Restoring and Maintaining Antique Oak Flooring (4 Proven Tips)

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Updated: Jan 28th, 2019
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Antique oak floors are absolutely stunning, and it may be difficult to find a more rich and warm wood. However, this type of wood will require some upkeep, and if you find your antique oak looking a little out of shape, then perhaps its time to take on a new restoration project. Antique oak is a hardwood, which means, for the most part, you will not have to worry about causing much damage through traditional restoring and maintenance techniques.

Here are 4 proven tips for how to restore antique oak floors.

Sanding

Whether you need to repair your antique oak or if you need to restore flooring from an older house, sanding is a great solution to make your wood look pristine and new again. When it comes to sanding oak, the thicker the boards, the better. If your boards are thinner, consider just restoring the finish, which we’ll get to later.

One technique for sanding a floor is to use a drum sander and make multiple passes over your floor. With each pass, you should use finer grits of sandpaper, as well as sanding the edges using an edger. By using a drum sander, you can remove the finish and open the grain to accept new stain and finish. However, there are many cases where you can’t remove each floorboard to run through a drum sander. If you fall into this category, then an orbital sander will do the same job. However, it will take you longer. Make sure that if your floor needs filling to cover gaps between each board that you apply the filler before the initial sanding.

Staining and Finishing

Before you apply the stain, make sure that you brush wood conditioner onto your floor. Blotching can be a problem when staining oak wood, and wood conditioner will help prevent this. When deciding on which finish to use, it is wise to use an oil-based option for this type oak wood, as it will improve the overall look more-so than water-based finishes, which can yellow and hide the natural tones of the wood. Applying the finish with a weighted finish applicator that you can drag along the surface avoids bubbles and streaks. Be careful during this step; you want to ensure that every inch of the flooring is stained evenly.

antique wood flooring

Screening and Recoating

When your wood is too thin to sand (anything less than 3/4 in.), then your next best option is a screen and a recoat. While many people may be familiar with sanding and staining, screening is a less common means of refurbishing wood floors. With screening, you abrade the existing finish using a floor buffer and a sanding screen. You then apply a coat of finish and, after it dries, screen and repeat.

If your floor has turned yellow or if the wood itself is damaged or stained, then a screen and recoat won’t help much. However, it will succeed in restoring a checked or cracked surface.

Cleaning

For maintaining your antique oak floors, make sure that you sweep the floor for surface dust and residue. You can also use a vacuum, but make sure that you avoid the beater bar or power head attachment of your vacuum. Otherwise, you risk scratching the floor.

The cleaning solution you use is a mixture of white vinegar (1/4 cup) and 30 ounces of warm water mixed in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto a cotton rag and lightly damp your floorboards. Use clean clothes as you go and dry each section before you move on to the next.

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2019-01-28T17:29:44-06:00

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