Clearing The Air On Floor Sanding
Floor care involves more than just the routine cleaning. The finish coats that have been applied won’t last forever. Sure, they will protect the underlying floor from wear and tear, and even increase the resistance to stains. However, these very aspects that they shield against will cause the finish coats to deteriorate over time. Depending on the quality of the finish coats that had been applied, plus the level of bonding that had been achieved with the bare wood underneath, the protection can even last for over a decade – but there is no escaping the fact that a time will come when the current coat will need to be removed, and a fresh new one applied in order to continue providing the wood floor with the desired protection. That’s where floor sanding comes in. However, just as is with any other home improvement project, this one is also awash with lots of myths. Sometimes they can get so confusing that you even consider scrapping the need for the sanding and just replace the boards themselves. Pause that thought. You don’t have to go all out and replace the floor. Let’s take a look at the myths and misconceptions that have been doing rounds in the floor sanding industry, to clear the air and get you well-versed about the process.
- Dust-free services – are they true?
Well, technically speaking, there isn’t a floor sanding process that is completely “dust free”. In fact, the term can be misleading. What’s usually used is “dustless floor sanding”, which refers to systems that greatly reduce the amount of sanding dust that is released into the environment during the sanding process. Certainly, if there was a way for sanding to be done without producing dust, then everyone would do it.
So, what does the dustless floor sanding entail? To understand this, let’s first start with the conventional sanders, such as those that are available for rent from the local dealerships. These sanders come with dust bags on the unit. The purpose is to pick up the dust- though the process isn’t effective. Firstly, they typically pick up under 90% of the dust, with the rest getting to the surrounding environment. This process is also tedious, since the dust bags get filled quickly and will keep needing to be emptied in the middle of the sanding. Professional floor sanding companies, on the other hand, use the famed dustless floor sanding systems, where the sanders have been hooked to state-of-the-art vacuums. These deliver a high suction power, that gets rid of up to 99% of the dust. The vacuums are in turn hooked up to a series of pipes, that direct the dust to containment units – that way the sanding can be carried out without interruptions, and the dust will be safely disposed of. This approach to the sanding process drastically cuts down the mess that would have otherwise been generated, meaning that you won’t have a taxing cleaning job awaiting you after the sanding, and the rest of the finishing can be started much sooner.
Yes, but not as many times as the solid wood floors. The number of refinishings will depend on the wear layer. For instance, an engineered wood floor that has a 3mm top can be sanded and refinished twice, while that with a wear layer that’s thinner than 2mm can only be taken through a light sanding.
This is not a direct implication. Yes, the nail heads may be exposed because of the depleted wear layer. However, more evidence is needed to prove that this is the case, which involves actually assessing the wear layer. It’s common to find nail heads getting exposed because of movement of the floor, which can be caused by anything from a weak underlayment to the initial installation being improperly done. So don’t rush to have the boards pulled out before you have more proof that the floor can no longer be sanded.
Not unless it was improperly done to begin with. A quality floor sanding and refinishing will keep the floor save for even over 7 years. In fact, the technological advances in floor care have enabled the development of highly durable floor finishes, which if properly applied provide extended service life. Some homeowners even get by without having the floor sanding repeated for an entire decade. Note that there are other factors that come into play here, such as the level of traffic handled by the establishment. Definitely, for busy homes the recoating will need to be more frequent. Recoats are usually carried out in intervals of 5-7 years.
There are factors that can cause the finish that can cause it to deteriorate faster. For instance, if the surface still has patches of old finish, or it was sanded until it became too smooth, then the finish coats applied won’t have bonded well with the material. Other cases of rushing the coats being applied on the floor can lead to bubbles forming, weakening the integrity of the final result. A similar case applies when the area is not properly cleaned, leading to particles of dust winding up in the finish coats. In such instances the floor will need to be refinished much sooner. This is another reason why it is important to hire professional services for the floor restoration project. The way, the final result gets to last for longer, and you save on the repair and maintenance costs that would have cropped up.
When the contractor is carrying out the task, ensure that the proper number of coats has been applied and sufficient drying time allowed in between the coats. Incompatible stains shouldn’t be mixed. This is to ensure that there is proper bonding between the different products – from the woods stains to the sealants and varnishes being used. When incompatible products are used, the finish begins peeling off, and in this case a complete re sanding will be required.