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Old 02-06-2009, 05:02 PM  
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Default hardwood floor refinishing questions

Hi all,

I'm about to start refinishing the floors in my new house. I am having a terrible time figuring out what finish to go with. The floors are red oak, mostly center cut, and about 60 yrs old. The do not appear to have ever been refinished, but are in decent shape. There are a few areas where the finish has worn through in high traffic areas, but it doesn't look like there's much, if any staining. Also, the combined area of the wood floors to be refinished is ~1000sq. ft.

Ok, now the details are out of the way. My basic options are water born, or oil modified urethanes. I'd prefer to go with water born, as I like the clear finish, and I've heard that oil based finishes smell for quite a while.

There are a few things I don't understand yet though.

1.With water borne finishes, do I need to apply a sealer first to prevent the wood grain from rising?

2.Also how many coats will I need to apply. With a new house, the budget is getting stretched thin, so I need to get a good idea of cost.

3.Will any sanding be required between coats? I'd like to avoid this, because the rental price for the sander is not cheap.

Prices of water born finishes seems pretty high in comparison with oil based finishes. The low end seems to be in the $50/gal range. I could use some recommendations on low cost, quality finishes. At $50/gal, giving 500sq ft/gal, 1000sq ft of floor, and 3 coats, I'm looking at ~$300 for finish alone. Is this right?

I'm not counting out oil based finishes. They seem to be about half the price of water born finishes. In fact I've found oil modified urethane as low as $100/5 gal. I don't want to base what finish I use on cost alone. But if anyone could recommend a decent quality oil based finish with an attractive price, I might go down that road.

Thanks in advance for any help,

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Old 02-09-2009, 03:59 AM  
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I can take an hour to explain everything to you or I can send you to "Free Wood Floor Plans" so you can read their receipe for wood floor finishing. They recommend oil based finish and well, so do I. Never did like anything waterbased being used on wood. Plus, water will raise your grain much more than oil based will - causing even more sanding. Being you are worried about cost, oil is the way to go. P.S. Never get in a hurry by thinking about using a roller to apply any wood finish. It will only cause air bubbles and makes for even more sanding.

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:30 AM  
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Default Agrees with oil based recommendation

Oil based is the way to go. Water based finishes will also cause any metal particles in the oak to rust and streak. If steel wool was ever used on the floor (by the original installer for example) then it left small steel wool particles all in the wood and they will rust. If any nails are close to the surface they will also rust under the water based finish. Also, take the time to use complete surface filler since it produces a much nicer finish product.
hth, Doug

Last edited by jdougn; 02-09-2009 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:26 PM  
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Agreed. Oil is best if you can stay off the floor long enough for it try dry. The look is 100X better than any water finish. Yes, it will stink. But only for several days. A 60-year old floor deserves an oil based finish! If you choose water because of timing, consider an oil stain to golden up the color before the water finish. Water base are so clear they look fake/plastic to me.
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