Some boards flaking when sanded

Q: We’ve just had Tasmanian Oak floors successfully and beautifully sanded and polished. The kitchen, however, proved a problem. We discovered it to be old outdoor pine. When he started to sand it started to flake. He gave it a go but some boards continued to flake.

He refused to continue, advising us to go for vinyl for a couple of years, after which we intend to extend the area and will replace the floor boards in that area. Is there any way to rescue this pine floor?

A: Some boards are flaking but not all. Doesn’t your floor guy think after several coats of polyurethane it would help to stiffen the floor surface? The only other alternative is to replace the boards but then they won’t look like the old ones.

Follow-up Q: Thanks for your response. Our guy was adamant that the rest of the floor wouldn’t stand up to any more sanding. He said that putting polyurethane on would only encourage more flaking. Thanks again. I just wanted to get a few other opinions.

A: The initial coat of polyurethane will aggravate sliced, lifting grain and splits in the board. However, after the initial coat, if such raised bits can be cut off, perhaps the cut edge filled over with wood filler and lightly sanded it should improve the spots. Maybe it’s not pine but hemlock. That wood is notorious for this condition.

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