? about floor treatment in old house

I'm trying to find some info for a friend who just bought a house built sometime around the turn of the last century. The floors in the old part of the house look like oak from a distance but, when seen up close, the look of oak is achieved by something (stain? varnish? paint?) over a white coat of paint.
From what we can tell, the white paint isn't pickling since the boards under that don't look like they were finished in any way and it's definitely a pretty solid layer of white paint.
We were wondering if this is some type of floor treatment used in older houses to give the look of better wood flooring to cheaper wood floors or whether this whole visual effect was just pure dumb luck and many decades of being covered by old, disintigrating carpeting.
Any info anyone can provide will be appreciated.
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FragileWarrior wrote:

Different people have different thoughts but "turn of last century" was some six years ago, not very old. Am assuming you meant in the early 1900's. Many floors back then were probably pine and may have been painted over later by someone to attain a grain effect which was a popular thing in the 40's.. If wood is accually pine it can become a beautiful floor if prepared correctly. Not a job for an amateur.
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Yes. Sorry. I figure I'm IN this century so that was the last one. I should have clarified better.

Do you have any idea what might be over the white paint to give it the oak color? Is it possible that is stain or maybe just effects of aging paint?
I think he is going to get someone to come in and do the work for him but we were just curious if this was an intentional effect or not.
Thanks for the help!
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FragileWarrior@f'loonsmustdie.com says...

Faux finishes were very popular for making inexpensive materials look better. I've seen similar fake wood grain paint jobs on furniture, too.
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says...

Yep, I know what you mean and I went and looked at it really well. It hasn't been raked with a woodgrain tool or anything. There's nothing that looks like it was done intentionally to look like oak -- it just happened to turn out that way. Maybe it was just the way whatever was on the wood wore away under the rug. The rug was probably put down 40 years ago. The rubber padding actually turned to dust when you touched it. Ugh.
Thanks for the help!
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FragileWarrior wrote:

noticed it on floors. If painted, the floors I recall had kind of a creamy brown color paint on them, probably over old pine (wider) flooring. There are probably pictures of the woodgraining and/or the technique on the net, if you google. The wood trim I am thinking of is wide, molded, with the concentric circle motifs at upper corners. Woodgraining also used on built in cabinets.
"Faux bois" (false wood) is an old technique and popular lately (again). In the '60's, they called it "antiquing". Glazes used probably would not stand up to wear on floors. Different colors of paint would.
I had to paint on oak wood grain once, when I refinished kitchen cabinets for a friend. Discovered after I slathered on paint remover that the end panels weren't wood, but mdf with printed grain. Whew! Closest I've come to nervous breakdown :o)
I found one link to show you what they do: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/tvprograms/houseproject/article/0,16516,197893-265550,00.html
You can make a glaze with some paint, mineral spirits, varnish, touch of linseed to slow drying. I've done it a number of times - no particular recipe.
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