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Old 01-06-2016, 02:21 PM   #1
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Red oak hardwood refinishing – no stain


So I am into one of the hardest DIY projects that I have ever undertaken. I am re-finishing ~700sf of red oak hardwood flooring. Last weekend I rented two floor sanders (orbital and belt). I needed the more aggressive belt sander to get the first few layers off, then the orbital worked well with the finer grits. Got it sanded down to bare wood and we considered going with out stain and just sealing…….. should have gone that route!


Ended up putting down a Minwax stain (that we had tested) and it ended up being very orange. I have started re-sanding, hope to be back down to bare wood by this weekend.


After going through this we are probably just going to go with bare wood on this second attempt. I have the following questions:
1) 1) I think the look we are going for is bare wood with an “amber” tone. It sounds like this is achieved with oil based poly. Is this the only way to go? I have purchased the Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish (water-based) because it sounds like it is a little more user friendly (no sanding between coats).
2) 2) Is a “Sanding Sealer” required when going with a bare wood finish?


Any other advice for going the bare wood route would be appreciated.
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Old 01-06-2016, 03:20 PM   #2
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Good timing....I just finished doing about 450 sq ft.

I wouldn't go bare...no stain. If you use oil, it's going to come out yellow.

Did you use an oil finish?

This is a link to about where I have the pics of my floors.

http://www.diychatroom.com/f49/2-sto...25403/index12/

I used MinWax on mine along with an oil finish.
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:02 PM   #3
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First thing I would do is stay away from Minwax.As a remodeling contractor and owner of a cabinet shop I have used it many times.It is a favorite of builders because it is always available and can be bought an d matched at anytime anywhere in the country at any big box store.
This does not equate to quality.
That being said ,as a first time floor refinisher there are many things you could have done wrong to cause the issue.First off .You may have sanded to a different grit than the sample were.The finer you sand the less the stain will penetrate.
You used water based finish for an amber tone.Always a bad idea and hard to match that tone with any water born finish unless you really know what your doing.
You did not state the age of your home but new oak is not the same as new oak?
Could go on for days but without more info about your floors and the age of them it's pointless.
Hope it works out for you and it is not an easy job to get just what you want without some experience.

Last edited by mako1; 01-06-2016 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
First thing I would do is stay away from Minwax.As a remodeling contractor and owner of a cabinet shop I have used it many times.It is a favorite of builders because it is always available and can be bought an d matched at anytime anywhere in the country at any big box store.
This does not equate to quality.
????

It's made by Sherwin Williams

About the only stain I think is better is Zar
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:10 PM   #5
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No worries going without a stain on red oak. I have around 1,200 sq ft of same in my house and it is just fine. If you're worried, go to a place where there will most definitely be a rug or big piece of furniture and try it on a small piece there. Red oak will "Amber up" quite nicely under a few coats of an oil based poly and, in addition, any scratch marks that you made will be hidden better than if they are first highlighted by a stain. Waterbased will NOT do that.. And keep in mind that there are only SO MANY standings in a floor before you are in world of trouble so go easy on the aggressive part. Ron
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:46 AM   #6
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Thanks for all of the replies. To add some additional information: The floors are about 40 years old, The first staining (which is currently being sanded off) was an oil-based stain – Minwax Golden Pecan. As stated, it turned out very “orange”
The room is very dark so we want to avoid a dark stain and make it darker, therefore we are looking at lighter options. Last night I put several different stain and poly options on an area of the floor that has been sanded back down to bare wood and will be covered with cabinetry, they were as follows: Minwax oil-based stain – Cherry, Minwax Oil-based stain – Natural, Minwax oil-based polyurethane satin on bare wood (no stain), Minwax water-based Ultimate polyurethane satin on bare wood (no stain)
The oil-based poly did “amber “ the look significantly. In fact it looked identical to the natural stain.
I think the water-based poly is what we are looking to accomplish. We liked how that turned out. Any advice on going that route? Will putting down the Minwax sanding sealer before the water-based poly cause the amber effect?


Also, I am getting a lot of “bleed back” from the previous stain as I am trying to sand it off. I don’t think that I “flooded” the stain while putting it down, but I am not an expert. Is there anything I can do to fix this bleed back while I am sanding now and not have it show up later? Dehumidifier? Fans?
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:53 PM   #7
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oil finish hardwood is great


Technically I can't offer guidance on how to finish your floors. I can tell you that I used to have solid hardwood flooring with a poly finish. Had them ripped out about a year ago - Low quality from the big box floor store. Replaced them with natural oil finished red oak floors. What a difference. Love them and would never do it any other way. Beautiful and very low maintenance. couldn't be happier with my choice.
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Old 01-07-2016, 06:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by num777 View Post
Thanks for all of the replies. To add some additional information: The floors are about 40 years old, The first staining (which is currently being sanded off) was an oil-based stain – Minwax Golden Pecan. As stated, it turned out very “orange”
The room is very dark so we want to avoid a dark stain and make it darker, therefore we are looking at lighter options. Last night I put several different stain and poly options on an area of the floor that has been sanded back down to bare wood and will be covered with cabinetry, they were as follows: Minwax oil-based stain – Cherry, Minwax Oil-based stain – Natural, Minwax oil-based polyurethane satin on bare wood (no stain), Minwax water-based Ultimate polyurethane satin on bare wood (no stain)
The oil-based poly did “amber “ the look significantly. In fact it looked identical to the natural stain.
I think the water-based poly is what we are looking to accomplish. We liked how that turned out. Any advice on going that route? Will putting down the Minwax sanding sealer before the water-based poly cause the amber effect?


Also, I am getting a lot of “bleed back” from the previous stain as I am trying to sand it off. I don’t think that I “flooded” the stain while putting it down, but I am not an expert. Is there anything I can do to fix this bleed back while I am sanding now and not have it show up later? Dehumidifier? Fans?
No offense...but using 'Golden Pecan' on oak is sacrilege. Couple it with an oil based finish and I bet a pumpkin would be hard to find on the floor.

Bleed though? Do you have pics? I suspect your main problem is the short period of time between when you put it down and now sanding.

The pecan was orange....if you don't use any stain but go with an oil based finish, it's going to look yellow. A water based finish will avoid that, but not be as tough.

This is one of my floors after sanding but before stain



And after stain - MinWax Provincial

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Last edited by ddawg16; 01-07-2016 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 01-07-2016, 08:30 PM   #9
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Oil based gives a hardwood a warm, golden look that turns a deeper Amber over time. Water based remains clear forever....or at least for a long time. As to brand, I don't know any commercial guy around here who uses minwax. Ron
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Old 01-08-2016, 08:39 AM   #10
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ddawg16 - I read this ("......I bet a pumpkin would be hard to find on the floor......") and laughed hysterically...... then I cried for a while........ then I laughed some more. It describes the situation exactly. I also like to refer to the color as "Oompa Loompa orange".

I'm picking up the floor sander this afternoon and running it through the night, hope to be putting down the poly by Sunday.

The bleedback is my biggest concern now. I hope that the sanding shakes most of it out to the surface.

If I could go back in time to a week ago I would just start ripping the floor out and pay the ~2.50$/sf for new (material only). My friend (who has also been through this) told me to do that at the beginning..... he's stopped by two times now to say "I told you so"
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:41 AM   #11
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I guess you haven't been through the 'ripping it out' phase. Not as easy as it sounds.

Something about old original oak that is hard to beat....
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