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Can I Buff and Polyurethane Wood Floors instead of Sanding?


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09-11-12, 07:13 AM   #1  
Can I Buff and Polyurethane Wood Floors instead of Sanding?

I have wood floors in the living room, one small bedroom and a small hallway. The floors are not in terrible condition, but they could use some help. They have not been treated in a long time I am trying to avoid renting a sanding machine and sanding them all down. I thought that, in the alternative, I could buff the floors, and then add a layer of polyurethane. Do you think this would improve the look of the floors? Can I use a paint brush to apply the polyurethane? I think I read somewhere that I should not use a roller because a roller will leave bubble marks in the polyurethane.


Can I use a type of buffer like the kind that you use on a car? Can you recommend the name/type of a polyurethane product to use?

If the rooms are small, and I need to sand the floors, can I do it with a hand sander?

Do I have to stain the floors? If I am in general ok with the color of the wood, can I just buff and polyurethane?


Thank you for your advice.

 
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09-11-12, 07:28 AM   #2  
If you'd like to apply another coat of poly, you do not buff it first, you scuff sand it first. 220 grit would probably be the best grit to use. If the floor is in decent shape, you would not "need" to rent a huge sander to do this, you could simply use a palm sander or a 5" orbital sander. Just buy plenty of disks and sand it well. But if the floor is in rough shape, you probably need to rent a floor sander and more than one coat of poly will be needed. Sanding is necessary to remove any imperfections on the surface, as well as to help the adhesion of the next coat of poly.

IMO it is always best to use a lambswool applicator and mop the poly on. A china bristle brush could be used to cut in the edges as you go, but you do NOT want to brush the entire floor with a brush, unless you like to see brush marks and texture in your finish. Having a 2nd person helps, since you don't want to allow any time for the poly to get tacky between cutting and mopping. You don't want to overwork the poly by brushing thru poly that is getting tacky. You have to maintain a wet edge and work quickly.

You only stain if you are down to bare wood. Stain will not soak into wood that has a clear finish on it.

 
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09-11-12, 07:42 AM   #3  
Nothing additional to say, X covered it all - just wanted to reinforce that idea.

 
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09-11-12, 08:02 AM   #4  
I didn't cover it ALL... I forgot to mention to wipe and vacuum the floor well after sanding. LOL

Google can help you find some good step by step instructions if you are unsure of how to go about it. Google: polyurethane wood floors lambswool

Buff sanding or Screen sanding is done between coats but are terms used with power buffers- it sounds like you are not prepared to go that route.

 
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09-11-12, 08:02 AM   #5  
Thanks you for explaining that I should scuff sand the wood floor and not buff it. Is there a specific type of polyurethane to use? Do polyurethane come in finish choices- like high gloss, low gloss, satin, etc?

Can I get the lambswool applicator at Home Depot? Is a china bristle brush different than a synthetic brush? Sorry for all of the questions.

I restained and polyurethaned my front wood door recently. I think I used some type of polyurethane that is for marine use (but it is sold in Home Depot). I think it was a polyurethane that is designed to hold up against rain and adverse weather, even though this wood door has a glass storm door in front of it. The door ended up looking really good. Dust all over the place though.

 
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09-11-12, 08:14 AM   #6  
You probably used spar urethane on your door, this would be different.

Yes, polyurethane comes in different sheens with satin being a common choice for floors. There is also both oil and water based poly and you want to stick with what's already on the floor - any idea which you have?

 
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09-11-12, 08:15 AM   #7  
There are dozens of polyurethanes out there, but you want to select one that is specifically designed for floors- a floor polyurethane. Yes, you can get everything you need at HD, the applicator and a pole.

Synthetic brushes are not what you want, they are more of a general purpose paint brush. China bristle is better for oil based finishes. China bristle is a little stiffer, and holds up to solvents.

Yes, polyurethanes come in various sheens such as gloss, semigloss, and satin. Be sure you stir them well, and combine separate gallons into a 5 gallon bucket so that you can dip your entire pad into the bucket. You shouldn't need to strain a new gallon, but if you pour any back into the containers it is wise to strain it.

 
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09-11-12, 08:23 AM   #8  
I am not sure if the current poly is oil or water based. I know that it hasn't been treated in years. If I am not sure whether the current remaining poly is water or oil based, is it better to go with a water based or an oil based poly for the new application?

Yes, spar urethane was what I used on the door. I couldn't remember the name of it.

 
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09-11-12, 10:23 AM   #9  
It's probably safe to assume that your current finish is oil based, and personally I think oil based finishes are superior, so I'd recommend you use that. If you were in Cali, i think they use more water based products out there because of the econatzis, but I guess that is the direction everything is heading.

 
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09-11-12, 10:34 AM   #10  
I don't know if this is effective on water based poly but you might give it a try - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/pa...latex-oil.html
Most water based polys don't dry as hard as oil base poly and usually scar easier than the oil. Waterbased poly doesn't change the look of the wood much other than sheen. Oil base polys deepen the colors that are naturally in the wood and amber some as it ages. Oil over waterbased usually works ok, water based over oil poly can have adhesion problems if the sanding wasn't done good enough.

I agree a lambswool pad is best for the application. Years ago we brushed the floors and didn't have problems with brush marks but we used 6" china bristle brushes and thinned the poly slightly.... not something the typical homeowner would want to use - or me either


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09-11-12, 10:41 AM   #11  
I agree with X - with you not being in California and having been a while since the floors were finished, the likelihood is they have oil based poly on them. That would also be to my preference to use.

 
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09-11-12, 10:44 AM   #12  
we used 6" china bristle brushes
That makes my arm hurt just thinking about it! LOL

 
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09-11-12, 10:58 AM   #13  
Why do you think I suffer from tennis elbow? ...... and I've never played tennis!
The generation of painters before me used 8" brushes for walls, ceilings, and floors


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01-04-13, 08:36 AM   #14  
Roller

if u r using oil based poly on your floor the best applicator is a 1/4" nap mohair roller. just dip the roller into a pan of poly lift it out and rol it on the floor. I was not happy every time i usaed lambs wool with lint and read about using a roller and gave it a try. it works flawless no lint, no air bubbles, and dries and looks like fantastic smooth as glass no roller make. i will never go back to lambs wool. I did 1200 sq' in about 2 hours. do not use a roller pan just pour your poly into a deep plastic pan and completely submerge your roller into the poly and don't worry about drips just roll it on

 
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