refinishing a hardwood floor

I have 40 year-old oak flooring in my house that until this week was covered with a carpet (with a carpet pad underneath). The floor appears in excellent condition. I plan to refinish the floor.
MY questions-
    Can I tell if the existing finish is water based or oil based by testing with finger nail polish remover?
    Even if the finish is oil based, can I cover it with a water based finish? I want to use a water based because of the ease of application, shorter drying, and less fumes.
    How should I clean the floor before refinishing?
    Any recommendations for what is the best water based finish I can use (brand or otherwise)?
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I recently refinished my 70 year old oak floors, which were under carpet for about 40 years. I'm sure they were oil, but we used 5 coats of water based poly after sanding. For cleaning the floor before finishing we used static pads, lots of 'em, to get up almost all the dust. Came out really nice.
Kevin B.
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get the old finish up , Sand and wake up do it right
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No. If it is shellac, alcohol will soften it. If it is a varnish, it does not matter. Forty years ago I don't think water based finishes were used much, if at all.

Yes
If you really want to do the job right, sand the floors and put new finish on. They will be as good as new.

I don't know.
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Have seen a couple of posts raving about Bona. Or Bonakem?
On 4 Mar 2004 16:51:28 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (David) wrote:

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We used BonaKemi TRAFFIC to refinish 1000 sq. ft. TRAFFIC is a 2 part waterbased resin and catalyst hardener floor finish. Its top rated, commercial grade and you won't have to worry about redoing your floors for a good long time.
Normally only sold to contractors but you can find it on the web (google it). Costs around $100/gallon and we used 9.5 gallons to do 3 coats on 1000 feet of red oak.
one source http://www.hardwoodsupplies.com/store/ViewItem.cfm?ID 8&catid2
We had 40 year floors, covered by carpet for the most part but we still sanded and puttied cracks - you should too.
Be sure to use their quick drying oil stain/sealer to ensure good ahesion (I read Minwax stain is not compatible)
Get their 18" wide applicator and follow instructions - keep a wet edge and work fast as it dries quickly.
Read and follow all the directions carefully and you won't be disappointed.
http://www.bonax.com/profile.html
other resources. http://www.finishingwoodfloors.com / http://www.installingwoodfloors.com /
On Fri, 05 Mar 2004 08:14:21 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net"

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I was afraid to use it due to the catalyst so I used Mega. Had any experience with that product? I put it on one floor in my home last summer. So far, so good.
dave
jp wrote:

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Dave,
I was initially hesitant too but you have a 4 hour window once the 2 parts are mixed and with their 18" spreader it is really fast and easy to apply, just pour a long puddle onto the floor and spread. I would mix a gallon at a time and then towards the later part, I would mix 1/2 gallon to minimize waste (expensive stuff). I was _very_ impressed on how it flowed and dried very evenly with no stroke marks.
Be sure to lightly sand/abrade the second to last coat (let it dry sufficiently) to remove and bumps in the finish prior to the last coat. Home Depot (Capitol Expressway location) rents the 175 rpm buffers for this.
We used the Satin finish, shows less scratches and dust than the Gloss.
Also, if you decide to stain/seal, use a lambswool applicator and apply once around the edge of the room and then circle back (rubbing more rather than applying more stain) again to insure that the wood is evenly covered - some parts absorb more than others. Work your way around the edge and leave a way out. Don't over apply, just rub it in well.
JP

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Why do you want to refinish a floor in excellent shape?
The right way to do it is to sand the floor down to bare wood before refinishing. This makes the question of the prior finish moot.
Personally I have only done oil, so I'll let others comment on the choice of finish question.
-steve

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Some have posted about odors and mistakes of coating ALL stair steps with oil that aren't associated with WB.
On Fri, 5 Mar 2004 08:34:19 -0500, "Stephen M"

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (David) wrote in message

As others pointed out, most of the time refinishing the floors means sanding down to bare wood and reapplying a finish. Is that what you meant too?
I have the same with a house I bought two years ago. We were certain we would refinish the floors when we first tore up the carpet. We turned out to only have about 50 out of 1000 sq. ft. of flooring that NEEDED refinishing. We just decided to leave them alone. Later, when we refinished just the kitchen floor, we thanked our stars we hadn't done the whole house. It became apparent that getting a finish as good as the first one is a difficult task. We had trouble keeping the floor sander from digging waves into our floors.

I don't believe applying new finish over old is a recommended procedure. If the floor needs a new coat of finish, you will have the best results by sanding the whole floor and refinishing all of it at once. DAMHIKT.

I was not impressed with the durability of the water based finish we used in our kitchen. I know another person who sanded off his water based finish after a couple years and redid it in oil based.
Neil
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