3 Floor Sanding Myths and Misconceptions
The appeal of wood floors is undeniable. From homes to business premises, they have been installed due to their elegance and durability. The natural charm that they add to the space is not replicable by other flooring options. One more issue stands out with this type of floors: when you get tired of its current condition – probably because of stains and scratches, or the existing finish has been worn out, you can simply sand the floor and apply new finish coats. This brings a fresh look and feel to the space, without you having to rip out the boards themselves. The floor sanding process has been hit with different claims and counter-claims, some with a hint of truth and others that are simply lies. Let’s go through some of them, debunking the myths and misconceptions that are prevalent across the floor sanding industry.
Sure, technological advancements have enabled the amount of dust released into the immediate environment during the floor sanding process to be drastically decreased. Unlike conventional approaches where the sanders come with dust bags, the professionals use a system of vacuums hooked up to the sander, generating high suction power to pick up the coarse and fine dust particles as soon as they have been ground from the floor. The process is highly effective, reducing the mess that is associated with the sanding process – but this does not mean that there will be virtually no dust. The dustless floor sanding process can get rid of more than 97% of the dust, so measures still need to be put to protect against the remainder. From covering gadgets and sinks, to ensuring that there is proper ventilation during the job – they all come into play. Certainly, quite a bit of cleaning will be required after the task, but not to the levels that would be needed with the traditional processes. As such, while dustless floor sanding does reduce the workload and mess that comes with a project, it does not mean that it will be 100% dust free.
Just because you see nails popping out from the wood floor does not mean that you should now start sourcing for new floorboards to be installed. This can be caused by a myriad of reasons. For instance, as the foundation gradually moves over time, the nails will get pushed up. Should the contractor inform you that there is no more wear layer to be sanded off, you should ask for more evidence, and not simply make the decision based on the exposed nail heads. In fact, one of the preparation measures undertaken before the floor sanding is driving the exposed nails back into the wood, so rest assured that it is a common phenomenon.
There is no such thing as free labour – especially with a job as intensive as floor sanding. You will end up paying more in the long run. As they say, “Cheap is expensive“. In fact, if the contractor is offering you the services at rates that are way below that of their competitors, then that is a red flag. Different things can go wrong – from it being bait-and-switch tactic, situations where unskilled personnel are hired for the task, you’re dealing with a service that is neither licenced nor insured, or it can be an outright scam, designed to have you fork out the money only for them to take off with it. Worse still it can be a security issue, where the “contractor” offers you the cheap services to get an opportunity to be allowed into your home to scope it out and return a couple of nights later to rob you.
Over the years there have been lots of attempts by people to carry out the sanding and refinishing by themselves. It’s rare to see them choosing to goo this same route twice, since the result is usually not as desired, and the fact that it is one of the least pleasant and most time-consuming DIY tasks. While it starts out with the goal to save money and challenge yourself, DIY floor sanding ends up not being worth the hassle and frustrations that one goes through.
Firstly, the results will not be comparable to the professionals, due to the difference in skill level and the kind of machinery that is used. While the DIYer relies on blogs and video tutorials for the task, plus rented equipment from local dealership stores, the professional companies have teams that have been doing the job for years, and have also invested in high-powered industrial-grade equipment for the project. This enables the professional crew to carry out the job much faster, and achieve a higher quality of results.
Safety measures also come into focus. This involves everything from how the sanding machines are handled, to the control measures put in place to deal with the copious amounts of dust that are generated during the process. What’s more, the DIY route ends up being costlier in the long run. For instance, due to mistakes done during the process, it may need to be redone immediately. In some cases, you can live with the imperfections, but a poorly finished floor will also need to be restored within 2-4 years, as opposed to the close to the 7-10 years or more years of usage that you would have obtained with the professionally sanded and refinished floor.
When going through your different options, check the rates of the different companies and how they compare with each other. Go through their reviews online, from social media to local business listings, and ask around amongst the locals who have hired the services. For a company that has been providing quality services, they are bound to have a list of clients willing to give testimonials about their services. Also ask about the steps that will be taken during the floor sanding, the safety measures that will be put in place, and whether or not they have a warranty should anything go wrong. Speaking of which, you should go through the warranty with a fine comb, reading between the lines before you commit to a contractor. In addition, the quotation provided should be in writing.