At some point, I do plan to sand down my hardwood floors and refinish them in my 100 year old home.

However, It's a 100 year old home. There is no subfloor, the hardwood is installed right on the floor joists. The finish has chipped off in places, has been gouged (not just a little bit) in other places, it's worn through the existing finish, and needs some repairs throughout the first floor. Additionally, there is a big sagging section where some floor joists have cracked (which I intend to repair before attempting to fully sand and refinish the floor).

Until I have time to fully address the repairs to floor joists to eliminate the worst sag in the floor and move all my furniture out, is there a temporary solution to covering up the damaged bits and protect the bare wood sections from water damage and high traffic?

Can I simply apply a topcoat of varnish that matches the color of the existing flooring or a shade darker?

  • 2
    get a rug? A top coat likely won't adhere unless you do a proper sanding first. Alternatively, let them be. Call it 'patina'.
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


You could apply a few coats of a water-based clear finish to the floor. This you can apply with a roller and it dries fast so you can probably do two or three coats in as many days. Then later, if you choose to to a more complete job, you will fix the sag and then re-sand the entire floor and apply finish again. This would only cost you the price of the can of finish and a paint roller.

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