Why Professional Floor Sanding Is Better Than DIY
Are you a DIY enthusiast? Taking on those projects at home is quite thrilling. You pick up new skills, get the excitement of taking on a challenge and accomplishing it, and save money in the process. With lots of blogs available, and video tutorials to walk you through different projects, DIY jobs are popular, and home renovation has not been left behind. You get to tackle various aspects to your own particular liking, and burn off some calories while at it. However, there are some projects where going the DIY route is more of a hassle than they are worth, and are thus best left to the pros – the likes of floor sanding.
There are numerous horror stories of DIY floor sanding jobs gone wrong. It usually boils down to two reasons: not having sufficient skill, and lacking proper equipment. In fact, it is quite rare to find a person who has given the floor sanding a go choosing to do it a second time. It is a time-consuming job that takes loads of elbow grease, and there are so many risks involved that it ends up becoming a daunting task. Actually, it’s common to find DIYer giving up midway and calling in the experts to take over – and usually this is after the floor has been damaged quite a bit.
Sure, there is the lure of savings, especially when you have a limited budget. However, as it turns out, the costs that go into the DIY process, from sourcing the equipment to rectifying damages that have been meted out onto the floor – these end up burning through the savings and adding extra expenses on top. Let’s delve into the disadvantages of the DIY floor sanding process:
The difference between a professionally sanded floor and one worked on as a DIY project will be visible. Sanding is a skill that takes time to learn, and years to sharpen. Handling the sanders, the direction to follow when making the passes over the floor, how to prevent swirl marks and chatter marks, what to do when you encounter uneven surfaces, grit levels to start and end with, the appropriate grit sequence to follow based on the particular softwood or hardwood floor, the pace of moving the sanders over the surface – they all come into focus. Remember that the role of the sanding is to prepare the surface for the treatment coats that will be applied onto it. Any imperfections that occur at the sanding stage will be highlighted prominently when the finish coats are applied.
A common novice error is failing to sufficiently sand the surface – such as when the sander is passed too quickly over the floor, perhaps in a bid to prevent it from sanding too much into the wood. However, in the process patches of the old finish and stain remain on the surface. These will prevent the new treatments from penetrating evenly into the wood – resulting in a blotchy appearance. The remedy in this case is carrying out another floor sanding to remove the coats that have been applied, meaning the process starts again from scratch.
Even the quality of the equipment affects the results. The industrial-grade machinery that the professionals use is much more expensive to purchase and maintain compared to the rental units that are available at the local dealerships. Take their capacities for instance. While sanders being rented typically operate at 110V, the professional machines go over 220V. This means that you will already be at a disadvantage. What’s more, while the professionals invest in the proper maintenance of their machines, this is not always the case for the equipment available for rent, which may even have been damaged over time by amateurs handling them. Malfunctioning equipment will have a direct impact on the quality of the final results.
With a DIY floor sanding job, the task ends up taking longer. This is attributed to the reduced skill level, and the lower capacity of the machinery used. Given that the sanding is the first stage of the restoration process, the delays that are witnessed here cause it to take longer to continue with the rest of the process. While a professional crew can handle over 1000 square feet of surface in a day, a DIYer can end up taking even 4 days for a similar scope of work – and even longer if there are hitches in the process.
Some blunders will weaken the floor’s structural integrity and reduce its lifespan, and others will outright call for the floorboards themselves to be replaced. For instance, when one moves the sander slowly over the surface, the machine ends up grinding deeper than desired into the floor. Remember that the number of times that the floor can be sanded and refinished in future will depend on the thickness of the wear layer. When there is excessive sanding, this will undoubtedly decrease, meaning that the floorboards will need to be replaced much sooner than had been anticipated. Issues like working with a sander that is not properly tuned will accelerate the damage to the floor. Even oversights like turning on the sander while the drum is still in contact with the surface – which causes it to spin on the spot, will require more sanding to be carried out to even out the area with the adjacent sections, further weakening the floor.
Using the equipment appropriately takes skill. This encompasses everything from the setup, to how the different types of sanders are used for the different situations. From belt and drum sanders to the orbitals and the edgers – they each have their intended mode of usage, and incorrect application can damage component parts. Even mistakes like forgetting to drive those exposed screwheads and nails into the wood floor before beginning the sanding process can cause the sanding belt to get damaged as you pass the unit over the surface. With the rented machines, the cost of repair will be on you, further leading to the increase in expenses.