Matching sheen on spot repair of heavy traffic area

Q: I would say 90% of my 1956 oak wood floor is pristine, but the area of heavy traffic flow has basically no finish remaining. I didn’t do anything to fix it and then the real problem came when my cat became ill and threw up in several places in this area. It bleached the wood, which I attribute to having no top coat left, because when he threw up elsewhere it did not bleach the wood.

I weighed my options and honestly would rather travel than pay a couple thousand to refinish a floor, so I decided to try to at least improve the look.

I live in a sort of low rent neighborhood so am not overly concerned about resale, which gives me some freedom to experiment. I prepared the area, sanded, used a conditioner, stained, and now put a coat of satin poly and lightly hand sand with 220 grit. Problem is the satin poly is a bit too shiny for the rest of the floor. Is there anything I can do at this point? Mainly, can I change the type of poly for the second coat to a lower luster sheen? It already looks much better.

A: Given the age of the floor it is possible that it actually is a wax finish which could help explain why the satin poly has more of a shine than the old finish. Another possible explanation is that you didn’t stir the satin well enough. Having said that I see 2 options for you.

There are matte and super matte finishes available which have no shine whatsoever. You could coat with that type of coating or use 3 or 4 zero steel wool or super fine sandpaper in the range of 1000 grit or finer to buff the satin coating until there is absolutely no shine at all.

Related Q: I currently have 4 inch wide quartersawn oak that was refinished with a satin finish 25 years ago. I am trying to refinish a small area (12″x12″) and the guy that did my floors said to use **** *** poly satin finish. When sanded and applied there is a cloudiness to it when the light hits it, and the semi gloss is a bit too shiny. Can I reduce the semi with fine steel wool to make it a little less cloudy? I can’t seem to get the right sheen.

A: You could try the steel wool, but I doubt you could achieve the consistency you are looking for. I would use a better finish such as Poloplaz Primero.