Varnish or shellac on floor

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  #1  
Old 03-15-08, 12:47 PM
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Varnish or shellac on floor

When we took up the carpets on our 37 year old house we found finished oak floors in like-new condition except for a few small spots. The floor has, obviously, not been waxed. I would like to try to hand sand and blend these spots to match the rest of the floor. How can I tell if the original was shellac or varnish? Would a sealer have been put under it? What would be required to assure that the new finish adhered to the old?
 
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Old 03-15-08, 04:02 PM
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It is hard to touch up a floor, it might be better to refinish the whole room.

I doubt shellac was used [denatured alchol will disolve it] Probably varnish or poly but some floor finishers did you a laquer finish.
 
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Old 03-16-08, 03:52 PM
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Thanks marksr, I am sure it could not be poly because it was put on about 1970. Is there a way to distinguish laquer from shellac? The basic issue is that I want to make sure that whatever I put on will adhere properly but don't want to sand the whole floor other than a usual "between coats" light sanding with a fine sandpaper. What would you suggest?
 
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Old 03-16-08, 04:37 PM
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Unless I'm mistaken, polyurathane came out in the early 60's

Denatured alchol will disolve shellac, lacquer thinner will disolve laquer. Alchol will not disolve varnish and laquer thinner will take a little elbow grease to have much of an effect on it. You should be able to recoat any of them with poly after a light sanding - be best to test a small area first, just to be sure
 
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Old 03-16-08, 08:33 PM
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Thanks a lot. You have been a big help.
 
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