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Hardwood Floor Refinishing

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  • Hardwood Floor Refinishing

    At some point in the indefinite future I will be refinishing a number of floors in my home. The floors are old red-oak and I'm considering staying with a wax finish rather than going to poly. I understand it will be more work and the floors will be more prone to a variety of injuries, can anyone think of other reasons to move away from wax?

    Also, does anyone have a recommendation for brands of penetrating sealer that may be superior products?

    Much appreciated...

  • #2
    Re: Hardwood Floor Refinishing

    Refinishing a hardwood floor is not as hard as you might first think.
    However, the key to success is preparation and patience. Although a relatively easy job, refinishing can be a dusty and messy task, so take time to remove curtains and blinds, seal off all adjoining openings with plastic, close doors, and then seal them with rolled-up damp towels. These simple precautions will make cleaning up the house a lot easier at the end of the job.

    Please read about A Guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors for further.
    Home Flooring Tips


    • #3
      Re: Hardwood Floor Refinishing

      If the floor was originally waxed, you will, in all probability have to stay with wax. Wax penetrates into the wood and I've never known it to be sanded out. Depending on the age of the floor will dictate how it was finished originally. Floors from before the 60's were either finished with shellac and then waxed or just waxed. Either is a difficult finish to remove. Shellac is tough because it's a resin based sealant and tends to liquify when sanded. It gums up the sandpaper and you use 5 to 10 times as much paper as needed. It is best to strip the floor first with a chemical stripper and then sand. Wax because of it's deep penetration, you usually run out of floor to sand before you get it all out. Newer finishes like polyurethane won't stick well to a floor that was waxed and tend to bubble. If the floor finish has an orange color to the finish, it's probably shellac. If it's more of a natural color it's probably wax.

      From the middle 60's up varnish was the preferred finish and is easily sanded off. Beginning in the mid 80's poly comes into play and again it's easily sanded off and refinished.

      The most popular sander these days is the random orbit sander for floors. It's difficult to damage your floor with one. A drum sander is a bit quicker but it will tear up a floor in a heartbeat.

      Most Home Depot Tool Rentals centers rent three types of floor sanders. A drum, a random orbit, and a square buff. If the housing in your area is from an older base age and there is a lot of floor refinishing going on, the folks at the rental center should be well schooled on what is needed for floors in your area. Floor sanders are one of the top rental items and most associates in the rental center are really knowledgeable in what it takes to do one.