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1950s cypress floors

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  1. #1
    PiL
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    Default 1950s cypress floors

    Hi all,
    Ive been working on my parent's old 1950s home and in the process of taking up the original carpet.
    As expected there are cypress floorboards. They dont appear to have been sanded or sealed. You can still see the saw marks on the surface from milling the timber. Was this common practice? Im planning not to sand the floor if i can get away with it. The boards have been perfectly preserved under the carpet, and like i said, dont appear to have been treated.

    Ive read some posts on this forum as well as many others about finishes but nothing definitive. I imagine any responses here would be the same ��
    Is there a consensus on the best type of stain for old cypress and finish?
    I would prefer a matt look.

    20210714_080016.jpg
    Last edited by PiL; 19th Jul 2021 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Added photo

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    Jon
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    Default 1950s cypress floors

    In my first house 30ish years ago I lifted the old carpet and had similar.
    We just just gave them a rough sand to get rid of any staining and then used two pack poly to coat them. Looked a million dollars and the cracks and milling marks were features.

    Tapatalk

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    PiL
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    Thanks Jon.
    Would prefer a matt and darker finish though. It might just be a game of trial and error.
    The majority of the posts ive read never come back with a "this is what i did and here's what it looks like."
    I like to call these people "askholes" - someone who asks for advice and does what they were going to do anyway. ��

  4. #4
    PiL
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    Some better photos of the floor.
    I wish i could keep this original colour and finish but i know it will yellow in time now that it's exposed, hence looking at stain and finish combo options.

    20210719_125236.jpg

    20210719_125105.jpg

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    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Try Tung Oil 50/50 with Citrus oil.
    Science is never settled,
    it advances one funeral at the time.
    Max Planck

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    How are they fixed down?

    I can't see any nails? Or it that a row of one nail per board on the picture with the joined board?

  7. #7
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    If you put a finish on them in the current condition it will highlight the milling marks, especially if you go darker, it might look ok, but most likely it will look like an un-finished DIY job.

    My advice is to have them sanded and finished properly, the floor will look so much nicer once you strip the top layer off timber off, it will brighten the boards colour to be a real pale blond.
    Cypress can look really nice if you go for a Matt / Satin water based option, they also look good if you have them stained quite dark.

    The finishing of a floor especially staining is best left to someone who does it on a daily basis as it's easy to muck it up and make it look very ordinary, you will get a better consistent colour / finish if the boards are sanded.

    Unless you are specifically after that un-finished look, and this really depends on the type of house if it suits that look, unfinished look is ok in rustic style houses as it adds to the charm.

    If you really want to coat them as they are, then look into Hardwax or Tung oil finishes, Tung oil will turn yellow then orange same as mineral based polyurethane after a number of years.

    Hardwax will not yellow if it's has exposure to UV, sounds strange but it works the opposite to traditional polyurethanes.

    If you look into hardwax, take my advice DON'T look at OSMO brand of products, I have had a very bad experience with these, and the Victorian based company was not interested in offering any support to rectify the problem.
    It was an expensive product, I purchased all the correct pre sealers etc, applied as per instructions and it failed after two weeks, IMO OSMO stuff is garbage,

    I have used other brands of hardwax with fantastic results on furniture.
    Look at Whittle waxes Evloution products, they have some great products, if you want to colour the boards they recommend 120grit sanding prior.

    https://www.whittlewaxes.com.au
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

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    PiL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus View Post
    How are they fixed down?

    I can't see any nails? Or it that a row of one nail per board on the picture with the joined board?
    Lol i've only just noticed. Reckon it's worth putting down another row of nails?
    you reckon after 70 years they'd still cup when stain or finish applied?

  9. #9
    PiL
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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    Thanks mate. Some really good advice. I will stay away from the oils and osmo.

    I'm trying to DIY the job because there's just so much furniture and junk that i can only do 1 room at a time.

    I actually dont mind an unfinished look. It's an old house and the mill lines and a bit of roughness adds character. maybe a light go with an orbital? my biggest concern would be an uneven stain.

    i want to try a section of floor that will have a wardrobe built over it to see how i go.
    Do you have recommendations for a stain and matt finish ? go water based for both?

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    I would, I'd imagine they would be a bit loose with only the one nail.. it would mean filling.

    I agree with metrix, sand them mate.. Short term pain for long term gain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    Thanks mate. Some really good advice. I will stay away from the oils and osmo.

    I'm trying to DIY the job because there's just so much furniture and junk that i can only do 1 room at a time.

    I actually dont mind an unfinished look. It's an old house and the mill lines and a bit of roughness adds character. maybe a light go with an orbital? my biggest concern would be an uneven stain.

    i want to try a section of floor that will have a wardrobe built over it to see how i go.
    Do you have recommendations for a stain and matt finish ? go water based for both?
    If you only want to do one room at a I would suggest to look into Hardwax, the beauty of it is you can apply one coat today, then continue on tomorrow without really noticing any difference between start to finish, as it doesn't need the traditional wet edge.
    You can usually buy small tins so you can experiment, be aware for it to set properly it doesn't really like being applied in the winter, unless you have some form of heating in the house to ensure it cures properly.

    I would stay away form any traditional coatings such as oil, or water if you want to do it room by room as you will end up with overlap marks where you start and finish one room, the only exception would be tung oil as it can also be applied over different days.

    I don't suspect you will have any problems with the one nail thing, but you can put the extra one is, make sure to pre-drill just smaller than the nail or you will split the boards as they are well seasoned, and drill the joist as well as they will be like steel by now.
    You can get colour matched putty that will make any nail holes disappear
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

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    PiL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Optimus View Post
    I would, I'd imagine they would be a bit loose with only the one nail.. it would mean filling.

    I agree with metrix, sand them mate.. Short term pain for long term gain.
    Lol, this job is spiraling out of control.
    will give it a go and see how they come up.

    any suggestion for stain and finish?

  13. #13
    1K Club Member Pulse's Avatar
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    Default 1950s cypress floors

    If you want to keep them close to natural without yellowing I used Loba finishes with whitener in the primer and top coat, came up great, need to sand and prep though

  14. #14
    PiL
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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    If you only want to do one room at a I would suggest to look into Hardwax, the beauty of it is you can apply one coat today, then continue on tomorrow without really noticing any difference between start to finish, as it doesn't need the traditional wet edge.
    You can usually buy small tins so you can experiment, be aware for it to set properly it doesn't really like being applied in the winter, unless you have some form of heating in the house to ensure it cures properly.
    This looks and sounds perfect. Am i on the right path with a brand like Whittle Waxes? Made in germany.
    They have colour tinted products too as well as 125ml tins.

    You are all fonts of knowledge. Thanks everyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    This looks and sounds perfect. Am i on the right path with a brand like Whittle Waxes? Made in germany.
    They have colour tinted products too as well as 125ml tins.

    You are all fonts of knowledge. Thanks everyone.
    Yep, also look at Fiddes and Bona, give them a call and ask for advice on what you want to do.

    It's expensive compared to chemical based products, but it does go a long way, usually up to 20sqm per litre and it contains no chemicals, plus is easy to maintain.
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

  16. #16
    PiL
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    I have a local stockist for Fiddes, so looks like ill go with them.
    Contacted Fiddes Australia who have recommended i use their lightfast water based stain followed by 2 coats of hardwax oil. No problem on cypress im told.

    Thanks for your help METRIX. ��

    Ps. Have just broken my ankle which has put a dampener on things.
    Will repost once i start work on it.

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    Jon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    In my first house 30ish years ago I lifted the old carpet and had similar.
    We just just gave them a rough sand to get rid of any staining and then used two pack poly to coat them. Looked a million dollars and the cracks and milling marks were features.

    Tapatalk
    I just found my photos of this house. This is how the floors turned, lift old carpet or lino and newspaper underlay, orbital sander on the really bad bits, sweep, two pack poly.
    bellevue-st-mid-1993-3.jpg

  18. #18
    PiL
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    Ankle is still in a moonboot, but my 86 year old dad came and gave me a hand - pretty much single handedly pulling up all the original carpet and nails.
    Every single nail is different. I thought by the 50s these things were mass produced?

    As for the boards, looks like there was moisture issues in the past.
    Do you guys think this is just superficial surface blemish that will sand out? Or perhaps covered up by staining?

    Thoughts would be appreciated.

    20210821_095755.jpg20210821_095734.jpg
    screenshot_20210820-222054_instagram.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    Ankle is still in a moonboot, but my 86 year old dad came and gave me a hand - pretty much single handedly pulling up all the original carpet and nails.
    Every single nail is different. I thought by the 50s these things were mass produced?

    As for the boards, looks like there was moisture issues in the past.
    Do you guys think this is just superficial surface blemish that will sand out? Or perhaps covered up by staining?

    Thoughts would be appreciated.
    Moisture issues ??
    That is just a couple of spilt drinks and looks like the carpet was steam cleaned at some stage. It will come up fine with sanding.

  20. #20
    PiL
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    Cheers mate.
    The floorboards are in pristine condition otherwise and no unevenness.
    I was gonna go over them with a floor sander, but they're so good that just a quick once over with 120 grit belt sander should see me done i reckon.

  21. #21
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Don't use a rented floor sander. They are caveman tools compared to the one used by professionals, and it is too easy to ruin your floor by diggin in. Get yourself a quality orbital sander and a pair of knee protectors.
    The stains are from "steam" cleaning, not stem at all but hot water flooding.
    The nails are machine made, just not the kind made with bright wire.
    How is the ankle?
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    it advances one funeral at the time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Get yourself a quality orbital sander and a pair of knee protectors.
    Cruel...think Marc might mean Random Orbital Sander... still cruel!

    Ankle is still in a moonboot,
    I would just pay for a pro to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    Cheers mate.
    The floorboards are in pristine condition otherwise and no unevenness.
    I was gonna go over them with a floor sander, but they're so good that just a quick once over with 120 grit belt sander should see me done i reckon.
    Be very careful using a belt sander.
    Cypress is soft, a belt sander will do a lot of damage very quickly if not used with caution.

    If you want to DIY I would either hire a floor sander or stick with an orbital.

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    Either type is going to be safer and a better finish than a hand held belt sander.

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    Yes but if you are to purchase one, ROS has a clear advantage.

  27. #27
    PiL
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    thanks for the advice, everyone!
    i have all 3 sanders so will go softer first. i guess i was reaching for the belt sander because it was a large area, but as described, the floor was laid very clean and even so it's actually not that big a job at around 12sqm.

    Ankle is still healing. fractured fibula and cracked tibia. going to the fracture clinic next monday to see how it's going.
    i'm getting antsy and might just sand the floor whilst sitting on my @@@@. at least i wont need knee protectors.

  28. #28
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Random ... yea, I imagine the pain of doing a floor with a 1/3 or 1/2 sheet sander ... not recommended.
    Same goes for a belt sander. I was foolish enough to do a whole 3 b house with a belt sander, in the days I was able to do a one arm handstand, and it killed me ... well almost.
    Not recommended either.
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  29. #29
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    Managed to sand floors whilst alternating between sitting on bum and standing.
    Has come up pretty nice.
    Couldnt get fiddes lightfast stain, so ended up buying nitro stain instead.
    Anyone tried hand buffing stain with a drill?

    20210910_110744.jpg

  30. #30
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    Put down 1 coat of fiddes nitro stain (walnut) - brushed on and then ragged off.

    Finished with 2 coats of fiddes hardwax oil.

    Here's a progress shot of the first layer of hardwax oil.

    Made the call to not completely sand out the mill marks and got lucky with the exact colour and finish i was hoping for.

    20210916_195126.jpg

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by droog View Post
    Be very careful using a belt sander.
    Cypress is soft, a belt sander will do a lot of damage very quickly if not used with caution.

    If you want to DIY I would either hire a floor sander or stick with an orbital.
    Good advice to take care, but cypress is not 'soft'. Radiata pine sure is, but 50-year old cypress is hard & brittle. The floor came up a treat anyway.
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    Good advice to take care, but cypress is not 'soft'. Radiata pine sure is, but 50-year old cypress is hard & brittle. The floor came up a treat anyway.
    Definitely, old Cypress is as hard as nails, I am surprised this floor came up as good as it did, I know from sanding any Cypress repairs, this would have been a tough job with a Random Orbital.
    Mieux vaut prévenir que guérir

  33. #33
    PiL
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    Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread. This floor came up great thanks to all the advice here.

    One thing i will note is that the colours look different from different angles.

    This seems to be the darkest angle:

    20210918_230612.jpg

    Again, thank you all. Came up a treat.

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