Can I make a wood floor look better without using a sanding machine?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by ctmom05, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    We recently removed our living room carpet because it's in poor shape. There
    is a wood floor underneath. It's not great looking, but I think it is
    salvageable.

    Using a sander to refurbish the floor is not an option. Any
    suggestions on another method I can use to strip down the floor, even if it is
    labor intensive and I have to do it by hand?

    Chris
     
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Well-Known Member

    If a sander isn't an option, first clean it really really well using Murphy's Oil Soap. This should tell you how far you need to go with the refinishing.

    If you need to... use a commercial stripper - Lowe's & Home Depot can help here - to strip off the varnish. Don't overdo it!! Once it's dry, use a small sanding block to get rid of small areas that need help.

    Then clean again with a damp mop - NOT wet.

    Let sit at least 24 hours, to make sure it's totally dry. Less if you live in the desert!

    Use a polyurethane coat/stain to refinish. (Then you can wet-mop it when it gets dirty, and it will last longer than normal stains.)

    This is what we did. Unfortunately, we'll have to get a sander eventually, the floor was just too damaged - and now Onyxx lives in that room. LOL!
     
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Step gave good advice. Look for a commercial stripper that is ecologically safe. 3M used to have one called safest strip. It was slower than the others, but it did not have any fumes and did not hurt you if you got it on your skin. To make it work best, coat the area with stripper and then put plastic over it.

    Saran wrap is good for furniture. but to cover the floor in plastic go to the paint store and get the really thin cheap plastic drop cloths. Use those to cover the floor.

    http://www.franmar.com/

    Franmar makes environmentally safe cleaners and strippers. They do not burn if you get it on your skin. They work faster than the harsh strippers, and the harsh ones burn if you accidentally get it on your hands.

    There are no fumes with this and it is safe around pets. I saw a display of this at a home show and it was amazing. A furniture repair/refinish man that I know used it to build a table out of reclaimed wood. It was far less labor to get the varnish and paint used on some of the wood.

    We refinished floors in our first home. It was almost the end of my marriage. I will NEVER do that again myself. I might lay the new wood floors, but not refinishing floors.

    Good luck on your project!
     
  4. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    If you put a coat of polyurethane be sure to keep dogs and people out. I have "Big Foot" prints in my dining room and hall from gfg chasing the dogs. I also have a few dog prints. All are covered by area rugs or runners but very annoying.
     
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Well-Known Member

    True about the footprints!!! Make sure it is TOTALLY TOTALLY dry before you let anyone in!!!
     
  6. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Just a note, tho, unless you use a finish made for a floor, dogs and kids will scratch most others.
     
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Well-Known Member

    Life scratches just about anything, but yes, this is very true. We put polyurethane on our deck. DH didn't read it right and it now looks positively AWFUL.
     
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I did the same and mistakenly bought regular finish instead of floor grade finish for the last floor I redid.

    Wee gfg and his gfg dog chasing the ball pretty much have scratched the tar out of it... Oh well.
     
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    You asked:

    Can I make a wood floor look better without using a sanding machine?

    I answer:

    Yes - but carpet can get expensive. :tongue:

    Then I thought - that's not nice - what if you're poor like me?

    Yes - Dollar Tree sells peel and stick tile ...:surprise:

    (limping off to the corner...cause I bet you kicked my but) ;)


    Can I ask WHY you can't use a sander 1st of all? Dust or expense or both? Then secondly.....Have you priced the cost of having a professional come in to do it? Reason I ask....is because it is probably a LOT cheaper than you think - AND as someone who has installed a lot of flooring - you probably CAN do the polyurethane yourself - but...by the time you strip, clean, wash, prep the floor you may come out cheaper in the long run to get some estimates (which are usually free) to have someone come in and do your floor for you.

    Then of course there is always the natural look...:whiteflag:
     
  10. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    I love wood floors, but in many of the houses we have lived in there was a lesson. One home I lived in had linoleum and I thought it would be neat to pull it up and see what was underneath. I pulled and pulled on that flooring and it came up in 1-3 inch pieces and the black backing was still stuck down. Finally got down to the "wood" and found it was pretty much junk wood and was stuck down any old way, cause they were going to cover it with that "new invention" linoleum....... so much for my wood floor......

    So maybe first step is asking if the wood is worth taking your time to do. Sanding is a messy job and dust goes everywhere so decide if it is worth it. They do make some pretty good engineered wood (and I cannot believe I'm saying this) but one of the prettiest wood floors we have is in our basement and its a floating floor because they didn't want to nail into the cement foundation. If money is the problem, then putting carpeting back down would probably be the most cost effective. I would want to make sure it would be worth all my time and effort if this is a do-it-yourself project, but good luck with whatever you decide.......
     
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