resurfacing part of hardwood floor
our house has 55 year old quarter sawn red oak, about 2 1/8 wide. It was covered with carpet and pad for 45 years, then we bought house tore out carpet/padding and had floors refinished. Most of the house looks great. But, it’s been 7 years since the floor finish and one area at the entrance to our kitchen is showing wear, the wood grain appears dark, seems like the finish is gone, regardless of how I clean it.
So, I need to refinish this 3 ft by 3 ft area at the kitchen entrance but I’m concerned about trying to ‘cut in’ the new finished area with the existing area finish. What should I do ? I can do a larger area like 10 ft by 10 ft but not then entire room since we need to live in the house while I do this job. Should I just buff the intersection between the old and the new finish to make the transition less obvious ? I’m thinking to scuff the floor with 220 grit paper or finer, but not remove the existing finishing completly since there are no stains, not alot of sanding is needed. Also, what is the best brand finish to use ? Oil-based or water-based finish ? I used the Varathane water based stuff in a closet remodel and it looks pretty good so far, even though we dont walk on it since it’s a reach in closet. Can I just brush it on or squegy it or what ?
55 years ago my guess would be that it has a coat of lacquer sanding sealer on it finished with a coat of varnish. If the dark look that you mention is dirt then you should sand it until clean looking and smooth. If there is still finish simply wipe it off with paint thinner and sand lightly with 120 grit. Apply at least 2 coats of whatever material you have on hand, scraping the nibs off lightly with a card scraper between coats.
If you have to buy new material make it oil based polyurethane and apply 3 coats over 3 days as it seems to be a high wear area. Put down 2 books and bridge over it with a plank so you can give it ample hardening time.
The first coat will probably take less time than it took me to describe it.
Mesic it is late but I think you missed it, sounds to me like the floor was refinished 7 years ago. But as you pointed out it should be recoated with if not the same product at least a compatible finish. It does not rule out a water base, he just needs to be sure it is agreeable with the old.WALLYOEdited 3/12/2008 1:18 am ET by wallyo
Edited 3/12/2008 1:19 am ET by wallyo
I am guessing that this is a hall of sorts? It depends which way the flooring is running, if the length is wall to wall so to speak you can do that area if door to doorl not so easy.
If you could post a picture it would help.
Let say it is a short hall, door or arch on both ends leading to other rooms and the flooring runs wall to wall. What I would do is pick a joint between boards at both entrances and carefully tape with blue masking tape right at the boards seam placing the edge of tape on the board you do not want to finish. Then screen 180 grit or so and apply finish as directed.
I think the last time I did this I pulled the tape up after each coat when the finish was set but not completely dry with water based an hour or so, re applying the tape for each coat. The board joint helps hide the difference in height of the new coat and the edge or the finish is less visible.
If the boards run the other way you probably need to do both rooms.
Edited 3/12/2008 1:09 am ET by wallyo
here are some photos of the area I want to resurface. The floors are original 55 year old, they were completely sanded and refinished 7 years ago, there is no shellac anywhere, just the last finish was 3 coats of oil based Varathane 7 years ago, that has worn away at this location due to lots of foot traffic. This is an entrance to the kitchen from a family room, yes the floor strips run parallel to the door opening. Note in the pictures that the wood grain appears 'dirty', even though it was just cleaned. I don't want to have to sand alot in this area in fear that when I'm done, it would be lower in elevation to the surrounding area and look terrible. I'm thinking I need to sand alot to get the darkness (i.e. dirt) out of the dark wood grain marks. I like your idea about using blue tape at a wood seam boundary. Maybe it's just normal wood grain and I should just lightly sand it and finish with 3 coats as you sugessted ?Wallyo-what do you mean that whatever I use to resurface should be compatible with the previous finish ? If previous was oil-based, then if I use oil-based now even if different manufacturer I should be ok, right ? Do you mean if orignal (7 year ago) finish was gloss then I should use gloss now ?thanks for your info and reply !Edited 3/12/2008 11:10 pm ET by KWOLSEN
Edited 3/12/2008 11:10 pm ET by KWOLSEN
You might want to try a stripper or deep cleaner that lifts the grime out of the pores rather than sanding down deep enough to get into the pores. Then sand it carefully and re-coat with oil finish.
You have tried wood bleach already haven't you to lighten up the dark color of the wood?
I was hoping for a photo that showed the entrance and more of the room. I am still not clear if you have a 3x3 hall or a say 12 x12 room on the other side of the kitchen entrance. You have to run the tape on the joint otherwise you will get a spot that looks like a puddle. The edge will still be there with the tape the joint just hides it. So lets say there is a 12 x 12 room on the other side of a 3' opening to the kitchen. You can do one of two things; run the tape wall to wall along a joint and do a 3x12 area or zig zag the tape along the butt ends and lengths of boards and do it that way. You cold even tape off one board if badly scratched in the middle of a room to recoat it I don't mess with oil urathane that much I use Bona Kemi water based for floors. In general the rules for painting apply a water based can go over oil, oil cannot go over water. Being that you are living in the house a h2o based dries as fast as Frenchy's varnish. Most floor finishes have recoating instructions. So since you have oil based you can go either way just check compatibility might do a small test area in a closet. If you want to use a oil based that is fine it just takes longer to dry, need to keep motion of air and people down so dust etc does not get blown to the finish. Water based is 80% cured in 24 hours, 100% after two weeks. Between 2 and 24 hours it is dry just soft. If you have gloss use gloss or semi gloss just remember the floor after seven years is not as glossy so you may want to step it down, if it looks brand new keep it to gloss. Remember a gloss with one manufacture is not always equal to another.Boni Kemi also has pre prep cleaners.http://www.bona.com/global/481/Products/Hope it helps!Wallyo
Too bad it wasn't an original floor.. if it had been chances are it was shellac.. in that case all you would do is clean or whatever the wood in the worn area and put on three quick coats of shellac.. new will melt into the old and make an invisable repair.
It would have taken you 2 hours of extremely easy (DIY type) work (mostly standing around waitiing for it to dry) and you could have been walking on it an hour later with no fumes to smell.