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Home » Sanding & Finishing » Swedish Whitewash

Anything related to sanding or finishing.
2/25/2011 12:27:23 AM

Joshua Crossman
Joshua Crossman
Posts: 70
What is it? Heard someone wants their oak floors stained a Swedish Whitewash. Is this something special or just a white stain?

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Joshua Crossman
www.ptlhardwoodfloors.com
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2/25/2011 1:40:41 AM

Kevin
Kevin
Posts: 107
Maybe it is Rubio Monocoat or Master Lye from Woca. Master Lye appears to be what you are looking for.
edited by Kevin on 2/25/2011
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2/25/2011 10:33:12 AM

Bobgoldstein
Bobgoldstein
Posts: 76
white floors can be done several ways depending on how white the client wants the wood to be... we did a ton of white floors here in Florida... most were bleached with Wood Kyote 2 part bleach, stained white and coated with a non-yellowing finish. You can also use lye, alcohol and white stain or white oils... lots of fun!

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Bob Goldstein
Vermont Natural Coatings
Technical Services, Training and Sales
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3/4/2011 3:19:01 PM

johannes
johannes
Posts: 409
Joshua,


Ok, here we go. I had previously not much time but I like to explain the topic a bit more. I'm going by memory from what I recall (1970"s).

The "Swedish Whitewash" your friend's mother is referring to (I assume) is likely the appearance from a lyed wood floor like Pine or Spruce. I would call that a Scandinavian look.

Anyhow, if that is what she has in mind than the Oak floor gives you some problems, it has a different look and character and will appear different than a pine/spruce floor!

In the Scandinavian countries Pine/Spruce floors were "lyed" to prevent these floors from yellowing and to maintain the "white" appearance. This process was done with Lye like Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda) and often Natural pigments like chalk and Lime were added to leave a more whitish color. The mix was mostly water, sodium Hydroxide, some plant oil (linseed oil), chalk and lime. It is a very old floor finishing process, the applicators that were used in the olden days would simply fall apart (natural hair falls apart in a soupy gel after a while in Sodium Hydroxide)

First you dress in old clothes, wear heavy duty gloves and safety goggles and apply the mix with a synthetic brush in the direction of the wood. You could apply 2 coats if a very white look was desirable, next the floor would be allowed to dry and would be rubbed down with a sanding screen or a drywall sander/screen to smooth the raised grain of the wood. Than an soap based on natural oils would be applied (mixed with water) for maintenance. That is all I recall about this process. Labor intensive to maintain but it is a cool look.
On Oak this process would result in darkening of the wood (sodium hydroxide acts similar to using ammonia) due to the high level of Tannic Acid in this wood.

The "Scandinavian look" will require a different approach on an Oak floor, WOCA is the only company I know of in the US that can provide that look.

I believe that in Holland and Belgium a method was developed for oak floors that consisted of using a 2 step process using a Sodium Hydroxide treatment with the chalk and lime pigment mix followed by a step 2 treatment with an acid mix of Hydrogen Peroxide to bleach out the dark discolored oak.
This process is similar like the 2 step bleach treatment in the US; however, the white pigments are missing in the part 1 of this US process and will not provide the same bleached/white wash appearance.

I found a picture on the web that looks similar (a UK link Terry) but I'm not so sure if this is the true Scandinavian lye process. ( www.wiking-gulve.dk/media/WG-Brochure_UK.pdf ) since a lyed floor cannot be finished with a conventional surface build finish.

Anyhow, I would present her with a sample of the white stain/finish approach and with a sample of a Scandinavian approach (WOCA finish perhaps).

Good Luck,

Johannes.
edited by johannes on 3/4/2011
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