Why did you get a wood floor installation for your building? For some, it’s because of the beauty and comfort it provides. Others love wood floors due to their natural feeling. They set a lovely tone for the eyes, and feel great under the feet. The wood is beautiful and timeless. Remember the installations that were there in the 60’s? Well, they are still glamorous even today. All they need is a light touching up and regular refinishing. The installation itself never goes out of style. It can serve you for as long as you see fit. That’s a welcome bonus for home and business owners who want to always remain trendy. The value of the wood doesn’t end there. It is not a magnet for particulates, which makes the floors easy to maintain- compared to other surfaces such as carpeting. Even during those cold winter months when you want to warm up the premises, the wood allows you to install under floor heating, which is one of the most efficient ways to nudge up that temperature. Not to forget that the wood itself is already naturally warm. When it comes to healthy floors, wood takes the crown. This is for the simple reason that it doesn’t harbour allergens and pests like fleas, thus providing comfort and cutting down on your medical bills. Your furry friend also appreciates this. Whichever your reason, getting the wood floor installation for your establishment was a massive investment. You no doubt want it to last for decades- and even outlive you. Regular maintenance will enable you to achieve this. A core component of this is the refinishing process. And the first step is the floor sanding.
It’s a simple rationale: “Out with the old, in with the new”. The floor sanding gives the surface a fresh start. When you want to give your floor a new treatment- because of the old one wearing out, you want a change of décor, or it’s a completely new installation, the floor sanding enables you to get to the bare wood, and sets the foundation for the finishing that will follow. Whenever you want to spruce up the look and feel of the premises, or fix those dents and scratches that have been grooved into the grain, you won’t need to rip out the entire floor boards. Simple changes to the surface using treatment options like wood stains, polishes and sealants will enable you to get the results you desire. You don’t want to simply cover old layers of treatment with new ones. That will mess up the outcome, plus reduce the efficacy of the wood treatment products. The last thing you want it to spend hours revitalising your floor only for it to end up in a worse condition than before. The floor sanding enables you to have the optimum start for the floor refinishing process, ensuring that treatments you apply will not be affected. That way, you get to derive maximum value in terms of strength and beauty of the floor finish. Here’s a guide to the floor sanding process and how it works for you.
What’s Happened To Your Floor?
The wood floor is subjected to consistent abuse. This affects the structural integrity of the finishing and the underlying wood itself, hence the need for retouching or refinishing very once in a while. These factors are:
1. Wear from footwear
With all the people trooping in and out of your premises, the floor is bound to come under intense pressure. You may argue that it is what the floor is built to endure, but the constant barraging of forces eventually leads to wear and tear. It’s a universal effect, from the friction due to walking, the shocks from pointed shoes, all through to the compounds tracked into the building from the outside. Shoes with rubber soles cause marks to be formed on the flooring, and footwear like spike-heel stilettos channel high pressure to the areas being walked on. In fact, they can be striking the floor with more pounds per inch than an elephant’s foot. The gunk tracked into the building includes pesticides from gardening, all through to the salt on sidewalks that’s applied during winter months to protect people from sliding. It’s like having sandpaper at the bottom of your shoes. The stones and grit carried into the building gradually wear down the protective finishes that had been applied. The higher the number of people using the place, the faster this occurs.
2. Climatic fluctuations
Your wood floor was once a living thing. Growing out there in the forests, angling for sunlight and other resources with its other neighbours, before it was cut down and shaped into the boards installed on your floor. It may have stopped growing, but its core structure is still made of cells- and they are hygroscopic. This means they absorb moisture and release it depending on the difference between their moisture level and that of the environment. When relative humidity (RH) levels drop, the wood flooring loses more moisture to the surrounding air space, like during those cold winter months. The difference causes the boards to shrink, and gaps to form. During the spring and summer months when RH levels are higher, the reverse happens, and the wood absorbs moisture, expanding and closing the gaps. However, the seasons are cyclic. With constant changes, the gaps become larger and more permanent. They will need to be filled. This should be done appropriately. You don’t want the filler causing strain during the wood expansion in the coming humid months, and the boards to end up cupping or buckling up due to swelling against each other. Buckling is when the wood flooring literally pulls up from the subfloor- in some areas it can even lift over an inch. The floor sanding team ensures that the correct amount and type of filler that is compatible with your floor is used.
3. Your furry friend
Pets are endowed with sharp claws, which though are good for catching prey and digging up bones, don’t bode well for your wood floor. Cats and dogs are notorious for causing scratch marks that ruin the wood’s finishing. The claws rip into the boards as the pets look for traction while they play and run around the premises. Suddenly all those indoor games of fetch don’t look so rosy, do they? There are also those situations when the pet has a lot of fur between the pads of the paws, and are forced to use the claws on the floor to prevent themselves from slipping. Not forgetting those times when the eating area becomes a disaster fast due to the constant spills. There are also urine stains to contend with, that literally corrode the floor and leave behind unsightly stains. Your pet can also be playing out in the yard, and tracking in mud onto the floor.
4. The sun
It’s bright and warms up the place, but it also causes the wood to change its colour. Sunlight fades the floors finishing and even affects the underlying wood. The natural colouration that you had fallen in love with, which made you buy the installation, gets changed with time. The UV rays cause the fading due to the light, and the infrared radiation’s fading effect is due to the heat it comes with. The effect of solar radiation varies from one species of another. Some like Cherry and Tigerwood will darken, while others like Hickory and Maple will get bleached and become lighter. It’s just like people, where we’re all affected by sunlight differently depending on the skin.
Where Does Floor Sanding Work?
As long as your wood floor is going to be treated and finished, it will need to be sanded. The processes is carried out on all kinds of wood floor species, from the subtle satin Cherry, Pine with its knots and pitch spots, the high-end Walnut with its rich dark brown tone and swirling grain, Red and White Oak flooring, the exotic Amendoim (Brazilian Oak), the elegant curly or straight-grained Maple, Santos Mahogany and exuberant Acacia, all through to uniformly textured Birch, Tigerwood and richly coloured Timborana, and the super strong and shock resistant Hickory. The floor sanding team handles them all, from solid and engineered wood, to hand-scraped, natural, distressed and stained flooring.
How do you know that it’s time to sand down the floor? Just ask yourself a couple of questions: Has the floor finish become completely worn down? Are there areas that are peeling or cracking? If you’re in such a situation, the floor will need complete refinishing. For bowed, cupped or severely damaged floors, the floor sanding team will be in a position to advice you on the steps to take to address it before the project starts. Have you recently finished the floor, but and it has started showing signs of wear? A simple sanding and recoating should be enough. Is it a completely new floor that is yet to be finished? Sanding will enable you to prepare the wood for treatment.
Effects Of Sanding Dust On Your Health
The wood floor is loaded with chemicals. There’s that in the finish, like polish, sealant and wood stain that is being removed, chemical compounds produced by bacteria and fungi in the floor, plus components of the wood itself. All this get broken down in the floor sanding dust and go airborne, where they pose a health risk to you and other persons on the premises. Let’s start with the respiratory system. You breathe in the sanding dust. Initial reactions are coughing and sneezing, which is expected. The longer you are exposed, and the deeper the dust is breathed in, the more the trouble that awaits. The dust collecting in the nose causes rhinitis (runny nose), nose bleeding, and sometimes outright nasal blockage. It doesn’t end there. The dust goes further to irritate the throat. When the particles reach the lungs, there can be a wide range of reactions. For instance, chemicals from bacteria and fungi can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Here, the walls of the air sacs and airways get inflamed. Allergic reactions such as occupational asthma may occur. At times, your very own lung capacity can be decreased, especially with long term exposure. This is as a result of chemical or mechanical irritation of the lung tissue. It causes your airways to narrow, which basically means less air will be getting into your lungs, hence the breathlessness. This can be caused after different kinds of floors have been sanded down, such as Douglas and Alpine firs, Spruce or Balsam.
Your skin is also not off the hook. The floor sanding dust that gets into direct contact with it can cause dermatitis. The sink becomes itchy, red and dry. Blisters may break out. The longer you’re exposed to it the higher the chances of developing allergic dermatitis, which gets more severe with every incident. Sanding dust from hardwoods like Mahogany and Rosewoods, plus softwoods like the Douglas fir can cause it. Even your eyes are not spared. Have you ever walked into a dingy room and begun tearing up? It’s because your eyes were irritated, which will also occur when there is wood floor sanding dust hanging in the air of your premises. It can also cause the mucous membranes of the eyes to get inflamed. When you add the chemicals from the products that had been used to treat the floor, then the dust becomes a cocktail of potent materials that you don’t want to risk getting into your system. You can avoid this by getting dustless floor sanding services.
The Floor Sanding Process
It starts with the preparation. Those loose floor boards have to be nailed or glued firmly in place. Nails and screw heads popping out of the surface are countersunk deeply in the wood, at a level where they will not be affected by the sanding. Sparks can develop, which will create a fire hazard with the floor sanding dust. Sinking the nails and tightening the screws also protects parts of the machine, such as the abrasives, sanding plates and drum from damage.
The floor sanding is an intricate process that requires skill. Equipment such as a drum or belt wood floor sanding machine are used, with edgers or spinners, and the appropriate belt and edger discs or sanding paper. Even the equipment used is optimised for the process. For instance, the drum or belt sanding machines come with a separate lever to raise and lower the drum as required. This provides control during the sanding processes. The drum sander is loaded with the appropriate grit sandpaper, and the machine is positioned to begin. The motor is started with the drum raised off the floor, then slowly passed over it at an even pace. Skill applies here as well, as the machine is taken in a forward and backward motion, controlling how the drum is eased onto the floor. The edger is used to work on the baseboards and areas such as corners, where the drum sander cannot reach. Hand scrapers can be used for get to corners around doors and also cased openings. Equipment like electric oscillating sanders can be employed here to facilitate the hand sanding process. The personnel are well versed on how to operate the machinery, from loading the sander, setting the drum rubber, changing the sanding paper, all through to manoeuvring it on the floor. Different cuts can be used, with the first already producing even results, and the corners and obstructions being taken care of in latter cuts. Filling of nail holes, cracks, and blemishes on the floor surface is carried out before the final sanding cut.
Different techniques are employed depending on your requirements. For instance, when sanding parquet, block and flooring with similar patterns, the drum sander and edger can be used for 2 sanding cuts. The first cut is done on an angle using medium grit sandpaper. It’s usually carried out diagonally, with the second cut coming in the opposite diagonal. The buffer and screen, or disc, is for the final cut. On the other hand, when your floor is being refinished, care is taken since different floors, whether solid wood or engineered flooring, require to be worked on to different thicknesses. The floor sanding personnel take the appropriate approach to ensure that the groove edges are not worn down, avoiding breakage, and also wearing through to reveal the nails. Coarse ‘open coat’ sand paper can be used to remove the old finish. In case the floor hand been painted several times before, there may be need to use a paint remover in order to reveal the wood surface to be sanded. The number of passes required will be determined by the condition of your floor, plus the thickness of the finish that is to be removed. For instance, when the wood surface is in good condition and there are only some scratches, a single pass with the disc sander may be all that’s required. On the other hand, when the floor has under gone severe abuse and is laden with scars, a number of floor sanding passes may be required to restore a smooth and unblemished surface.
One of the common issues that arises from sanding is marks appearing all over the floor. It one of the most complained about outcomes of DIY and rookie sanding. However, when you turn to the floor sanding professionals, you won’t have to worry about it. They have put in place numerous measures during the operation to prevent the marks from forming. For instance, straight from the onset, the sanding pressure settings of the drum sanders are set to match the grit that will be used. The components of the machine are well positioned, from the side wheels to ensure that the sanding is carried out at the centre of the sanding drum, to freeing the lowering rod to prevent it from jamming. The sanding displacement path is determined and followed for each cycle, and the distance between consecutive paths are well planned out. Even specifics like the direction of the floor sanding matter, and it is selected to ensure that it has matches the laying pattern of the flooring. Pressure application is regulated, ensuring excessive force such as from additional weight on the sanding drum is avoided. Even for cases when the subfloor tends to vibrate, the floor sanding team will employ the suitable equipment to ensure satisfactory results. The same level of high standards is adhered to when it comes to the edge sanding. Everything from the wheel setting being adjusted to suit the attachment in use, and setting the angle of inclination of the sanding plane to prevent digs, all through to controlling the abrasion of the machine by changing the angle through wheel adjustment depending on the area being worked on. This ensures that the floor is properly sanded and ready for subsequent treatment options.
What You Get From The Floor Sanding Professionals
1. No dust
No one fancies the thought of cleaning off dust from their furnishings, jewellery, cabinets and even sinks- especially the colossal amount of dust that is generated when sanding down an entire floor. You don’t want to be forced to keep looking for dropsheets to cover up the items in a bid to protect them, or to seal off the rooms till the sand clears off. With our dustless floor sanding processes, you won’t need to worry about this. Powerful suction is used to remove the wood dust from the surface of the floor the moment it is formed, and it’s carted off into the collection unit. This protects the items in your premises from damage, and preserves the air quality of the interior space. Your artwork, electrical equipment, sinks and drains won’t be affected by the dust, and you get to avoid spending huge sums on repairing damage caused to the air conditioning unit in your premises. The dustless floor sanding additionally enables you to avoid the plethora of health problems caused by the dust, so you won’t be faced with sudden medical bills, or be forced to shut down your commercial premises to protect your employees and clients.
2. The latest in floor sanding technology
We have invested heavily in high quality floor sanding equipment. Our machinery will grind through the layers of coating on the floor, reaching the bare wood easily. This cuts down on the amount of time that will be needed for the floor refinishing project, preparing it for the next stage in moments. The surface will be smoothened, and the pores of the wood flooring will be opened up. This ensures that there will be effective bonding with subsequent treatments. The floor sanding also ensures that the finish will be absorbed evenly.
3. Gap filling
Gaps and cracks are a pesky annoyance. They ruin the intricate patterns on the wood floor, and are also great at accumulating dirt. They are eliminated during the floor sanding. It’s a quick process that entails preparing filler to close up the gaps. It’s basically a mixture of the sanding dust collected, plus a filler solution that is compatible with the wood species. The pasty compound formed is then added to the gaps, and evened out by trowel to ensure that the joints are completely closed. In order to prevent the joints from breaking up after drying, the floor sanding personnel ensure that it is moist enough, and that it has properly penetrated into the joint. In addition, the filler is added in the required proportions. This is to avoid unnecessarily lengthy sanding afterwards. The floor sanding team will ensure that all the gaps and joints have been filled before the surface treatment starts.
4. All-round floor sanding
Our floor sanding team works on both residential and commercial properties. They cater to all kinds of floors, from homes to office suites, restaurants and health care centres, to retail stores, educational facilities, art galleries and government institutions. The floor sanding team will get the job done on different kinds of wood species, from Mahogany and Cherry, all through to Walnut, Chestnut and Oak floors. The personnel has the skills needed for the project, and comes with years of experience to handle the task.
5. Spruce up your floor
The floor sanding team can also continue with the refinishing process. This is from the application of the sealants and wood stains, and even the polishing. The water based finishes that will be used come with their additional advantages like being low in VOC content to ensure that quality of the indoor air is not affected, and they also dry fast. You won’t need to be locked out of your home or seal off sections of your commercial establishment for days. The products used have been certified to be safe for the biodiversity around you. As such you get to enhance the real estate value of your property, impress visitors in your home and customers in your business premises, and also protect your investment.
6. Pocket-friendly floor sanding
We offer affordable floor sanding services without compromising on the quality of the results. That way, you get to complete your floor restoration project without breaking the bank. The costs have been tailored to your specific situation, taking in factors such as the size of the area that is to be worked on, and the wood species involved.
Extra Tips To Take Care Of Your Floor After The Refinishing Process
· Dirt and grime are gritty, and you’ll need to clean your wood flooring regularly. However, be careful about the moisture content of the cloth or mop you use. Avid wet-mopping and also steam mops, since the wood is sensitive to changes in moisture levels.
· Spills should be cleaned up as soon as they occur. You don’t want to leave water standing on the wood, as it can damage its structure. You also want to avoid stains from getting deeply set into the wood. This includes drinks like juice and wine, and also food stains. Your pet’s urine accidents are even more of an emergency. First, the odour spreads quickly and fouls up the place. Secondly, the longer the urine is allowed to remain on the floor, the higher the chances of it corroding the finish and getting to the wood itself. You also don’t want your pet thinking that your living room floor is a suitable area for it to keep relieving itself.
· Abrasives and harsh cleaners are a no-go zone for your wood flooring. They can ruin the finish, or outrightly corrode the underlying wood. Avoid products such as vinegar and ammonia while working on your floor. Stick to the range of products recommended for the type of floor in your establishment.
· In order to control the RH levels in your establishment, you can consider investing in air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
· Train your pet. You can do it yourself if you have the time and enjoy it, all you can get professional trainers. This is to enable you avoid urine accidents on your wood flooring. Your furry friend can also be trained on how to take food and water from the bowl, reducing the amount of messes being created. In addition, you can get a stable bowl- one that doesn’t easily tip over. Also trim the claws of your cats and dogs. For those with excessive fur growing between the pads of the paws, trim it too.
· Protect your flooring from the sun using simple solutions like drapes and blinds. Shutters on the windows work well, and you can even cut down on the amount of radiation coming through the window in the first place using an awning. There are also solutions for the window itself, such as coating it with window film, or getting low-emissivity glass. Both options reduce the UV and IR radiation amounts that are allowed into the building. In addition, after the floor sanding, a finisher with UV- inhibiting properties can be applied.
· Mats are vital. Rugs for entry points, high traffic areas, walk-off mats for people visiting your commercial establishment, all through to rubber mats under the your pet’s food and water bowl. Investing in mats reduces the amount of dirt being tacked into the building and onto the floor, and limits the amount of spills that reach the wood. Regularly wash the mats, and ensure you replace each one when it gets worn out.
· Felt protectors under your furniture items- tables, chairs etc. – will help protect the underlying wood flooring from getting scratched. You should also refrain from dragging heavy items like sofas across the floor, to prevent them from gouging out the surface.
· Get your floor refinished regularly, depending on the traffic levels of the establishment. For instance, residential areas like homes can have it done every 3-5 years.
Give Us A Call
We want to hear from you. Our friendly customer care personnel will address your floor sanding concerns. Our phone lines are open 24/7, so you can reach us at any time. Let your floor sanding needs be taken care of by the experts.