Breakdown Of The Floor Sanding And Refinishing Process
One of the endearing things about wood floors is that they can last for decades. Even after being battered with scratches, dents, getting water damaged, gouges being dug into the structure, the boards can be fixed with a quick sanding and refinishing. Definitely, the success of the floor restoration will depend on the extent of the damage, since there will be situations where an outright replacement will be required, like when you’ve had a case of a termite infection that has dig through the planks, or mould that has grown so deep in the structure after a flooding incident took too long to be resolved. Let’s focus on when the floor can be refinished, and the steps that go into the process.
- Site visit
An in-home consultation will be required to assess the state of the floor. Each restoration project is unique. Factors that need to be considered include how much of the wear layer remains for the floor to be sanded, issues like bumps and dents that will need to be smoothened out, the type of wood species being worked on, all through to selecting the type of wood stain application that you would like to meet your style preferences. Custom stain colours can also be made to get that exact shade that you’d like. This is followed by settling on the ideal finish coats that should be applied, accounting for issues like the level of foot traffic witnessed in the household.
- Preparing the subfloor
In case there are pending issues with the subfloor, these will need to be addressed before the rest of the floor sanding and refinishing is carried out. The contractor locates squeaks, uneven seams and low spots, then these can be fixed by tightening them from below, and even sanding the planks to yield an even plane.
- Dustless floor sanding
Next up is sanding the whole floor. The sanders that professionals use are powerful, grinding away those multiple layers of finish coats that had been applied, getting through to the bare wood. Due to the hazardous nature of the dust that is generated, contractors nowadays use dustless floor sanding systems. Here, the particles grinded off the floor are sucked into a sealed tube, and directed to a containment unit that’s mounted on a truck outside the home. This way, you won’t find yourself tasked with an arduous cleaning chore, or with sanding dust getting into the ductwork and vents in the household. it’s also key to protect the indoor airspace, since the fine and light dust particles can recirculate in the home for weeks. Capturing them before they get a chance to escape into the room prevents this from happening.
- Surface preparation
Are there gouges, holes or gaps on the floor? These need to be repaired before the wood stain and treatment products are applied. The goal is to end up with a smooth and uniform surface onto which the coats can be spread. Filler products are used here, being mixed with the dust from sanding the wood tissue, so that the resultant paste has properties that are close to that of the rest of the floor.
- Staining the floor
The preferred wood stain can now be applied on the freshly sanded floor. The colour selection that was made will vary based on your personal preference. From those that accentuate the natural colour of the wood itself, to products that set a completely different hue, there are numerous options to work with.
- Applying finish coats
While the wood stain is mainly for aesthetic purposes, finish products are used to protect the floor as well as enhance its beauty. There are oil-based and water-based finish products, and multiple layers can be applied. Attributes like the abrasion resistance, water resistance and stain resistance that the floor gets from the finish coats, to non-yellowing effects from exposure to sunlight, are considered when selecting the finish products to use. The finishes are applied after the wood stain has dried. Note that there will be light sanding in between the consecutive coats.
Preparing For The Floor Sanding And Refinishing
While the professionals have the machinery needed to carry out the task, there are some extra steps you can take to make the process go smoothly. These include:
- Moving the furniture away from the are being worked on
This will enable the contractor to get started with the floor sanding the moment they arrive, as opposed to first dealing with the furniture. However, there are those who can move the furniture for you. You just need to inquire where it will come at an extra price.
- Clearing the rooms
Those items that are usually left lying around on the floor will need to be removed. From the kids’ toys, magazines – all the clutter will be an inconvenience. What’s more, when the contractors have to first spend time clearing the area before they get started with their work, it will delay things. Getting this out of the way will enable them to hit the ground running much faster.
Kids and pets can be aggravated by all the activity that will be going on in the house, and not to mention increase the risk of accidents. You don’t want your pets tripping over wires, or the kids dashing into the room when the sanders are all cranked up to full power. Keeping them away from the house while the activity is being done will be best for everyone.
Given that the success of the entire product is tied to the expertise of the contractor you hire, you should take some time to check through the different providers of the services, looking into their past experience and reviews from clients, checking out their portfolio with “Before and After” pictures of projects they’ve handled, and also be keen on their customer service as you engage them over the phone and in person. A site visit will be needed in order for the condition of the floor to be accurately assessed. Ensure that you also get the quotation in writing, stipulating exactly what you’re paying for.