Refinishing Hardwood Floors

TheRealChrisBrown

Reef Shark
M.A.S.C Club Member
ex-officio
#1
I’ve delayed it as long as possible, but it is time to refinish our floors. We are going with a company that only uses low VOC water based stain and sealant. They are going to tape and drape as much of the areas as they can in order to contain dust, but really that seems like an impossible task to get 100% perfect. I was reading up on R2R about the horror stories of people having floors refinished and the fumes nuking the tank.

I’m looking for practical advice about measures I can take to keep the aquarium as safe as possible. You can see from this picture that the floors being worked on are less than 3 ft. from the aquarium.

176436B4-8431-4B48-9759-64657A1E5F83.jpeg

If the water based stain and water based sealant are of no concern then I could cover the aquarium with a fabric sheet to keep dust out, but allow air in. Or I could do my best to plastic cover the aquarium and run my skimmer intake line to the outdoors. If still not enough I could make a cold air tunnel from a window to the sump area with a fan inside pushing air in. This project will happen mid March, so the weather is hit or miss might be 70 degrees or it might be -15.
 

SynDen

Administrator
Staff member
M.A.S.C Club Member
M.A.S.C. B.O.D.
M.A.S.C President
M.A.S.C Webmaster
#2
Even if its low VOC it likely still needs 24-48 hours for partial cure, and likely longer for full cure, which is a pretty long time to have the tank exposed to it even if it is lower then other stains, so I personally would opt for whatever gives the most protection while still bringing in the most fresh air possible to the tank. And I would leave your solution in place until its fully cured too. Better safe then sorry imo
 

neil82

Sting ray
M.A.S.C Club Member
#3
Would it be possible to drape plastic from ceiling to create a barrier for tank area? I would also try to pull in fresh air from outdoors. Possibly cover tank to keep particulates out. Run carbon.
 
#4
Would it be possible to drape plastic from ceiling to create a barrier for tank area? I would also try to pull in fresh air from outdoors. Possibly cover tank to keep particulates out. Run carbon.
+1 on running carbon, make sure you have a good reactor with solid flow
 

TheRealChrisBrown

Reef Shark
M.A.S.C Club Member
ex-officio
#5
I have plenty of carbon on hand, that’s easy to implement…..thanks for the suggestions!

My aquarium is in my 2 story living room, which makes it more difficult but not impossible. I might try to create something with tape and drape.

I think I can get the skimmer air intake into fresh air fairly easily as well.

Keep the suggestions coming in!! Please and thanks!
 

ianryd

Cleaner Shrimp
M.A.S.C Club Member
#6
Another suggestion-not tank related, but remove your refrigerator from the room when they do the sanding! We redid our floors before setting up a new tank, and could not get the varnish smell out of our fridge, or out of the food that was in it. I wish the guy doing the floors would have said something because we had to throw out all our food and buy a new fridge afterwords.

Sent from my SM-G950U using MASC - Marine Aquarium Society of Colorado mobile app
 

flagg37

Angel Fish
M.A.S.C Club Member
#7
I build stairs and so have a fair amount of experience with various floor finishes. There’s a product called Rubio Monocoat that has 0 voc; not low but zero. It is a bit different than say polyurethane which most flooring companies will use. It’s an oil finish and has a more matte sheen and soaks into the wood instead of being a film finish that sits on top of the wood like aluminum oxide (a finish that is baked on in a factory for prefinished flooring), polyurethane, varnish or lacquer. These oil finishes are used more frequently with furniture and exterior wood (decks use similar products). Anyway, you can research it and see if it’s right for you. It has its own pros and cons. You’ll still need to cover the tank for the sanding portion of the refinishing though.
 

jda123

Dolphin
M.A.S.C Club Member
#8
I use Rubio and Osmo on an almost-daily basis and they are great. Both are just a blend of waxes and oils. The best thing about them is that if you get damage or want to refinish, you just have to do that one area and not the whole floor. You can literally just lightly sand one square foot in the middle of the room, apply the finish again and in a few days (once the Rubio or Osmo cures) you can never tell that you did it. The benefit for people who choose them is that they can just lightly sand the high traffic areas and reapply and have like half a day of downtime. They both provide good wet protection, or at least a good as poly - I have many tables finished with them and they will not water stain, but I would not leave 6 pairs of snow boots to melt on the floor for a few days.

Hardwax Oil finishes are good thing to research. Most people don't know about them. These are European finishes and not really been in the US for long - I mean like Northern European where they know a lot about the mess of winter. Some installers pretend not to know about them unless you ask since they are faster and easier to apply which means less hourly rate.

If it is a nice day or two, just plastic off the rooms, cover the air intake for the furnace and vent the hardwood rooms to the outside with the many windows that I can see. Close the vents and use space heaters if you need heat in the hardwood rooms. That should be enough. What you are doing is not nothing, but even low VOC with 99% of it going to the outside, everything should be fine. There are floor sanders with dust collection which cuts down most of the dust, but not every installer has those either.

If you do just cover the tank, let it breath so often to keep the pH up and some oxygen in supply. I have no idea how often to do this. You could also use a 3 or 4 inch hydroponics air pump and some hose to supply fresh air under your tank tent in positive pressure.
 

TheRealChrisBrown

Reef Shark
M.A.S.C Club Member
ex-officio
#10
”We use Pallmann finishes. Specifically Color sealer, clear sealer and Power finish.”
From their website all I really saw was a less than 100 VOC figure. And it’s a water based product.

Would there be any benefit to turning off the skimmer while the staining and sealing is going on? I’m pretty sure he said it would be walkable in 4 hours, so maybe turn skimmer back on after a period of several hours.
 
#11
I build stairs and so have a fair amount of experience with various floor finishes. There’s a product called Rubio Monocoat that has 0 voc; not low but zero. It is a bit different than say polyurethane which most flooring companies will use. It’s an oil finish and has a more matte sheen and soaks into the wood instead of being a film finish that sits on top of the wood like aluminum oxide (a finish that is baked on in a factory for prefinished flooring), polyurethane, varnish or lacquer. These oil finishes are used more frequently with furniture and exterior wood (decks use similar products). Anyway, you can research it and see if it’s right for you. It has its own pros and cons. You’ll still need to cover the tank for the sanding portion of the refinishing though.
I use Rubio Monocoat in furniture and other items that I build in my hobbyist wood shop. It's an amazing product, but it's also pretty pricey.
 

jda123

Dolphin
M.A.S.C Club Member
#12
4 hours of no skimmer is not going to kill you. However, the gas exchange from the pumps and surface is still significant.

If it is a nice day, 20" box fans in windows will move a lot of air in and out, and are not expensive. Of course, it will be 5 degrees, like you said.
 
Top