Trying to Finish a Volunteer Project - Refinishing Hardwood Floors - Run Into Problem - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 10-01-2016, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Trying to Finish a Volunteer Project - Refinishing Hardwood Floors - Run Into Problem

Hi there,

We have been trying to refinish a floor to get it right. Its a volunteer project so its myself and my friend Amy that are doing. Original floor we started with was prefinished. I have included our process up till now and the issues we have faced.

But our current problem is listed below as #3. It has to do with some small areas not taking stain and parts of the floor still feeling rough. We are planning to try and get it right today and this I would love any ideas or experience that the group may have. Heres our details below so you know exactly "good/bad" what we've done or tried up to this point. Thanks in advance.

This is what we have done so far:

1. Drum sanded with 24, 40, 60, then 100
2. Orbital Hand Edger with 24, 40, 60, then 100
3. First coat of stain (oil based Jackobean Minwax)
4. Second coat of stain
5. Wiped down the floor with a damp rag to take any dust away.
5. First coat of poly (no sanding between coats)
6. Second coat of poly (no sanding between coats)
7. Third coat of poly

First Problem We Faced: #1
I pointed out that after the 3rd coat if poly, the floor seemed rough and that there wasnt a smoothness to it. No way I cpukd run and slide on my socks across it all. Also, after 3 coats, it didnt feel like any layers of protection really formed. I felt I was still staring at the orginal wood with a nicr sheen. I guess I thought that each coat of poly should be building up a small layer to make it feel like the orignal floors were a little bit underneath. Hence being able to take years of wear and tear without getting down to the original level.

(Solution: We read and it was suggested that we sand down the entire floor with a hand sander using 220 paper)

8. Used a hand sander with 220 and lightly went over the entire floor.

Second Problem we Faced: #2
There was a white residue across the floor. Its on the floor and doesnt wipe off. Ive seen other people ask the same question, and I now know that its the poly being worn away.

(Solution: Sounds like in the future, we should have sanded between each coat with a 1200 or 1500 paper. Then left the 3rd coat to dry and should be done. But obviously we cant go back now.)

Current Problem/Third Problem We Faced: #3
We found 4 small areas where stain was sanded away when we were trying to get the roughness off after the 3rd coat of poly. We also found a couple more areas where the floor was still rough. Again, we are using a hand sander with 220 paper.

After sanding each area, now more stain was gone so more noticeable. We applied some stain. Nothing took. We tried 50 more times...a little but barely any took. Now these areas are 10x more noticeable. Its a small living room/dining room that we are doing.

We changed paper down to 60 assuming the stain wasnt taking because poly was still repelling it. Stained after the 60 grit sanding and still nothing.

At this point we are both staring at each other. We have decided not to sand anymore. And we certainly cant start over.

We will either put on another coat of poly to at least see if the white poly residue disappears. But we would hate to leave these 4 areas the way they are after we have worked so hard.

We just saw HD sells a pencil or hardwood stain marker that maybe would help these areas look my friend is driving there now.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas for how to make these look the best they can now...we are all ears.

If there are also some suggestions to how we can improve in the future, that would be great. We plan to volunteering with this women who is trying to help families with transitional we may have just become the floor guys. Hahaha.

We already drum sanded and edged at 3 other small houses when we did this one awhile back. But no other house has been stained.

Appreciate any and all feedback and hope everyone is enjoying their weekends.

Thanks - JP and Amy
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post #2 of 2 Old 10-01-2016, 06:39 PM
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Post is a little too long to read everything. First of all you should only use one coat of stain. If you manage to let any of it dry on the surface it can prevent proper adhesion of the finish. If the wood is not taking the stain then the wood is either contaminated with something or you didn't quite get all the old finish off. Some of it penetrates into the wood. If you have the means of spraying you could thin some black ink with alcohol and shade in the light spots over the finish. There is also alcohol based dye stains available if you would rather use that. If the spots are small the touch up markers you mentioned would work alright. Just sand the finish and get it ready for another coat, then used the marker and topcoat. If it's a fill stick you are looking at don't use that between the layers of finish. It's basically colored wax.

We don't know if it was a water based poly or oil based. Any finish will roughen the wood but more so with a water based finish. I would have started sanding the finish between coats after the first coat. Just not very much. After the second coat a little more sanding could be done. The only thing you can do at this point is to sand the finish with 220 grit paper and apply another coat. If that doesn't do it sand it again and apply yet another coat. It's going to take a certain amount of sanding and if you skip it early on it usually takes more work to smooth it out.
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