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Tung Oil Flooring Finishes

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Tung Oil Flooring Finishes technique can be used in many applications such as tung-oil flooring, decks, docks, concrete floors, outdoor wood furniture, wood counter tops and many other porous surfaces. Hundreds of people have used this method successfully over the years since we first reintroduced Pure Tung Oil back into the spotlight. You will find other websites that have shamelessly copied all or parts of this information to call their own. What most of them lack is the technical experience to guide you though the process. We are here to provide you with our full support to the best of our ability and make only the best materials available.

Preparation for Tung Oil application

The biggest key to application of a finish of the Tung Oil flooring is preparation. The surface should be free of oil, dirt, grease and any other contaminates. Pure Tung Oil can not be applied over another type of finish. It can only be applied to a previous coat of Pure Tung Oil. For best results a previously finished floor should be chemically stripped of its finish, cleaned with TSP, then lightly sanded to open up the surface.

TungOilFlooringTung Oil Flooring Finishes

If the surface is not clean or has recently been stripped of its finish; it should be cleaned with TSP.

TSP (Trisodium phosphate) is a powdered heavy duty cleaner that will leave the surface free of contaminates. If you have a wood surface, which is old, and case hardened, it should be scuff sanded lightly with 150-grit sandpaper, to open up the wood to receive the oil.

Sanding with too fine sandpaper will case harder the surface. If after removing finish you find black or brown stains, see Oxalic Acid wood bleach to remove them. Tung Oil Flooring Finishes

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Finishing of Tung Oil Flooring

Following is the technique, that I found to work well, although many others may have variations that work just as well. Tung Oil Flooring Finishes

The objective with Pure Tung Oil is to saturate the surface with as much oil as fast as possible and drive the oil into the cells of the wood getting maximum penetration but without leaving a film build on the surface. With very dense hardwood a thinner ratio than described below may be required. I can not stress enough if the oil and thinner mix is not soaking in the 40-minute application period, a thinner ratio should be used. For example: 1 part oil to 1 1/2 parts solvent.

The oil-to-solvent ratio can be variably adjusted in any direction from a thicker mix to a thinner one. The difficulty is trying to find the ratio of oil to thinner with each coat to get the maximum oil-to-solvent ratio that will soak in. Also, I must note, that Minwax stains will not work with Pure Tung Oil. They contain varnish and will not let the oil penetrate.

Care and Maintenance of Tung Oil Flooring Finishes

To clean your Tung oil flooring after the finish is cured a mild detergent such as "Ivory Dish Soap" or "Simple Green" will work. I am not fond of Murphy's oil soap as it seems to break down a finish over time. Stay away from harsh oil-based cleaners and ammonia. You can use a "Scotch Bright" pad to clean tough spots every so often but try to avoid abrasion unless necessary.

To clean black heel marks or paint splatter on your Tung oil flooring, "Goof Off" or "Oops" work well. These products will not affect the cured finish. If you find you do scrub the finish too hard somewhere, just do a quick touch-up with Pure Tung Oil thinned 1 to 1 with thinner on a nylon pad or stockings. Then let it dry for a day.

Calculating Usage for Tung Oil application

Here is a way to calculate how much Pure Tung Oil and Citrus Solvent you may need to finish the floor. This formula will assume you are cutting the oil one to one with solvent. Each gallon of oil will cover approximately 400 square feet undiluted. By diluting the oil one to one with solvent, it will cover 800 square feet. In our example we will assume you have 500 square feet to cover. This is the maximum amount of Pure Tung Oil you would need for your project and is based on using it on an Antique or old wood floor. Old wood will drink up much more oil than new wood. For new wood and hard woods (Maple, Birch, Cherry) you should be able to reduce the amount of oil needed by 25 percent.

Day one 5 coats x 500 = 2500
Day two 3 coats x 500 = 1500
Day three 2 coats x 500 = 1000
Total 5000
5000 divide by 800 = 6.25
This means you would need 6.25 gallons of Pure Tung Oil and 6.25 Gallons of solvent.

Tung Oil Flooring Finishes
How To Instructions

How to Finish a Floor with Pure Tung Oil

For the second application on the following day, mix a ratio of 1 part Pure Tung Oil to 1 part thinner. If the wood is very dense and nonabsorbent you may find a thinner ratio is required. Possibly 1 part Pure Tung Oil to 2 parts thinner. If it is an old floor and absorbs a lot of oil on the second day, a 2-part Tung oil to 1-part thinner will work better.

The objective is to get as much oil into the wood without letting it build up on the surface. The ratio of thinner to oil can be varied, use your judgment. Multiple THINNER COATS are always better than a few thick coats.

Pure Tung Oil works by oxidation with the air and polymerizes. So you want to get as much oil on the floor as soon as possible, but you do not want to apply the Pure Tung Oil without thinning. It takes too long to dry and will sit on the surface and dry leaving a frosted appearance.

Tung Oil Flooring FinishesTung Oil Flooring Finishes

Pure dry Tung oil left on surfaces will also scuff leaving white marks like dry skin. So always thin Pure Tung Oil in floor applications and wipe off the excess.

Using the 1 part Pure Tung Oil to 1 part thinner, apply the same way as the first application with a brush or sponge mop. Apply the oil in several coats one after another till you get a uniformly glossy surface that stays glossy for 20 to 40 minutes.

After the waiting period, wipe the oil off the surface with a "T-shirt" type material. When wiping you do not need to scrub the surface. Just gently and evenly wipe excess oil from the surface.

How to Finish a Floor with Pure Tung Oil

When doing the third application, use a mixture of 1 part Pure Tung Oil to 1 part thinner. Apply the same way as before. After the waiting period wipe down with "T-shirt" like material.

You will probably start to notice that the floor did not absorb much oil. Maybe one or two coats before it stayed glossy for 20 to 40 minutes. The floor is pretty well sealed at this point. You can however apply another coat, the following day in the same fashion if necessary. When the floor does not want to absorb any more oil you are done.

Tung Oil Flooring FinishesTung Oil Flooring Finishes

At this point, the floor should dry for 7 to 10 days before you can walk on it with soiled shoes. During this time you can put down wax paper to walk on the floor. Do not use cardboard, newspaper, paper, or plastic. The wax paper will allow the floor to breathe and dry. If you absolutely must move furniture onto the floor before it is dry, nail plastic furniture glides to the bottom of the feet. With these on the bottom of the feet and the end grain of your wood furniture legs will not absorb the oil from the floor and leave a mark.

The Pure Tung Oil will dry to a matte flat finish and look as though there is almost no finish at all. You will find however that water spills bead like a waxed car on the surface and do not absorb. In high-traffic areas such as doorway's you may want to do a maintenance coat once a year. 

Use thinned-down oil 1 to 1 with a nylon stocking bunched up to apply a thin coat overnight or for the weekend if possible.

Pure Tung Oil will provide a deep rich color to wood floors. It does not, however, provide a gloss or even semi-gloss finish. To make a semi-gloss surface you would need to wax the surface or buff it when the floor is dry. Any type of oil base finish can go over Pure Tung Oil at a later date. Tung Oil Flooring Finishes

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