A few weeks ago, I decided to undertake a massive project to refinish the floors in my attic. The previous owner had painted the floors with a chocolate brown over the original Douglas Fir old growth floors. After I removed one of the built in closets, I found some of the original unfinished wood and loved it. Below is an example of the various stages, painted, unfinished, and finished.
For one room, I attempted to use a soy-based paint stripper. The product was left on overnight and I scrapped the paint up with a putty knife. Stripped paint is really, really sticky and was a nightmare to contain and remove. Even after you scrape up all the paint, there’s paint residue that’s nearly impossible to remove. After two days of scraping and wiping up residue, I got to bare wood.
I used a 5″ random orbital sander attached to my Fein shop vac with a Hepa filter. I was worried that the large sanders at the home rental stores would tear up the old floors. For several days, I sanded the floors using 60 grit sand paper.
Below is what the floor looked like after I applied seven coats of tung oil. It’s a natural oil product that saturates into the wood and dries hard. It’ll never be like a plastic poly finish but it has that natural wood look to it. All the flaws of the original wood is still there, leaving behind a “cabin” feel.
Looking back, it was a crazy project to undertake. Would I do it again? Probably not. I sure got a lot of practice with the sander.