Haddon Township NJ wood floor refinishing
Here’s another 100 year old pine floor that needed a complete sand and refinish. This beautiful historic home in Haddon Township, New Jersey had floors that were covered in a thick coat of shellac and wax. It was probably applied sometime in the 1950s or 60s. Shellac and wax is difficult to remove as it gums up the sandpaper easily... so this was a “fun” floor to sand.
This project comprised of the downstairs living room, dining room and staircase. This was the second time we worked in this house. We had already restored the hardwood floors in the upstairs bedrooms and hallway on a previous visit. Wax, shellac, loose boards, repairs, staining, stairs… this project had it all.
- Old heart pine flooring
- Our Alternative Gold System
- Woca Black
100 years ago, some homes had oak installed on top for a more finished look in the main living areas. This was usually down stairs only as it was quite an expensive upgrade. The upstairs floors were usually more utilitarian and functional because they wouldn’t be seen by guests. So instead of having oak installed on top, they were the pine sub-floor only. That’s the type of floors this house has.
Back then they would’ve had a rug covering the pine flooring in the bedrooms. (We could tell these ones did too because there was a thick build-up of wax around the edges.)
The shellac and wax on these floors made for an interesting sand. We had to start with one of the lowest grits of sandpaper to remove it. After countless gummed up sandpaper disks and belts, we finally got down to the bare wood…
In the photo above on the left can you see the large gaps in the floor? They’re there because of a couple of reasons. First is because of the original utilitarian install 100 years ago as mentioned above. This was never a high-end floor. Second, after many years of seasonal contraction, expansion and shrinkage, the gaps have grown wider. They will continue to expand and shrink during the year. Because of this we are unable to fill them. If we did, the filler would very quickly fall out and look terrible, as well as damage the floor when it gets ground into the finish.
What you don’t see in these photos is the repair work we had to do to get the floors safe to walk on. We needed to fix a number of loose boards and replace damaged boards with salvaged antique pine from the same era. A new joist was added for structural support as well.
The Haddon Township homeowner wanted a low sheen finish on these floors so we used a matte hardwax/penetrating oil. You can read about the finish choice they made here. The one they chose was a colored oil. There was no staining involved, just the oil itself provided the dark color.
With this finish system, they will be able to re-apply a fresh coat of oil as needed. This means if they take good care of the finish and maintain it, they may never have to re-sand these floors again.