Checking If Your Floors Need To Be Refinished
Despite its elegance and durability, the surface of the wood floor is bound to lose its charm over time, courtesy of the barrage of abuse it receives on a daily basis. The gradual change is more prominent on the highly trafficked sections, with the surface having more scratches and appearing duller compared to the rest of the flooring. Fortunately, all that’s needed is a restoration project to have it back in top shape. However, sanding and refinishing the floors is an intensive task, and you want to be sure that it is necessary before you embark on it. It’s not just about the labour involved. Wood floors can only be sanded for a limited number of times – which will depend on the thickness of the wear layer. So how do you determine if it is time for the floor restoration?
4 Signs That It’s Time To Refinish Your Floor
- Scratches all over the surface
The occasional scratch by your pet or footwear is normal, and can be looked over. However, over time, as the scratches increase and cover the surface of the flooring, then they become hard to ignore. This is especially for those cases where you notice that the scratches have actually worn through the stain and got to the wood itself. When it gets to a point where there are unsightly scratches on the installation – especially in an area that can’t be simply covered up with a rug, then it’s time for you to start looking into local floor sanding and refinishing services. The processes used will remove the scratches and enable new coats of finish to be applied. Note that there are occasionally cases of large gouges that have been dug into the floor, or splits, which may require the property owner to consider replacing the affected boards. An inspection of the condition of the floor will enable you and the contractor to determine whether the situation will be resolved by a quick sanding and refinishing.
- Grey boards
If you haven’t applied the grey wood stain yourself, then this is a cause for concern. When the boards of the hardwood floor begin turning grey, then this situation needs attention as soon as possible to avert further damage. What’s behind this effect? The greying occurs due to the polyurethane finish wearing off, causing the floor to start to absorb water from its environment. This moisture can be from spilled beverages, snow, or even simply sweat from the pet’s paws. Unless the floor is sanded and refinished, it will continue absorbing the moisture, and then gradually turn from grey to black – at which point you will need to replace the boards themselves.
Have some of the boards already turned black? Well, for these ones the situation is too far gone to rectify. However, you do have a workaround: you can sand and refinish the rest of the floor with a darker stain, which will enable it to blend with the black boards. This may be more cost-effective compared to completely replacing the affected boards. However, for the overall health of the entire wood flooring, it is recommended that you replace the black floorboards.
Sunlight also has an effect on wood floors, especially exposure to UV radiation. It causes them to fade. You can also look into treating the floor with a non-yellowing finish.
So your floor needs to be worked on – do you hire help or go the DIY route? Well, the latter can be really exasperating. Floor sanding is not the average home improvement DIY project. A lot of work goes into it. You can spend loads of time and sweat equity on the project, and still wind up with unsatisfactory results. Remember that any imperfection that results from the floor sanding will be highlighted more prominently when the finish coats are applied. Scratches, chatter marks, divots – they will be blemishes that you cost you more to resolve. There are plenty of mistakes that can be made during the process. Take handling the sander for instance. When the DIYer manoeuvres the machine slowly over the floor, it causes it to sand deeper into the surface than required, thus excessively eating into the wear layer, reducing the number of times that the floor can be sanded and refinished in future, thus cutting down on the lifespan of the installation. On the other hand, moving the sander too fast, perhaps due to a fear of oversanding, will cause patches of the old varnish to remain on the floor. The new coats to be applied will react differently to sections of the floor with the old varnish and the rest of the bare wood. The results in an unsightly finish, whose only recourse will be to have the floor resanded – costing you more in the process.
Hiring professional floor sanding services enables you to avoid the blunders that could be made in the process. Here, with an experienced crew that is well equipped for the task, the project gets to be done quickly, without compromising on the quality of the results. This gets the floor ready for the treatment coats that are to be applied. The wood stains, sealants, lacquers and similar products to be used will bond strongly with the floor, for a stronger finish.
What about dust? Well, it can’t be avoided, given that sanding is literally grinding off particles of the finish and wood tissue from the floor. Focus thus shifts to putting in place measures that will reduce the amount of dust that escapes into the environment. This is why dustless floor sanding processes have grown in popularity. Here, as opposed to the conventional approach of simply using a sander that has a dust bag fixed to it, the professionals use high-powered vacuums that are attached to the sanding machines, which suction out the dust the moment it is generated. This reduces the risks to the sanding crew as well as the occupants of the building.