Hardwood Tone Matching

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grubburg

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Hey all.

I'm looking to blend the original 1955 red oak into some new red oak top nail. Would I need to stain the new one, or just seal (Bona Drifast) and 2 coats of finish (Bona Woodline Poly). I want the tones to be as similar as possible.

Thanks!

Pic.

Floor Color.jpg
 

C.J.

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Usually the entire floor, new and old, would be sanded then refinished so it would blend. Pretty sure that old finish is oil based poly. Prolly no stain, just ambered over the years. You’re gonna have to test out a few different finishes to get a decent match. How about Bona amber seal? That will help to get you close to the existing ambered oil finish look. Test it in a small spot first to see how close it gets you. I’d also try and sand out those edger swirls. The amber seal will collect and highlight them when you’re finishing your floor. Should be interesting to see how you blend the new with the old without sanding the entire floor. Post some pics. I’ll bet you can get the color close.
 

Mark Brown

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That's a great sander, for what it is used for. It won't flatten a floor and typically wouldn't be something to use for anything other than final sand/finish sand/blending.

What grit paper have you been running?
 

grubburg

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80/120 on the belt.
60/100 on the edger.

I'll rent it this weekend for a final sand-off. thanks for the tip. home depot is making a killing on me!
 

Mark Brown

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So for raw wood sands, im usually running 40/60/80 on a drum
then 60/80/100 on my orbital
then first coat
then 180/220 on a screen
then a coat
repeat.
That's about normal
 

C.J.

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Are you renting the easy 8 drum sander from HD for your first and maybe second cut (36-60)? Good little sander for what it is but it’s definitely light (under powered compared to what a pro would use). No biggie, that just means you’ll have to spend a little more time sanding. Or are you trying to do your entire job with the orbital sander? That’s OK too, just tryin to figure out what approach you’re taking. That 3 head orbital sander you linked to isn’t very aggressive either (takes a little longer to remove the same amount of wood) but it does get up close to walls which eliminates a lot of edging if you’re lucky because edging sucks. My buddy did his hardwoods using HD’s square buff orbital sander. Took him a while but it works if you have the time.

Luckily for you it looks like the existing poly finish will sand off fairly easily which means using one of those less aggressive sanders will be able to get the job done just fine. Because they are less aggressive (more forgiving for a DIY) you prolly shouldn’t skip grits. 60-80-100 as opposed to 60-100. If a 60 grit removes the existing finish, great. Then the 80 grit removes the 60 grit swirls and the 100 grit removes the 80 grit swirls. If you jump from 60 to 100, the less aggressive orbital sander might not have enough oomph to remove all the swirls. With a water based satin finish and no stain that might be just fine for a DIY but if you’re gonna use amber seal or anything with any sort of color to it, those swirls will be highlighted by the stain or finish and then it’s too late to do anything about it but wait for the finish to dry and sand it off again so don’t skip grits. I know each sanding disc is 7 or 8 bucks, or whatever they are now, but trying to save time and money by skipping grits will always come back to bite you.
 

C.J.

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I’ve never used one of those 3 head jobbers but I have heard good things about them from those that have used them. I say good on you for taking on your own hardwoods. When you’re done if nothing else you’ll have a little more understanding and appreciation for what we have to do. You’ll be fine, just don’t skip grits and sand with the direction of the wood. Start at the wall and move side to side from one end of the room to the other. When you get to the end move the sander down 1/2 or even 1/3 the width of the head and work your way back to the other side. Lather, rinse and repeat. If you swirl it all around the place like Picasso, or some of the ADD mfrs I have to work with, you’ll be able to tell when you put the finish on.
 

grubburg

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Thanks for the awesome tips!

I rented the drum floor sander, 80 and 120, then rented an edger 60 and 100, then brought the drum sander back in at 120 to remove the swirls. Looks like I got all the ones on the floor, but left a few on the transition.

i'm not going to sand off the finish in the rest of the house. That would take weeks.

I guess I just need a tool to remove a few leftover swirls and hopefully something quick/easy. Buffer or random orbital?
 

grubburg

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A couple other questions:
1. do i have to sand the transition from old to new floor in a straight line?
2. when i put the sealer down, if i go over the old finish, will that be a mistake/too dark?

i'm assuming this 1955 floor is non-stained and I can put Bona Drifast Sealer then 2 coats of Bona Woodline Poly Satin.
 

C.J.

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Palm sander is great for hitting individual swirl spots. Feather it out to blend it in a bit so it doesn’t look like you palm sanded a single spot then screen the entire floor. The way you sanded up to the transition in your last pic looks great. Maybe sand up to where the wood direction changes. Tape off the existing finish then apply the new finish cus new finish likely won’t stick to old finish.
 

grubburg

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Palm sander is great for hitting individual swirl spots. Feather it out to blend it in a bit so it doesn’t look like you palm sanded a single spot then screen the entire floor. The way you sanded up to the transition in your last pic looks great. Maybe sand up to where the wood direction changes. Tape off the existing finish then apply the new finish cus new finish likely won’t stick to old finish.
Great idea. What kind of tape would you use?

If if get the new seal/finish slightly overlapping the old, will it come out too dark in those doubled areas?

Is there any trick to seeing the swirls? I see a few in the picture above, but not anywhere else on the floor. Maybe my eyes are crap?
 

C.J.

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Get a drop light and shine it across the floor when you’re crawling around. Usually where you were using the edger is where you gotta check for swirls but if you’re using the easy 8 and you’re a drum dropper you can check those areas as well. Mark those spots with a pencil so you remember where they are then sand them out with a palm sander then blend the whole thing by screening the floor.
 

C.J.

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As far as getting any new finish on the old finish, I have no idea what will happen. Will it stick? Will it flake off? Don’t know. Post back and let us know what happens.
 

grubburg

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So far it's looking great. Final pics coming up Tuesday.

A couple final quesitons:
1. why put a second coat of poly, if it looks perfect after the first? same tone as existing floor, shiny, flawless?
2. can i screen with a 220 sand paper gently by hand? i don't want to rent the buffer again.
3. i have 1 low spot from a little "oops" i had. can i fill it in with poly to level it slightly. it's SO small 1/32 but bothers me. maybe i'm being a perfectionist. it's from forgetting a nail at a joint, then adding it later in the process and making that board lower at a joint.

THANKS!
 

C.J.

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1. You’re building up the finish in layers so you’ll get more life out of the floor before you have to refinish it. Just like multiple coats of wax is building up the finish for a longer life.

2. Yes.

3. With water based poly it is not recommended to put on too much finish. Oil based poly is where you actually want to leave a fair amount of finish on the floor. Water based poly is different. Multiple thin coats is how you build layers. I suppose you could put multiple thin coats in that spot then recoat the entire floor for a final coat.
 

grubburg

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Well here she is. Drying the last coat of Bona Woodline Poly Satin. What a monster of a job.

20210913_200343.jpg


Mistakes were made, but it's a decent result for a DIY solo.

A couple extra questions:
1. when I "Screened" at 220 between sealer and finish, it went as fast as I could and as light as i could with the buffer. However, i feel like i took so much sealer off that I'm concerned it's not sealed well underneath. What problems could I face? how can you screen with a 220 buffer and not take off almost all the sealer?
2. how many days before I throw some kitchen cabinets on it? what's a safe dry time?

THANKS for all the tips boys!
 
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