Factors Affecting The Floor Sanding Process
There are different reasons why the floor is sanded. The surface may be damaged and one wants to repair it, it can be a restoration project aimed at changing the colour or finish treatment, or for cases where the carpeting has been removed and the aim is to bring back the beauty of the underlying flooring. Whether it’s a new or existing installation, the floor sanding comes down to getting a fresh and bare surface, which allows you to apply new treatments and finishes, that way you won’t need to replace the entire floorboards. The wood floors can be sanded several times depending on the thickness of the board. This should be done professionally, to avoid scenarios like where too much of the floor has been sanded, which would weaken the installation and reduce its life. It’s a detailed process, taking in various factors. These include:
- The grit sequence
During the floor sanding, the typical approach is starting out with abrasive grits, then working through to the finer ones. The abrasive sandpaper removes the finishes, paints, wood stains and other treatments on the current floor, and as one gets through the finer grits, the scratches are removed and the floor flattened and smoothened. The proper grit sequence needs to be followed, otherwise it will result in wastage of the sandpaper used for the process, which is a common occurrence with the DIY floor sanding job. What’s more, moving haphazardly through the different grit levels will create scratches on the material. There are cases where a grit level can be skipped, but this is dependent on the current condition of the surface. Going overboard and skipping more than one grit, on the other hand, forms deep scratches in the wood that are not removed by the finer grit, making the floor rough. The effect will be made more prominent during the treatment, with aspects like uneven staining which ruins the beauty of the flooring. It also causes sections of the floor to receive uneven wear.
Each floor is unique. As such, the girt that one will start with, all through to that which will be used for the final passes on the surface, will vary. The floor sanding personnel have the skills needed to ensure that he task is carried out appropriately.
- The machinery used
The floor sanding is a labour intensive job, and it involves heavy-duty machinery. Drum sanders, edgers, orbital sanders-they each have their intended purpose. Here is another area where the shortfalls of the DIY floor sanding are witnessed. For starters, without the skill to operate the sanding units, there is high risk of damage to the flooring. Drum marks, deep scratches, divots being formed on the surface, all through to swirl marks and sanding off too much of the wood- they put the floor at risk. The speed of the passes needs to be controlled. Staying on one area for far too long will cause the sanding to go deeper than intended. On the other hand, making very quick passes means that the existing finish won’t have been adequately removed, hence resulting in patches of the old treatment behind left behind on the floor, which will hamper the action of the finishes that are to follow.
Handling the sanders smoothly requires one to have experience. Even the starting and finishing of the process factors in. The different units come with their modes of operation. Take direction for instance, when dealing with the split drum machines, and the belt sanders. On the former, the carriage wheels have been positioned behind the drum, while for the latter the one carriage wheel is usually at the left of the drum. While it seems inconsequential, the positioning of the carriage wheels will determine the path to be followed, in order to prevent sanding irregularities. Like a plane, also the sanders require to have a smooth take-off and landing. What of the angle? Aspects like ensuring that the sanding is done across the grain speeds things up.
The capacity of the units also comes into focus. The sanders that are rented from dealership stores have less power and effectiveness compared to the machinery used by the professionals. Making them lighter and more portable to be used by the DIYer comes at a cost, negatively affecting the capacity of the machinery. Thus, you start out at a disadvantage, with the floor sanding process ending up taking far much longer than desired. This is all while delaying the rest of the floor finishing process. Getting professional floor sanding services will enable things to proceed on schedule.
- Moisture content of the floor
The moisture content is not just checked before the installation. The floor sanding and finishing need to be carried out when the wood has acclimated to the temperature and humidity of the environment in the area. This is to preserve the structural integrity of the installation, and ensure that the treatments that are used on it are effective.
The safety of the sanding personnel, the persons on the premises, and the property itself are on the line, hence the need for adequate measures to be put in place. For starters, the sanding dust is a highly flammable material, hence should be controlled. The sanding dust is also an allergen, irritating the respiratory system once inhaled, affecting the eyes, and even scarring the lungs. Moreover, the dust is a mixture of particles that have been ground off the flooring, plus the wood stains, varnishes and other treatment products that had been used on it. These chemicals are contaminants and carcinogens, and you don’t want them getting into the body system of the persons on the property. This is where processes like dustless floor sanding come in. Basically, high-powered vacuum systems are attached to the sanders to pick up the coarse and fine dust particles the moment that they are generated, and then directed out of the property into collection units through a system of pipes. This also has the welcome benefit of reducing the mess. After all, you don’t want the surfaces in your home or business premises being covered by the toxic dust, which would necessitate an arduous cleaning job.