How do I preserve 130 year old pine floors?

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My antique floors, in my antique home, had their final sanding nearly 20 years ago. I have had, and still do have, large dogs who have gouged and scratched the floors beyond repair. I was wondering if I could use gel stain, wood putty and wax with any success. I do not have the means to replace the floors. It would break my heart to rip them out. They are part of the charm of this old mill house. I'm not looking for perfection, just a little 'tidying' of the floors. Any and all suggestions, with the exception of poly, is appreciated.

  6 answers
  • Susan Susan on Oct 02, 2019

    I too have an antique home, built in 1872, sanded the wood floors, stained and highly poly'd them years ago with a shiny thick gloss, it worked! I know you said with the exception of poly, but if you don't want to use poly, maybe there are other wood fillers you could use. My floors had far too much square footage. Good luck

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Oct 02, 2019

    “Final sanding” because they’ve been sanded down to nothing over the decades?

    They are “beyond repair”?

    Getting putty to stick, requires a cleaned up gouge (Dremel tool comes to mind) and the right putty.

    Ive been studying pro antique furniture repairing techniques and they use a kneaded epoxy putty.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Oct 02, 2019

    Here’s some epoxy putty examples


    • Allison Allison on Oct 02, 2019

      I've used these putties before, to fix antique furniture that got chewed. (Dog rescue and antique wood do not mix) I had a very difficult time smoothing it. Is there a trick that I am missing? Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

  • Toni @ Girl, Just DIY! Toni @ Girl, Just DIY! on Oct 02, 2019

    Applying wood putty to fill the gouges would be a very large and laborious job and honestly might not match well once sanded and stained. Have you consulted a floor restoration company? They might have a prooduct/process that will work. Generally refinishing a floor costs about $3 a sq ft to have it done. But as long as you have large dogs you'll be dealing with the same issue on the soft pine floors again in the future.

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    • Toni @ Girl, Just DIY! Toni @ Girl, Just DIY! on Oct 10, 2019

      I think the only way to remove the poly (besides a chemical stripper) is to sand them. I fear your options are pretty limited based on your descriptions.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Oct 02, 2019

    Try Rejuvenate

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 08, 2021

    Here is a technique, sand the floors and save the sawdust then mix with poly to fill in the gouges..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-MsW89nyfM&t=90s You could also get sawdust from a cabinet maker or sawmill, be sure to get the fine stuff.