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Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 7599
Experience:  Retired contractor, 51 years experience
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We have some areas in our hardwood floor where there are

Customer Question

We have some areas in our hardwood floor where there are scuff marks. Basically, where the original stain/varnish had become worn. We don't want to sand our entire floor down just for these small areas, is there a way of just lightly sanding and 'touching'
up these areas? also is there a way of 'color matching' the original stain, or are the stains at lowes/home depot the only colors available?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.

Hello, the rule in these cases is 'the less you do, the better'. If you attempt to do any significant color matching the floor will look blotchy.

Use rubbing alcohol to clean the floor, small areas at time so that fumes do not build up, leave all the doors and windows open.

Then a *rub on type gel stain, a few shades darker than the floor, after it is applied and sits for a seconds, wipe it all off with a rag until only the scratches are filled with the stain. Then after 48 hours wax or clear doat the entire floor.

The risk with water or oil based clear coats is that you must experiment with them to see which one will stick, that will depend on what the original floor was stained with and what kind of wax was used to maintain the floor...in virtually all cases you have to get rid of *all the wax before a clear coat will work well. That is why you might just want a rub on stain to fill the scratches to some degree (do not try for perfection or the floor will come out blotchy). Then wax after 48 hours.

Try a small spot, the size of lime first... practice on a few of those small areas until you get good at it.

Here is a superb article on the subject.

http://www.woodcraft.com/articles/764/how-to-use-oil-base-gel-stain-over-existing-finishes.aspx

.............

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi, just to be sure, here are some pictures of the flooring were trying. so you still recommend using a gel-based stain? should we lightly sand these areas first? or would alcohol strip do the trick?
Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the pictures,

That floor is not stained, it is a natural clear finish. You can sand that heavily down to the wood to clean it up, then refinish the area with clear coat. The diamond hard water based clear coat will most likely be best in this case... it will need 2 or 3 coats.

It should stick to the existing older oil based varnish, but that needs to be tested.

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/42/42bba811-bb7d-4bb7-b6ef-e531c0ee4bd3.pdf

Try some small areas first.

You can rent the sanders and buy the various grades of sand paper you need at the same place in most cases.

http://www.wikihow.com/Sand-Hardwood-Floors

Good luck with your project!

---------------

We are on the honor system here. Please remember to rate my service before you leave today, the company only pays me if you rate my work. It is how I earn a living, and does not increase your charges.

If you need anything else, just let me know. You can continue asking follow-up questions at no additional cost.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
in the first picture you can see that the lighter spot is where we think the original stain has worn off, are you saying that there was never a stain but a clear coat? as for the darker spots you recommend using a sander to get down to bare wood, and then put clear coat on that as well? if it's 'clear coat,' then how does the wood get that yellow-orange 'stain' color?
Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

Clear water will also make the wood look darker. You have probably noticed that, wet any piece of wood and you will see that it looks darker.

The same with clear varnish.

The clear varnish in some brands can yellow with age... a person would not want to try and correct that by tinting the new finish with yellow... that would be a mistake.

You would just sand the area completely, feathering the edges, and clear coat the area... and suffer any of slight color change due to yellowing of the old varnish... there is no solution for that other than to refinish the entire floor.

You will notice a vast improvement however... and with any luck the slight change in color will not be noticeable... at the very least, the floor will no longer be ugly.

If a professional were to do the job, at a professional level, he would simply sand the entire floor down to bare wood and put clear coat on from there.

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