This Old Barn

07:19AM | 01/03/02
Member Since: 01/02/02
4 lifetime posts
We have refinished wood floors in our diningroom and there is a 'gym' finish on this floor. It is just what is seems...the very high gloss finish you see on gymnasium floors. I would love to get rid of this without going to all the time and expense of refinishing this floor. And, I'm not so sure the floor could even endure another commercial sanding.

Could I possibly lightly hand sand this gym finish off and reseal the floor...actually I would just like to use a wax on it so I don't get that high shine again.

Anyone have experience with this, please!


10:08AM | 01/05/02
Member Since: 11/16/01
301 lifetime posts
Dear Old,
I used this method a few times. Get a can of automotive rubbing compound and follow the directions. Try it on a small spot first as I do not know what finish is on the floor. Second option is to sand with 320 grit paper and wax the floor.
Hope this helps,


11:09AM | 01/08/02
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
I, too, prefer a satin wood finish over a glossy wood finish, so I feel your pain. You can refinish it without removing the finish, entirely, but the preferred method is to remove the finish entirely and put a new finish down. There are two downsides to scuff sanding and just laying a new finish layer down.

First, because wood finish is clear and chemically different than paint, finish is more finicky than paint about what can paint over it. You would need to use a compatible finish to the original finish, which requires you to correctly identify what the current finish is (oil or water based? polyurethane, shellac, varnish, or something else?) Because formulas change over time, even identifying the correct kind of finish might not suffice. You also might be screwed by wanting to change the glossiness. It might also be possible that a glossy oil-based polyurethane from one company in 1989 is not compatible with a satin oil-based polyurethane from the same company in 2002. If you do not use a compatible finish, then the old finish will probably cloud up under the new finish, or the new finish might not adhere at all to the old finish. (I had that happen once even when I stripped the floor; I missed some residue where the old finish "lifted" out of the seemingly well-stripped wood and clouded up in ugly spots after I laid the first layer of the new finish down. It required me to sand those cloudy spots down and make sure that the old finish was completely removed.) Identifying the nature of the existing finish is sometimes a crap-shoot without chemical analysis.

Second, your new finish will have the lifespan similar to the old finish, not a brand new finish. If the old finish is cracking or lifting from the wood in spots (even microscopically), then the new finish will come off when the old finish does, leaving marks and cracked spots.

Because of these two factors, and because refinishing also revitalizes an old floor and corrects scuffs and chips, people usually opt to just strip and refinish the entire floor if they tackle the project at all. Although completely stripping the floor involves a bit more work than scuff sanding and refinishing, it is often worth the extra effort so as to (1) eliminate the risk of running into one of those two downsides and (2) just get a brand new finish out of the effort. Either way, you go through the inconvenience of removing furniture and not using the room while the new finish dries. You might as well make sure it is worth the effort and just strip and refinish entirely.

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