Wood in one area is just soaking up finish

Q: I’ve got a couple hangups, I sure hope you can help me troubleshoot. I’ve just installed wood floors my home: bathroom, bedroom and hallway. I’m not sure of the type of wood, as it is old, reclaimed hardwood that is random and has been tongued and grooved. I’m having a problem with the hallway finish building up, and I have unsightly gaps I’m not sure how to fill.

I followed the same exact process in all the rooms. I won’t go into exact detail because as you know there are a lot of steps! But basically I installed them, sanded them with 120 grit, cleaned them, absolutely no water or chemicals, conditioned them with pre finish wood conditioner and followed the directions. Next I stained them using special walnut 227 oil based penetrating wood finish thinned with mineral spirits and again I followed the directions.

Then I had an unforeseen budget issue accompanied by a deadline issue. Thus resulting in me having to unfortunately settle for using cans of Semigloss Fast-Drying Polyurethane aerosol as the surface finish. I cleaned again and again and again.. the bathroom worked out wonderfully! If water hits the floor it beads up. I am able to clean it easily and I am happy with the results.

The bedroom I have applied the first 2 coats following the directions and so far it’s looking good. 2 More coats will be needed.

The hallway however is where I find myself stumped. Mainly because I didn’t do anything differently but my results are different. I sprayed my first thin layer of the polyurethane and as I’m spraying it the wood is soaking it up! Like it is penetrating the wood! I can see it happening. It goes from wet and shiny to dull and dry to the touch. What is happening?

Another thing I’d like to ask is if you have any experience using a wood filler to fill gaps. Either store bought or home made with sawdust. I want something that will fill the unsightly gaps and empty knot holes scattered randomly throughout, but that will also expand and contract so my floor doesn’t buckle. Keep in kind, this is reclaimed wood so it has character and is really tough to work with. Looks beautiful and any info or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

A: Just about any floor will have boards that appear to soak in the finish almost totally compared to other boards. This should change with each successive coat, as you build layers. It was probably just bad luck, for lack of a better term that these boards just happened to end up in the hallway.

I know of no wood filler that remains flexible. You may want to check out some products for log homes. One such company is called Sashco. Hopefully they have caulkings of various colours.

Related Q: After 3 coats of varnish to a floor being refinished, the wood seems to be absorbing the varnish in uneven patches all over. What can be done?

A: 3 coats and you say the finish is absorbing and leaving blotchy areas. Sounds like another issue going on because 3 coats should be enough. I do hope you are sanding with fine abrasive between coats. And when you do sand between coats the dried finish should powder on the surface. This can be a good indicator the finish is dry enough for another coat. If you don’t get the powder and apply the next coat you are likely to get wrinkling which can perhaps look like blotchy areas. Generally you will get 500 sq. feet per gallon if you are following the proper spread rate. Check the label.

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