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Old 02-25-2009, 08:42 PM   #1
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theres gotta be something to do about this hardwood


The previous owner put down polyurithane on top of my 3/8" engineered hardwood. It looks like he didnt sweep first though, and there is dust, and dirt and dog hair in it. Also some places have lots of bubbles, and its starting to peel up. Ive tried scraping it with a razor, then wet sanding with 350 grit, but keep either, not getting all teh way through the poly, or going to deep through the original finish. also, the process is very time consuming (took me 2 hours to do about 6 square feet this evening).

Is there a way to stip off or desolve the poly wihtout removing the original solver oxide (or whatever it is) finish? I was told this floor couldnt be re-finished, but the wear layer looks like its about 3/32 thick... is that not re-finishable?

Here are some pics:












Thanks for any help.

-Eric

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Old 02-26-2009, 06:16 AM   #2
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theres gotta be something to do about this hardwood


Getting one finish off without damaging the other is VERY difficult. And the wood layer on most engineered floors is not very thick, leaving room for error very small. I would use a stripper chemical, to get all the finish off, sand ever so lightly, then start from scratch.

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Old 02-26-2009, 07:02 AM   #3
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theres gotta be something to do about this hardwood


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
I would use a stripper chemical, to get all the finish off, sand ever so lightly, then start from scratch.
Ok... thats the kind of info I was looking for. Would somehitng like this work?
http://www.ecosafetyproducts.com/Soy...ste-4010-1.htm

or

http://www.wmbarr.com/product.aspx?catid=72&prodid=112


The next step would be re-finishing the wood. Poly is apparently not the right thing to use (old stuff is starting to check and peel). I guess at that point it should be finished with the stuff solod hardwoods use? what is that?

Thanks a lot,
-Eric
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Old 02-26-2009, 07:52 AM   #4
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theres gotta be something to do about this hardwood


Polyurethane is very difficult to remove chemically; it's a wide range of polymer combinations and so therefore generalizations even as to the right solvent are hard to make. Some polyurethanes are soluble but most aren't without the use of toxic solvents and in many cases all you'll get is a sticky mess on the floor. The better solution to chemically stripping is sanding.

Now engineered floor 'veneers' (the top layer) are only about 1/8" thick, some less, some more and sanding (by someone who really knows about hardwood sanding) will take off 1/32" in most cases, so you could sand down the polyurethane and the top layer of veneer and still have an acceptable product. You have about 1/16th"... On the other hand you may go too far and make a hole in the veneer - then you're back to staining etc. It's risky IMO...

Polyurethane is applied by the "well-intentioned but misguided" -inappropriately - on everything...we see it most on tile grout! People, people, please!

Unless it is applied with proper preparation onto wood, then it's usually an expensive mess to remove.
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Old 02-26-2009, 08:08 AM   #5
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huh... Thanks for the responce!

Maybe I'll try one of the above products in an inconspicuous spot and see how it goes. I was getting away from a total sanding job because I was told the veneer was too thin by 2 local hardwood refinishers. however, you can see from the fourth pick above that taking a 1/32" off will still leave with probobly 1/8" veneer left. You dont think this is something an DIY'er (with no hardwood sanding experiance) should try?

I eventually want to put down 3/4" solid on top of this hardwood, but am new in this house and straped for cash. I was looking for a fairly quick fix that I could do myself for relativly cheap, that would last me 2-3 years.

Thanks...
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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theres gotta be something to do about this hardwood


Much as I am a fan of DIY there are some things where the price of learning is higher than the quality of the result...look at it this way: if you sand it DIY and mess it up, you'll have a larger problem on your hands, depending upon of course your level of tolerance. Granted you may have the same problem if a pro does it - only you'll be out some cash...

A pro would charge around $3-6 per sq ft to sand and recoat, but it may be a risk some pros wouldn't want to take. In some areas, if someone starts a process then messes it up, he 'owns' the problem and has to fix it - but not everywhere.

By all means try the 2 products you listed. Try the spray can first, it's smaller than the gallon of soy-based stripper. If it works, you'll then be faced with a larger job of stripping the polyurethane from the whole floor with a solvent - either one - and that's messy. Refinishing the floor after that is not guaranteed to look great either so...?

Know what? that floor looks like it has already been sanded so you could say that it is approaching the "end of its useful life". If it were me, I'd go out and cover it temporarily with a carpet or area rug from WalMart until such time as I had the scratch to rip it up and replace it. Demo costs nothing, new hardwood flooring is, what, $3 a sq ft?

It's also a better DIY project than sanding

But again, each one of us has his/her own tolerances.
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Last edited by ccarlisle; 02-26-2009 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 02-26-2009, 09:38 AM   #7
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theres gotta be something to do about this hardwood


carlisle, I appreciate your opintion. I think I will try those products on a small area, and if they dont work, just live with it until I can afford to redo the hardwood. I can probobly do a little work scraping the really bad spots as a temp fix too. Thanks.

-Eric

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