Wood floors are in their own league of elegance when it comes to interior décor. It’s not a wonder then that home and business owners go out of their way to get the perfect installation for their establishment. They all have different reasons. However, aesthetic ranks amongst the top. And since there is an extensive range of trees and types of wood available, plus different techniques used in the processing- from solid to engineered wood floors, you get to choose the kind that suits your décor. It’s a world of colours, intricate grain patterns, and a vast pool of designs that enable you to bring out the exact look and feel you desire. The wood exudes sophistication and grandiose, adding glamour and bringing a natural feel to the interior space. Even persons with allergies get to benefit. The wood does not hide harmful particulate matter. When it comes to cleaning, you also get a boost. They are easier to maintain compared to carpeting. And since the wood is a naturally occurring resource that can be reforested, you get to make a sound ecological choice when setting up the floor. Then, of course, there’s that timeless appeal that the wood floors are famous for. The wood never goes out of style. Everything else- from carpets to tiles, goes in and out of fashion depending on prevailing trends. However, wood has an appeal that has lasted for centuries. It also increases the value of the building. Whether you’re a real estate agent looking for tenants or buyers of your residential or commercial space, or you’re a homeowner sprucing things up to put it on the market next month, the wood floor will enable you to rake in more profit from the deal. For all their glamour, wood floors still endure a lot of abuse. From everyday wear due to people walking on it all through to natural phenomenon, it reaches a time when it needs to be refinished to retain the glamour and appeal. You won’t need to pull out the boards of the floor and replace them. Simply refinish it. It all starts with the floor sanding.
The wood floor installation has layers of protection over it- coatings such as wood stains, plus sealants and lacquers. They serve different functions, from enhancing the colour of the underlying grain, to increasing the strength and durability of the floor. This is to enable wood to withstand the traffic it handles, plus the items that are constantly dropped onto it. The compounds have been designed to be hardwearing. However, you can’t keep adding layers on top of layers of finishes. When the current coatings deteriorate, simply adding an extra coat will not have the outcome you desire. The old has to go to make way for the new. That’s the job of the floor sanding team. In a nutshell, they give your floor a fresh new beginning. It’s preparing the surface for the treatments that will follow. It’s just like you and lotions. After a long day at work, you don’t just oil up your body. You take a nice shower, get rid of the previous lotions and creams that you had applied, freshen up, and then add the new material. Otherwise, you’d end up feeling all clammed up and uncomfortable. The floor sanding is an involving and laborious process. This guide will help you understand how it works and how you are set to benefit from it.
When Your Floor Takes A Turn For The Worse
The wood flooring is usually under intense pressure. Take the kitchen for instance. It’s one of the busiest rooms in the house, with people constantly walking in and out of it, spilling water, dropping things, and moving furniture. Different factors cause it to lose its appeal with time, necessitating a touching up. These factors include:
1. Foot traffic
People track in things into the home or commercial space under their shoes. The dirt is gritty, and wears down the surface of the floor. In addition, during wintertime, salt or calcium chloride tend to get tracked onto the floor from the snow and ice outside. Salt is usually used on the slick sidewalks to protect people from falling, and ends up getting picked by the soles of the shoes. When they get into the building, the salt is deposited onto the wood, and can cause serious damage, sometimes needing specialised cleaners with calcium chloride removal capabilities. Then there are those that come in heels and shoes that scuff and scratch the floor. Take spike-heel stilettos for instance. They exert numerous pounds of pressure per square inch, straining even the toughest floors. Shoes with rubber bottoms on the other hand leave behind marks that ruin the beauty and appeal of the flooring.
Your furry friend is a welcome addition to the family. However, the cats and dogs can wreak havoc onto the floor, thanks to their claws. They scratch it up, causing gouges to form. A common cause is the pets playing indoors; there are also those dogs and cats that have so much fur between their paw pads, such that they tend to slip easily whenever it grows out. As such, they try to dig into the floor with the claws to compensate for the lack of traction. Then there are those issues like vomit, urine, and messes from excess food and water on their plate. When you catch the urine puddle the moment it is formed and clean it up while it is still fresh, the problem is minimal. When left to stand, the urine decomposes, and that’s where the trouble is. It becomes more alkaline, and corrosive, eating through the floor finishing. The problem increases when the pet decides to have marked the spot. They continue using it, and you end up getting greeted with fresh ammonia stenches regularly.
It brightens up the interior space, but also affects the wood finish, plus the natural colour of the species. It basically yellows and dulls it. For some wood species, this adds an antique look and feel, while for others it’s an annoying effect that ruins the décor of the establishment. It all depends on the photosensitivity of the species. It’s just like how humans react differently to solar radiation- some get tanned faster, others slower and some develop skin burns quickly while out in the sun. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) causes fading because of the light itself, while the infrared light (IR) causes fading due to its heat. The effect of the fading is easily noticeable when comparing between a part of the floor that was covered by furniture or a mat, and another that was exposed to direct sunlight.
Where do you live? Where is the business premises located? The prevalent climatic conditions affect the wood in different ways. Why? It’s hygroscopic, due to its cellular structure. This basically means that the wood absorbs and releases moisture depending on its gradient with the relative humidity (RH) level in the environment. When the RH level decreases like during the cold season and when you’re dry heating the establishment, the moisture content in the wood decreases. This causes the boards to contract, leading to gap developing in between the boards. How permanent the gap would be depends on the severity of the moisture loss, and the length of time in which it took place. Ideally, the gap should close up during the humid spring and summer months but repeated expansion and contraction causes the gaps to feature more permanently. Sometimes the board’s edges can curl (cup) upwards. Crowning, on the other hand, is the opposite of cupping, and occurs when the floor board’s center is higher that the edges. When the RH levels are high, the boards can even swell against each other and buckle up. The subfloor even has an effect. For instance, concrete slabs tend to allow moisture to migrate up to the wood flooring, causing anything from cupping to outright delamination of the ply layers. Getting floor sanding experts to fill up the gaps ensures that the right amount of filler is used, preventing your wood flooring from getting damaged.
5. Water damage
It’s not just the fluctuating moisture in the atmosphere levels that are of concern. Anything from drink spills during that party in your home or the coffee break at the workplace, to flooding incidents due to plumbing leaks can affect the flooring. Water damage from spills is more common, especially when it is allowed to sit for long on the surface. This includes those moments when your kids come into the house from the pool, running inside and standing right in front of the door- the puddles formed affect the flooring.
Which Floors Can Get Sanded?
The floor sanding is carried out on all kinds of wood species, from the exquisite Cherry, the popular Maple that has been in use since the colonial era, the antique Walnut with its rich hue that lights up the interior space, the durable and stable Oak, it’s Brazilian counterpart known as the Amendoim, the soft Pine and bold Ash flooring, the Hickory with its unique grain patterns and colour variations, all through to the straight grained Birch with its uniform texture, the Tigerwood with its intense colouration, fine-grained Timborana, and even the Acacia flooring, which is one of the hardest hardwoods on the planet. Whether its solid hardwood, engineered flooring, hand scraped, click-locking or character grade, the floor sanding team will be up to the task.
You can have your floor sanded for plenty of reasons. It’s all about the condition of the surface. The floor finish may be completely worn down especially on the bare wood sections due to high human traffic. It can be cracking or peeling, or you may be looking to change the colour of the floor. In such cases, a complete refinishing is advised. There are also those occasions when the floor had been previously finished, and begins showing signs of wear. However, there is no chipping or peeling, and the worn out areas are just barely detectable. In such cases a simple floor sanding and recoating will suffice. On the other hand, when it is a new unfinished flooring, sanding it down will enable you to prepare it for the coats to apply.
How Sanding Dust Affects Your Health
The sanding dust produced and released into the indoor air space puts the health of your family members at home, or the customers and employees in your working place, at risk. For starters, there’s the coughing and sneezing, caused by just the presence of the dust. That’s why when you walk into a room after a DIY floor sanding you can barely breathe. That discomfort is just a tip of the iceberg. You also have to worry about chemicals that form part of the composition of the wood itself, or those chemical substances in the wood created by organisms such as bacteria or moulds. There are also those substances from the previous finish that have been broken down. Sensitivity to these chemicals can cause anything from reactions like asthma, to dermatitis. When some of the toxins get inhaled, they can get absorbed into other systems of the body through the lungs. Sometimes they can even permeate through the skin or digestive tract. For instance, toxins from hardwoods like Teak and Mansonia can cause breathlessness, cramps, giddiness and even irregular heartbeat.
Floor sanding dust usually collects in the nose, and this will lead to anything from sneezing and developing a runny nose (rhinitis), to nose bleeding or complete nasal blockage. You don’t want your sense of smell being impaired because you got your floor sanded. The chemicals in hardwoods and softwood floors are irritants, and since they are easily spread in the dust, affect the eyes, and also throat. Tearing, conjunctivitis (an inflammation of the mucous membranes of your eye), or even soreness of the throat may be experienced. At the lungs, it causes decreased lung capacity, and triggers allergic reactions like hypersensitivity pneumonitis, which is an inflammation of the walls of the air sacs and small airways, or occupational asthma. The hypersensitivity pneumonitis is caused by particles from moulds and bacteria, and the initial symptoms such as headache, nausea, and fever symptoms can occur within hours or after several days. Long term exposure causes tightness of the chest. The decreased lung capacity is brought about by the irritation of the lung tissue. This will cause your airways to narrow, which cuts down on the amount of air being taken into the lungs, resulting in the breathlessness. It’s a long term effect. When it comes to the skin, the chemicals in the floor sanding dust cause it to become red and itchy, dry, and there may be blisters. The more the exposure, persons can get sensitised and develop allergic dermatitis. This can be caused by dust from different kinds of wood floors, ranging from Rosewoods and Mahogany, Douglas fir, and Pine, all through to Birch. You don’t want to be left struggling with the discomfort of the sanding dust, or coughing out loads of money to pay for medical bills. The problem can be averted from the onset by bringing in the dustless floor sanding team.
How Floor Sanding Works
The goal here is to get to the bare wood. First, the floor is prepared for the sanding. It’s given a thorough vacuuming to remove the dirt and debris on it. It is then inspected for loose boards and nails sticking out. The nail heads are driven below the wood’s surface. This is to prevent fire incidences caused by sanding exposed nails, as they can create sparks that will ignite the particles in the sander dust bag. It also protects the machine components such as the sanding plates from getting damaged. Loose floor boards are nailed/ glued again. The team also takes care of those elements with visible nicks and splinters.
The floor sanding team comes with high powered machinery such as sanders, and use them to break down the surface material. It’s an intricate process where different measures have to be met. For starters, there’s selecting the right sander for your floor. These are heavy equipment designed to apply pressure and make the processes go faster. The floor sanding team will have the right tool to work on your floor without damaging the underlying boards. Then there’s sanding in the direction of the grain. As the sander is moved, overlapping the passes ensures that each area is covered. Working the floor sanding machinery requires skill, with techniques like how to position the sander belt coming into play. This is in order to achieve an even result. Relying on the professional floor sanding team also enables you to avoid mistakes, like stopping to move the sander whilst it’s still in operation, which can end up damaging the floor. Sanding blocks or electric palm/hand sanders can be used by the personnel to work on the edges. Edgers are efficient when it comes to sanding along the baseboards, and reaching areas whether the drum sander cannot work around, such as closets. For tricky areas like around doors and cased openings, the sanding blocks can still be used with hand scraping, or an electric oscillating sander can be employed. Care is taken to ensure that the grit level used is the same with that of the drum sander. Skill also features here, since the sanders will have to be used in a circular fashion when running with the grain, or against it, and overlapping to ensure uniformity. The number of sanding cuts used, in addition to the screening and discing, depends on the type of flooring, and the amount of thickness that is to be sanded down.
In order to prevent sanding marks from forming on your floor, various measures at taken. First is to ensure that the machines are properly maintained, and no parts are soiled, damaged or worn out. Secondly, the floor sanding personnel employ the machine operations uniformly, and adapt to the unique conditions of your floor. Pressure is a critical factor in the sanding process, and the professional team adheres to the rules of the procedure. There isn’t any additional weight placed on the machine, the rear portion of the sander is not lifted using the handle during the sanding, and even the lowering lever is not pressed down in the middle of the operation. The rest falls on the technicalities. For instance, the floor sanding pressure is set to match the abrasive grit being used. The sanding wheel are positioned to enable the sanding drum to sand in the center. For the edge sanding machines, the wheel setting used depends on the attachment. The sanding plate is set in a suitable inclination to prevent them from digging into the wood. Even the displacement between sanding paths is monitored, and the sanding direction selected to match the pattern in which the wood flooring was laid. Every detail is taken into consideration, including lifting the sanding drum from the floor before turning the machine on or off. All this is carried out to ensure superb floor sanding results are obtained.
Benefits Of Hiring Expert Floor Sanding Services
1. Dustless process
You don’t want the items in your home being covered in dust. Neither do you want to spend hours shifting your belongings or clearing out your shelves. From the bookcases and cabinets, artwork and electronic appliances, all through to the closets at home, trophies in your office suite, or even those vases in the reception area in your business premises, they should be protected. Our team uses high-powered vacuums attached to the floor sanding equipment to suck up all the dust as soon as it is formed, preventing it from getting into the air. The system takes the particles out of the home, preserving the indoor air quality and keeping your artefacts and furnishings clean. The display goods, work desks, and other surfaces in your office building, retail store, spa, gymnasium or other commercial establishment will be safe. As a welcome bonus you get to avoid plumbing and electrical system malfunctions caused by dust getting into the HVAC units, sinks and drainage. This also means that you won’t need to vacate your house, or struggle with a difficult clean-up after the floor sanding is completed. Both the coarse and fine floor sanding dust particles are suctioned away, protecting the health of your family members at home, plus the staff and customers in your commercial premises.
2. State-of-the-art equipment
The floor finishing is designed to withstand abrasion. As such, it needs powerful equipment to sand down all through to the bare wood. Our floor sanding team comes fully equipped with top-of-the-range equipment that breaks down even the toughest layers of finishing. The machinery is well maintained and ensures that the process is carried out in an efficient and timely manner. Components such as the sanding belts ensure that the surface left behind is smooth and ready to receive the preferred treatment. The floor sanding process opens up the pores of the wood, ensuring that subsequent applications of wood stain or sealants strongly bond with the surface.
3. Eliminate gaps
Tired of the grooves that your furry friend clawed into the floor? The scratches can also have been formed by furniture being dragged across it. The unsightly marks can be removed as part of the floor sanding process. This not only optimises the final result, but it also helps to reduce the amount of material that will be used when treating the surface of the wood. The personnel scan for crack and joints before the final sanding step. They will be clearly visible, and their depth can be accurately assessed. The team will then proceed to fill in the cracks using the recommended filler for your floor, which will be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is prepared by mixing some sanding dust with the filler solution, creating a pasty compound. This is to ensure that the colouration of the wood floor is retained, and the filler matches its attributes. The entire flooring is filled, completely closing the joints and restoring the uniform look and feel of the floor. The personnel ensure that the filler penetrates the joints well for optimal results. They are skilled in the process, and avoid applying too thick of a paste, thus ensuring that the subsequent sanding takes as short amount of time as possible.
4. Versatile services
We offer both domestic and commercial wood floor sanding services. From apartments and townhouses, simplexes, triplexes and everything in between, all through to hotels, malls, gymnasiums, nursing homes, government institutions and even public libraries. They will get your floor sanded to quality standards. The floor sanding process is carried out on hardwoods and softwoods alike. Our team comes with the expertise required for the job, and will handle it with the utmost courtesy and professional standards.
5. Refinish your floor
Once the floor sanding is complete, the team can apply the treatment option of your choice. The water based finishes that will be used dry fast and preserve the indoor air quality. The treatment products, from the wood stains and sealants all through to the lacquers, have met strict regulation standards on environmental safety and sustainability. They come in different colourations and glosses, and the floor sanding crew will offer you the necessary information to make the decision most suitable for your enterprise, and one that meets your unique taste. This enables you to enhance the value of your property. Visitors dropping by to visit you will be awed by the beauty and elegance of your home, and you also get to give your customers a positive impression about your business.
6. Budget-friendly services
You get all these quality services at affordable costs. The pricing factors in your particular situation, such as the type of wood floor and size of the rooms.
Tips To Maintain Your Floor After Refinishing
· Clean your wood floor with a lightly damp cloth/mop, using the recommended cleaning product for your floor. This is to avoid moisture problems like cracks, cupping, crowning or buckling. Avoid drenching the mop.
· Avoid using harsh cleaners and abrasives when cleaning your wood flooring. This includes vinegar, ammonia, powdered all-purpose cleaners, and even dish-washing detergent. Use products that have specially been designed for your particular type of floor. Also limit the use of steam mops.
· It is recommended that you invest in air conditioning systems and dehumidifiers for your establishment in order to control relative humidity levels, to prevent gaps from forming in the wood.
· Clean up food and drink spills immediately they occur- whether it’s the dinner table, or your pet’s feeding area. Allowing the spills to seep into the seams of the floor boards can lead to unsightly water damage.
· For homeowners with pets, investing in proper training or your furry friend will enable you to avoid food and urine accidents that mess up the wood. In addition, routinely clip and trim the claws of your pet to avoid those pesky scratches on the floor. Keep the fur between cat’s or dog’s paw pads trimmed to prevent from slipping. For the pet’s dining habits, simple solutions such as getting a stable bowl for the water to prevent spillage, and investing in a waterproof and durable mat under the food and water bowls, will enable you to protect the underlying wood. Mats that are made of materials such as rubber are quite popular because they help in keeping the feeding and drinking bowls from moving around.
· In order to prevent the wood flooring from getting scratched by your furniture, you can consider using felt protectors under the feet of tables, chairs, and other heavy items. In addition, avoid dragging furniture and other large items across the wood floor. Lift and carry, or use hand trucks.
· Invest in slip-proof rugs and mats in halls, entry ways and other areas that handle higher levels of foot traffic.
· Wash and replace the mats rugs and felt protectors as needed.
· Clean up pet urine accidents as soon as they happen. This will prevent permanent stains from forming, and protect the wood finish from getting corroded. You don’t want your furry friend marking that spot for regular use, since the underlying wood won’t be able to survive the onslaught.
· Refinish your wood flooring as needed. High traffic areas, and residences with pets will require stronger and more durable finishes. The products should be tough, catalysed with cross links that offer stronger resistance to wear and tear.
· Get the floor sanding and recoating done regularly- at least every 3-5 years, or more frequently depending on the traffic patterns and wear. You don’t need to wait until the wear is extensive.
· To protect the wood floors from fading due to solar radiation, different measures can be taken. It all comes down to the windows, since they are the main source of sunlight into your establishment. For new windows, you can install low-E (low emissivity) glass, which will reduce that amount of UV and IR radiation getting into the building. For existing windows, you won’t need to replace them. Simply apply a window film to the inside of the windows, to achieve a similar effect as the low-E glass. And there’s also the solution of simply using window coverings, such as blinds, drapes or even shutters to keep the light out. Awnings will stop the sun’s harmful radiation from reaching the floor by blocking it even before it gets to the windows. They come in different styles-both stationery and retractable- and you can get the one that suits your house or commercial premises, In addition, you can move around your furniture regularly, to allow uniform exposure to sunlight, and achieve a consistent colouration throughout the room. As an extra step of protection, get the floor finished using products that have UV inhibitors.
Talk To Us
We’re here for you. Get in touch with us to handle your floor sanding needs. Our customer support is available 24/7 to cater to your queries.