Help please. Refinishing old floors.

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Forum topic by TucsonDave posted 11-24-2014 09:39 PM 888 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1727 days

11-24-2014 09:39 PM

We own a 100 year old American Four Square home that has been in our family since it was built in 1914. I am getting ready to refinish the white oak wood floors. I also have the very detailed drawings and construction plans and instructions from when the house was built. The floors were origanlly finished by the application of “one coat of paint filler, one coat of shellac and 3 coats of paste wax”. The floors have never been refinished. For it’s first 85 years the floors were maintained regularly by the application of paste wax which was stripped off every 2 or 3 years and reapplied. The floor was neglected for the past 15 years or so. For the most part the floors are pretty good shape, and the last thing I want to do is to sand them down. My plan is to clean the floors with mineral sprits, put down 2 – 3 light coats of shellac, followed by 2-3 coats of paste wax. I do know the advantages and disadvantages of shellac. There are two places when the floor is worn through the original finish. I have attached pictures of these. Any advice on how to address these two areas, or any other advice you might offer? Thanks

2 replies so far

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2949 posts in 2422 days

#1 posted 11-25-2014 12:00 AM

I think you are going about this correctly. One thing is for certain, do not try to use a new polyurethane over what you have. You would have a hard time getting it to stick.

Start by cleaning with the MS. This might take several cleanings to get residual wax up. The areas that have worn through have to have the same color shellac applied as the original. Do not worry if it is dewaxed or not. Just find the right color shellac. The wax won’t matter. You might want to do this with some scrap WO to figure out what shellac will match best. When you figure that out, you will need to feather in a couple of coats in the worn areas by first lightly sanding the bare wood and going into the edges of the area where the shellac is still adhered. Then apply the shellac to the bare areas, and feather it back into the areas that still have shellac. After it dries, you can use some 400 paper or steel wool to blend the areas together. After you blend the areas, apply a final coat of Zinsser Seal Coat – de-waxed shellac. At that point you could use a polyurethane, or keep it original and use a floor wax. Make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions for the floor wax. Look for a hard floor wax. I would stay away from the liquid waxes that are on the market. Bruce still makes a hard wax.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

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2376 posts in 2245 days

#2 posted 11-25-2014 05:06 AM

I am thinking that’s it’s worth mentioning the danger of Useing shellac in large amounts.Denatured alcohol is full of bad stuff.And flammable.When I did my oak floors 50+ yrs old.We used a product called Rubio Monocoat,very safe and has a short dry time.Good luckAj

-- Aj

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