How to Seal Old Pine Flooring

By Michelle Hogan

Old pine floors add warmth and interest to your home, whether it's old or new. Pine is a soft wood, and although it looks great as flooring, its soft nature means that it is susceptible to denting and scratching. It's important to keep up on the minor damage done to pine floors to avoid having to overhaul them completely in the future. However, if your floors have not been well maintained, cleaning and then sealing them with oil or polyurethane may be the best way to protect them in the future.

List of Items Needed

  • Mild soap
  • Cloth
  • Sandpaper, handheld sanding tool, or rotary tool with sanding accessory
  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Tung oil or polyurethane
  1. Wash your floors well before deciding to sand them. Use a mild soap mixed in water and a soft cloth. Rinse the floor and then dry it thoroughly. Floor sanding raises a lot of dust, so if you cannot close off the room by simply shutting doors, hang plastic sheeting over doorways to minimize the mess.

  2. Look over your clean floor and inspect the damage. Some people believe that minor dents and scratches add character to an old floor. If you do decide to refinish your floor, determine whether you need to sand the whole floor or if you just want to sand smaller sections by hand. A large floor sander can wreck a soft pine floor, so if you are not experienced with that tool, consider hiring a professional who is experienced in refinishing pine floors. If you decide to refinish the floor yourself, use a handheld rotary tool fitted with a sanding accessory and work slowly and carefully across the room, sanding just enough to remove any previous finish and make blemishes less noticeable. Stop periodically and remove sanding dust with a tack cloth to check your progress. Do not press hard with the tool, and keep it flat to the floor at all times to avoid gouging.

  3. Wipe up dust from sanding with a tack cloth.

  4. Brush tung oil on your old pine floor to seal the wood and help it maintain a classic look. Polyurethane can also be used to seal the wood, but because of its plastic nature, it will not allow the wood to move and breathe with the seasons and may cause more cracks and damage over time.

  5. For ongoing maintenance, keep the floor clean. Lightly sand any new scratches or dents and reapply tung oil.

© Demand Media 2011