A Whitewash Finish for Oak Flooring
Form the original questioner:
Basically it was that the background oak colour overpowered the pigment in the lye and the pigment in the soap finish. I thought about bleaching the wood, but due to the fact that you have to clean the wood with water quite a bit after applying hydrogen peroxide, I didn't think that this was very practical on a large wood floor. The grain filler option probably will not work as the floors have a slight chamfer along the edges to create a 'V' groove where the boards meet, and I would expect that they would only get filled with paste as well. Are you recommending that I use a tinted oil overlaid by a clear poly? Would that benefit from a coat of sanding sealer first?
From contributor D:
A dewaxed shellac sealer would guarantee adhesion but would amber the white. Wood Cote wood bleach is a mix of peroxide and sodium hydroxide that is mixed just prior to using and it is self neutralizing. Fairly easy to use on a floor. I have bleached 5000+ sq/ft of flooring this way in two days with two helpers. We would then apply a white tinted oil like Duraseal Penetrating Finish and allow several days dry time with good air movement prior to coating with waterbased poly (2 coats gloss and one matte) which gives a better iridescence than all coats in matte. The water in the bleach helps open the grain to more pigment and oil is absorbed. Plain water can have the same water popping effect, which will yield a stronger white when oiling. Be careful when intercoat abrading to not steal color. Don't expect to sand totally smooth until after the second gloss coat. After first coat, buff only with a maroon 3M Finishbrite pad well enough to allow for mechanical adhesion of second coat. You most likely will not remove all of the roughness from grain raise until after the second coat. This is a technically difficult finish and I wish you the best of luck!
From the original questioner:
Thanks, that sounds interesting. Seeing as the water in the bleach will raise the grain considerably, any recommendations on sanding procedure prior to the first coat of poly? Assuming that the floor starts off smooth enough to seal, prior to bleaching.
From contributor D:
You could burnish in the white oil with steel wool under a floor buffer. This will lighten the floor. For maximum white I would build coats of poly over the grain raise. This kills a little of the shimmer, iridescences, chatoyance, or whatever you call that third dimension or depth you get with fine finishes. I figure if your client was worried about that they wouldn't be looking to go white. I recommend abrading the first coat with a maroon floor pad on a buffer only enough to insure adhesion of second coat. Sand smooth with 320 screen after second coat until smooth. Do not expect to get all of the grain raise off with first inter coat abrasion.
Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?
Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?