My wife and I are moving into a house with beautiful hardwood floors
that have been hidden under shag carpet for years. The carpet and pad
appear to have left the wood it almost new condition (1950's)
I know fully refinishing hardwood is either expensive to have done
professionally and an enormous amount of work to do yourself. So, I am
looking for a simpler way to treat the floors prior to our move-in.
Is there a problem with simply applying a coat or two of modern
polyurethane to make sure the surface stays in great condition? If this
works, would I have to lightly sand the surface first or could I just
apply the polyurethane after a good cleaning?
I have not closed on the house yet, so I haven't' been able to test
the current surface for water absorption, wax, etc.
Thanks in advance for any help
On 17 Jul 2006 09:57:49 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
Lightly sand would be nice.
If you have some imperfections, Start with 80 grit, move to 150 grit
and finish with 220 grit. Use a tack cloth to remove dust between
Then finish off with 400 grit and remove all dust from the room and
lay down your poly.
Dont recoat without sanding the old finish, it is hard, the new finish
may not bond to it. It would be fairly cheap to hire out the work, a
floor buffer is used with sanding screen to roughen it up. You must
check and remove any old finish or wax.
What is your definition of "expensive"? As home improvements go, it is
about as cheap as it gets to have anything done professionally.
How much square footage are you talking about? It's usually about 50
cents a square foot in my experience to sand and refinish. It cost me
$350 to have my entire first floor refinished.
Yeah, just shop around a little bit. 50 cents a square foot is
probably on the low side but that's about what I paid - my first floor
is about 750 square feet and it was $350 to refinish (so even less than
50 cents). The guy I used was just a local wood floor contractor.
We had new wood installed upstairs and it was $7 total per square foot,
which included $4.50 for the materials. So $2.50 for the labor and
that includes installation, sanding and finishing. The installation is
obviously the hard part, so anybody you hire just to refinish should be
a lot less than $2.50.
Here in Eastern Massachusetts, the cheapest you can find is
$1.50-$2.00 for somebody who basically just rapes your floors and
splashes down a layer or two of poly.
For good quality jobs and multiple coats, people pay as much as $4-5
per square foot and more...
It is certainly a good idea to do the floor before you move in, as you
won't have to worry about dirt and dust, nor moving furniture.
I would defer a decision until you have removed the carpet and padding,
so you will know if there are any problem areas that might affect your
My concern would be compatibility between the old finish and the new.
Amateurs usually don't have the knowledge to tell what the old finish
is, nor to be certain that the new finish will properly seal to the old.
As someone else said, having the floors professionally redone is not
too expensive, and perhaps you could even get a discounted rate because
the house is empty.
If you want to try to do this yourself, it's really not that hard since
your not going down to the bare wood. DON"T put a sander on it though
as that would be too aggresive. What is normaly done after the first
coat is hit it with a 100 grit sandscreen. You can either do this with
a buffer type machine or an orbital sander. In your case the orbital is
much better as it is easier to control and won't leave swirl marks.
Home depot and most tool rental yards have these available along with
the screens you'll need. You'll only need 2 or 3 screens. Go over the
entire floor with the orbital going with the grain not against. Vacuum
if you can, sweep if you must up all the dust. Take some tack cloth and
wipe the entire floor. Since your house is from the 50's, they had to
have used an oil based coatinig. You can use water base on top, but oil
is much better unless you can't wait the day it will take to dry. Get a
lambs wool applicator and since it will be new, take an old fashion
comb and comb the applicator to get as much loose "fuzzies" off as you
can. To make the oil base easier to use, you can thin it out just a bit
with paint thinner. start on side, and apply 4-6 linear feet at time
working your way to the other side of the room.
When you go to do the sencond row of 4-6 feet, put the applicator about
6'' to a foot into the first row in order to blend it in and just work
your way out of the room..
Hope that helps, good luck with your project.
O, f.y.i. I normaly charge my cutomers $1.25 to $1.50 to sand and
refinish, but thats going down to bare wood and applying 3 coats. If
you pay to have it done, you shouldn't pay more that 50 cents at the
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