Keeping old pine flooring look

Q: Our house is 100 yrs old, with old pine flooring in our kitchen. I love the old pine flooring look with the gaps and where the nails have left black stains on the floor. Filling in the gaps and sanding of the nail marks will take away from the character of the floor, but I do want to put a protective seal on it, and give it a bit of a shine.

What do you suggest?

A: It is unlikely sanding the floor will remove the old character marks. You don’t have to have the gaps filled. Actually, I consider it almost a waste of time and effort. I don’t know what if any type of finish is on this floor so it is impossible to give better advice except to say in general, a previous finish needs to be scratched or buffed down with a fine abrasive to gain adhesion and there are certain products which will repell a typical finish and would need to be removed. I’ve sanded many pine floors over the years, many of them were very nasty, multiple layers of gummy coatings and sometimes lead based paint. Sanding them should not make these floors look like new pine.

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