Cleaning up old wooden floorboards?

Discussion in 'Floors, Stairs and Lofts' started by robodelfy, 24 Nov 2020.

  1. robodelfy

    robodelfy

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    Hi, I have a Victorian terraced house with floorboards in the bedrooms. They aren't perfect by any means, wonky and random gaps but look nice to me.

    I'm refurbishing the house. Could anyone give advice on how I might make them look a little fresher or nicer?

    Obviously I can just give them a good clean. But what about a light sanding with a palm sander and then varnish? Would that work

    I'd like to avoid a huge job like sanding them all back completely. Just wanted to clean them up a bit

    Thanks 20201124_161132.jpg
     
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  3. Lower

    Lower

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    You need a proper floor sander to do that job properly. A palm sander will take years and won't give take enough off the surface to allow you to varnish over the top with a good finish.

    Even a proper floor sander is hard work. I did our lounge in a previous house once. Never again.

    Plus an uncovered floor like that is cold, draughty and dusty.
     
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  4. robodelfy

    robodelfy

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    Ok thanks. I was only planning to make it look a bit better rather than get up all the marks etc. I thought maybe a belt sander might do it

    Is there a good solution to an uncovered floor like this? Some of the gaps are pretty big
     
  5. mattylad

    mattylad

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    Carpet it.:)
     
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  6. tel765

    tel765

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    Any "shiners", aka screw and nail heads, sticking up might tear sanding sheets.

    You cant really half sand a floor - you either traditionally sand it. Or leave it more or less as it is.

    On that floor, using any kind of "varnish" will be fraught with peril.
     
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  7. Nige F

    Nige F

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    Looks like it's been varnished already
     
  8. robodelfy

    robodelfy

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    Yeah I was planning to punch in any proud nails.

    Why would varnish be drought with peril. I sanded and varnished the same kind of floor in another room a few years ago and it came up ok.

    And thus floor has been varnished, not heavily though
     
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  10. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    Personally, I'd give it a go.
    But spend a whole weekend before sanding punching down nails, sorting any faults that will be a problem.
    You might get away with hiring for a day, but weekend hire may be almost as cheap?
    When a mate did his floors, he bought or made slivers of wood that fitted between the boards.
    I understand people have used papier mache? ( you can buy fine dry material in craft shops) to "point" the gaps.

    Normally you'd sand with 3-4 grades but you could do it with less, i sanded my hall (parquet) that's probably 1/3 of a terraced bedroom with a hired edge sander. Never again- I made it bumpy and it took a whole weekend. Later I paid a guy to do the whole ground floor and the difference was huge.
     
  11. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    Ps I have laminate in the bedroom and don't find it cold- so don't see why bare boards properly sealed would be anything different
     
  12. JohnD

    JohnD

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    Laminate fits together so tightly that it prevents draughts (except under the skirting) but square-edge boards don't

    An upstairs floor should not be as draughty as a ground floor one.
     
  13. Lower

    Lower

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    If you do choose the sand it, hire a proper floor sander and an edge sander and make sure you hire for two days. Its physically very hard work.

    Small gaps you can fill with a mixture of the sanding dust and PVA glue. Otherwise you're into wooden slips to fill the gaps.

    Don't forget you will also need to fill the gap between the floorboards and the skirting boards or its another route for draughts.
     
  14. Nige F

    Nige F

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    because tel is a drama queen
     
  15. tel765

    tel765

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    As was obvious from the pic, that the floor had previously been lightly sanded and sealed.
    However it was a poor attempt, for instance you can still see the shiners & nail heads where the sander went over them. They should have been driven down and the sinkings filled.
    There are bruises and breaks in the old seal. Only sanding would remove them.
    So going over that lot and that first coat of sealing would need at least a first priming coat, and then the second coat of varnishing you are proposing.

    If there are any breaks or blown areas of varnish out of pic then you simply cant varnish over them - if you sand and patch it will show.

    I'm glad the other room worked out but I can only give you my bit of experience for a no come backs job standard.
     
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    DIYnot Local

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