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Badger4Life
Old Hardwood Floors - Color coming off!?
Badger4Life

Hello everyone! I'm hoping someone can help out a newbie. We recently purchased a small 100-year-old project house and one of the first things we did was pull up the old, smelly carpet that covered the living and dining rooms. We originally intended to put down new floors, but were thrilled to find beautiful hardwood floors in good shape under there. No physical problems, good and solid, but some spots where we assume moisture soaked through and discolored the beautiful dark finish or had taken the finish off completely right down to bare wood. So after pulling all the tack strips and staples, I thought I'd use a damp sponge to get up all the dust, etc., just for a better look, really. Apparently there's something I don't know about the finish on these floors because just a damp sponge took the color right off the floor! The whole sponge was now stained a dark walnut color and the spot on the floor where I had started "cleaning" was now much lighter, as if I had just wiped the stain off. :confused: So, I guess my question is...does anyone know why the color came off so easily? And, if someone has seen this before, am I going to be able to just "wash" the color off this floor and then re-stain it? Am I overly optimistic here? Thanks in Advance!

dj1
Re: Old Hardwood Floors - Color coming off!?
dj1

It it could only have been this easy...

You need the floor sanded down to the bare wood before you can plan on refinishing it. Sanding is a tough, dirty and dusty job - better hire a pro for that. Book a cruise to the island, you don't want to be around with all that dust, and let the pro handle it.

But if you want to do it, you can rent the right equipment and buy supplies at the big stores.

ordjen
Re: Old Hardwood Floors - Color coming off!?
ordjen

I don't know of any floor finish that remains water soluble, even those used 100 years ago such as shellac or just plain wax. I suspect you ran across an area that either did not have a finish, or it for some reason had worn off. I suspect you ran across an old dye stain which was being sucked up by the water. More modern pigmented oil or lacquer stains would not have reacted this way in the presence of water, as would a dye stain.

In any event, as DJ1 stated, the entire floor should be sanded until virgin wood is reached. It can either be left natural or stained to the color of your choice and then given 3 to 4 coats of urethane floor varnish. Two coats is the absolute minimum for oil urethanes, 3 for water based urethanes. It is those additional coats that give long term durability by providing a thicker film. Lesser coats may look good, but durability comes with more coats.

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