Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor
Over time, that charm and elegance of your wood floor will get deteriorated. This is in spite of the frequent cleaning that is carried out on it. It’s just how things go. The treatments that had been applied onto the structure to protect it will gradually dull, ruining the appeal of the installation. In some cases, there will be persistent elements that cannot be removed even with a thorough scrub- like the scratches that are formed on the floor surface. Cracks, gouge marks, yellowing of the finish treatments due to effects of solar radiation, water damage that ruins the flooring- situations vary from one establishment to the next. When times comes for a complete makeover, one of the benefits of wood floors comes into the picture: you can achieve the makeover with a quick floor sanding and refinishing. You will not need to replace the floorboards. Simply have the existing treatments sanded way, and a new, fresh one applied. It may not even be a case of renovating a dilapidating floor- you may simply be looking to change things up with a different wood stain, or obtain a different gloss level for your installation. Whichever the case, the next step is removing the existing treatment. Here is a general break down of how the process works:
The Floor Refinishing Process
This is the first stage. New treatments cannot be applied over the existing layers of polish. This would prevent them from bonding strongly to the floor, negatively affecting the effectiveness of the treatment. The end result also wouldn’t be as desired. From the colour of the wood stain to the gloss level of the finish- these would all be affected. In fact, you will be required to sand way the entire new treatment in order to fix the issue- leading to more expenses going into the process. This is why it is necessary to carry out the sanding as the first step, to ensure that you get things started off on the right footing.
The floor sanding process takes place in different levels. For the initial passes on the floor, coarse grit levels are used- even as low as 20-36 grit sandpaper. This is because the goal at this point is simply to grind away the existing layers of treatment. There are precautions that are taken before this is handled. For instance, any nails or screw heads that are sticking out of the floor need to be driven deeper into the wood to prevent them from damaging the sanders that are being used. Even the direction of motion comes into play. This is to avoid issues like swirl marks. The pace also factors in, in order to ensure that sections of the surface don’t get sanded more than the adjacent ones.
The floor sanding proceeds to the finer grits, which remove any scratches that may have been formed with the initial sanding passes, and also gets rid of any leftover finish that is on the floor. The edgers are also worked on with edger sanders, to ensure that the entire area is ready for the next stage. Cracks and gaps are resolved using a mixture of filler and the sand generated from the process, that way the result will retain the properties of the rest of the flooring. The grit levels progress to finer paper, with focus being to remove scratches and minor blemishes that are on the surface. The specific final grit will depend on the particular state of the floor, with some cases calling for even 100 grit paper and above. The floor sanding is labour intensive, and requires the use of heavy machinery. It’s is recommended that you hire professional services for the task, to avoid making mistakes that will ruin your installation. What’s more, the professionals also utilise systems that control the dust generated during the process, making the task less messy and reducing the time that will be needed to get to the next stage.
- The treatment process
Here, the products that are applied are based on the particular installation, and the desires of the property owner. For instance, if there is a specific colour scheme that is desired, wood stains come in to provide it. On the other hand, there are those who choose to go with the natural colour of the wood, hence they proceed to the rest of the finishing process. Primers may also need to be applied to prepare the bare wood for the treatment that will be used. Generally, there are two kinds of finishes: water-based and oil-based. Even with these, there are various types of finishes that can be obtained, from gloss and semi-gloss, to those with a satin finish. For the water-based finishes, they tend to have a clear result, lightly accenting the colour of the underlying wood. They also dry fast, a feature that allows you to apply the finish and sleep within the same room that very night. With the oil-based finishes, fewer coats of application will be required, and give the wood a rich glow. However, the room will be out of commission for slightly longer, and will be needed to be aerated due to the vapours that will be produced. Once dry, both types of finishes offer good protection to the floor, making it last for longer. There are those who opt for hardwax oil, whose strength features in resisting humidity- like in bathrooms and kitchens where there are high moisture levels.
Caring For Your Wood Floor
While the wood itself has a durable structure, and the finishes applied offer additional protection, you will still need to carry out the routine cleaning. Note that you should only damp mop the floor. Working with lots of water will negatively affect the flooring. Avoid using hot water as well, since it will weaken the lustre of the finish. You should also avoid using steel wool- even when tempted to as you deal with the stubborn stains. The steel wool will create scratches on the floor. Investing in mats, such as walk-off maters at the entrance into the building, will reduce the amount of soiling that is getting tracked onto the floor.