Getting Your Hardwood Floor Refinished
Has your wood floor seen better days? Is it dragging down the décor of your home and frustrating you each time you walk through the front doors? Or perhaps you’re looking for a change in the wood stain, so that the colour can go with the new fixtures that you have had installed. Whether you’re dealing with an old and worn-out floor, or simply want to change its look and feel to match your new style, a floor sanding and refinishing will be required. Here, the existing finish is sanded off, getting through to the bare wood underneath, then smoothening the surface and preparing it for the new treatments that are to be applied. This is a multi-stage process, with different factors coming into play. Let’s take a look at what is involved:
- Picking the contractor
You want to be sure that your installation is in the hands of professionals. A rookie mistake can be costly to repair. Damaged floorboards, unsatisfactory results that end up requiring the entire floor sanding and refinishing process to be repeated or the frustration on that results when the task end up taking away much longer than had been envisaged – these are not issues that you want to find yourself facing. As such, the choice of the floor sanding and restoration contractor will be key to the success of the project. When looking through the different options, ask for the contractors’ certification and accreditation, go over the reviews that have been left behind by previous clients on the social media pages of the company, and also ask if they have insurance coverage to protect you in case of any accidents during the project.
Before the project starts, you’ll need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. This is where a consultation with the company personnel requiring the hardwood floor needs comes in. What are your desires for the final result? Are there troubles with the current floor that you have noted which need to be addressed? A site visit is recommended to assess the condition of the floor, to determine the kinds of resources that will be required, before the quotation is provided. Factors like the type of flooring – is it solid wood or engineered flooring, the species of the wood involved, all through to issues like whether it is warped, there are gaps to be filled, all through to the treatment processes required – including the wood stain, lacquers, anti-stian treatments and similar products that are to be applied, will come into focus, plus the size of the floor. Due to the unique nature of the different floor restoration projects, you will end up with a tailored package that suits your individual situation.
- The sanding process
This will be the first stage of the renovation task. The existing finishes need to be removed from the floor, and the professionals rely on powerful sanders for the task. Is a process that requires high skill level in order to properly carry it out. Mistakes that are seen during the DIY floor sanding process, like moving the sander too slowly across the floor which makes it sand away too much wood will lead to damage of the unit, reducing its structural integrity. Sanding away too much of the wear layer also reduces the number of floor refinishings that can be done in future, cutting short the lifespan of the unit. On the other hand, failing to sand the surface enough results in patches of the old finish remaining, and this will prevent the new coats that are to be applied from bonding with the wood itself. How to deal with the direction of the wood grain, the coarseness or smoothness required with grits of sandpaper for the different stages of the task – all these will have an impact on the quality of the final results.
Professional floor sanding companies also incorporate dustless systems into the processes. Here, high-powered suction is provided by vacuums attached to the sanders, and the dust that is captured is directed to a waiting containment unit through a series of hoses. This containment unit – typically mounted on a truck outside the building, holds the dust safely as it awaits disposal. With the dustless floor sanding, the mess that would have resulted is reduced, with some systems having the capacity to capture over 99% of the sanding dust that is generated. This means that you won’t find yourself tasked with a taxing cleaning chore after the sanding is done. It also reduces the amount of time taken before the next stage of applied the wood stain and finish coats can be carried out.
- Staining the wood floor
Wood stains are applied to give the floor a specific colour and tone. There is a multitude of options available, and choice here comes down to personal preference. Regarding the formulation, there are two general kinds of stains: water-based and oil-based wood stains. With the sanded floor, the stain is applied directly onto the bare wood, enhancing its character.
The finish coats follow. These can also be oil-based or water-based too. Here the properties of the lacquers or varnishes selected will be guided by aspects such as the kind of protection needed, especially with the level of foot traffic that is handled, aspects, such as its resistance to staining and UV radiation, all through to how it will interact with the colour of the wood stain that had been applied. Note that there will be short drying times required in between the coats applied, together with a light sanding. The floor will also need to be allowed to dry completely before normal foot traffic is allowed back onto it.
Some steps that you can take to prepare for the floor sanding and refinishing project include:
- Moving the furniture out of the rooms to be worked on. Some contractors move the furniture for free, others will add the cost to the package, so you should get this clarified beforehand.
- Make alternative arrangements for pets. Sanders can get quite costly, which will agitate pets. It’s recommended that you arrange to have them away from the house during the project – perhaps on a visit to the dog park, or staying at the neighbours.