Q: One visitor asked, "My whole first floor was carpeted when we bought it but underneath we discovered hard wood floors! he appear to have either been stripped or to never have been finished. They are very stained and dirty. For now I would like to piant them in a folk art style until we can afford to have them restored. Do I have to sand them if they have no poly on them? Is this something I could do by myself?"
A: I am not a painter. However, I know something about coatings. The main concern is with proper preparation and to make sure the paint will adhere. For example, if these floors were waxed, that could present a formidable problem with adhesion. A light sanding may not hurt(by hand...just to rough it up). A wipe down with mineral spirits may also help. I would talk to someone at a local paint store. There are some excellent primers on the market that will adhere to almost anything. Preparation is everything. If the foundation or base is not sound, the entire project will fail eventually.
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