Refinishing a Hard Wood Floor


I live in a home that has beautiful hard wood floors but over the years there are some spots in heavy traffic areas that need to be refinished. Is it possible to do one area at a time or should we have the entire level done at once. The home is fully furnished and I can't imagine how we would move everything out of the house while the floors were being refinished.
Lastly, what is the best (longest lasting) finish that can be applied.
Thanks
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I would say do it all at once. HD rents a four pad, disc type sander that will not gouge the floor, even a novice could get good results from it---I did. And it will sand right up the edge of the room so a second sander won't be needed. Buy extra sanding discs as they will take back what you don't use. I only used the regular grit and the fine for the finish sanding. Make sure you zip up the dust bag, I didn't realize that for some time and ended up with a lot of extra dust.
HD sells the stain and Poly for the floor. You'll have to choose the stain you like best. Here is a big time saver. Buy the lambs wool floor applicator at a specialty paint store. Buy two heads and use one to put down the stain and save one for the Poly. It goes down quick this way and no streaks or smears. You could get by using a rag for the stain but don't skimp on the Poly--use the lambs wool applicator. For drying time use the directions on the can. My job consisted of two coats of stain and three coats of Poly. It turned out great and I'd do it again in a second the same way.
J
Dr. Edmund M. Hayes wrote:

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Dr. Edmund M. Hayes wrote:
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You can do one room at a time. Rent a storage pod and put the room contents in that. Then seal off the other rooms with tape and polyfilm and go to work or hire the pros. The latter often have some neat setups for sealing off areas they work in from the rest of the house. It may be a bit pricey, but the convenience and time saving is worth it. HTH
Joe
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When you say "entire level", do you mean there's just one continuous floor?
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Probably. That used to be dirt-common. Hardwood in living room, hall, bedrooms, dining room. Entry/Kitchen/baths were slate/vinyl/whatever. When I was a kid, we put in acres of Bruce prefinished- it was cheaper than quality carpet back then.
As to OP's question- get a pro refinisher in to look at it. As long as the bare spots aren't too bad, they can sometimes do a spot refinish, and fade it into the rest of the floors using a cleaning/buffing. Yeah, you still need to move furniture around, but you can usually do the cleaning/buffing half a room at a time. If the floor was factory finish, salvage that if possible- it's harder than anything you can field-apply.
aem sends...
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An oil based finish will impart a pretty heavy yellow orange hue to the floor which can look nice on a darker wood and an oil finish will generally make the grain in the wood more pronounced.
A water based poly finish will dry many times faster and usually provide a harder finish. It won't impart the yellowish orange hue of an oil based finish but it won't highlight the grain of the wood as well as the oil finish.
I would recommend a good water based poly urethane finish but it depends on your priorities.
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the whole messy thing at once. 4 coats of polyurethane applied per manufacturer's specifications. you will be leaving home for a vacation this whole week to allow drying time between coats.
Dr. Edmund M. Hayes wrote:

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In my previous home, the contractor used a water-based polyurethane. Cuts down the stink quite a bit. As buffalobill mentioned, though, you'll still be taking a 4-day vacation from your house, unless you have ways of avoiding the room completely. I had to stay with my mother-in-law. I almost died.
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I just refinished oak floors in my new condo -- I did it before we moved in. After the sanding, there was dust -- a thin thin layer -- on every wall and surface up to about waist height.
So follow carefully the advice about either moving out during the project or really solidly taping up rooms to keep the dust from migrating from one place to the next.
Whether you can do spots or not depends on the current finish. What I've heard (and I did a moderate amount of research on this) is that it is very tricky if not impossible to "spot-fix" polyurethane -- it doesn't lap into itself. Meaning for a really seamless finish, you have to do the whole floor (perhaps stopping at a doorway or other natural border). Perhaps an expert refinisher would be able to minimize the visibility of a repair. Or a rug probably does a decent job :-)
I ended up using a product called Polyx-oil, made by a German company called Osmo. It's a finish that was relatively easy to apply myself and is very low toxicity. While there was an odor, it was really not very strong. There's a thread on uk.d-i-y called "Polyx oil - any experience of this?" with some advice, and I noted my experience. It is claimed, and having applied the stuff on my own floors, I believe it, that you can spot-re-finish this product. So if that's a consideration going forward...
I'll say one more thing before I finish: I don't recommend doing the sanding yourself. I did it once when I was much younger--and more foolish. It's a noisy, hard and dirty job. I am sure that there are improvements in the technology (this 4-disc sander mentioned by another poster sounds interesting), but . . . . Shop around, check Angie's List if it's available to you, get some quotes from pros, and think about what your time is worth to you. Especially if you are going to have to move furniture and do all this in time to save another day's rental of the machine...
Good luck! Jacque
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