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Thread: Floor refinishing advice needed

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Floor refinishing advice needed

    We are planning to refinish our floors over the next couple of months. DH is doing it himself with a simple belt sander. The floors are original variable width natural honey pine floors. I love them. I want to refinish them appropriately which means protect them but don't "modernize" them.

    Two questions:

    #1: The planks have pretty wide gaps between them. The wide gaps trap all kinds of dust, dirt and crumbs. To keep them always clean, I have to vacuum every day. I looked on YouTube and watched a video where they show how to do a similar project. They said to leave the gaps for expansion and contraction, and then I saw another video that said to fill the gaps with the sawdust. What should we do?

    #2: We don't necessarily want to finish the floors with polyurethane--as DH said, it's like putting plastic over something naturally beautiful. But OTOH, poly will do the best job of protecting the floors. DH and I aren't great at taking shoes off at the door and sweeping every day. What should we do?

    My goal is to keep them exactly as they are--but looking less worn.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  2. #2
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    Many years ago (40ish) I had friends who had a beach house, with pine plank floors. They oiled them every couple of years. Not sure what they used, but they were truly beautiful. Also provided some protection from the somewhat inevitable spring flooding.

    I would Not try to fill the grooves. Iíve seen several people try that with various woods and finishes, and it doesnít last more than a few weeks before itís crumbling out, making a bigger cleanup job than you started with.

    Edited to add:
    Maybe thereís an old timer around the area who restores wood furniture and would know about oil finishes?

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    I think I did my cypress floors in South Carolina with tung oil, if I remember correctly. Here is a product you might look at called Waterlox:

    https://www.peteshardwoodfloors.com/...yurethane.html

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    This is a tung oil finish:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORjU5nnWBw8

  5. #5
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I recall one of my friends in my neighborhood where original floors are pine, loved her pine floors and filled the gaps with a substance of some sort. Just a few years later she decided she couldn’t live with a substance that kept coming up and she ripped up the pine floors and put in hardwood.


    Oh I forgot, we kept one little bedroom floor in our Hermann house that is pine, original to the house. The floor guy was there more than a week ago to finish the new flooring and coats the existing small pine floor and oak with poly. but I haven’t seen floors since then.

    I don’t remember any filler in our pine floor.


    I applaud you for not putting polyurethane over it. We put polyurethane on ours.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    When we refinished the wood floors in the last house we put poly on it. I have used Waterlox to protect antique furniture.

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    I believe you can still get varnish, which is what used to be done. They stained, then varnished, then waxed the floors. Sawdust was sometimes used to fill the cracks, because it would take the stain, and would be pushed up and out as the floors expanded.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone! Thanks, Tybee, for the tung oil recommendation, and thanks, TMS, for the process used in the past--

    I looked up WaterLox, and also found this product, Vermont Natural Coatings which looks interesting.

    I am still worried about my lax habits with regard to shoes and vacuuming regimen, so polyurethane is still on the table, but if I can be convinced that these other options will help keep the floor from getting scratched up, we'll probably give it a try.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  9. #9
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    Be sure to use a palm sander along the edges near the walls, this will keep you from accidentally damaging the baseboards. As for not sealing the floors, it is not a good idea. You really need to put some type of protection on them to ensure their longevity. You can use a flat finish poly, lightly sanding between coats to reduce the amount of "shine". Otherwise your floors will end up looking dirty and get dull. You do not want to wash with anything wet, an unfinished floor. So cleaning the floors that are not sealed with be a challenge.

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