Risks Associated With Wood Floor Sanding
When watching the professionals sand and recoat a floor, it looks easy. They move with speed, leave behind a uniform surface, and the wood’s structural integrity is maintained. It seems like it’s a walk in the park, right? Well, it really isn’t. Having undergone rigorous training, and coming with years of experience under their belt, the pros will definitely be more adept at handling the job, completing it in a fraction of the time that a rookie or DIYer would take. In fact, many of those who attempt the floor sanding job simply relying on the information available from blogs and online tutorials often end up giving up midway, and call in the professional sanders to take over and fix the mistakes that were made. Just what can go wrong during the sanding process? Let’s take a look at common issues that crop up.
Common Rookie Sanding Mistakes
- Improper grit sequence
The importance of a grit sequence is to ensure that the deep scratches of the initial sanding are removed as you progress to the finer grits. So, it’s coarse-medium-fine. The starting grit will depend on the condition of the floor, such as the amount of finish to be removed, and the scratches that are on it; and the final grit will be determined by the level of surface smoothness desired for optimal adhesion with the finish products to be applied.
Some DIYers and contractors, in a bid to “save time”, take huge leaps in the process, like skipping from 36-grit to 80-grit. The 80-grit sandpaper is not sufficient to remove the scratches and sanding marks that are obtained after using the 36-grit abrasive. This means that there will be imperfections on the surface, which will be highlighted more prominently when the finish coats are applied.
This usually leads to swirl marks being formed on the floor. For instance, the individual can start by screening a prominent area and create cuts that are too deep. When the wood stain or finish is applied, these sections will have unsightly swirl marks, sticking out from the floor. But how does one ensure that the scratch patterns will blend together? Well, when working with a new screen, they are usually rubbed together in order to knock off those hard edges. In addition, the individual should begin working right where they left off. One starts in a section of the floor that’s less prominent, then works toward the area where the previous pass had left off.
This is typically seen when using buffers or the person carrying out the job – be it a DIYer or a rookie contractor, wants to rectify imperfections that were caused by the previous sanding. Applying more pressure on the buffer for a more aggressive screening will cause the softwood grain to get dished out. This is moreso the case when using the buffer with a thick white pad, as opposed to using multi-disc sanders or working with a thin white pad. This leaves behind a surface that is heavily textured.
- Chatter marks
These can be caused by a number of things, such as when working on irregular floors. This can be attributed to issues like subfloor defections, where resolving the issue is a tall order, and a topic for another day. Let’s focus on causes that are directly attributed to sanding issues. Here, you have cases like using a sanding belt or drum that has a flat spot, the upper roller of the machine being worn out, or the bearings that are in a poor condition. The chatter marks will be an aesthetic nightmare, ruining the appeal of your floor. However, they can still be removed by sanding at a steeper angle than usual, or even bringing out larger machines like multi-disc sanders.
You don’t want to run these risks and incur the hefty repair bills and frustrations that follow. Avoid it all by hiring professionals for the task, who will adopt the required approach for your particular kind of flooring, and put in place safety measures to protect both the floor and the persons in the facility.
When hiring a professional floor sanding service, you get to benefit from the efficiency that results. Here, powerful machinery is used for the sanding. The industrial-grade units that professionals come with have greater capacities compared to the sanders that are rented out at the local dealerships. For instance, with the rented sanders operating at around 110V, the professionals can come with machines that clock over 220V. From the sanders to the vacuuming systems to pick up the dust, there will be more efficiency, enabling the task to be carried out within a fraction of the time that it would have taken for a DIY job. What’s more, the professionals put in place safety measures to protect the property – an aspect that may be skipped when one hires rookie contractors, as it is an additional expense that they may not be interested in incurring in order to protect their profit margins.
More on dealing with the dust: Given that it will be produced in copious quantities, it is recommended that one hires dustless floor sanding services. Here, the systems used have been specifically set up to capture 99% of the dust that is generated, which reduces the amount of cleaning that will be required, while also protecting the indoor air quality.
Since there are always risks of an accident – even when dealing with an already-established business, you want to be protected. This is where insurance coverage comes in. It’s an industry best practice that is pushed to ensure that both the floor sanding contractor and the client being attended to are covered in case of any accident occurring. Speaking of which, some companies choose to skip out on the insurance due to the pricy premiums, but in the process exposes the property owner to costly liabilities should anything go wrong. As such, it is one of the factors you should consider before hiring a floor sanding contractor to handle the project.