DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Flooring > oil for floor?

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Old 04-15-2010, 05:03 PM  
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Default oil for floor?

i have an older house with 3/4" oak floors. some areas look great some look pretty worn. i'm sure it has nothing to do with my two dogs. i'm pretty sure the only finish this floor has seen is wax. here is my question....
can a guy just oil the areas that are worn? knowing that i'd need to oil the same areas in the future. i really don't want to refinish the entire floor. i have a fair bit of it. i would rather just touch it up. the floor is pretty beat up so i am not too worried sanding or otherwise. maybe oil up some scratches here and there too. any ideas or products i should know about?

thanks in advance.


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Old 04-15-2010, 05:22 PM  
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The problem is that if your existing floor has real floor "wax" on it, then that is probably something called "Carnauba Wax" (made from the nut of the Carnauba Palm Tree of Brazil). Carnauba Wax penetrates a little into the wood, and it prevents the proper adhesion of alkyd based polyurethane floor finishes to the wood. The result is typically something called "Fish Eyes" which occur when the polyurethane doesn't adhere to the wood because of the wax still inside the wood.

You need to understand that of all the "oil based" finishes, the drying oils like Linseed oil and Tung oil dry to the softest film, and so putting "oil" on your floor wouldn't last long as it would wear off relatively quickly. Alkyd resins, which are the binder in modern alkyd paints, are really just clumps of drying oil molecules that have been chemically modified to dry to a film more rapidly. Alkyd based "polyurethanes" are just alkyd resins that have urethane linkages inside them that make each resin harder and stronger, and it is these "urethane modified alkyds", or "polyurethanes" that have replaced Carnauba Wax as the commonly used protective coating over hardwood floors.

So, if you just want to put something on your floor until you refinish it in future, I would use a polyurethane hardwood floor finish rather than a drying oil. At least the polyurethane hardwood floor finish will stand up on a hardwood floor until such time as you sand it down to refinish it. A drying oil will just wear off.

When you do sand that floor down to refinish it, bear in mind that you will have to sand it deeper than normal. That's because the Carnauba wax penetrates some distance into the wood, and it necessary to get back to virgin wood in order for the polyurethane to adhere properly to it.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:55 PM  
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That was a really nice advice Nestor! Brilliant..
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