Question on wood flooring.

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Blog entry by Eagle1 posted 05-23-2011 01:55 PM 1403 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey guy’s and gals. I’m starting to rough mill the oak for my flooring I’m putting down in my house. My question is I would like your opinion about how to go abought and to finish it. If it would be better to finish it before I cut the toung and groove. Or after. I’m concerned about the finish getting on the toung and groove, causing them not to fit as good as they should. Any suggestions would be very heplful.

Thanks Tim:

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

11 comments so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3287 days

#1 posted 05-23-2011 02:10 PM

Eagle, unless it’s prefinished (you said you were milling, so it’s not), I would not put any on until iit’s installed. There will be differences in elevation that will need to be sanded out, I would think. Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3218 days

#2 posted 05-23-2011 02:51 PM

Professionals who install real wood floors finish after installation (at least they did in my house).

Hopefully you can rent a floor sander because you will want to sand it before finishing.

As an FYI – I asked the guy installing my floor what kind of finish he uses and he said it was his trade secret and he would not tell me.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 3547 days

#3 posted 05-23-2011 03:10 PM

I agree with the two above. Finish after installation.

-- Alan, Prince George

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3228 days

#4 posted 05-23-2011 03:18 PM

I helped install a couple of wood floors, and no matter how careful you mill the wood, you are going to
have little ridges and bumps. Before you use a floor sander on the good floor, it might not be a bad idea
to practice on an old piece of plywood or particle board. We used a good grade of floor poly to finish
the floors, and then waxed and polished with Johnson’s wax weekly for a few months, then as needed
after that. Have fun and please post pictures.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View patron's profile


13630 posts in 3484 days

#5 posted 05-23-2011 03:24 PM

if you finish first
most have a slight edge chamfer (45 deg.)
for slight edge differences
leaving a small ‘v’ in the finished floor

i have been dipping my pieces
in tompsons water sealer first
it brings out the grain
so i can place them as i like
and have the advantage of seeing it
before the final finish

other wise sand later
as stated above

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3452 days

#6 posted 05-23-2011 05:11 PM

Another problem with finishing it first is that the finish will gum up your cutters and planer blades.

View stefang's profile (online now)


15947 posts in 3477 days

#7 posted 05-23-2011 06:20 PM

Good advice to practice with the sanding machine before doing the real thing. Those machines can take a nice bite out of your floor is not used correctly.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2920 days

#8 posted 05-23-2011 06:51 PM

Finish after it is installed. Sand with a pad sander. The drum sanders will take a 1/4” of the floor in heart beat and even the professionals will leave grooves. I would recommend a semi-gloss oil based poly for the floor, high gloss is harder but shows everything you want to hide. I put a pretty heavy coat on the first coat and much thinner on coat after that. I wait 3 weeks between coats. You can usually walk on the floor within 12 hours in socks.

I bought “rustic flooring” when I did my floors and had to mill almost every board. Bought 4” and ended up with a floor that was 4” and 3” widths. I learned the value of doing all of the same widths at the same time, all of the tongs at once and all of the grooves in the same run. Consistency is critical.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4149 days

#9 posted 05-23-2011 07:50 PM

To do it prefinished you really need a three head moulder to give you dead on accurate and bumpless edges that you’re not going to get relying on a joiner and shaper/router, especially if you’re doing in any quanities. Plus adding the tiny radiused micro edge to avoid flush joints seems to be the best route with prefinished. I don’t believe finish will in any way hinder a rubber mallet type fastener from making the floor pull up tight.

If you’re the conscientious type about your setups and grasp how accrate things need to be to make prefinished work, i say go for it.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View gdpifer's profile


47 posts in 2823 days

#10 posted 05-23-2011 09:28 PM

I finished my hardwood floor after it was installed. I was a bit afraid of the floor sander and sanded my floors with a hand orbital sander—a bit of work but I was able to take off only what I wished. The first floor I put down was finished with poly. I learned of pure tung oil and did my last floor with it. It takes a bit to cure and harden but I like it so much better, a natural look, not the plastic look of poly. IF you need to touch up a spot there is no need to strip and sand the whole floor. Just go over the area needing the touch up with another application of tung oil. The Pure Milk Paint Co. has a page on finsihing the hardwood floor with the tung oil. I followed the directions and am very happy with the result. It has been down for almost six years and it still looks great. My 2 cents worth.

-- Garry, Kentucky

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3208 days

#11 posted 05-28-2011 01:30 PM

Thanks for all the info. I do have to prefinish though. The bedrooms are at the end of the hallway. So I really don’t have a choice about that. I plan on cutting the toung and grooves before hand. I will have to figure out a way to get the finish on without getting it on the sides.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

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