I need some advice regarding my dining room floor. It is composed of blocks laid in a herringbone pattern. The blocks seem to be of a fairly light-coloured wood although it is very hard and dense and resistant to sanding (I tried sanding it using a floor sander but it didn't make much impression; I even thought it might be ceramic, it was that hard! Further probing at the edge of the floor using a penknife indicates that the floor is wood). Having attacked it with the sander I foolishly thought I could simply give it a coat or three of Wickes floor varnish; it looked ok for a while but the varnish didn't take and now it looks awful. Although it is a bit uneven I would like to keep it if only to save me the cost of covering it in laminate. The house is just over 100 years old, but I don't know how old the floor is.
For interest try the Timber Research website TRADA to track down the type of wood. Alternatively do you have a composite resin/wood block like Granwood (Mostly used in 1970's sports halls) very unlikely in a house.
Modern water based lacquers will stick to almost any wood found within the UK. Where they cannot stick is when the surface contains a water repelant product like wax, oil or polish.
From your description of the sanding problems I assume you used a basic sander from a hire shop. These normally come with the cheapest abrasives they can find. Modern professional sanders are around for hire, they weigh about twice as much and run at twice the speed.
My assumption would be that over time water repelant products have been used on the floor and the problems you had sanding did not remove them. Thus your lacquer will start to peel and blister.
Hire a professional machine and start with a 40 grit abrasive and work up as per the project page for sanding and you should get a good finish which a lacquer will stick to.
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