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Can I prepare a hardwood floor for refinishing with lacquer thinner?

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The floors are in good shape, but stained and dirty, and I would ABSOLUTELY prefer to avoid sanding.

If the floors are in good shape and flat (use a 6 ft staightedge to check) you can probably use a square vibrating type sander to remove old finish. These are much easier to use than drum-type, and won’t gouge the floor, but won’t flatten any dips, cupped boards, or height differences between boards. Stains may be a problem, though–if the stains have penetrated the wood to any depth, you’ll have to use a drum sander with coarse grit to sand out the stain and flatten the floor around–even then, you may not get it all.

You may be able to hire out the sanding, and do the re-finishing yourself to save a little money. But I think sanding is actually easier for a careful beginner to do right that finishing.

BTW, I’d test any chemical procedure in an unobtrusive place to see if it will work–closet or corner. Lacquer thinner is both toxic and highly flammable, and doing a whole floor will cause a lot of fumes to build up. You’ll need to wear rubber gloves (that the thinner won’t melt), a respirator that filters organic vapors (not just a dust mask), and open all windows for good air circulation. Extinguish pilot lights and take frequent breaks. Personally, I’d much rather sand.

3 Responses to “Can I prepare a hardwood floor for refinishing with lacquer thinner?”

  1. Owlwings Says:

    If you don’t like sanding, then the only other alternative is VERY hard and long hours working with white spirit and wire wool.

    I think I might go for sanding, though you might also think about steam cleaning.

    It does rather depend what the original sealant was. Wire wool and an appropriate solvent will usually do the trick, however, if it was polyurethane, bite the bullet and sand it.
    References :

  2. D. Bronco Says:

    for the finish you want, you need to accept the fact that sanding is a vital step in the process. Speed up this process by renting a power floor sander which aren’t real difficult to use and you could sand your entire floor in no time. good luck
    References :

  3. mrknowitall Says:

    If the floors are in good shape and flat (use a 6 ft staightedge to check) you can probably use a square vibrating type sander to remove old finish. These are much easier to use than drum-type, and won’t gouge the floor, but won’t flatten any dips, cupped boards, or height differences between boards. Stains may be a problem, though–if the stains have penetrated the wood to any depth, you’ll have to use a drum sander with coarse grit to sand out the stain and flatten the floor around–even then, you may not get it all.

    You may be able to hire out the sanding, and do the re-finishing yourself to save a little money. But I think sanding is actually easier for a careful beginner to do right that finishing.

    BTW, I’d test any chemical procedure in an unobtrusive place to see if it will work–closet or corner. Lacquer thinner is both toxic and highly flammable, and doing a whole floor will cause a lot of fumes to build up. You’ll need to wear rubber gloves (that the thinner won’t melt), a respirator that filters organic vapors (not just a dust mask), and open all windows for good air circulation. Extinguish pilot lights and take frequent breaks. Personally, I’d much rather sand.
    References :
    Former hardwood flooring contractor.

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