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Refinishing a Pre-Finished Hardwood Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: James in Alaska listens to The Money Pit on KENI. And you’re refinishing some floors. Tell us what their made of.

    JAMES: Yeah, I had called and just wanted to get some advice on some hardwood floors that I have. They’re originally – I installed them about 20 years ago. They’re Bruce hardwood oak.

    TOM: OK.

    JAMES: Think they were red oak. But they came with something that said they had this permanent finish and I believe they used the word “epoxy.” And they’ve actually lasted very, very well but they’re kind of getting old and scratched and I was wondering if you had some recommendations on a refinish.

    TOM: Were these floors that were prefinished – do they have sort of like a V joint in between the boards?

    JAMES: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, they’re very difficult to refinish. The finishes have gotten a lot better today. There are aluminum oxide finishes now that are more durable than the finishes that were put on when these floors were first manufactured. And I have, unfortunately, not seen a very successful job at refinishing one of those old hardwood floors. You could have it sanded down all the way to …

    LESLIE: To some raw wood.

    TOM: … to the raw wood and refinish it. But with all those channels and grooves in there, it’s going to be impossible to get all of the old finish off. And what’s going to happen is when the new finish goes on top of that old finish, I’ve seen it delaminate and chip off. So, unfortunately, I’ve never seen an easy way to refinish a prefinished floor of that particular era.

    JAMES: Alright.

    TOM: (chuckling) Not so great.

    JAMES: So, in other words, just urethane on top is not going to do it.

    TOM: No, I think if you urethane on top, you’re going to find that it’s going to delaminate. The best shot is to sand it down to raw wood and professionally refinish it, but you might get into some areas of these joints where it starts to chip off in that area.

    JAMES: Oh, one can always use one of those tow (sp) sanders.

    TOM: Well yeah, you could. I mean if you have a lot of patience. (chuckling) But you have to get it all out of there.

    You know, the other thing that you could think about doing is LESLIE: James in Alaska listens to The Money Pit on KENI. And you’re refinishing some floors. Tell us what their made of.

    JAMES: Yeah, I had called and just wanted to get some advice on some hardwood floors that I have. They’re originally – I installed them about 20 years ago. They’re Bruce hardwood oak.

    TOM: OK.

    JAMES: Think they were red oak. But they came with something that said they had this permanent finish and I believe they used the word “epoxy.” And they’ve actually lasted very, very well but they’re kind of getting old and scratched and I was wondering if you had some recommendations on a refinish.

    TOM: Were these floors that were prefinished – do they have sort of like a V joint in between the boards?

    JAMES: Yes.

    TOM: Yeah, they’re very difficult to refinish. The finishes have gotten a lot better today. There are aluminum oxide finishes now that are more durable than the finishes that were put on when these floors were first manufactured. And I have, unfortunately, not seen a very successful job at refinishing one of those old hardwood floors. You could have it sanded down all the way to …

    LESLIE: To some raw wood.

    TOM: … to the raw wood and refinish it. But with all those channels and grooves in there, it’s going to be impossible to get all of the old finish off. And what’s going to happen is when the new finish goes on top of that old finish, I’ve seen it delaminate and chip off. So, unfortunately, I’ve never seen an easy way to refinish a prefinished floor of that particular era.

    JAMES: Alright.

    TOM: (chuckling) Not so great.

    JAMES: So, in other words, just urethane on top is not going to do it.

    TOM: No, I think if you urethane on top, you’re going to find that it’s going to delaminate. The best shot is to sand it down to raw wood and professionally refinish it, but you might get into some areas of these joints where it starts to chip off in that area.

    JAMES: Oh, one can always use one of those tow (sp) sanders.

    TOM: Well yeah, you could. I mean if you have a lot of patience. (chuckling) But you have to get it all out of there.

    You know, the other thing that you could think about doing is putting an engineered hardwood floor on top of this, which is a very thin engineered product that’s incredibly durable. So that’s another option for you.

    Alright, James. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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