My 60 year-old hardwood floor was refinished about 18 years ago. It
could probably use it again, especially in high-traffic pathways, but
in a few years I'm going to replace my tile kitchen floor with
hardwood and want to wait until then so it can be stain-matched.
In the meantime, is there anything I can do to spruce it up a bit? The
finish -- which was originally satin -- has worn in areas and I'd like
bring back the overall sheen. The area adjacent to the kitchen is the
worst and could probably use some sanding.
I vaguely recall being told that a user should not do maintenance
coats on polyurethane finishes, the way you can with lacquer. Is that
really true? Unfortunately, I have no clue whether it was water- or
oil-based, so that's probably not too helpful.
There are three things you could do...
1. Wax & buff it
2. Apply an acrylic "wax"
3. Apply poly
Doing any of them means that they'll have to be sanded off when you redo the
floor so that they can be stained. Sanding would be particularly necessary
in the case of wax so that new coatings would adhere.
A new coat of lacquer dissolves and mixes with the old. Ditto shellac.
That is not true of varnish...once dried, it isn't dissolvable again.
However, that does NOT mean you can't recoat a varnished floor. Poly
doesn't stick real well to cured poly so it should be lightly abraded to
provide some tooth. In your case, the foot traffic has already done that
and is probably sufficient. If it is down to bare wood you'd probably need
to sand just to get rid of imbedded dirt; otherwise, just cleaning should be
enough. If you have to sand that area is not going to match the older areas
because they have changed in color over time and exposure to light. The new
area will eventually age as well but it will take a few months.
It isn't all that hard to distinguish between water and oil poly as they
give markedly different results. Both will "wet" the wood but it stays that
way with oil poly; with water poly, the wood returns to close to its
original color when the poly dries - it is still darker than uncoated wood
but much lighter than with oil poly.
Regarding stain, keep in mind the difficulty of matching the existing color
when your newly stained/finished floor wears through again in the future.
Many people - me included - don't want that nuisance and prefer the
appearance of unstained wood. We get the color we want by using a
particular wood species, not by staining.
A fourth option is a reconditioning service. They use solvents to
dissolve the finish, then reapply it. The cost is considerably less
than sanding and refinishing, the smell factor is very low, and they're
done in a day.
Some maintenance, but you can apply a paste wax and buff every six
months until your new floor is installed. I like Johnson's Paste wax
for wood, plastic, metal, window sills, shelves, woodwork, wooden
floors, furniture, etc. Careful, your floor may be a little slick
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