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Pros & Cons - Filling nail holes with putty

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  1. #1
    Novice
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Kingsville
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    Default Pros & Cons - Filling nail holes with putty

    Hi Folks,

    Am preparing to sand/stain/seal Baltic Pine floors though the whole house. They are 22mm boards and have never been sanded sealed before and were covered with carpet/vinyl for donkeys. Plan is for semi-transparent black/brown stain and satin finish 2-pac. (Using all Feast & Waton standard products)

    The overall condition of the floor is 'good'. The gaps between the boards from shinrkage varies from 0 to 4mm with an average of 1mm-2mm, fortunately the tongues are still good so no can-see-the-ground-is-it-draft-in-here issues. So firstly I decided that I would not make any attempt to fill the gaps between boards, after reading many threads here on the topic. I'm in the don't-mind-the-gaps camp.

    So after reading all that about whether to fill gaps or not I still have one question... What about the nail holes? I like the "rustic" look and in no way am aiming to create a just-laid-it-new look, I like all the bumps/lumps. However once sanded/stained/sealed will it look ridiculous if we leave the nail holes unfilled?

    Cheers in advance.

  2. #2
    GeoffW1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Age
    75
    Posts
    605

    Default

    Hi,

    I'd vote to fill them. I agree about leaving the gaps, but the nail holes, looks like the job was not finished.

    I watched the floor sanders do this once, and their technique was to hold a well kneaded ball of putty between thumb and forefingers, roll it a bit to a point, press it hard down into the hole, and slide a sharp spatula along the floor under this with the other hand. No need to finish off at all.

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Novice
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    Jan 2009
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    Kingsville
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffW1 View Post
    I'd vote to fill them. I agree about leaving the gaps, but the nail holes, looks like the job was not finished.
    Thanks Geoff, spoke to a couple of people offline today also and the response was much the same. Gaps along the boards looks uniform whereas the nails are all random and regardless of stain colour will look poor/unfinished.

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    HELLO Make it work's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Somewhere in Sydney
    Age
    60
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    381

    Default

    We have 6" baltic pine floorboards that were never sanded from the time they were laid in the 1930's until we did them a few years back. We went for a clear satin finish but I gave them a good drink of boiled linseed oil 2 or 3 weeks before we sealed them, this gave them a beautiful golden honey colour and it has not darkened like some say linseed oil does.
    Like you, we like the more rustic look and did not fill nail holes and I am glad we didn't. It is too hard to remove if you don't like it and you can do it on the next refinish in years to come if you decide you prefer that look after all.
    Be aware that Baltic Pine is EXTREEEEEMLY soft and even dropping a mobile phone or the car keys can (and usually does) leave a mark, so as much as I love it when Wonder Wife puts on her high heels, she has to tip toe to the front door or put them on outside, we have our girls trained to do the same too, but there has been tragedy when visitors arrived and we were not quick enough to ask that the spike heels come off .

    EDIT: Also be careful with things on wheels like beds or heavy suitcases, it is so sad to see the beauty of the timber floor spoiled by avoidable events.
    Cheers

    Alan M

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