Small Floor Project DIY-able? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 02-29-2020, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Small Floor Project DIY-able?

This is the landing of my condo building in Chicago. As you can see, it's taken a beating over the years and I'm interested in staining and refinishing it. The landing is roughly 3'x4'. Is this something that I could myself using a random orbit sander? Or does any hardwood floor project require the bigger floor sander and a professional touch?



This landing gets a lot of traffic with salty, slushy shoes during the winters. Any pointers on a durable finish for this surface would be greatly recommended
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post #2 of 29 Old 03-01-2020, 03:55 AM
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When I visited my relatives in Canada, the first half of their entrance hall was tiled. They said thsi was because of the snow etc.
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post #3 of 29 Old 03-01-2020, 04:01 AM
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Wood is wood, doesnt matter where it is it all works the same. A random orbit sander will work fine for sanding that down, itll just take longer cause of the smaller size. The bigger sanders just make things faster.

Far as finishes go, its still pretty hard to beat a good oil-base polyurethane when it comes to durability. Suppose you could go super-fancy and do an epoxy finish, but why bother? Poly is the flooring finish standard for a reason

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post #4 of 29 Old 03-01-2020, 06:55 AM
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What does the Condo Management Association say they want done? In a Condo they are the most important input.


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post #5 of 29 Old 03-01-2020, 07:57 AM
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You will need to strip it .....

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Originally Posted by misterawesome View Post
This is the landing of my condo building in Chicago. As you can see, it's taken a beating over the years and I'm interested in staining and refinishing it. The landing is roughly 3'x4'. Is this something that I could myself using a random orbit sander? Or does any hardwood floor project require the bigger floor sander and a professional touch?



This landing gets a lot of traffic with salty, slushy shoes during the winters. Any pointers on a durable finish for this surface would be greatly recommended

Because of the water staining, sanding will not remove that. There may be some deeper girt and stuff in between the joints, so I recommend stripping that area to even out the color and remove the staining. Then, see how it looks. You will need to sand it with your ROS to level the grain and any offsetting joints. Then you will need to stain, probably with a Golden Oak from MinWax or other matching Oak stain....?



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 29 Old 03-03-2020, 01:59 PM
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At 3' x 4' I'd replace it.

You're going to spend a lot time sanding and making a big mess only to find out the salt and dirt is deeply embedded in the wood, To sand it down to where there is no dirt with a orbit sander will take a long time and it will be hard to keep it all level.

If you buy new hardwood it will be flat, clean and level. It probably won't take much longer to install because it will only need a light sanding, You could be done in one day and have it look brand new.

Since it's a small size you could probably get someones leftovers for cheap, do you have a Re-use-it store in your town? Craigslist is another good place to find contractors leftovers, You can get small quantities cheap because the original customer paid the contractor for all of it and he's selling the leftovers after the contract is finished for beer money.

Good Luck, let us see how it went.
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post #7 of 29 Old 03-03-2020, 02:43 PM
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Can you replace it with something other than wood such as ceramic or vinyl tiles that are more resistant to the moisture that is tracked in?
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post #8 of 29 Old 03-03-2020, 04:35 PM
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You'll want a "High Solids Floor Finish" Polyurethane for your top coat if you sand and refinish yourself.

A handful of patience is worth a bushel of brains...
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post #9 of 29 Old 03-03-2020, 08:25 PM
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You can go to rental center and get a floor edge sander, it will speed up the sanding process, I have done stair threads with it. I agree with using exterior poly (spar varnish), I won't stain it.
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post #10 of 29 Old 03-03-2020, 08:29 PM
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It's most definitely a DIY project.

Replacing it entirely would give it a nice, brand new, clean, neat look.

Sanding, cleaning, refinishing will clean it up and leave the patina of homespun history, the provenance of familiarity.

I guess it depends where you are in life right now.
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post #11 of 29 Old 03-04-2020, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the responses - it's super helpful to hear such a range of advice about what's possible. To provide a little more context based on some of the responses above...

* I will not be replacing the hardwood, neither with new wood nor tile. That is because....
* I am the president of my condo association and, beyond my neighbors and I not wanting to spend the money on a replacement, this is a passion project for me, to further my experience in woodworking

I'm interested to better understand whether I need to strip off the old finish, or just sand it. If I want to see if I can remove some of the discoloration, I'll need do some sanding - and I assume that sanding would strip off the old finish regardless. Is this the case?
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post #12 of 29 Old 03-04-2020, 09:20 PM
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Sanding will remove the finish, but .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by misterawesome View Post
Thank you all for the responses - it's super helpful to hear such a range of advice about what's possible. To provide a little more context based on some of the responses above...

* I will not be replacing the hardwood, neither with new wood nor tile. That is because....
* I am the president of my condo association and, beyond my neighbors and I not wanting to spend the money on a replacement, this is a passion project for me, to further my experience in woodworking

I'm interested to better understand whether I need to strip off the old finish, or just sand it. If I want to see if I can remove some of the discoloration, I'll need do some sanding - and I assume that sanding would strip off the old finish regardless. Is this the case?

The stains will probably remain. Since you have narrowed the options, start with sanding and the use of a larger ROS from a rental will speed up the process. They will probably offer some good advice as well. FYI, Home Depot has some stores that rent commercial equipment like floor sanders. I sanded all the floors in a rental home a few years back and believe me, it's a learning curve to not leave "start and stop" tracks with a drum sander. A ROS will be a lot easier. If I recall, they have 3 rotating discs, but I could be wrong.

Once the finish is all stripped, then you can see what will remove the stains. There are bleaches and lye that are pretty strong and effective. Then the next step is getting the color back and even using a wood stain. Since there is no adjoining wood to match you're in luck with that issue.

I have used Min Wax fast dry floor varnish with good results.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Minwax-Floo...B&gclsrc=aw.ds

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-04-2020 at 09:58 PM.
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post #13 of 29 Old 03-05-2020, 09:18 AM
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I would use a belt sander and various belts 36 grit, 80 grit and 120 grit, then a random orbit sander to achieve the edging and final finish. use a poly to protect the floor that is for floors ( it has more solids in it). A hand scraper will help in the corners.

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post #14 of 29 Old 03-05-2020, 07:17 PM
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Fun little project! Couple of possible suggestions: Avoid the rental belt sanders unless you like the "destroyed" look--the size of the space is too small IMO for one to work effectively. Dust collection is a must. I had really good luck with a very controllable big (~18-24") square vibratory type floor sander that I rented from HD. Worked so well I rented it a few years later to prep the wood deck before refinishing it. Might want to see if you can find one.

As long as you're going to suffer with the stains, I'd recommend the water-based polyurethane (blue can) --very low odor, recoats inside of an hour and you'll definitely be done inside the day. Used it in our kitchen >15 years ago, still going strong and easy to touch up invisibly. (Bedding delivery guys dragged a box spring with a staple across it for about 3' and I was able to sand it smooth and recoat without doing the whole thing. It's virtually invisible)

Good luck!
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post #15 of 29 Old 03-06-2020, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTU View Post
Fun little project! Couple of possible suggestions: Avoid the rental belt sanders unless you like the "destroyed" look--the size of the space is too small IMO for one to work effectively. Dust collection is a must. I had really good luck with a very controllable big (~18-24") square vibratory type floor sander that I rented from HD. Worked so well I rented it a few years later to prep the wood deck before refinishing it. Might want to see if you can find one.

As long as you're going to suffer with the stains, I'd recommend the water-based polyurethane (blue can) --very low odor, recoats inside of an hour and you'll definitely be done inside the day. Used it in our kitchen >15 years ago, still going strong and easy to touch up invisibly. (Bedding delivery guys dragged a box spring with a staple across it for about 3' and I was able to sand it smooth and recoat without doing the whole thing. It's virtually invisible)

Good luck!
Thanks for this. I was really hoping to just use my handheld ROS sander. I realize it will take longer than using the larger, rental models. But with a relatively small surface, I have concerns that the larger machines will be harder to manipulate around the edges. Am I missing something obvious here? Additionally, would 60-80-120 but appropriate steps for sanding before I stain?

And, for the poly, would this be something I roll on (vs brush)? Any sanding between coats for the floor? Getting a smooth finish has been a challenge for me in a past project where I refinished a table top w a brushed on polywhey finish.
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post #16 of 29 Old 03-06-2020, 05:10 PM
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I recently bought this ......

It's a drywall sander with good dust collection and a 7.5" sanding disc. It's light weight and easy to maneuver.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It's got variable speed, but not random orbit, so you have to keep it moving. It's also reasonably priced. It will also work on drywall .......DAMHIKT. (:<O


there's a 9" version also:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WVHZ8V2...NsaWNrPXRydWU=


How about a 1/2 sheet ROS for half the price?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F5JWZXR...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-06-2020 at 05:50 PM.
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post #17 of 29 Old 03-07-2020, 08:54 AM
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The larger square sander is unique in that it will level a very large area to perfection without a lot of work whereas the ROS will require a lot of work and, in my experience, leave you with varying levels of flooring/material. The big sander (if you can find one) also gets right up to the edges quite nicely--I honestly don't understand why they continue to rent the belt sanders for the DIY type projects. You can't sand cross grain, they inevitably leave troughs if you stall for even a moment and they're a genuine PITA to manuever.

The Minwax Poly is best applied with a artificial sheepskin applicator (sold in paint department near the the product itself usually). The poly is self leveling and when used with the correct applicator, goes down without the bubbles you get from rolling. If I recall correctly, I re-applied about every 45 min until I had the build I wanted. Applying over freshly laid stain I think requires a 24 hr drying time for the stain before laying down the poly.

73!
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post #18 of 29 Old 03-23-2020, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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I'm looking forward to getting started on this project, to take my mind off of current events and fill some of my WFH time. Before I start it off, a few quick follow-ups

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
How about a 1/2 sheet ROS for half the price?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F5JWZXR...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==
This looks really promising for what I'm taking on. I have a 5-in round-disc Bosch ROS. Pardon the potentially dumb question, but this would be better suited for a floor job than my current sander based on the rectangular shape?

Quote:
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The Minwax Poly is best applied with a artificial sheepskin applicator (sold in paint department near the the product itself usually). The poly is self leveling and when used with the correct applicator, goes down without the bubbles you get from rolling. If I recall correctly, I re-applied about every 45 min until I had the build I wanted. Applying over freshly laid stain I think requires a 24 hr drying time for the stain before laying down the poly.
I picked up a sheepskin applicator but, before I start this project, I wanted to confirm if I can use that same applicator for each coat, or if I need a new applicator for each go. If the former, is there a recommended way to "store" the applicator between coats? And, sand between coats?
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post #19 of 29 Old 03-23-2020, 06:02 PM
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Look over the entire link ......

Besides what appears to be a good sander for the price, there are additional models near the bottom of the page. There are phots that show almost identically you same application. I have no experience with this brand, but Amazon has a great return policy if you are not happy. Read the reviews for this one and see what they have to say.


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F5JWZXR...kingtalkcon-20

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #20 of 29 Old 03-24-2020, 07:32 AM
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Re: re-use of applicator for repetitive coats

Absolutely ok, but you'll have to keep it from drying out like the floor between coats. Just slip a plastic baggie around it and you'll be fine.
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