Hardward floors - Filling the cracks

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cosmic, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Need to redo my hardwood floors at some point. They really don't need resanded, just the finish and cracks are bad. Don't really want the expense or hassle of having to sand them. I've redone my share of floors so know how to do it the "Conventional Way".

    Saw this DIY TV show where they were refinishing a floor. They used the sanding dust as the crack filler. Mixed it with sealer and using a rigid thin rubber blade worked it into the cracks similar to grouting tile. I guess they depended on the sealer being the binder with enough strength to hold the dust together. Not a lot of explanations and they didn't show the step of mixing the filler. Appeared to use a fairly thin mix. They then did a light sanding before the finish coats.

    I have a bunch of sanding dust saved for other uses. I use it to make a wood filler for wood working. Works great, can be prestained to get any color you want. I have made it using white glue or shellac, never tried using sealer. From experience the filler is a bit porous and can also absorb some poly finish on the finish coats. Haven't had any problems with it breaking out in the prior uses I have done but they are all small fill areas like nail holes.

    Anybody ever used this trick as filler for floors? I am planning on doing a few test cases in some small areas first. Probably will knock down the old finish using sanding screens, clean and try to fill the cracks and then a light sanding with say a hand orbital sander. Don't have to have every ding out. I was in a furniture store recently where they had refinished right over a floor with a lot of wear, dings and marks and it looked sort of OK. With moving a lot of furniture around probably didn't pay, just going to get scuffed up again. Only real problem with mine are some big cracks and some badly worn areas in the finish. The cracks are the biggy reason to be doing the repair and refinish. Want to do it very cheap, using free sanding dust has great appeal.

    Guess my worry would be having the crack filler break up and come out over time due to movement or whatever. Hoping the finish is enough to "Totally Glue" it in place. I know it works in small things like nail holes.

    Would you use or not use this method and why????? Anybody done this procedure and how did it work out???? Did you prestain the dust, from experience the dust usually appears darker than the wood it came from when finished. TIA
     
  2. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Isn't it stranded burlap rope that they use to fill cracks on older hardwood floors? I know its rope, and I know that if the crack is smaller that they use less strands of the rope. I believe rope would allow for some expansion and contraction of the wood - it also looked fairly easy to do. You should be able to dye or tint the rope to match your floor.

    cheers,
     

  3. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    They do use a rope fill on the bigger and wider boards, usually older ones. Mine are the ~3" wide modern type hardwood cut as flooring. Usually there a plastic crap is used for the filling. I have used it before. Today ain't all that cheap and you probably will have to do a lite conventional sanding for the amount of cracks I have. Is what I am trying to avoid. Both the costs of the store bought crap and the need to do any normal sanding. The plastic crap is like a paste and does not go on all that cleanly. Would quickly gum up normal sanding screen or sandpaper.
     
  4. kmaproperties

    kmaproperties Well-Known Member

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    you need to get sanding dust from the same wood species that your floors are made from. mix it with polyeurathane to a paste. fill in gaps and waite 24 hours. light sand floor and poly the entire floor. works every time, been doing floors for 30 years.
     
  5. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    might as well sand it too ... terrible but might as well do it right. How would you take off the old finish so it looks good. Won't look too good unless you strip right? Can take out some of the scratches while you're at it. Pain in the grits to finish as well (not nearly like sanding) but might as well go all the way and make it nice huh?
    P.S. I can't speak from experience but I have heard of the above mentioned method of crack filling. ...

    Man the mind wanders when you read that title! I actually thought of a plumber and the use of a belt! :p
     
  6. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    The sanding part is what I am trying desperately to avoid. Would have 6 rooms. The floors are in pretty good overall condition, the major problem is how to fill the cracks.

    I have refinished floors without sanding. Bunches of products to chem prep and do it. Can use an alcohol mix and do it, followed by a lite screening with a tool like a sponge mop made for the purpose.

    Might try kmaproperties idea of using poly instead of the sealer but I think making it into a paste is going to give problems when I try to do a lite screen cleaning. That TV DIY show had the filler real thin, more like a liquid. Leaving a lot of residue from the filling might be the sticky wicket.

    Want to avoid as much cost in renovating this house as possible. Probably going to be tough to get any major outlays back if I decide to resell it. So far has been coming along pretty good. Window replacement is the biggest item so far, want to stay under $5000 for the total job if possible. Each little area adds up. Floors don't exactly have to be redone but would be nice if I can finesse it. I got to do a total rewire, some heating work, total repair and paint job, all new windows and a few doors, pretty good rebuild in bath and kitchen for that price and all the little things that typically pop up.

    Maybe do a bunch of experiments trying different approaches and see what might fly. Wondered if anybody had the magic bullet without a standard sanding step included.
     
  7. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    if they arent laid over a sub floor what ever you put in the cracks will pop out