Protecting The Timber Flooring For Your Home
Wood is a tough flooring choice- in fact, one that is popular for its ability to withstand heavy foot traffic. When properly taken care of, it can last as long as the building itself. When it comes to aesthetics, there are lots of choices for one to go with, with the numerous wood species that are available, bringing different hues and character to the interior space. The treatment products- from the wood stains and lacquers, to the varnishes that are applied, also widen the range of possibilities, hence as the home owner you get to have that final look that brings out your personality. Functional attributes that make this an ideal choice also include the insulation properties where the wood reduces the rate of heat loss for the building, thus reducing your monthly energy bills. A well-polished surface is also easier to clean, given that dirt particles don’t latch onto the material, as would have been the case with carpeted floors. These installations are however pricy. When well taken care of, the wood flooring will give you value for the amount you spend on it. Speaking of which, the installations are known for increasing property values- as realtors and letting agents can attest to. Buyers and tenants are willing to fork out more money for the residential spaces that have wood floors.
There are 2 main categories of wood flooring to go for. These include:
- Solid wood
This a solid length of the actual wood, throughout the structure of the floor. It comes with interlocking tongue and grooves. With solid wood, the floor sanding can be carried out multiple times, giving you more opportunities to restore the surface and keep it looking new.
- Engineered wood
Here, different layers are used, with the top being a thin slice of hardwood. For instance, the base may be plywood. Since only the hardwood layer at the top can be abraded for the refinishing, engineered wood is only sanded a few times- like twice or thrice in its life.
The floor sanding process
Over time, the finish coats that have been applied on the floor get worn down. This is normal. The foot traffic handled on a daily basis, the occasional spills, those times when intense scrubbing needs to be done, dirt on the surface that is ground against it- the pet’s sharp claws that leave behind scratches- the appearance of the floor gradually deteriorates. As the finish coats get worn down, it puts the underlying flooring at risk. In some cases, the dilapidated finish exposes the bare wood underneath, making the floor more susceptible to issues like water damage and permanent staining. Here, the old finish simply needs to be removed, and a fresh new one applied. This is where floor sanding comes in. It may even be a scenario where you want to alter the look and feel of things- perhaps change to a new wood stain, or remove the current one and apply a clear coat that will allow the natural colouration of the wood to be more prominent. Through floor sanding, the existing treatments are cleared out, leaving the surface bare and ready to receive the new finish coats.
During floor sanding, existing defects on the floor can also be addressed. For instance, those scratches and gouges that are formed over time- perhaps by furniture being dragged across the surface instead of being lifted, or it was a case of furniture that had metal caster wheels that left marks all over. Cracks and gaps- filler products are used, which when mixed with the sanding dust of the particular wood floor will enable the properties to be uniform. Getting the floor sanded by qualified professionals is key. Different factors come into play, and without the right set of skills and machinery to handle the task, one may get unduly frustrated, or there may even be damage to the floor. Sanders are heavy pieces of equipment, and mistakes made during the DIY process can permanently ruin your floor. Issues like sanding too much into the wood will weaken the structure. Dips being formed because of pausing on one spot longer than was necessary, divots created when the drum spun on one spot because of the DIYer starting the machine when the drum is in contact with the floor, following the wrong direction of wood grain when carrying out the sanding- they will all have an impact on the final result. Skipping the grit sequence, such that scratches from the coarse sandpaper are not removed- these will be made more prominent when the finish coats have been applied. Then there is dealing with the dust generated. Sanding produces loads of it, and it needs to be effectively controlled otherwise a huge mess will be created. Dust getting on your walls, window sills, in the sockets, on the light fixtures, in closets, vents and ducts- this is not how you want things to go. The professionals use systems such as dustless floor sanding machinery that have been developed to make the process cleaner and safer.
Finishing the wood floor
After ensuring that the floor sanding has been carried out to quality standards, you don’t want to skimp out on the finishing process. The first step is ensuring that you also get quality products to apply onto your floor. Whether water-based finishes or oil-based formulations, the selected units should be from a brand with a track record of delivering value. Wood stains that are applied to the floor come in handy for those who want to alter the colouration of the surface. The lacquers and varnishes that follow will influence the final result, including the gloss level that is obtained. Preferences vary from one homeowner to the next, and fortunately there is a vast array of finish products to select from. When the coats are being applied, the instructions on the product label should be strictly followed. This is from the dilution ratios, the number of coats that are required per application, all through to the drying and curing times that will be required before traffic can be allowed back onto the area.