I just bought a 70 year old home in somewhat of a lower-end
neighborhood that I am fixing up a little, renting, and then maybe
selling it in 5 to 10 years. It has hardwood floors that have been
covered with carpet for many, many years. If I decide to sell the
house several years from now, I will completely refinish the wood
floors. But until then, I would like to find the cheapest method to
clean them up and protect them through the rental years. Can anyone
out there suggest some possible solutions?
My first thought was to lightly sand the floor, apply a darker stain,
then a good thick coat of poly. But I'm kind of confused as to
whether or not that will work if my current floor was shellac or
varnish (probably the case based on the age and condition).
An old wood floor would not be coated with shellac normally - probably
varnish, and very
likely old coats of wax. If it was protected and just dirty, you might
get it looking good with
just cleaning. Old wax can hold a lot of dirt, and mineral spirits with
some fine steel wool
could get most of that off. I would try that, if possibly, in a spot
that isn't obvious. Damp
mopping is perfectly fine, as well, but you do not want to leave any
standing water. Damp
mop, especially with soap, will dull the floor. Back in the day, I had
a small floor machine that
cleaned, applied wax and buffed. Repeat waxing was needed only every
couple of years or less,
and the floor looked great.
If you are going to stain, you need to clean it and remove all of the
old finish, wax and dirt.
Have you pulled up all the carpet and inspected all the floor space?
I redid a HW floor in one house we lived in, built in 1954. After
pulling up the carpet, there was quite a bit of damage that I had to
deal with. Stains, water damage, gouges along every wall from carpet
stretchers and carpet tack board damage etc.
My floor was top nailed so every nail had to be reset.
Had to do heavy sanding on some warped areas.
We sanded and coated with water based poly urethane. Turned out pretty
good but had to put throw rugs over some stains in the hallway that we
couldn't get out. Bleached them and sanded which helped take 75% of the
I think the 3 choices come down to:
1 - If the floor is OK enough that a good cleaning and waxing will
make it look good, that is an option
2 - Install new carpet for the duration while you're renting it
3 - If it's OK enough that refinishing will work, then refinish it now
and hope that the renters treat it well
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