Wood floors are around forever. The easiest way of making a house warm and cosy, is to install wood floors. Solid wood floors are durable, easy to maintain and the numbers of finishes available now days, is amazing. The time when you had to wax or varnish your floors, is well past. Over the past few years, the floor sanding and floor refinishing industry has changed so much.
Through the 80s and 90s, many people have covered their wood floors with carpets. Carpeted floors seemed like a great idea at the time. But over time, people got sick of keep washing their carpets each month and spending so much money to keep it clean. About 10-15 years ago, the wood floors were back in fashion and a new revolution has started. Having wood floors in your home or business make so much sense.
This article was made for people that are planning to get wood floors but they are worry about the finishes available, floor sanding and all the dust, water based finishes, maintenance, durability, floor repairs, pets,etc. We will give you all the fact and you can make up your own mind.
First, lets explain you the difference between solid and semi solid wood floors. A solid hardwood floor is wood floor made from pure wood. There is no glue to hold it together, there is no chemicals or additive. A piece of wood was cut up to make your floor. A semi solid wood floor is plywood base with top coat made from wood. Both, solid and semi solid wood floors, can be very thick or very thin. Semi solid wood floors used to be much cheaper than real wood but things have changed a lot over the years and some semi solid wood floors can cost much more than hardwood floors.
The main difference between the solid and semi solid wood floors is the design. Solid wood floors are just pieces of wood that join together while semi solid wood floors can be designed from different types of wood in one piece of floor, a mix of real wood and artificial components. It is always recommended to spend a bit more money on your floors and buy real wood floors but if you are looking for very fancy designs, you might not be able to get it in hardwood. Semi solid wood floors can only be refinished few times (depending on thickness & quality) while solid wood floors can be refinished many times over. You can buy semi solid wood floors that look 100% solid.
Even if you love your floors and you use all the right floor maintainers and cleaning techniques, sooner or later, your wood floor has to be refreshed. The protective coat of finish over your floor will eventually wear off and a new coat has to be done. The good thing about the new water based floor finishes and dustless floor sanding technology, is the fact that refinishing a wooden floor in our times, takes way less time, it costs less, it looks more natural and it is much less disruptive than you can imagine. A proper floor sanding and refinishing company will have your floors done in 1 day, with no dust, no fumes and hassle free. Your semi solid wood floors can be refinished up to 5 times while a solid wood floor can be sanded 20 times or more.
The top coat of your floor will be removed and the surface will be prepared for refinishing. Very little wood should be removed while sanding. The floor will be refinished with rough floor sanding paper, then medium floor sanding paper & then very fine sand paper. The floor will be primed & sealed. There are many types of finishes available.
There are hundreds of types of floor finishes available. Your imagination is the limit. The most popular type of wood floor finish is the varnish. A water based floor varnish looks great, last for long and it is fumes free. Most of the wood floors in ireland are refinished with floor varnishes from a number of brands. The new types of solvent free floor varnishes have replaced the hardwax oils because it looks the same like an oil, it protects better and it takes much less time to apply 2 to 3 coats.
There are many people that still love floor oils and they will never go for an floor varnish. The floor oils and the hardwax oils are here to stay. There are tens of colours of floor oils and tens of brands available. More you pay, better it looks and longer it lasts. Coloured oils are very popular right now. You can apply one or two coats of coloured oil and then you can finish your floor with a hardwax oil for better protection. The main advantage of floor oils is the natural look while the main disadvantage is the regular maintenance. Waxed floors have to be refreshed regular (usual once per year – depending on traffic).
Floor polishing has become more and more popular over the years. You can buy unfinished wood floors from many flooring shops and you can just seal it yourself. There are matt floor polishes that keep the wood 100% natural but it protects against traffic and water damage. If you love glossy finishes, there are many types of water based wood floor finishes in matt, satin or gloss. Junckers Sylva Wood Floor Polish, Bona Wood Floor Polish and Cleanfast Floor Polish are two of the most popular water based floor polishes in Ireland. You don`t have to use the services of a floor sanding company to finish your floor with a floor polish. Just apply 2 coats of floor polish with a flat mop head. Job done.
Floor Paint. A floor paint should be the last option. When you paint a semi solid or solid wood floor, you make all the floors look the same. The floor will become just a base for the paint. Also, removing a floor paint from a wood floor is a nightmare. There are people that love floor paints and whatever we recommend, they will still go for the paint. We recommend floor paints for badly damaged wood floors where there are no other options left. There are tens of brands of floor paints available in Ireland. To refinish a wood floor with a floor paint, you do not have to use the services of a floor sanding company. You just have to make sure that the floor is dry and dust free. Also, you need to make sure that the floor paint you plan to buy, is suitable to use on wood. Some floor paints are only suitable to use on concrete floors.
Your home is your temple of peace and relaxation. The last thing you need is a cheap floor sanding company to drop around with dated floor sanding equipment and fill up your home with dust. Always pay the fair price for floor sanding. You cannot afford to pay little. A proper floor sanding machine will collect up to 98% of the dust generated. This means that only 2% of the dust generated will be lost. This is very good dust collection. A non dustless floor sanding system will collect 0% of the dust. Can you notice the difference? Not having a dust collection system, means that all the dust generated from sanding will end up on your walls, furnitures, wood work, windows, etc. A nightmare.
Fine dust particles can take years to remove. When planning to hire a professional floor sanding company, you should make sure that they use only dustless floor sanding equipment. It will save you a lot a money and a lot of cleaning time.
There is a new trend in Ireland right now. Many people are lifting up their carpets and they expose the old original floor boards. Those floor boards are dry, solid and ready for refinishing. A professional floor sanding company can restore this old floor boards to a new like condition. Now, here is a very important tip about this floorboards. When you are doing the upstairs bedrooms and hall, you need to bear in mind that spillages can happen in the future and there is nothing to protect the moist passing through the floorboards and stain your downstairs ceiling or even worst, damaging some of the electrical wires that hide under the floorboards. Avoid all this future issue by getting gap filling done. The gap filler will close up the gaps between the floorboards and it will soundproof your home as well. A special colourless additive will be mixed up with dust from your own floor to create a cream that will be filled up between your floorboards. The floor will look great and your ceiling won`t be damaged in the future.
Downstairs floors have to be gap filled. Some old council homes have no concrete slab under the floor and the only thing between your feet and the ground is a tiny empty space. All that empty space plus the gaps between your floor will create a great cold draft that will freez you feet. A quick gap filling job will sort out that issue for good. Getting gap filling is not that expensive but is is well worth it. Ask your floor sanding contractor about gap filling options and prices.
Over time wood floors will get damage. The biggest enemy of wood floors are the plumbing and the electrical companies. Always make sure that you take photos with the floors before you hire a tradesman to lift up your floors. Most professional trades have no respect for old floor boards and they only care about having that pipe or that cable fix. Well, in most cases, you will be the one that has to fork out money to replace damaged floor boards. In many cases, finding similar wood is not possible.
Most floor sanding companies will include in their price light repairs. A loose nail here and there, a broken floor board, etc, will be sorted free of charge. If there is a lot of work to be done, you should expect to pay 1 day of work.
If you are planning to stain the wood floors, it is not important what type of wood you use to repair the floor. After staining it in a different colour, it will all look the same. But if you are planning to keep the wood natural, you should replace all the damaged floor boards with reclaimed wood only. Buying old floor boards is expensive and fitting it out takes a lot of time so don`t expect it to be cheap.
If there are loads of floor repairs to be done, you should hire a carpenter for a day to do all the repairs. Most floor sanding contractors are only doing minor repairs. If you are a handy person and you think that you can tackle yourself this job, be very careful about the pipes that hide under the floorboards. One wrong nail gone inside a water pipe and you are in a hole. It will cost you thousands to fix. Also, always use floor nails to repair floor boards. If you screw up floor boards and then you sand the floor, you will remove the head of the screw and in case of an emergency, you won`t be able to lift up the floorboards.
Now, there are two types of floor finishes available. High traffic floor finishes and domestic floor finishes. Both types are suitable for a specific job. Exemple. Junckers HP Commercial Two Pack Floor Lacquer is designed for heavy duty traffic and it costs 120 euro vat included. Junckers Profinish Floor Lacquer is a domestic floor varnish suitable for medium traffic and it costs 69 euro vat included. The price makes the difference. Very high traffic varnishes are available in two pack, the varnish itself + the hardener. If applied right, it will last for up to 5 years in a high traffic area. Domestic floor finishes are suitable for the residential market or low traffic floors. A in a normal bedroom, there is no need to pay money for a high traffic finish. But the amount of traffic that a restaurant floor takes cannot be compared with the amount of traffic a bedroom floor gets it.
If you have pets is recommended that you use commercial floor finishes. Most pets have sharp nails and over time, it will manage to scratch the finish of your floor. If you have few small kids, we recommend high traffic finishes. If you are a person that likes to party or if your wife wears high heels, you should use very high traffic finishes. But if you are over 60, you have no pets or kids and you don`t party that much, there is no need to spend extra money in high traffic finishes. A domestic floor finish will do the job.
You can get high traffic floor varnishes, high traffic floor oils, high traffic floor polishes and so on. Just ask your floor sanding contractor about the best and most cost effective options available.
If you are tired of the natural look of your floor and if you plan to go for a bit of a change, you should consider floor staining before varnishing or waxing. There are so many types of brands of wood stains available in Ireland. Each floor sanding company works with a brand that they like the most. If you are planning to stain the floor, you should ask your floor sanding company to do few samples on your floor. Each stain looks different on different floors. A pine floor in x home will look different than a pine floor in y floor. If there is a lot of sunlight in your home or business, your floors will be a bit more yellow than the floors from a dark room. When you apply a grey stain on a yellow floor will look different than a grey stain on a very white pine floor. So, ask for samples before picking a colour from a catalogue.
If you are planning to hire a floor sanding contractor, you will have to use their products. Most local floor sanding companies work with their favorite brand of floor finishes. If you buy a wood stain from a DIY shop, it might not be compatible with the floor finish your floor sanding contractor is using. If you insist on using your product, you will be not covered by the insurance if things don`t go smooth.
The most popular brands of wood stains are from Junckers Rustic Oils, Tover Wood Stains & Bona Wood Stains. There are many other brands of wood stains, but most floor sanding contractors are working with those three brands. There are many colours available and you can even mix colours to create unique finishes. Just make sure that you mix enough colour for the whole job because if you run short, you will never match that colour again. Wood stains are oil based and it can only be applied on unfinished wood surfaces. The stain has to be absorbed by the wood in full. The wood stain has no protective qualities. A wood stain can be sealed with a two pack floor varnish or a hardwax oil.
***cloths that are used to apply stain, have to be soaked in water after it was used. If you throw the cloth with stain in a bin, it can start fired. Bear that in mind***
This is the main question, how much is a fair price for floor sanding? Well, think like that. How much you hate yourself? Fancy 3 months of cleaning after you had floor sanding done? Fancy doing the same job each year because you have used cheap floor finishes? Would you like to see very bad repairs done on your floors? Fancy chemical odours for months? No? Great. Then pay premium for floor sanding.
1 square meter of floor sanding can cost 10 euro per or 30 euro. The difference is in details. A proper floor sanding company would be fully insured, fully registred, they will use professional high traffic finishes, dustless floor sanding equipment and highly skilled workers. Even if you hire the best floor sanding contractor in the world, the job is still disruptive and time consuming. Buy you don`t want it to last much longer than needed.
Average price in Ireland for floor sanding without finishing is 10 euro per square meter. Average price in Ireland for floor sanding & 3 coats of finish, is about 20 euro per square meter. Average price in Ireland for sanding, staining & finishing is about 24 euro per square meter. Repairs can only be charged after site inspections. There are few other things that can increase or decrease the price. Parking. Location. Overnight jobs. Very fancy finishes required. Uneven floors. Paint removing operations.
Most of the local floor sanding contractors would have a minimum call out charge. For a floor sanding specialist, doing jobs under 300 euro would not make financial sense. You should ask for free estimates and you should use only companies with recommendations.
1 square meter of floor can cost 200 euro. Depending on the type of wood plus fitting. Can you afford to take a chance. Any decent floor sanding company needs to be fully insured. Things can always go wrong and in some cases, the floor sanding contractor has done nothing wrong. Here is a list of issues that can happen:
- Reactions – some people are using a lot of woodworms treatments on their floor boards. The floors looks great until you apply the finish. Then it turns brown. The chemical from the wood reacts with the varnish
- Water pipes that run through floor boards. A floor sanding machine weight 80 kilos. When sanding, it will remove the top coat of your floor boards. But some useless plumbing contractors are cutting corners and they fit pipes too close under the floorboards. In some cases the vibration from the floor sander can crack a pipe
- Floor sanders going mad. A floor sander is a machine. Belts can break, the drum can break, things can happen and the floor can get damaged.
- People hurting themselves in your home. If they are not insured, you pay.
Any professional floor sanding company would have no problem providing you with a copy of their insurance. You should ask if they don`t send it with the quotation.
All types of wood floors can be sanded. Semi solid wood floors can only be sanded few times. There are many floor sanding contractors available in Ireland and each one has its own unique selling point. Even if floor sanding looks pretty easy, we can promise you is not.
This part is the most important part. Your floor is made from wood and has a gazing made from water based varnish. As you know, wood and water don`t work well together so never ever use steam on your wood floors. First, the steam will dull up the varnish instant and it will make all your floor old looking. Never ever use bleach based floor cleaners on your wood floors. Even if some products are not 100% bleach, it may contain bleach. Your floor will lose its shine and you have wasted all your money in sanding and refinishing. Mopping the floor is bad idea, excess water will leak between floorboards and it will create movement and cracks on your floors.
Your floor should be washed with flat mop heads like Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop and wood floor cleaners. A wood floor cleaner is neutral floor cleaning agent designed for wood floors. It will clean the floor with ease without damaging the finish.