with Murphy's Oil Soap so I'd know what it looked like in case I ever encountered it. The finish had lots of what I can only describe as craters in it. He said it was caused by cleaning too soon after finish application and the Murphy's made the finish draw away from it in all these little divots in the finish. It looked like the finish had piled up in rings and had vacated the floor surface inside the rings. He had applied the finish on a Saturday, the cleaning lady mopped it on Sunday, and that was the result. Is this what is being referred to as adhesion problems or is this something else?
 
  #24  
Old 11-30-06, 01:17 PM
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Pics

I took before/during/after pics, but they are not that great and are on my camera. I will d/l soon.

My theory on the finish is that if I do not like it, or if it appears to be weak, it will come off that much easier. Time will tell.
 
  #25  
Old 02-21-08, 09:04 AM
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Over a year

Well, it has been over a year since I refinished this floor and the floor still looks great. I have not seen any adverse effects as yet to using the Polyshades.

Problem now is that I am about 3 days away from refinishing another floor (doing the final sanding tonight) and I am now wondering if I should go the route again of the Polyshades. This floor is the same as the previous (adjoining room) that will be used as an office, so there will be chairs in use, as well, the office has two doors, so there is more foot traffic. Problem that I foresee is that I may have a hard time matching the shade of the previous room. I have to think this one over.
 
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