Top 4 Floor Sanding And Refinishing Mistakes
The floor sanding industry sees its fair share of mishaps and accidents. Some result in improperly prepping of the surface- which ruins the quality of the results when the finish coats are applied later on, while others lead to outright damage of the wood floor. Lots of time and money goes into resolving the issues- where the situation calls for a complete overhaul of the freshly applied treatments- where the floor needs to be sanded down again and the process repeated, or for those cases where there are damaged floorboards that will need to be replaced. The mistakes are highly prevalent amongst the DIY enthusiasts, and also for those cases where the property owner hires a rookie company for the task. Here is a look at some of the most frequently reported mistakes, and what they lead to:
– Using the wrong sandpaper grit
Grit sequence is critical for the sanding process. This follows through from the coarse and medium grit, to completing the process with the fine grit. The grit that one starts with depends on the condition of the flooring. Usually, 36 girt suffices but there are cases where one works with grits as low as 24 or even 12. One then moves progressively through the grits. A common DIY mistake is skipping them. Here, it results in scratches that are left behind. While these blemishes appear minuscule during the sanding, after the finishes are applied, these sections will form accumulation points for the products that the floor will be treated with, ruining the aesthetic appeal.
– Sanding unevenly
One of the goals of the floor sanding process is to ensure that the resultant surface is flat and smooth, for a uniform effect with the finish coats that will be applied later on. However, when the DIYer works with an uneven sanding rhythm, it is bound to reflect in the floorboards. For instance, by sanding too slowly in some sections, or simply staying on one spot for far too long, then you end up grinding too much into the wood, which forms a dip on the floor- shaped like the sander itself. These depressions can be many all over the surface- depending on how often the mistake was made. Then there are those cases where one is working on tricky sections- like the corners. This calls for one to operate at odd angles. The rented sanders are usually cumbersome for dealing with these scenarios, increasing the risk of uneven sanding.
When the floorboards themselves are uneven, it will also be reflected in the motion of the sander, causing waves to form. Gouges, chatter marks, and those unsightly circular patterns on the floor- these are not issues that you want to witness on your installation. The powerful equipment that is used by the professional floor sanding teams allows them to effectively deal with the imperfections, smoothening them out in order to end up with an even surface that will be ready for the finish coats to be applied.
– Rushing through the clean-up
After the sanding, the dust that is left behind needs to be got rid of. With the rented machines used for the DIY jobs, this dust is usually in huge quantities, which increases the workload. You’re already tired, having just come from hours of sweating through the task in a dust-filled room- and a monstrous cleaning job is not what you’re looking forward to. However, the dust needs to be got rid of before the next stage of applying the finish coats can proceed. First, cleaning the mess on the surfaces allows you to ensure that the finishes that will be applied appropriately, and judge the aesthetic appeal of the coats from one layer to the next. However, there is the issue of the drifting dust. Those particles that remain suspended in the air, and others that are on the surrounding surfaces and light fixtures- these will gradually drop to the floor, creating a new problem. The dust particles get trapped in the new lacquer or varnish coats that have been applied, forming imperfections. These ruin the final result of the refinishing process.
In order to effectively control the dust that is generated during the process, professionals utilise dustless floor sanding machinery. Here, the sanders are connected to industrial-grade vacuum systems that deliver a high suction power, picking up the dust particles immediately they are chipped off the floor. This process is so thorough that 99% of the dust is captured before it gets a chance to escape into the interior space, and it is ferried through hoses into containment units, from where it will be safely disposed of. This is particularly handy in reducing the workload when it comes to the cleaning that will be carried out after the sanding process- while also making the process safer for the contractors and occupants in the building, by drastically reducing the amount of dust that gets into the airspace.
– Improper stain and finish application
There is a wide range of products to work with when it comes to the finishing itself. From the wood stains, the sealants that are used to increase resistance to moisture penetration into the wood, lacquers and varnishes- they come in a wide assortment of brands names as well. The different products have their application instructions, including aspects such as dilution ratios, and the curing times that are meant to be observed. These need to be followed to the letter. Issues such as simply applying too many coats of the product, or not applying adequate drying time in between subsequent applications- these will ruin the quality of the results. Certainly, before the application itself, the wood surface should have already been properly sanded. When the previous stain is not completely removed, then cases of peeling finish result, since the new coats will be prevented from properly adhering to the wood itself. Safety measures need to be observed as well, especially when working with the solvents that release vapours into the indoor air space.