Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Floor finishes

Floor finishes

From: Lorraine Schnabel <rainyroon>
Date: Sunday, August 1, 1999
Pete Sixbey <psixbey [at] max__state__ia__us> writes

>I am a conservator in the Midwest looking for
>options/recommendations for floor finishes that can be applied to
>historic floors

Before you can select a finish you have to know what kind of wood
the floor is and what kind of finish is already there. Both of these
will determine if the finish needs to be removed completely before
refinishing (nothing sticks well to urethanes or waxes), and the
best method for removal (hardwoods take better to sanding than do
soft woods, but best removal method depends on wood type and
existing finish).

The best finish is one that is appropriate to the age of the floor.
Clear finished wood floors were not common until the end of the 19th
century. The best clear finish is one that can be cleaned, and that
only needs to be lightly sanded for re-application as it wears (this
prevents the need for further potentially damaging and usually
costly removal programs). The finish should also be flexible enough
to absorb movement in the wood as the moisture content changes.
Oil-resin varnishes are the best--I have used successfully a product
by Man-O-War called "Gym Seal." This is not low VOC, but leaves a
beautiful finish that is easily touched up.

Great book on flooring: Floor Coverings for Historic Buildings by
Helene von Rosenstiel and Gail Caskey Winkler, The Preservation
Press, 1988.

Lorraine Schnabel
Architectural Conservator
John Milner Associates

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:12
                 Distributed: Wednesday, August 4, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-12-006
Received on Sunday, 1 August, 1999

[Search all CoOL documents]