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Old 11-22-2010, 10:26 PM   #1
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Shellac for floor finish

Hi guys,

I made a trip to the paint store today, and I tried to match a few samples of finishes for the floor repairs I'm doing. The oil polyurethane didn't match as I hoped it would. The floor I have has a heavy coating of something, and it is fairly amber in color. What seemed to match the best was shellac, specificallly the amber (Zinsser) shellac.

Now the floor in the house was probably done about 20 years ago, and I suspect, given how other parts of the house were built, it was an inexpensive coating. Does shellac make sense in this case? Like I said the color seems pretty close, though there are a lot of grainy planks in my floors, so it seems pretty dark in spots. I didn't get a sample of regular varnish, but would that look pretty close to the shellac?

I guess my concern is if the shellac is still a good product to use for the flooring. Do I have to put a top coat on top of it, if I go with the shellac?

Any input is appreciated.




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Old 11-22-2010, 11:26 PM   #2
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Yup, shellac is a classic floor finish. Usually 3-4 coats topped with a couple coats of buffed paste wax. Often the amber was mixed with some clear to achieve a desired color.
To find out if that's what you have, first clean a spot with mineral spirits to remove any wax, then rub it with denatured alcohol. If the finish dissolves, it's shellac.


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Old 11-23-2010, 12:28 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I'll try that tomorrow in a closet or some place that won't show.

I've been reading about shellac since I made my post. I intended on using the Zinsser's amber shellac, since, like I said, it seemed very close to what I have; but I see that dewaxed shellac is better to use.

You'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge here, but I thought originally I could get away with just using the shellac, without a top coat or anything else. If I don't wax over the shellac, then it needs a clear top coat of some polyurethane. Now, you can't cover the regular waxed shellac with a poly, right? You need to use the dewaxed stuff for that (I believe it's Zinsser SealCoat)

But in terms of the process you mentioned, you would be using regular waxed shellac (not the SealCoat), and then you simply seal it with wax.

I've read that the regular shellac (not the Zinsser SealCoat) is not great in terms of water contact. Is that true? Is the traditional shellac not as good to use as the dewaxed stuff?

Anyway, tomorrow I'll have to see what's on there.

If it's not shellac, but regular varnish, the shellac is good to go over anything, right (sanded first of course)? But, with varnish, would I have to take the old finish down completely, or can it be just screened also?

Thanks for the help.

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