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I am wanting to redo my hardwood floors. It is 1960's style oak. 1" wide strips about 1/4 thick with a natural shellac/varnish on top. What brand of stain and finish coating is recommended? I went to the HD and they have Varathane and Minwax brands. Oil versus water based?

Anything i need to be aware of for sanding the floor? What grit should i use?

Never done a floor before so any tips would be useful thanks
 

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If it's only 1/4" thick it's not hardwood it's laminite flooring and can not be refinished.
Hardwood would be 3/4" thick.
If 1/4 was a typo I'd strongly suggest hiring this out to a real floor refinishing company.
Reason being is by the time you spend the time to go rent the equipment, pay for the rental, buy the sand paper, cleaning supplys, stain, poly, applacator, then have to spend the time to figure out how they all work, do the job and return everything they would have been done and gone and not cost much more and will end up with a better looking job.
 

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a lot of the older houses i worked in when i lived in the buffalo area had 1/4 oak flooring similar to what bcbud describes. if you have a heat vent you can remove and check the floor thickness. a picture would be most helpful also
 

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So how do you suppose it was held down to the floor?
 

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I know difference between laminate and real hardwood. This was nailed down straight through the top. Each hole was then filled over. Don't take this the wrong way, but you have over 13,000 posts and have never seen 1/4 oak flooring nailed to a 1/2 subfloor?
 

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Never once and most of my work has been on 100 plus year old houses.
 

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some of it that i saw was tongue and groove and some wasn't. if you decide to sand them i would take off as little as possible or you might find that you sanded down to the tongue.
 

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And into the nail heads with no way to sink them without poping them through the flooring.
Sounds more like someone tryed using paneling to cover the floor.
No that I've seen, what a mess.
 

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If I recall my SIL used water base poly on this parquet floor but if I can remember to check tomorrow I'll ask him. This DIY project was different than yours will be as we ( family project ) took up about 1,200 tiles and ran them through a drum sander at two different grits. The real labor intensive part was removing all the years of floor wax build up at the joints and random orbit sanding in areas the drum sander didn't get. Whatever he used it has held well to a small dog traffic.
 

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As a DIYer I've sanded hardwood floors about five different times. On two occasions the sanding was done on newly installed boards so there was a lot of material that had to be removed to get the finish smooth. Saw dust everywhere, shoulders, arms and back aching for days, and a not quite so perfect job. If I needed to have floors sanded again I would take joecaption's advice and hire it out to the pros. When all is said and done, you won't save much money but will have all the headaches.
 

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I did the floors in our 110+ year old house before we moved in back in October. It was quite a bit of work, but in the end the total was maybe $600 for sander rentals, sanding belts/discs, and poly. I used the Minwax quick dry oil based because we were moving in the next week and still had to finish a bathroom.

Total was around 1500 sq ft, so at $3/sq ft that would have been $4500 or so, or about $3900 more than I spent, though it would be marginally prettier. After you put the furniture in though, it's not as noticeable.

Our first floor is very similar, 3/8" oak strips over tongue & groove subfloor. It was not original. The second floor is original heart pine, absolutely beautiful if done right.

I'd rate my job a B- mainly because the upstairs had a ton of wood filler between the pine boards that really should have been scraped out and redone. Since we didn't do that, pieces/dust would come up when I was laying the poly so our finish has a lot of 'stuff' in it, but really it matches the character of the wood and you don't notice it unless you're looking.

Pics of before/during/after for the oak downstairs and pine upstairs.
 

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It's one of those things where I notice every little imperfection because I did them and I think about how I could have done it better. I'll never refinish the downstairs, not enough meat left in the overlay since it was only 3/8" to begin with. It will be replaced with hardwood next time we do anything with it. That's why I couldn't sand down enough to get rid of the traffic pattern and pet stains on the first floor. The heart pine upstairs liked to gum up the belts/discs so it was hard in that respect.

Thanks for the compliment.
 
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