Refinishing degraded 70 year old flooring


Old 01-12-11, 03:11 PM
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Question Refinishing degraded 70 year old flooring

I have a customer who wishes to have his historic wood floor protected with some finish that will take on pallet jacks and other equipment. The floor has large chunks missing, and severe wear to most areas. However, he does not want to sand, repair or otherwise destroy the integrity nor the rustic feel that these imperfections impart, but instead wants to find a floor finish that will fill in the imperfections and gaps and provide a protective coating. Anyone have any ideas on a process/product (or products )that will work?
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Old 01-12-11, 03:42 PM
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Welcome to the forums Steve!

Some of the better urathane finishes will wear decent but it sounds like the floor will receive abuse that would be hard on any type of coating. And a coating won't just fill in areas where the flooring is missing. Also coatings will adhere better to a clean surface - kind of hard to get without sanding.

Maybe laying a 3/4" plywood floor over the existing floor would be the best way to protect the old wood and make the floor even enough to be usable.
Old 01-12-11, 04:06 PM
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I don't think he can have it both ways - how can he not want to repair the floor yet want to fill in areas where chunks are missing?
Old 01-12-11, 04:12 PM
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Actually, we don't want to repair it or fill in the voids with newer wood patches. What we're looking for is a coating that will fill in those gaps and gouges, much like a self-leveling epoxy does for concrete floors.
Old 01-12-11, 04:17 PM
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The old wood floor is part of the charm of the store, so covering it over with plywood is not an option (the equipment comes in and out of the store most ofter during the hours it is open). What is needed is a clear (self leveling epoxy? resin?) product that will fill in those gaps but leave them showing, and then a product that can be used to coat the floor to provide some protection against future damage.

Last edited by stevecrutcher; 01-12-11 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Add information
Old 01-12-11, 06:30 PM
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Boy, I would be amazed if there was anything out there that would fit your requirements. I would treat the floor like any business owner would have over the last 70 years. That is, I would fix or patch any broken areas, clean the floor well and apply a penetrating finish like tongue oil. Tongue oil will give a soft, sheen to the floor, will help even out the new patches, and has been used for hundreds of years. As far as a clear finish that will hold up to steel wheels on pallet jacks, good luck. As far as historic character goes, I have restored (not renovated) several 100+ year old houses. I really get a kick out of working with the old materials and bringing them back to life. However, I learned that folks 100 years ago would fix things if they broke and replace things if they wore out. The decision whether or not to spend days restoring rotted moldings is a lot easier when I picture the original owner of the house shaking his head at how much time I'm wasting.
Old 01-13-11, 09:58 PM
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I worked in refinishing commercial hardwood a few years ago and I'm not aware of anything clear that will fill in the spaces. If he wants a rustic appearance, we had occasions where we would repair or replace flooring and then "weather" it. We beat it with chains, hammers, whatever and then applied finish. Probably not what you are looking for but an option.

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