When The Floor Should Be Refinished
Unlike other flooring options with wood floors, you get to give your installation a fresh start without having to rip out the boards. Through the floor sanding process, those old coats and treatments that had been applied are removed, exposing the bare wood. New wood stains, sealants and lacquers can then be applied, heralding a new beginning for your floor. However, there is a limit to how many times a particular floor can be sanded and refinished. This will be determined by the thickness of the wear layer. Actually, one of the reasons why it is recommended that one hires a professional for the tasks is to avoid sanding away too much of the wear layer, in order for you to have sufficient wood tissue to work with for future refinishing tasks. Let’s take a look at different situations when floors are sanded:
- Routine Maintenance
Due to the beating that floors take on over time – from foot traffic, the sun’s radiation, those stains that wind up on it, intense scrubbing session when you encounter stubborn dirt spots – these wear down the finish coats. After a few years, depending on how strong the lacquers and varnishes used were, plus the amount of traffic handled by the floor, a sanding and refinishing will be required. How can you tell when this is due?
This is a handy test that you can use to assess the condition of the floor finish, and whether it is time for the sanding and refinishing to be carried out. Pour a couple of drops of water on the floor, particularly on those areas that have begun to visibly wear out. A tablespoonful of water should be enough. Observe what happens. If the water droplets pool together, not seeping into the floor immediately, then the finish is still in good condition. However, if you see that the water has readily seeped into the wood, then you should refinish it.
Other signs that the floor is due for a sanding and refinishing include:
This is usually caused by sunlight, and the most affected areas will be the floor sections that are close to the windows. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation will have different effects based on the type of wood species involved, and the surface treatments that have been applied. In most cases, it will result in fading right at the wood tissue/ For the finish coats, there are those that develop a yellow hue with prolonged exposure. Whichever the case, fix the issue by having the floor sanding done, and a fresh wood stain and finish coats applied.
- Greying floor
While this is usually assumed to be a sign of aging, it is actually due to minor water damage – which can quickly get out of hand if ignored. It all stems from the surface finish deteriorating, which enables moisture to get to the wood. This can be water from splashes, mopping action, or even high levels of indoor air humidity. When the water and wood combine, oxidation occurs, leading to the greying colouration that forms. Floor sanding and refinishing will rectify the situation, setting the preferred hue and décor of the space. However, when the refinishing is put off, then the floor will continue changing colour, eventually turning black. At this point, the only recourse will be replacing the floor, which will end up costing you far much more in the process.
- Deep scratches
The occasional scratches are bound to happen, especially with the amount of traffic that floors handle. A few scratches on the surface are nothing to lose sleep over. However, when the scratches become excessive to a point that you can’t ignore then, then it is time to have the floor refinished. Deep scratches in the particles, where they have got through the wood stain and exposed the bare wood underneath, are particularly problematic because they increase the chances of water damage. This is as they provide an entry point for water to directly get into the wood. Sanding the floor and having a protective sealant applied will prolong the life of the installation.
Sometimes you simply want to give your house a new look. Changing the wall paper, having the cabinet fixed up, getting surfaces repainted – different factors come into play. When giving your home a facelift, what about the floor? You don’t want that new look being ruined by old stains dotting the floor surface, or scratches all over the installation. Having the floor refinished as part of the process will complete that new look, enhancing the elegance of your home.
It is time to sell the house? Or perhaps you’re a realtor preparing the residential space for new treatments or buyers. Whichever the case, the floor will need to be in proper condition to attract interested parties, and justify the premiums charged on the place. A properly maintained wood floor increases the real estate vale of the home, and a floor sanding and refinishing will ensure that those checking out the property will be impressed by its condition.
What about nails peeking through the floor?
Let’s first be clear on one thing: this is not a standalone sign. The contractor assessing the floor should not use it as the only reason to suggest that the sanding is carried out, since there are multiple reasons why the nails heads can be sticking out of the floor. For instance, it can be due to movement in the foundation that affects the planks of wood, or as a result of the seasonal cupping or crowning of the floorboards due to cyclic changes of temperature and humidity.
Nails peeking through the floor are a hazard, with the risk of stubbing a toe or socks getting snagged in them. When you notice one or two nail heads sticking from the floor, this should not send you into panic mode. Simply hammering them back into the floor will provide a temporary fix. The nail heads will lift again before long – and these can be removed and replaced with trim screws if needed. The end result will be to replace the boards themselves.