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Filler needed on oak or not?

4962 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Bozberg
Hello, I am getting ready to install about 400 square feet of oak flooring. My question is on pore (grain) filler: do I need to use it? I want the job done right -is this something most pros would do if they were called in to finish a floor? I've used pore filler on some furniture I've built but like the simplicity (and more natural feel) of not using it. Any big negatives if I don't use it- will it look unprofessional? trap dirt etc? I've even been cosidering a waterlox finish( a later forum post):)-will pore filler work under this? thanks as always, Jason
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One of the things that makes oak so popular is the grain. Fill the grain and it is just another piece of wood. I vote no filler. 3-4 coats of oil poly, sanded lightly(screened) after each coat. If you plan to stain, which really highlights the grain, do a final sand with a 150 screen to remove all sanding marks. To make sure there are no sanding marks, which will really stand out if not removed, wipe the floor with paint thiner before applying any finish.
Make up two samples to actually see your preferance.
For me, I would be thinking about dirt, wax buildup or cleaner buildup if you do not fill the grain. But this also can change if the filler does not take the stain well as well as the wood. The two samples will guide you.
Every new sand on site floor install I do, I use a trowlable filler by woodwise. I fill the entire floor & sand it back off. I do it more to fill the small cracks between boards & imperfections in the wood than to fill the grain. I then sand between coats with 120 grit sandscreen. 3 coats oil based poly applied with a lambswool applicator. In 15 years of doing it this way, I've had virtually no recalls.:thumbup:
Just about any stainable or paintable filler will work with Waterlox finishes.

That being said, it is our opinion that the beauty of an oak floor is in the natural open grain of the wood. Any fillers will do an injustice to the floor.

Another note is that as a floor expands and contracts or naturally moves throughout its lifetime, any filler will work its way out of the wood and flake away.

Hope this helps.

Chip Schaffner - Waterlox
I'm with Bill, filler will muddy the grain, no filler.
Hi there,
I have always used filler when doing oak floors. Mostly to fill in the slight gaps and imperfections between boards. Then followed by a heavy 120 grit sanding. I prefer FAMOWOOD wood filler. Stains and match's very well.
As always many thanks to all who responded! :thumbup: Jason
Fill or no fill

Just reading some of the replies, i guess it depends on the look you want for the floor. is the Oak board you have chosen clean or rustic grade, does the board have bevelled edges?.

If the boards are square edge then trowel the filler on to fill header joints and board edges. This would be the desired way to go on a very clean FAS grade board, If the board is rustic and knotty, as we Brits seem to love then choice is yours. We sometimes fill with a course dust, say 80 grit and wax oil or resin but push the filler in the knot leaving it depressed. This then looks like a "worn" dirt filled knot, great if its a distressed floor.

Normally you would fill with dust from the sanding on a 120 grit. Its easy to cut it back and won't leave a residue.

As for the finish, remember a lacquer is a lot harder to repair if the floor gets damaged, a hardwax oil is so user friendly. Try Floor service by Overmat from Holland. Its a great product or Treatex.

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