Flooring Finish Question

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Forum topic by SheitlQueen posted 10-14-2010 04:28 AM 1126 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2986 days

10-14-2010 04:28 AM

Well, this question has to do with flooring rather than a wood working project but I hope you can help.
I figure putting finish on is putting finish on, whether it’s a table or a floor.

Our house has semi-gloss polyurathane on the wood floors, and every defect in the floor shows.
They are old floors (although the finish is relatively new) and look awful. I would like to put a
coat of matte or satin finish on the floors to try to get rid of the shine that shows all the flaws.

Can I put matte/satin poly over semi-gloss?
Would I have to sand off the old finish, or just lightly sand it and put on the new?

Thanks in advance for any help!

8 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4026 days

#1 posted 10-14-2010 01:07 PM

One of the problems that you may have to deal with in laying down a new finish is with wax. Depending on how long the floors have been down wax may have been applied ion the past. If they have a layer of wax then it will have to be removed before putting down a new finish coat otherwise the new finish will not adhere to the older finish coat. This is easily done by wiping down the floor with a rag and mineral spirits.

A matte or satin finish will tend to show fewer defects when compared with a gloss finish but whether or not it will achieve the look that you are after is hard to say. If there are gaps between the boards or if there are deep scratches then simply putting on another layer of finish may not cover the “defects”. You might want to experiment with an inconspicious area first before making a decision. You can put down a new coat of finish over the old by lightly sanding and then removing the dust.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Rick S...'s profile

Rick S...

10913 posts in 3236 days

#2 posted 10-14-2010 11:22 PM

I looked after my Uncles hardwood Flooring Company for a few years and came across this a few times.

We used a Special Mineral Spirits (little stronger) to apply and wiped off with old rags. Caution! Vent the area well and wear a respirator it’s NOT user friendly.

I’m not sure wht you mean by “Defects” but If there are Stains under the finish, or scratches in the ACTUAL Wood that you want to get rid of then you must sand the floor all the way down to bare wood.

If it’s basically Top defects in the Finish, a light sanding, followed by a wipe down with Mineral Spirits will do the job.

If you have to sand it all the way down (which is what I would do) Remember that Drum Floor sanders do NOT like exposed Nail Heads. They will tear the Sanding Belt and possibly the underlying Rubber Drum. We used a 1/2” Ball, rare earth magnet to roll up and down the Joints to find any nails and countersunk them.

We also preffered to use Water Based Poly Urethane. It’s just as strong as Oil Bsed once dry, applies faster, not as Toxic, easier to apply and dries quicker. I would also use Satin Finish not Matte. It sems to stand up to wear better.

Hope this helps.


-- I Chose "The Road Less Travelled" Now I'm Totally Lost! (Ontario, CANADA)

View SheitlQueen's profile


6 posts in 2986 days

#3 posted 10-15-2010 04:39 AM

Here’s the story….we bought a house where the wood floors had already been sanded and stained.
They looked fine, so we put the finish on ourselves. And that is when we noticed the lousy sanding
job. There are marks all over the floor from the sander….about a foot long and maybe an inch across.
Not very deep because you really can’t feel them when you run your hand over them. It looks like
maybe the drum sander was not used properly. With just the stain on, they were not visible but they
really show with the semi gloss finish. That’s is why I was wondering if using a matte finish would hide
them. I really don’t want to have to sand the floor…

thanks all for your help.

View april_luv's profile


2 posts in 2984 days

#4 posted 10-15-2010 07:09 AM

i have same issue with my old house which your facing now. i really change the entire floor of our living room.

if i could just known this answer before i haven’t change it last month. will to bad for me. guess it’s done and have to leave it that way.

View brtech's profile


1052 posts in 3126 days

#5 posted 10-15-2010 03:58 PM

Another tip – there are polyurethane’s and there are polyurethanes. There are some polys that are really much better than the stuff you find in a typical big box. They tend to cost $75/gallon, and they are two part. There is a “cross linker” component that is added to the poly before you apply it. These are much stronger than the usual stuff.

View Rick S...'s profile

Rick S...

10913 posts in 3236 days

#6 posted 10-16-2010 05:49 AM

Okay. Now that you’ve explained it in more detail and If you don’t want to sand down the floor there is only one option left isn’t there.

In my experience (as above and general woodworking) I don’t really understand why the Marks did NOT become visible when the floor was STAINED because that’s when they usually show up. The same as any other woodworking project. In Point of Fact that’s when they DO show up and THAT’s when the Problem should have been Corrected.

IMHO the only thing you’re going to acomplish by a Matte or Semi Gloss finish is to make them a LITTLE LESS Visible …. maybe.

As far as your comment about Big Box Stores they carry “Flecto” which was the product we used on ALL of our work. We NEVER had a problem with it. I know of the other products that you have mentioned but we never used them.

As an examlpe we did a number of High School GYMNASIUM Floors with Flecto. If that isn’t a test of Strength, I don’t know what is! At present I use Minwax Water Based Poly for ALL of my woodwork usually Wipe On. Also available at Big Box Stores.

In any event “Strength” is NOT the issue for you. Trying to HIDE a LOUSY Sanding Job is.

As you mentioned in your Lead In to your Post …”put a coat of matte or satin finish on the floors to try to get rid of the shine that shows all the flaws.” The “Finish” is NOT the Problem and there is only ONE way to FIX the “Flaws” and that’s to get rid of the “Flaws”.

Your Choice.

-- I Chose "The Road Less Travelled" Now I'm Totally Lost! (Ontario, CANADA)

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4097 days

#7 posted 10-16-2010 06:15 AM

2 cents

you are not going to get rid of the skids, marks, dents, at least not to the trained eye or your eye who sees it.

perfection on a wooden floor is impossible unless your dead, embalmed, mumified and nobody walks on the floor and no one who resides there has a “life”

Quick fix and I am starting to love this recipe

clean it

slight scuff or just clean it and skip the scuff

25% tongue oil

25% expensive marine varnish

50% paint thinner

this shit is magic and you can thank D Kondra

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View SheitlQueen's profile


6 posts in 2986 days

#8 posted 10-28-2010 08:40 AM

Thanks all for your responses. I guess for now I will live with the bad sanding job,
and maybe someday in the future have the floors redone.

I’ve thrown down a couple of area rugs, hoping to hide the majority of it, and hoping
that the rugs will distract peoples eyes away from the floor itself.
If I can’t fix it (yet), I’ll hide it :)

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