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View Full Version : Wood floor refinishing, 1st and last time



Dan Payne
06-07-2015, 10:20 AM
1st used the big pad unit. It worked well because the living room floor was exposed and well worn.
Not so for the halls and bedrooms that were carpeted. The 3 head random orbit unit was useless. The drum unit was the ticket. Also, the edger is a mean "mutha" that really did the job.
I finished off with hand held random orbitals....that was ridiculous.
Still, oak flooring is like sanding a parking lot. The old finish goes deep in to the grain. The client is pleased, but I'm disappointed. Maybe after refinishing wood on boats for decades, my "standards" are too high?

Anyway, my body feels like I got hit by a bus.
I'll not be offering that service anymore.

George Jung
06-07-2015, 10:25 AM
My in-laws had their floors refinished several years back - and they are gorgeous! But it was a job, and essentially rendered the house uninhabitable during the off-gassing period! Gotta wonder what the 'health effects' are.

Paul Pless
06-07-2015, 10:27 AM
Not so for the halls and bedrooms that were carpeted.

You're s'posed to remove the carpeting first. ;)

L.W. Baxter
06-07-2015, 10:29 AM
Family friend, a well-to-do orthopedic surgeon, refinished his floors, set up propane powered blast heater to help speed up the drying process. Burned his house down, with all family mementos inside (everything but a few big pieces of furniture had been moved to second floor).

paulf
06-07-2015, 10:34 AM
Refinishing floors is like running a Marathon, you do two at the same time, your first and your last!

Paul Girouard
06-07-2015, 11:01 AM
You're s'posed to remove the carpeting first. ;)


Easy to see why the Random orbit sander was unless. :D

David G
06-07-2015, 12:25 PM
I think everyone should re-do floors once in their life. It heightens the appreciation both for the finished product... and for the guy you hire to do any subsequent floor refinishing. We have red oak on the main floor - 4 rooms + hallway - that's overdue. Not looking forward to THAT bill... but I sure as spit ain't gonna do it myself.

Garret
06-07-2015, 12:35 PM
Just got new floors (cherry*) in our new house. I was more than happy to have 3 30 YO's do it, as I have done my single refinish a floor job... While not the finish I look for on a boat, it's damn good. These guys do one coat oil based poly, then 2 of water based. 2 days with the windows open & the smell is gone.

* locally grown & milled - so it was cheaper than most anything else. I love the look too.

David G
06-07-2015, 12:38 PM
Sounds lovely. Clear cherry, or 'character'?

Garret
06-07-2015, 12:56 PM
Character. A few knots - all filled with clear epoxy before varnishing. Lots of great grain. Hadn't reinstalled outlets or peeled the tape yet (not that anyone here has seen blue tape before)...

http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/aa372/garretmott/CherrySmall_zpsxkvfbjqk.png

David G
06-07-2015, 01:04 PM
Cherry is one of my favorite woods for most anything. For flooring - it is hard enough, and such a warm beauty, that it's always a favorite of mine. My preference would be for less sapwood... but that's just personal taste. Lovely!

L.W. Baxter
06-07-2015, 01:07 PM
Will that darken over time like old cherry furniture?

Todd Bradshaw
06-07-2015, 01:30 PM
We re-did our 95 year old red oak floors and replaced all the baseboards, door frames and window frames about 10-12 years ago. At first we rented the sander that looks like a big square palm sander about 20" across. It wouldn't cut it, so we went back and rented the big disk style, which did the job. We used either Varathane or Minwax water-based stain and Varathane water-based "Diamond" varnish. Hardly any fumes, non-flammable, and you can walk across it wearing socks within a couple of hours. We did it during winter and didn't even need to open any windows. The water-based stain is slightly less transparent than oil stain or alcohol dyes, but is pretty respectable. The varnish is water-clear, though you can put a few drops of vintage amber tint into it if you want a more golden shade.

No real complaints. I work on those floors and they have held up very well. Back when we had our 110 lb. black lab he could occasionally scratch the wood and make small grooves in it with his claws if he got wound up, but he never managed to peel off any of the varnish or break through the stain in the process.

http://i1303.photobucket.com/albums/ag153/ToddBradshaw/assorted/sail-const.-006a_zpssrthvzpm.jpg

http://i1303.photobucket.com/albums/ag153/ToddBradshaw/assorted/rope-023a_zpsuqhbszhe.jpg

David G
06-07-2015, 01:35 PM
Will that darken over time like old cherry furniture?

Undoubtedly... but not the sapwood. It will become even more contrasting. Even if there is some UV additive in the floor finish (many don't have any)... it wears out, and the darkening begins. And I just love that look! Too dark for some... but it pleases me.

Garret
06-07-2015, 02:04 PM
Undoubtedly... but not the sapwood. It will become even more contrasting. Even if there is some UV additive in the floor finish (many don't have any)... it wears out, and the darkening begins. And I just love that look! Too dark for some... but it pleases me.

'zactly. I see your point on the sapwood, but I like the contrast. This varnish does have some UV inhibitor in it.

It's hard to see, but the top of the 1/2 wall is also cherry - but that's a piece from a tree I cut off my land. Hard to get more local than that ;)

L.W. Baxter
06-07-2015, 02:07 PM
I like a dark wood floor as well. When I first did the red oak living and dining rooms in our house, I finished it natural. I was never terribly happy with the look; perpetually "new" and with too much pink.

A few years later, the (overly thin) finish was getting ragged in a few spots, so I decided to wood it and start over with a stain. Sooo much nicer stained. Now with the proper number of finish coats, has held up well for 10 years.

Recently got rid of the rest of the carpeting with pre-finished red oak in a similar shade in all three bedrooms.

Keith Wilson
06-07-2015, 05:46 PM
Hmm . . I've done it a couple of times, both refinishing old wood, (teens and '40s), and laying new floors in my current '70s house (which had carpet over f***ing particleboard!!). I'm neither an athlete nor particularly stoical and patient, and I didn't find it so bad - tedious, mainly. The worst is getting the old varnish off, particularly the old kind that softens a lot with heat. Also hauling the machines up stairs. Laying the new floor is actually kind of fun. I used a water-based finish which would have been way too clear, almost bluish as it comes out of the can. You can use Trans-Tint wood dyes to give it a much warmer look; pretty much any fairly light color you like.

Here it is going in - 1-1/2" red oak, old school all the way. Prefinished is a hell of a lot quicker and the factory-applied finish is better than anything I can do at home, but you always have those little chamfers on the board edges that form a groove. I want a flat floor.

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a0df25b3127cc9895bea0d69e800000010O00BYsmzNu4aMQ e3bjw/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00104873621020100105043046364.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/?tn=-2025913010

Dan Payne
06-08-2015, 12:19 AM
You're s'posed to remove the carpeting first. ;)

Hahaha

CK 17
06-08-2015, 12:59 AM
In my first house, I did the refinishing myself. Red oak, about 1200 sq ft. It came out ok, but a PITA. In another house I got a price for $800 for the same wood and the same sq ft. A no brainier for me. It looks great and I went sailing while it was done.

wizbang 13
06-08-2015, 04:14 AM
Bought a small house in Tacoma last fall, 1943 vintage.
Spun the oak and fir floors off with a disc sander.... my favorite part.
go figure?

Chris Coose
06-08-2015, 05:34 AM
Much rather do a floor than the bottom of a wood boat. (Both of whuch I've done some miles of)

Breakaway
06-08-2015, 07:23 AM
I refinished some 1500 sq ft of oak floor a few years back at moms house. Used the water-based Varathane, and can second what Todd said about minimal odor. It Has held up well.

Kevin

wizbang 13
06-08-2015, 07:33 AM
Will the water based sand okay when the time comes? that is my main concern.

Dan Payne
06-09-2015, 02:29 AM
Much rather do a floor than the bottom of a wood boat. (Both of whuch I've done some miles of)

I concur

Michael D. Storey
06-09-2015, 07:33 AM
My in-laws had their floors refinished several years back - and they are gorgeous! But it was a job, and essentially rendered the house uninhabitable during the off-gassing period! Gotta wonder what the 'health effects' are.
I put down two rooms of hardwood in the house on the Shore. White oak red oak some walnut. They were culls from a flooring manufacturer. I found a thickness sander and sanded them all to 150 grit and 3/4 of an inch.
Then it was a hand held orbital, after installation.
The finish was two coats of high-build gloss or semi, I forget, which were followed by two in satin.
The deal is that I would do a coat before I left for the week. As a result, the coats were completely dry. I have never had a scratch or a sign of wear. I suspectacate that the durability responds well to being sure that the lower coats are completely dry. I don't think that a week is required, but Im sure that it did not hurt the process.

Todd Bradshaw
06-09-2015, 10:27 AM
Will the water based sand okay when the time comes? that is my main concern.

It seems to from what I can tell. I think it may in some ways sand better and plug up paper less than oil-based varnish. I don't think there is much question that oil-based goes on with a more typical varnish "feel" and due to its slower drying tends to flow and smooth out a little better, but the good water-based varnishes have worked better that I anticipated they would - especially considering their quick drying, easy cleanup and minimal fumes. I've even wet sanded them to flatten and polish them on little stuff, as long as you give them about ten days to really harden up first.

http://webpages.charter.net/tbradshaw/Music%20stuff/2030TB%20017%20003.jpg

the_gr8t_waldo
06-09-2015, 10:39 AM
one thing about water based finishes, you can lay down a coat about every 1.5hours. ( between coatings I just wrap the lamb's wool plastic bag and park it in the fridge. a build up of 7-10 coats- and a day before I allow foot traffic(dragging furniture around.. 5 days) and during the whole time the family can live in the same house. the finnish has proven to wear better than traditional oil based finishes but not as glossy- not much of an issue if one is using semi-gloss as a last