Domestic Floor Sanding Experts For You
Floor Sanding Dublin
The Commercial Floor Sanding Team You Can Rely On
There are a few things you need to know before hiring floor sanding equipment. In most cases the machines for hire are old, de-calibrated and past their usage period. You may be able to achieve great results but it will involve A LOT more effort than necessary i.e. with old, out-dated machines you will have to work much harder than needed.
Most of the floor sanding machines from hire centres are old and overused. These machines can be very de-calibrated and as a result can streak your floors. Many untrained people are using the same machines and a lot of the time they are using them wrong. You cannot afford mistakes on your floor.
We have hired many professional floor sanding machines from hire centres and in 80% of the cases the machines were ok. But in 20% of the cases we have hired badly de-calibrated floor sanders that were not fit for their purpose. If you are not an expert in floor sanding and you end up with one of these floor sanding machines you will always believe that you did something wrong but in fact you didn`t.
Here are few tips when you are hiring a floor sanding machine:
a. Ask for a report of the machines service history – if is over 30 days old, don`t hire it
b. Order floor sanding sheets online (you will save a lot of money)
c. Henry Hoover bags fit most edge sanders and cost 9 euro for 10 bags!
d. Inspect the machine before you hire it, don`t just trust the company
From our reports, about 50% of DIY floor sanding projects end up bad with floors needing professional repair work afterwards. The floor can look ok but not as it should, the work can take much longer than needed and believe it or not, floor sanding is very hard and time consuming. We would recommend that you hire a professional floor sanding company and have your floors finished properly. You can take care of painting, window cleaning and other house DIY jobs. Floor sanding is a trade for professionals only.
Add up all your hire costs, sandpaper, the varnish, the diesel/petrol you need to drive to the hire centre, your time off, plus all the dust and see if it is worth it. A floor sanding company will charge you more or less the same!
Using a powerful belt sander or a drum sander can be pretty risky. Beside the fact that one of these professional floor sanding machines weighs up to 90 kg, it can also create a lot of damage in the hands of untrained people. This is the reason while many people are looking into using much safer orbital sanders. An orbital sander is easier to use, lighter and the risk of damaging the wood floor is pretty low. But does an orbital floor sander work?
Yes and no. Most of the online chat rooms or highly regarded floor sanding blogs are totally against orbital sanders. We agree with some and disagree with others. We believe that an orbital floor sanding machine can provide outstanding results on a flat floor surface. If the floor is in average condition and it only requires a light sanding, an orbital floor sander will do the job just fine.
A floor with heavy duty coatings or full of glue and paint cannot be refinished with an orbital floor sander. The orbital floor sanding machine does not have the necessary weight to put enough pressure on the floor to be able to remove oil paints and glues.
Uneven floors cannot be sanded with orbital floor sanders. Painted floors cannot be sanded with orbital floor sanding systems. Big commercial floors cannot be sanded with orbital sanders.
The orbital sanding system can only be used to sand soft wood floors which are in need of a light refreshing. Most floor sanding companies use orbital floor sanding machines for fine sanding. After finishing with 100 grit belts, they use the orbital floor sander with 120, 150 and 180 grit sandpaper.
Of course, if you really want, you can use the orbital floor sander to refinish any hardwood floor. You will work much harder than needed for much longer than needed. It is like trying to fill up a bath tub with a teaspoon. You will eventually succeed but it won`t be an easy job. You need at least 60 kg worth of pressure on the sandpaper to achieve good results. Most of the orbital floor sanders weight about half that.
Professional orbital floor sanders are fitted with dust extraction systems but the DIY orbital floor sanders from the hire centres are not fitted with such dust collection system. Imagine the worst sand dust storm in Sahara because your home will be worse. The orbital floor sander will spin at 200 rpm and will generate tiny dust particles that will fill your home with dust.
Anyone can start a floor sanding project but not anyone can properly finish a floor sanding project. For a professional floor sanding specialist to reach that high level of smoothness on your floors he had to do an advanced training course and then work as a trainee for a few years. But many people seem to think that it must be pretty easy so why not do it yourself for cheaper?
To be able to start a floor sanding project you will need some basic tools. You can hire the floor sanding equipment from your local hire centre. Here is the list of the tools required:
a. Floor Sander – belt or drum
b. Floor Edger
c. Sandpaper belts or sheets starting from 36 grit up to 120 grit
d. Sanding discs starting from 24 grit to 120 grit
f. Dust mask
h. Brush & Tray
i. Roller & Handle
j. Masking Tape
k. Small Sander
l. Hammer & Hand Saw
Assess the job. Find all the nails and hammer them down. Repair any imperfections. Prepare the room for the first sanding.
The first sanding can make or break the floor. If the floor is very uneven or if there is paint on the floor or carpet glue, it would be a good idea to start the floor sanding operation with 0.24 grit sandpaper. You cannot start with 0.24 grit sandpaper and then move to 0.60 grit sandpaper because the scratches created by the 24 grit sandpaper have to be removed in stages. You start with 0.24, then 0.36, then 0.40, then 0.60, then 0.80, then 100 grit. Otherwise, the scratches created by the first sanding will be visible after you apply the first coat of varnish.
If the floor looks ok, start with 0.60 grit sandpaper and follow the process up to 100 grit. There is no magic remedy, you will have to take your time. Floor sanding is a slow process and the more time you spend doing it now the better the finished result.
After you have sanded the whole room, you will need to use the edger. The edger is designed to remove all the imperfections from around the skirting board area and any areas where the big sander does not fit. Take your time and use your common sense. Spend the same amount of time on all areas.
After you are done with 100 grit, you will have to start the fine sanding. At this stage, you need to assess the floor and if there are issues or gaps, this is the time when you fill them in. Sand the floor one more time with fine 120 grit sandpaper and save all the dust. In a bucket or tray, mix the sand from the sand bag with a gap filler. You can buy professional solvent gap fillers from Junckers and Bona. Junckers Prefill, Junckers Basefill or Bona Mix & Fill are three of the most popular gap fillers. Mix 1 L of gap filler with some of the dust until the mix looks like a thick cream. With a wide scraper, fill up all the small gaps 0 to 0.5 mm. Take a 1 hour break until the gap filler dries. 1 hour later sand the whole floor again with 150 grit sandpaper. If you have done it right, all the gaps should be filled and it should look like one flat surface. Job done. Prepare for finishing.
Vacuum the whole floor a couple of times and inspect the floor. If you are happy with the finish, you can apply the first coat of primer. Use a small brush and start with the areas around the skirting board and all the narrow areas. The open spaces you can prime with a roller (any short hair roller). The most popular floor primers:
A primer is not a varnish. The primers job is to even up all the imperfections on the floor and to create a flat base for the varnish. A quality water based floor primer will seal all the pores and it will not allow the wood to absorb more varnish than needed. A primed floor will dry faster.
It should take around 1 hour for the floor to dry after priming. One more sanding is required if you are looking for a perfect smooth surface. After the primer has dried, most of the tiny spikes that were left after the last floor sanding operation, will have gotten hard and it will make the floor feel rough. A quick re-sanding with 150 to 180 grit sandpaper, will remove all these spikes and will leave the floor perfectly smooth and ready for varnishing.
Apply the first coat of varnish from north to south. Apply very thin coats. Allow up to 2 hours to dry and then apply the second coat of varnish. Job done. It sounds complicated but if you follow the process, the results will amaze you.
Avoid solvent based floor varnishes. Solvent based floor varnishes stink and takes many hours to dry. There are quality water based floor varnishes available that do the same job, look better and are odour free. Use two pack water based floor varnishes to enhance the protection.
Staining & repairing wood floors is a bit more complicated and you should only start these jobs if you are very handy at DIY jobs.
When sanding a floor or any type of wood surface you will generate dust. A small sander will generate a fair amount of dust after only a few seconds of use. Imagine what a 50 kg floor sander can do in a few seconds! Your home will be covered in inches of dust.
The difference between normal floor sanding and dustless floor sanding is the capability of a particular type of sander to collect dust. Some professional floor sanding machines can collect up to 99% of the dust created through a system of dust bags or special vacuum systems.
So why do some contractors still use non dustless floor sanding equipment? Because they can`t afford dustless floor sanding equipment. A professional floor sanding machine like Lagler Hummel or Bona Belt HD costs over 6000 euro. A standard, cheaper non-dustless floor sander costs only a few hundred euro.
A bit of dust is not particularly dangerous and has never fatally harmed anyone but the fine dust generated when sanding floors with fine grit sandpaper will settle everywhere and it can be a nightmare to remove. You will find dust inside your tv, around the top of your doors, attached to the walls and in any possible crack around your home. You will find dust for years after the floor was completed.
If you love your home or your office, hire floor sanding contractors who use only dustless floor sanding technology. Ask for all the relevant information and think practically with your head not your heart.
If your floor has lost its impressive shine and is looking water damaged and dull you will need the services of a professional floor sanding company. You may want the job done quickly to be done with it. But don’t jump in head first, take your time to consider a few things to make sure you find the best floor sanding company for the job.
A good floor sanding company is likely to have been in business for generations, right?. There are floor sanding businesses in their third generation. Just because they are in business for 50 years does not mean that they are amazing at what they do. In many cases, older floor sanding companies are overpriced and they use outdated floor sanding techniques and products.
Then there are new floor sanding companies without the family name and background behind them. Again, just because a floor sanding company is not in business for 50 years, it does not make them good or bad. The last 3 projects done are the most important. What their father or grandfather did is not relevant.
Here are few tips how to pick a great floor sanding contractor:
a. References – you may see a lot of good references on online forums from Miss x and Mister Y? All fake. Very few people will specifically go to a review website to create an account and write a glowing review about a floor sanding company or any company. People usually only write reviews to complain when they have received a bad service and are unhappy. Most people expect good quality work from a professional floor sanding company and they will not review standard work. A floor sanding contractor should have verifiable references on its website from existing business with addresses, contact details and pictures of the project. But only commercial work. Few, if any, domestic customers would be happy to have their personal details on public view on a website so do not expect to see contact details for private customers and treat any such details with suspicion. Would you like your home address and your mobile phone number listed on a high traffic website? Imagine 50 people calling you daily to recommend a floor sanding company. So, most internet reviews are fake. If you are seeking recommendations on forums ask for private messages only as you are more likely to receive good advice rather than fake reviews from advertisers.
b. Free estimates – there are many floor sanding companies that charge 20 to 40 euro for an estimate. There are no such things as free things in life and you will pay for the “free estimate” in one way or another. Most floor sanding contractors will charge 10% to cover the costs of “free” estimates. If you contact a floor sanding contractor to ask for an estimate, you should only pay for the estimate if you accept the quote.
c. Insurance – insurance is a must. Your floors can be easily damaged and replacing them can be very expensive and time consuming. Things can always go wrong so you need to hire a fully insured floor sanding contractor.
d. Sample tests – any decent floor sanding contractor will do a few samples of finishes on your own floor. There are ultra matt, satin and gloss floor finishes and you will want to see how they will look on your own floor before deciding on the finish you want. You will have to live with your floors for many years so you need to pick the right finish. Bear in mind that a wood stain that looks grey on X floor could look brown on your floor. Ask for a sample test on your own floor.
You should keep all these things in mind before choosing a floor sanding contractor. Ask for insurance, free estimates, genuine references and test samples on your floor. Ask friends or relatives for recommendations.
A domestic floor finish is a good quality floor finish designed to last for a few years on a standard house or apartment floor. Most domestic floor finishes are 1 pack – a varnish or hardwax without hardener. A commercial floor finish is a two pack (usually) floor finish with hardener. The varnish itself comes in 4.5 L + 1 bottle of 500 ml hardener. When the varnish is mixed with the hardener, the mixed content becomes very hard and much more durable than domestic varnishes.
The difference in price between domestic and commercial floor varnishes can be very high. In most cases it is around 100%. Most brands of floor finishes offer domestic single pack floor finishes and commercial two pack floor finishes. The quality, durability and drying times differ between domestic and commercial finishes, the commercial floor finishes are much better as they are designed to withstand heavy traffic.
Why opt for a domestic floor finish? Well, we cannot offer a definite answer. We highly recommend high traffic floor finishes to all our customers, both domestic and commercial. In fairness, you will pay a bit extra for a two pack floor finish but you will benefit from a higher quality, longer lasting finish getting years of extra traffic, you will not have to pay to have your floors re-sanded for at least 10 years.
The truth is that most floor sanding companies do not explain the difference between the two options to their customers or will charge you for a two pack finish when a cheaper product is used. Most people think that the only difference between a domestic water based floor varnish and a high traffic commercial two pack floor varnish is the price.
Let`s say that you live in a home with 2 kids, 1 dog and a fair amount of daily traffic. A domestic floor varnish like Junckers Strong Plus or Bona Mega will offer superb protection for about 5 years. To varnish your living room you will need to use around 5 L of varnish and 5 L of primer, approximately 120 euro worth of products.
Let`s say again that you live in a home with 2 kids, 1 dog and a fair amount of traffic. A commercial two pack floor varnish like Junckers HP Commercial Floor Lacquer or Bona Traffic HP Floor Varnish will offer around 10 years of protection. For a living room floor you will need 5L of primer & 5L of varnish. You will have to spend around 200 euro.
Can you notice the difference? If you spend 100 euro extra when having the floors done you will get 5 years extra durability on the finish. It is well worth it. We advise our customers to pay a small bit extra to use a two pack finish and save money in the long run.
Junckers HP Commercial Floor Lacquer has added protection against chemicals. For a domestic customer, this is great news. Unlike a shop, a pub or a school, you don`t have the finances to buy floor buffers and special wood floor cleaners. You are likely to mop your floors (not recommended) with universal floor cleaning products. Most other brands of floor varnishes are not suitable for wet washing with acidic chemicals, but Junckers HP Commercial Floor Varnish is different. The varnish won`t dull up and won`t look tired after washing with acidic chemicals.
Ask your floor sanding contractor for advice. Ask about the best options and the most durable floor finishes. Reduce the time between floor sandings by 100% with very little cost. It will be well worth it.
Permanent floor finishes have not yet been invented so you will have to refinish your floors regularly. Regularly can mean different things for different people. A commercial floor with a lot of traffic will have to be refinished much more often than a domestic floor with normal domestic traffic.
Even if the wood floor is not subjected to a lot of traffic, the finish on the floor will change colour and look a bit tired after few years. There are a few factors which can make your wooden floors look more worn out and jaded than they should be.
a. Wrong cleaning products
b. A lot of direct sunlight
c. A lot of heavy traffic
d. Too much water
Here are some of the most common reasons why a floor needs to be refinished. There are high traffic water based floor varnishes that are designed to take a lot of use and abuse but all will eventually wear off. A floor sanding company needs to be contacted once in a while (every 3 years) to assess the wood floor. Even if the floor looks clean, a trained eye will be able to see imperfections and issues, if there are any issues.
Wood floors have to be refinished regularly. Waxed wood floors should be refreshed every 6 months. Refreshing a waxed floor is a pretty easy operation and no training is required. Floors that are finished with a varnish can also be refreshed or sealed with a water based wood floor polish. Solid wood floors are designed to last for a lifetime if properly maintained.
Have a look under the heaters, around the kitchen area, at door entrances etc. to see if you notice black spots on your floors. Black spots are a sign of water damage and you need to act fast to sort it out and prevent further damage. There are many floor sanding companies in Dublin that would love to help you out. Bear in mind, it is cheaper to prevent than repair.
*** most floors have to be refinished every 5 years. If there is a lot of traffic, the periods between floor refinishing is reducing by 50%***