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AngieR 05-03-2010 01:33 PM

Sanding Reclaimed Hardwood
We've recently installed solid oak flooring which was reclaimed from a home renovation. The results are great, we love the character of the aged wood. The floor still has to be sanded, stained and varnished but we're taking a break from all the cleaning and installing of the wood first. When it comes time to sand should we be looking at a drum sander or orbital? There are some inconsistancies in the thickness of some of the planks once they were laid down, which we expected. Which machine would be the most forgiving and give us the best result? My concern is that some of the raised edges of the planks could be ripped up during the sanding process. Any other suggestions?

SJNServices 05-04-2010 02:10 AM

Personally I would use an orbital sander but thats just what I am comfortable with. If you have some edges that are tall enough to cause concern just play it safe and use a small electric sander to blend them in. Other than that just be sure that you sand out all "scratches" from the previous sanding grit before going to a finer grit. In other words, Dont rush through it.
One last thing. Use a slightly damp sponge to clean any dust before applying any finish.
Another last thing!:D I would also advise you to use a high grade satin (not gloss) polyurethane for floors (not on a windy day!).
Post pics as you go!:beer:

Nestor_Kelebay 05-04-2010 02:40 AM

You should also be aware that the old "oil based" polyurethane hardwood floor finishes that have been around since 1956 are now giving way to isocyanate based polyurethane hardwood floor finishes.

The new isocyanate hardwood floor finishes are typically about 3 times as hard and durable as the old "oil based" polyurethanes, and so they'd be expected to last about 3 times as long, and show wear three times as slowly, all other things being equal. But, the new technology isn't as forgiving as the old technology. With the old polyurethane, if you found out you had a problem before you finished spreading the polyurethane on the floor, you could always stop to sort out the problem. With the new stuff, once you mix the catalyst into the prepolymer, then the stuff is going to harden up on you regardless of whether it's on the floor or in the jug, so there's no stopping to sort out problems. Maybe hire a pro to apply the poly if you opt for the newer technology.

Check out:

"Traffic" made by the Bona Company of Italy, or

"Street Shoe" made by Basic Coatings (of the USA, I think).

I don't have any personal experience with either of these two products. I'm just aware that they exist, that they do make use of a totally different chemisty than conventional oil based polyurethanes, and what the manufacturers, contractors and end users are saying about them.

AngieR 05-05-2010 06:30 AM

Hi Steve,

thanks for the information. we realize we're not going to get as perfect a smooth finish as we would have had we bought new material, but like i said, the character in the wood is gorgeous. can you offer any suggestions on what grit sandpaper to start with? being as the wood is older and has already been sanded before we're cautious of oversanding.

AngieR 05-05-2010 06:47 AM

Hi Nestor,

thanks for responding. the sanding, staining and finishing will have to wait till the summertime when there's an opportunity to have the family out of the house for extended periods of time. it took us 4 weekends just to clean and lay the about 700 square feet because we could only work on the weekends, and had to shuffle furniture and kids around the mess. what i understand about finishing the floor is that we can opt for a slow drying/quick curing product for residential applications or a fast drying/slow curing finish which would be more along the lines for a commercial application, as in a gymnasium. either way it's going to be another pretty big job.

SJNServices 05-05-2010 07:38 AM

Now Im just guessing here without seeing it, but start with 180 and see if its working for you. Finish with 400 or 600 (depending on your level of insanity.):D.
So 180 +/-, 220, 320, 400, 600, Straight jacket. :eek:

AngieR 05-05-2010 07:54 AM

if i wasn't crazy for starting this huge job, i certainly will be once it's done. there have been a number of times i've quietly asked myself "what the hell have i started?" i'll post some pix soon, my garage was piled with 1500 sq feet of flooring. it'll be another job just cleaning out what we don't need. thanks again Steve.

Nestor_Kelebay 05-05-2010 08:21 PM


Originally Posted by AngieR (Post 44478)
what i understand about finishing the floor is that we can opt for a slow drying/quick curing product for residential applications or a fast drying/slow curing finish which would be more along the lines for a commercial application, as in a gymnasium.

I am not aware of any such trade-off between the hardness of the finish and the curing time. Basically, a conventional hardwood floor finish will take the same time to cure as a coat of oil based paint. The isocyanate based polyurethanes begin curing once the water evaporates, and should be hard enough to walk on within 24 hours, just like the conventional polyurethanes.

That is, the harder finishes don't take any longer to cure than the softer ones.

SJNServices 05-06-2010 02:03 AM

If you think making all that wood shine will make you insane just wait until that first person puts a scratch in it! At least you will have a legitimate legal defense. ;)
I have found a product that is outstanding for minor scratches called Restore. I use a Q-Tip to apply it to the offensive area, a quick wipe with a dry rag, scratch gone and people get to live longer!!:beer:

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