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Constant Improvement 02-03-2009 09:50 AM

poly on engineered hardwood floor?
My new to me house has 3/8” engineered hardwood throughout. From a ways back it looks a little dirty and scratched in the sun… then once you get close there are a number of spots that are really ugly looking and have hair and dirt and crap stuck in the finish.

Turns out the guy that moved out lived next door, and told us that he coated the floor with polyurethane to brighten it up. He said he has done this on a number of solid hardwood floors in the past, and it worked great… just this time it doesn’t seem to be working out. It seems like he applied the poly without cleaning up the dog hair and dirt very well.

Does anybody know a way to strip this stuff off the original finish and work from there? Seems like a floor guy told me that most pre-finished floors are silver oxide finished or something like that… and that poly wouldn’t help them? Is there a product that will strip the poly off and leave the original finish?

Also, the high traffic spots are just really dirty looking… I don’t know if it is because of the poly he put down, or what… I tried scrubbing it with a Bona hardwood system, but it didn’t help much.

I would appreciate any advice anyone might have.


Bob Mariani 02-03-2009 10:23 AM

You will have no luck with standard floor refinishing methods. The laminate and the finish are too thin. You could attempt to fix the bad spots with Mohawk M720-1365 (pint) Wool-Lube Rubbing Lubricant and 0000 steel wool to "rub down" the sheen in areas that are not too bad. Dilute the Wool Lube with water to a 5:1 ratio (5 parts water to 1 part wool lube) and wet your wool liberally and then rub the finish with the grain to impart a fine scratch pattern. Using a higher quality steel wool will help ensure that no random coarse fibers will spoil your finish. Also, turn the pad so that the strands are perpendicular to the grain so that you're using the edges of the strands to do the cutting as you work with the grain. If this technique takes too much effort or isn't
dropping low enough you might first wet sand the finish using P800 or P1000 grit wet/dry sand paper and wool lube prior to rubbing with the wool. Use
care not to use a sand paper too coarse that your wool won't replace the scratch. A coarser sandpaper with an orbital sander may be needed for the really bad areas. So as you can see, your time to repair is probably worth more that the flooring is worth. Best to replace it.

Constant Improvement 02-03-2009 11:03 AM

Bob, Thanks for the reply.

We do eventually want to put down a better quality hardwood on top of it, but thats not in the budget quite yet.

Will the method you described require re-applying some kind of finish? or is the objective to only take off the polyurithane/hair/dirt concoction, and leave the original finish?

I think I will try what you described in the really bad spots...


Bob Mariani 02-03-2009 11:09 AM

To patch only. The original finish is very hard. And if you get into it, you will be into the laminate in no time. You ma need to apply another coat of poly to even thinks out. On the areas with dog hair use a cabinet scraper. This can also be used for any rough spots with "dust bunnies" in the surface

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