Why Floor Sanding Is Best Left To The Pros
Given that DIY projects are all the rage, it’s no surprise that many have attempted to sand and refinish their floors themselves. However, it’s rare to find them choosing to do it a second time. Why? Well, not only is it one of the most laborious and time-consuming projects, but it also usually results in low-quality results – plus it’s not exactly fun to spend days sweating it out in dust-filled rooms. Sure, it starts out with a desire to save on money and get the thrill of completing a home improvement project on your own, but floor sanding is actually one of the most difficult of them, and the costs that are incurred when rectifying damages far outweigh the savings that would have been made. Let’s take a look at the problems that come with the DIY floor sanding.
- The results won’t be as desired
The results from a professionally done project and one that is DIY are leagues apart. This usually comes down to two reasons: skill and equipment. For the skill, learning it from blogs and YouTube tutorials does not equal the training that the professionals go through, as well as their years of experience. If it is your first time handling the sanding job, you’ll be at a considerable disadvantage. The professionals themselves take months to refine their skills – and they have access to much more powerful and finely tuned equipment. When novices are sanding the floors and fail to achieve a proper and smooth surface, the stains and finishes that are to be applied later on will not penetrate the wood floor evenly, resulting a blotchy look. What’s more if the finish coats don’t adhere properly to the floor, they will end up peeling.
Let’s face it – the industrial-grade floor sanding machinery is expensive, and you’re not likely to find it available for rent at the local dealerships. It is also costly to maintain, and cumbersome to move around, yet the dealership’s priority is getting equipment that can be rented by numerous people. So, they go for the lighter and more portable units, which deliver less power and capacity for the job. For instance, while the professionals can be using 220V machines, the units that are available for rent typically a operate at 110V. This means that right from the word go, the cards are stacked against the DIYer. What’s more, having passed through multiple rookie hands, the rented machinery is likely to have got some components damaged, which all have a bearing on the final result. For instance, beat down sanders can easily leave chatter marks all over the floor, which will ruin the final result.
- Weak finishes
Due to the blunders made by the DIYer, the resultant failure of the finish treatments to bond properly with the wood floor cause the treatment to be weak. From improper sanding that left behind patches of old finish, failing to deal with the dust such that it ends up being trapped by the wet coats of treatment that are applied, failing to follow the proper process of applying the finish coats, even ignoring the drying time between subsequent coats – all this will lead to a weak finish, which will wear out fast. The floor sanding and refinishing ends up being required to be redone in around 3 years, as opposed to the decades that you would have waited with a professional job. This ends up costing you more money in the long run. Remember also that floors can only be sanded and refinished for a limited number of times. So, the more frequent the sanding due to a poor job being done in the first place, the less the wear layer that remains to allow for future restorations, reducing the lifespan of your wood floor, and soon the board themselves will need to be replaced.
- It takes far much longer
While the professional contractors can easily work through over 1,000 square feet of flooring per day, the average DIYer can take five days for a similar size of area. For the pros, this is their bread and butter, and they have invested heavily in the machinery and skilled teams for the task. They also have multiple residential and commercial establishments on their schedule, and have deadlines to meet to satisfy their clients. For a DIYer taking it on as a challenge, the process ends up dragging out for longer., which is also exasperating. For instance, in the initial stages there will be dramatic differences between the sections of the floor that have been sanded, and the rest of the floor that is yet to be worked on. However, as you progress through the grit sequence and to smoothen out the floor, the changes are much less visible – but you can’t rush through the grits. Even those tiny scratches that will be left behind will be highlighted more prominently when the final finish coats are applied. What’s more, after spending hours manoeuvring the drum sander over the open floor space, taking more time to work with the edger can seem to be a pain, which usually leads to DIYers rushing it, yet the same uniformity needs to be achieved.
What about the dust? Those particles being grinded off the floor can get everywhere in the house – on your countertops, in the sinks, covering the cabinets, and getting into the electrical sockets and vents, messing up the furniture and leaving you with a tough clean-up job. The sanders that are unavailable or rent usually come with dust bags, but these don’t have sufficient capacity to deal with the copious amounts of dust that are generated. What’s more, those light, lingering dust particles that are in the air can be recirculated in the home for weeks, putting the health of the household members at risk. On the other hand, professionals work with dustless floor sanding systems, which use powerful vacuums that extract the dust, capturing over 99% of the particles that are produced in the process.