Help with this hardwood refinishing disaster


Old 08-27-12, 11:48 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Help with this hardwood refinishing disaster

Ok, I admit ... I'm a newb. I also just grew so tired of my house being a construction zone - I admit I rushed and screwed some things up. Now that we got that out of the way ....

I just laid unfinished white oak hardwood floors in my kitchen... I never did a job like that, but I admit the installation came out pretty good. They are a continuation of the hardwood in my living room and butt right up against it so I need to match the stain pretty well.

I sanded the wood with 80grit handheld belt sander. And then - my mistake... I stained it. The grit was terrible, I should have known better - but I mistakenly was thinking "its new floor, it doesnt need much ..." but I should have used a HIGHER grit for that reason. So the stain is all goopy and blotchy dark and terrible. I'm using Minwax Provincial (more on that later).

Lay it out for me, what do I do/use to fix it? Minwax "floor guide" says no higher than 100grit, but the can itself says 220 grit. I did the stain yesterday... how long do I wait to try to 'fix' it. Should I do anything to try to sop some up with mineral spirits? What grit do I use to rip all this off and start over, and then what grit to finish it on white oak?

And a separate question - after I've got this stripped... what do I do to not make this mistake again. This stain LOOKED right on the test swatches, but once it was on this floor (admittedly roughed up floor) it was monumentally darker. Also, the grain of my original floors has a red hue (which I see none of in Provencial), and overall the floors have a golden hue... so I think I need to find a better match stain (though the guy at the store pointed me to this one).

I've read one guide that said to put a thin coat of sealer on the floor BEFORE staining it, and I thought the results looked similar to what I was going for. On this part I just did, I have very dark grains right now, but on my original floor - you only see the bigger knots (wrong word) and thicker grains (its not but it almost looks like different wood because of the amount of grain that is prominent now) .... I'm thinking the sealer will help achieve that prevention of such strong grain penetration. Anyone famliar with this method?

I feel like I'm about to walk into a dentist and get yelled at for not flossing enough

If this doesnt work, I'm going to have to call in the pros.
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Old 08-27-12, 03:17 PM
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You're going to have to resand. I can't imagine using a belt sander on an entire floor. Ideally you'd rent either a drum sander or buffer for the sanding. An edger would be used along the perimeter. I have done a few small rms [like my little office] with just the edger. I suppose you could sand again with the belt sander to get rid of the stain but after that switch to an orbital sander starting with 100 grit and finishing with 150 or so. The main thing is to remove all the sanding scratches!

Not knowing what stain was used on the rest of the flooring makes it a little harder to get a match but it can still be done. If the provincial looks good except for needing a little red - add some red to it this can either be done at the paint store or you can buy some red stain and add it to your stain until you get the right color. The amber look is probably from the poly aging. Oil base polys/varnish yellow some as they age.

Wood conditioner or a wash coat is mainly used on soft woods to make the wood take the stain more evenly - prevents the soft areas from being darker. You shouldn't need it. The finer the wood is sanded, the less stain it will take and the lighter it will appear.
Old 08-27-12, 07:33 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Thank you Mark, alot of good information. As for using a belt sander for the entire floor... this is only 80 square feet... so it was pretty doable.
Old 08-28-12, 05:40 AM
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Posts: 18,653
He's younger than we are, Mark - no way I'd be down on my hands and knees with a belt sander for even 80'.
Old 08-28-12, 06:28 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 71
Ha, yeah - even at my limber age of 32 its painful to do the hours of work on the knees... but I'm on a budget.

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