Why Wood Floors Finishes Deteriorate
After some time, the elegance that wood floors are known for begins dissipating, requiring it to be sanded and recoated. Why is this? Let’s take a look at the factors that affect the flooring – some caused by human error, and others simply natural progression of life with day-to-day usage of the floor.
This is typically seen during the DIY and rookie floor sanding job, such as when one moves the sander too fast over the surface, or the sander simply was not powerful enough to properly sand through the old coats and get to the bare wood. The purpose of the sanding process is to clear the way for the new treatments that are to follow, enabling them to bond with the wood itself. When there are patches that remain, the treatments that will be coated onto the floor will react differently with the affected spots compared to the rest of the flooring. This results in unsightly colour variations and weak protection from the finish coats, meaning that you will be forced to repeat the sanding and restoration process much sooner than had been anticipated.
The instructions on the product label of the floor finishing product need to be followed to the letter, and this especially includes the drying time between each consecutive coat being applied. The timings vary, with some water-based finishes allowing you to add topcoats in as little as 4 hours, and oil-based finishes occasionally require over 12 hours of drying time. It’s not just about the periods in between the coats. After the floor has been worked on, don’t be in a rush to resume normal usage of the room. The recommended duration is usually 24 hours, though with some water-based finishes you can resume light traffic within the same day that it has been applied. There isn’t a one-rule-for-all here. One needs to strictly adhere to the instructions that come with the particular product.
This is another blunder that is often made by rookie contractors and DIYers. For the coats to bond with each other, they need to be compatible. Brands usually have a list of products that can be used with the various formulations, from the wood stains to the lacquers and varnishes. Oversights like applying a water-based finish on top of the oil-based stain on the very same day that the stain has been applied will result in a ruined outcome. When incompatible products are used, the finish ends up peeling, and the only thing that can be done to rectify the situation is re-sanding the wood floor and applying fresh new cats.
- Pets’ claws
Claws – both cats and dogs – are some of the most common causes of scratches on the floor. As your furry friends run around the house, they draw out their claws to give them traction. This, while being a natural phenomenon, unfortunately ends up leaving the wood numerous scratches. Finishes applied to the floor increase the resistance against the scratching, but over time those imperfections will become too numerous to ignore. One of the measures that pet owners take to reduce the scratches is trimming the claws of the furry little guys.
- Everyday soiling
The dirt and grime accumulating on the wood floor is not just unsightly, but also a threat to the surface itself. This is especially with the gritty soiling particles. They may appear harmless, but when they are ground against the surface of the floor under people’s shoes as they walk on them, it results in an abrasive effect akin to using sandpaper on the wood. This effect becomes more pronounced over time, especially with the highly trafficked sections of the floor having a different, dull appearance compared to the rest of the sections, such as those under the tables and furniture. This is bound to happen, though treating the wood floor with quality finish will ward off the effects, coupled with a routine cleaning program to get rid of the grime that is the source of the problem.
- Solar radiation
The sunlight streaming through the open windows can have an effect on the finish coats that have been applied, such as the dreaded yellowing effect. Here, the finish colour changes from its illustrious state and develops a yellow hue over time. This is why you will find many floor finishes nowadays being formulated to be “non-yellowing”.
Give Your Wood Floor A Fresh Start
With wood floor sanding, you get a chance at a new beginning – but only for a couple of times. Basically, through this process the old layers of finish are ground off the floor, and allowing new coats to be applied. You can take this opportunity to recoat the floor with the original products to maintain your style, or change things up with different wood stains and finishes.
Floor sanding is not exactly a walk in the park. In fact, out of the entire floor restoration project, it is the most laborious. From manoeuvring around the building with heavy machinery, to sweating it out in dust-filled rooms – this is definitely not how you want your free days from work to go. Avoid the hassle of the DIY process and bring in the pros for the task. The industrial-grade machinery used cuts down the amount of time taken for the project. What’s more, it’s recommended that you engage a company that offers dustless floor sanding services, since it makes the process much smoother, reducing your cleaning workload and enabling the rest of the finishing task to be carried out sooner.
How many times a floor can be sanded will depend on the thickness of the wear layer. A common mistake made by DIYers and rookie contractors is sanding away too much of the wear layer, which has the effect of reducing the lifespan of the installation, since you will end up being forced to replace the boards much sooner. Hiring professionals for the task will ensure that the proper measures are followed, to give you the most out of the floor sanding and renovation project.