How *do* you use wax to refinish a sanded floor?


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Old 09-10-11, 04:14 PM
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How *do* you use wax to refinish a sanded floor?

So how did they finish flooring "back in the day"?

Okay, I've searched, off and on, for a definitive answer to this question for a couple of years now. The house is a 1955 Ranch with oak hardwood floor throughout. Of course the floors have always been waxed but never refinished. Because they have been waxed we've never seriously considered using poly as a topcoat although I'm about to change my mind because I can't find any info on the steps to a wax finish although poly info is all over the place. We've (I say "we," for a change the husband figure is in charge of a project) got the floor in our bedroom sanded down (or will have, not quite finished) and plan to stain with Minwax Red Oak oil based stain as we both like a darker color and it will blend in with the rest of the house a bit better. Then what? Is there a step between the stain and the wax? Or do we just wax over the stain after it's thoroughly dry? My concern is that the wax (Johnson Paste most likely as it's the most common,) being a petroleum product in its own right will lift at least some of the stain and be a right mess. However, if that's the way it's done. So be it! As always, any info and help appreciated.
 
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Old 09-10-11, 09:21 PM
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The wood should be sealed first for the exact reason you mention.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 05:22 AM
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I agree - wax can be used to maintain a finish but shouldn't be used as the finish.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 06:47 AM
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The stain I'm intending to use is described by Minwax as "an oil-based wood stain that provides long-lasting wood tone color. It penetrates deep into the pores to seal and protect the wood" (emphasis added). I believe this is where I'm a tad confused. Supposedly according to them this does seal the wood which would imply that I could, after staining, then go on with the wax. However I've never done this before, I've always on my stained wood projects used a wiping final finish of poly cut up to 50% with mineral spirits.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 07:16 AM
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Minwax stain does not "seal" the wood in the same sense that a sanding sealer or coat of finish would.

Wood conditioner would help "seal" the wood in the same way that stain would help "seal" the wood, (by absorbing the wood conditioner, the wood will accept less stain so as to avoid the contrast and blotching that might happen when you use stain full strength) but neither will make it impervious to a mild solvent, which is what you need to accomplish with a wood floor sealer.

If you'd like to read some some specific articles on the subject, Google "wood floor sealer" or "what sealer to use on a wood floor".

For the hardest finish on the floor that will give it the most protection from scratching, you would want to use polyurethane for floors, and you would NOT thin it (at least not any more than the instructions allow), since thinning it will make the finish thin and weak, forcing you to make more applications to achieve the same result. Poly thinned with up to 50% thinner is the recipe for sanding sealer... a soft, thin finish. After 5 coats it might be fine for a coffee table but not for a floor.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 07:30 AM
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Thanks for the reply XSleeper. My concern is that after 55 years of waxing, even though the floor is sanded down there will inevitably be some wax residue in the wood joints of the floor, especially where there is some minor gapping. If not for this possible issue I would cheerily slap on a few coats of poly and have done. I really do not want to gamble that all the wax is out of the floor only to have little lines showing up in joints where the poly is not adhering properly. This is not something I want to do again which is why I'm leaning toward the traditional wax finish IF I can find out what, if anything, goes between the stained oak and the wax. If I can't get a definitive answer, we'll do the poly and keep our fingers crossed.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by diylady View Post
IF I can find out what, if anything, goes between the stained oak and the wax. If I can't get a definitive answer, we'll do the poly and keep our fingers crossed.
Sorry if my answer was not "definitive" enough for you. Let me try again.

You need a floor sealer, like this one:

Dura Seal™: Super Base Sealer

There are probably 1000 different products you could use, but something like this is what you are looking for. Your stain is not your sealer, no matter how they describe it. Clear enough?

If you are close to a paint store (like Sherwin Williams / Diamond Vogel, etc) they could provide you with an appropriate sealer.
 
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Old 09-11-11, 09:45 AM
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I would think if any wax was present in the wood - it would have showed up in the stain coat. I believe that an oil base poly or urathane would adhere better if there are any minute particles of wax left, I know that it will dry to a harder finish than most of the water based polys. I've not used any of the waterborne poly finishes but if they are similar to the waterborne enamels - they should wear well.
 
 

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