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Author Topic: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?  (Read 8571 times)

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Offline oakiemac

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Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« on: November 19, 2008, 11:00:04 PM »
I made a bunch of cherry and maple flooring-first batch off the moulder. I'm really happy with it. I used low grade wood and I think the character of it is out standing. I went around the perimeter of our living room with two rows of the maple then put the cherry on the inside of this.

Anyway, next step is to sand and finish but I've never done this before. Looking for some tips and advice. ???
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Offline Sprucegum

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 11:48:10 PM »
Laying the floor is the hard part - but you already know that  :D

I rented one of those square vibrating sanders, slower than a drum sander and less likely to gouge a hole in the floor. It was my first real wood floor so caution was the word.
Next step was an oil-based stain, then Tung oil, then varnish. A long process but I like the result. It has a deep luster that just takes care of itself but then 2 old foggies in sock feet gotta stomp pretty hard to hurt a wood floor.  8)   8)

Offline solodan

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 01:58:53 AM »
I have only finished pine floors in place. I like to use a drum sander, you can remove alot of material quick. You can also make your first pass across the floor at an angle. Yes you will get sander marks across the grain and you will have to sand the whole floor again but this method is great for leveling the whole floor if you have some variance in height. If your border is quarter turned, then stop the sander there and sand the two rows with a belt sander. If you still have any height issues from a cupped board, then you can always take it down with a hand plane. Next get the dust off the floor, but don't pull out the vacum. Instead sweep the dust around real good to fill in between the boards , especially where you quarter turned it. That is the hardest place to keep boards tight especially wide boards.e a tack cloth to get the rest of the floor clean an the apply your stain or oil or whatever, then your top coat. I prefer oil and the oil based poly, but I still like the luster of a wax finish.

Online SwampDonkey

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2008, 03:46:38 PM »
I would plane and sand before I laid it down. I never did a floor, but the dust from sanding would be all through the house even if some kind of vacuum system was on the sanding machine. That's a lot of work cleaning that mess. I just have an old farm house here with some floors uneven to beat the band. It wasn't much of a job for the floor people to put down this pre-finished oak.
Move'n on.

Offline solodan

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2008, 05:38:18 PM »
I think he already laid it. The first floor I ever did was an oak floor. I installed it with my dad when I was about 12.  We stained and finished it first. It still looks pretty good after 28 years. :) However, a floor sanded in place comes out dead flat. If I were to prefinish a floor I would put a small chamfer in the top edge. This way you don't notice the high or low spots. A prefinished floor is only a flat as the subfloor.

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2008, 05:45:43 PM »
You'd have to sand to the sub-floor in some parts of this house to get it dead flat. Actually with this pre-finished floor it looks flat. It's an illusion of course. I won't be playing marbles, so it don't matter. :D  Perfectionists.  ::)
Move'n on.

Offline oakiemac

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2008, 06:27:56 PM »
Solodan, what do you mean my "quarter turned"? Do you seal in the sawdust with poly to help fill in any gaps?

I've been looking at some water based sealers. Supposed to stay clear and not turn yellow or dark over time also easy clean up and less fumes. I want a natural finish but I'm not sure if I should put some tung oil down first just to have the wood grain pop out more.
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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2008, 06:36:06 PM »
The only wood I have seen that defies that claim Okiemac is black cherry. It will turn with age. But I have used water based Varathane on furniture and my other hardwood species have not turned. Now to clarify, that cherry wood turns, not the finish.
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Offline Sprucegum

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2008, 06:42:26 PM »
I think Tung oil will darken your wood more than you might like. If you want to keep that maple bright a water based varathane would be your best bet. The draw back to varathanes is if you need to repair a spot a couple years later you will have to strip and redo the whole floor.

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2008, 06:50:17 PM »
The draw back to varathanes is if you need to repair a spot a couple years later you will have to strip and redo the whole floor.

Why? I don't follow.
Move'n on.

Offline ohsoloco

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2008, 09:32:41 PM »
Only used water based finish once, and I don't plan on doing it ever again.  Used it on a cherry bed that I made, and I thought it looked awful...no depth or richness whatsoever, but then again I don't use stain either. 

Refinished my oak floors a couple years ago.  Like Sprucegum I rented a rectangular orbital sander.  Did a great job, but my floor was even to begin with.  Only thing about them is you don't want to keep it in one spot, always keep it moving or you'll get deep swirl marks (I got those when "stalling" along the baseboards).  Used oil based poly from janitorial supply co. that's typically used for gym floors.  Applied with lambswool pad.  The dog's still doing a number on it when she "flips out" in the house  :-\  Think dog in a cartoon that starts running before it finally takes off   :D  :(

Offline Sprucegum

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2008, 02:47:55 PM »
I just find it REAL DIFFICULT to blend in a spot of new varathane with the old existing surface. The transition is always noticeable  :(

Offline Larry

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2008, 05:53:41 PM »
Iíve finished several floors with Waterlox High Gloss...used to be called Gym Floor Finish.  Sometimes I used a satin topcoat to tone it down a little.  It is extremely durable...looked good in our house for maybe 12 years with zero maintaince and we had dogs.  Drawback is the high price.

I got to talking with a floor guy that has been in business forever with an excellent reputation.  He suggested I try Minwax Satin as that is all he ever used.  I did try it on our house when I was fixing it up to sell.  It looked good...I donít know about durability but my friend said it was excellent.  It is available at Sherwin Williams for about 1/2 the price of Waterlox...ask for a discount.  I put it down with lambswool...my flooring friend says a brush is better but harder to master.


Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline oakiemac

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2008, 07:52:32 PM »
Thanks for the responses. I will check out the minwax satin. I'll try to post some pics when finished.
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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2008, 08:00:35 PM »
I just find it REAL DIFFICULT to blend in a spot of new varathane with the old existing surface. The transition is always noticeable  :(

 :D :D too fussy.

The dining room table had a rug under it for a few years while the rest of the flooring yellowed. Got rid of the rug and gave brother the dining room set and the floor was lighter under the rug. A couple years and she all looks the same now.  ;D
Move'n on.

Offline solodan

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2008, 10:50:11 PM »

Only used water based finish once, and I don't plan on doing it ever again.  Used it on a cherry bed that I made, and I thought it looked awful...no depth or richness whatsoever...


I feel the same way. Oil based finish really brings depth to the wood. So does shellac.

 oakiemac, by 1/4 turned, I just mean the boards runing at a right angle to the field. If in fact you ran your border like this. It is a term that I have heard alot in the flooring industry, but no where else come to think of it. ???  It is just the floor material laid down at a 1/4 of a turn. And yes I seal in the sawdust between the cracks with the finish. :)

Offline Norm

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2008, 11:45:29 AM »
An easier way to get the brushed finish is to put it down with a roller using the synthetic nap and brush behind it. It's a little more work but the finish is nicer.

Offline oakiemac

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2008, 07:58:52 PM »
I did frame in the room with maple so I do have 1/4 turned boards. Never heard that term before but I'm new to the world of flooring.

Got most of the floor laid then ran out of flooring so it is off to the shop to whip up another batch. I really enjoy doing this floor but man has it been a lot of work. :o
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Offline blaze83

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2008, 08:56:23 PM »

oakiemac,
sounds like a fun project  what type of shaper are you using to make your flooring and do you have any pictures? would love to see the wood combination and also the 1/4 turn effect.

thanks,

Steve
I'm always amazed that no matter how bad i screw up Jesus still loves me

Offline thedeeredude

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Re: Anyone ever finish their own hardwood flooring?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2008, 10:08:41 PM »
Has anyone ever used tung oil on floors?  I am getting some ash milled as we speak and was planning to use tung oil.


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