When You Need A New Finish For Your Wood Floor
Hardwood floors exude elegance in any home. Their natural look and feel, the unique character and hue that sets the premises apart from the rest, a wide range of finishes available to customise the final aesthetics to match your particular decor preferences – it all contributes to the popularity of these installations. However, as the years go by, that beautiful finish gets worn down. This is due to the loads of usage that it handles from the foot traffic, pets, spills, heavy furniture on it, all through to issues like the sun’s radiation affecting the finish coats that have been applied, as well as the lignin of the wood itself. You don’t want to remain with a deteriorated floor. Fortunately, with these installations, you can have them restored by getting the floor sanded to remove the old finishes, and then fresh coats are applied.
Knowing When It’s Time To Sand And Recoat Your Floor
Not every floor has to be sanded. Remember that this is a maintenance measure that can only be done a few times for each installation (a maximum of 3 times for engineered wood floors, up to 7 or 10 times for solid wood floors depending on the kind of installation). There are four main levels of floor care:
- Cleaning, which is done routinely
- Top coating and buffing, where an extra coat is added to the existing finish, and the surface buffed to achieve the desired aesthetic effect
- Floor sanding and restoration, where the existing finish is removed and the bare wood exposed, allowing for a fresh new treatment to be applied
- Replacement, where the damage is so extensive that a total overhaul is needed.
The extent of the damage that the floor has received, coupled with the thickness of the wear layer, will determine if it can be successfully sanded. Particular signs to watch out for include:
- Lots of scratches and dents
A few scathes can be ignored or quickly buffed out. However, if the floor is covered in them, with some even being deep enough to allow moisture to get to the bare wood, then is a sign that the current finish coats need to be removed and the surface recoated. Sanding also evens up the surface, getting rid of the dents that had been formed.
These are common when the floor sees heavy usage, and are actually a threat to the safety of the persons on the premises. When the wear and tear results in splinters being formed, then this needs to be addressed urgently.
- Grey surface
Has the wood floor gradually turned grey? This is a typical sign of the polyurethane treatment getting worn out to the extent of allowing more moisture to be absorbed by the wood. While the floor is still grey, you can still have it sanded and refinished. However, if ignored, this colour change will continue and the floorboards will become black, a sign that they now need to be replaced.
- Water test
You can conduct a simple test to assess the condition of the finish. Simply take a tablespoon of water and pour it onto the surface of the floor. If the water beads up, then the finish is still strong. However, if the water gets quickly absorbed into the floor, then it’s time for the floor to be restored.
- The period since the last round of sanding and refinishing
With a strong finish treatment on the floor, it can stay for long periods before it needs to be restored. Proper cleaning, as well as the occasional top coating help in maintaining the surface in optimal condition. Over, if 10 years have already passed since the finish coats were applied, then the floor definitely needs to be refinished.
Floor Sanding And Refinishing Done Professionally
The floor restoration project is not a walk in the park. For starters, the floor is one of the largest structures in the premises, and any damages made on it during the restoration will be costly to repair. Secondly, the existing finish coats, even though they are old, still need equipment that packs a punch to be able to effectively grind them away, and smoothen out the bare wood surface underneath. Care also needs to be taken during the sanding, since going too deep into the wood will weaken it, and reduce the number of times that the floor can be successfully restored in future. What about getting the equipment? Different units are needed, from the drum sanders and orbital sanders, to the edgers, as well as sanding paper of different grit levels to match the needs of the particular floor. The high-capacity machinery used by the floor sanding professionals is mostly to purchase, so most DIYers end up renting them from dealership stores. An extra layer of expenses is added here, as well as the costs that pop up in the event that the equipment is damaged, since you will foot the bill. It can be due to mishandling the sanders, all through to simple oversights like not noticing a nail head that was on the floor, which ends up damaging the sanding belt going over it. The dust is also an issue to contend with, since the particles can end up covering the different appliances and surfaces in the household, get into vents and sockets, and the fine particles remain airborne for days or weeks, posing health risks to the persons in the premises. Not only are the particles abrasive, damaging the respiratory system once inhaled, but remember that they are also a mixture of the chemicals that were used when treating the floor – and exposure to this puts the household members at risk of a wide range of effects.
By hiring professional floor sanding and refinishing services, you get to avoid the risks involved with the process, and wind up with quality results. The amount of time that the restoration project takes is drastically cut down, minimising the disruption in your premises. Ensure that you engage with an insured contractor, that way your property and the personnel carrying out the task are covered, and you won’t be exposed to liabilities during the task.