When It’s Time To Give Your Wood Floor A Fresh Start
Every wood floor is bound to need some touching up through the course of its life in the building. The normal wear and tear that is witnessed on it gradually ruins the appeal of the installation, affecting the rest of the décor. The finish coats that have been applied dull, and some even change colour due to interaction with UV radiation from the sun. Speaking of UV rays, it even affects the wood tissue itself, causing fading in some and darkening in others. Scratches are common, created on the floor surface by furniture being dragged across it, casters- especially for the case of those with metal wheels, pet’s claws as the furry members of the family dash around the rooms with their claws drawn out- the resultant look and feel makes the space appear chaotic. As the finish deteriorates, it reaches a point where not even the most thorough scrubbing will revitalize it. Occasionally, the gloss level can be restored by polishing the surface, but even that can only be done for a limited number of times before a complete overhaul is needed. Fortunately, in this case the ‘overhaul’ does not mean replacing the boards themselves. A floor sanding and refinishing will bring a fresh new look and feel to your installation.
Here, powerful sanders are used to grind the layer of the existing finish, getting to the bare wood underneath. Blemishes- like scratches and cracks are also addressed, such as by using filler products that are mixed with the sanding dust for uniformity of the properties of the wood floor. The surface is then smoothened- but not too smooth such that the finish coats won’t be able to adhere to it. It is left just smooth enough, with the opened pores, to allow the wood stains, lacquers or varnishes that will be used to bond strongly with the structure.
Refinishing the floor
After the floor sanding has been completed, the next step will be to treat the wood floor. For this, the surface needs to be clean. The dust generated from the previous stages is vacuumed and cleaned off, and the surface allowed to dry. Speaking of which, going for the dustless floor sanding services enables you to cut down the amount of time spent on this section. With the bulk of the dust being removed in the course of the sanding itself, you won’t be left with a monstrous clean-up job, allowing you to proceed with the rest of the floor treatment much sooner.
For those who intend to change the colour of the floor, wood stains can be applied. These products come in a myriad of hues, allowing the property owner to have the effect that accentuates their style, be it showcasing their personality in their home, or giving the business premises a professional image. For the finishes, there are two main kinds of options available: water-based and oil-based finishes. They both offer enhanced protection to the flooring. By increasing the wear-resistance and water-resistance of the surface, your unit gets to be protected for longer. One of the main differences between the two types of finishes is the appearance. Water-based finishes mainly focus on accentuating the character of wood, and making that natural look and feel more prominent. The underlying aspects- from the wood grain, to the colour, get to be enhanced through the clear finish. On the other hand, for oil-based finishes, they have an amber hue, that darkens over time. This adds to the aesthetic appeal of the installation, giving more depth and a rich glow to the wood. When it comes to the application, usually only one or two coats of the oil-based finish are ruined, while for the water-based alternatives one may need to apply several coats- up to 4. For the drying, water-based polyurethanes dry fast- even under 6 hours after the last coat has been applied- meaning that you can treat the floor and sleep in the same room that night. However, for the oil-based finishes, a drying time of at least 24 hours will need to be allowed.
Taking Care Of Your Floor After The Sanding And Refinishing
After the treatment process, you want to keep your floor looking elegant for longer. It would be a shame to have gone through the entire process, only for the installation to be covered in a swarth of scratches and stains just a coupled of months later, or for the finish to dull because of not being taken care of properly. There are various measures that should be taken, including:
- Vacuuming without a turning beater bar. Ensure that the vacuum cleaners attachments will not damage the wood floor as you carry on with the vacuuming. Rolling brushes that come in handy when vacuuming carpets will actually lead to scratching of the wood. Switching off the brush, thus preventing it from spinning as you vacuum, will protect the wood.
- Steering clear of oil soaps and furniture polishes. These have the negative effect of increasing the build up on the floor, becoming a large dirt magnet that causes the surface to get soiled at a faster rate.
- Avoiding vinegar or ammonia-based products for the cleaning. While these are popular formulations for other cleaning tasks around the household, they’re not recommended for wood floors. They will break down the finish coats that have been applied, ruining the appearance and exposing the underlying floor to more damage.
- Avoiding steam mops, which tend to push water down into the floor. This leads to the finish bubbling up, especially when the water gets under it- which will need another round of refinishing to resolve.
- Using mats at the entry doors- from the front door, the one leading in from the garage, and the door providing access from the backyard. This gives persons walking into the building the opportunity to wipe off the gunk that is under their shoes, preventing it from getting tracked onto the floor. It’s also recommended that you place a mat at the sink, to catch the water splashes and protect the underlying floor. Note that the mats would be allowed to air dry, since leaving them soaking with water while on the wood floor will defeat the purpose of having them there in the first place.