So you moved into a this new home of yours and have just finished the floor with hardwood floor planks. They look so beautiful as ever and are as elegant as the ones you see at your rich friend’s home. Yes hardwood floors make a house look elegant and beautiful; in fact they arguably increase the value of a home by a certain percentage. All of these are true but what happens after you start using the new house and the new floor? Over the years, you start to notice wears here and there on the floor, especially if you have pets clawing at the floor from time to time. If you are the type that is always allowing visitors and guests to visit you constantly, the wear will be noticeable even to your visitors. The one so elegant floor will now turn into a floor you have to cover with carpet or rug here and there because you don’t want your visitors to notice the damages you have on your floor.
Well, no need to panic anymore or feel embarrassed for your floor any more. You only need to follow the steps analyzed in this article and get the glory of your floor back. Your floor that used to get your friends coming to your home can, once again, bring them back to your home. You only need to refinish the floor and you will be fine. But then you may ask how is refinishing carried out and what is refinishing itself?
Hardwood Refinishing simply mean finishing again. Well that’s literarily as it can get. In better terms, refinishing involves sanding (scrubbing with hard rough materials or sand papers) a hardwood floor to remove the first top layer called finish that is on top of the floor planks until bare wood is seen, and then re applying a new top layer coat to make the floor look brand new again.
You should note that if your hardwood floor has only a few scratches and not any serious damage, it is best to simply recoat and not refinish. Recoating simply mean adding a coat or 2 of the top layer where the scratched are seen and not sanding the whole planks down to bare wood. Whether your hardwood floor has a top finish or not, in as much as the damage to it is reasonably visible, you will need to sand it down to bare wood for ease of bonding. You should be well aware of the fact that if your floor is under a serious damage and the planks are broken or bent, refinishing will no t save you or bring back your beautiful floor with magic wand. No! What you need to do in this case is to remove broken planks, straighten bent planks and then replace all the damaged planks, fix them in position and fasten them, then you can refinish.
The basic steps to refinishing your hardwood floor are:
1. CHECK THE FLOOR FOR THE DAMAGE
The firsts step to take when carrying out a refinish work is to take time to study and know without doubt the type of hardwood the floor is made from. If it is an engineered hardwood floor, it is best you stop because they only have a thin veneer of about 1mm thick at the top and so if you start sanding, you will peel off the veneer and you will not see bare wood underneath, except for composite materials. If the hardwood floor is made from Oak wood, then the refinishing will be a lot easier to get over with but if it is made out of pine wood, then you will work greatly to get the surface and finish you want to coat.
Check to see if the floor has been refinished several times. One of the best way to know is if the floor is old. An old floor like that that’s has received refinishing several times will not be able to hold refinishing for too long any longer because every time refinishing has been carried out on the floor, a lot of the wood must have been sanded away. If you check the wood available and see the head of nail or it is so thin, then do not sand such an old floor, simply try to see if you can remove the top layer with a chemical and then you can refinish, if it is must by the home owner.
2. SANDING PREPARATIONS
Get your sand paper right and handle the floor with as much aggression as you can because sanding hardwood floor is not so easy a task. If the floor has not been sanded for a long time, you might well be as aggressive as you can with it and make sure you use a 36 bit sand paper. But if the floor is covered more than once or it is painted, you may want to use 16 bit sand paper so as to go faster and rougher.
You will need to take care of the cracks in the floor before starting to. Also make sure you clean the floor and remove all debris b sweeping and dry mopping it.
These two steps are the first 2 steps to be taken in refinishing your hardwood floor.
I will continue the next 2 steps in the second part of this article titled ” A guide to Refinishing Hardwood Floors 1
”. We will then get to learn more about how to refinish, what type of finish to use and if refinishing is truly worth it.
3. SAND THE FLOOR
Begin sanding from the centre of the room and then make sure your sanding ends by the edge. A room or apartment that has received many visitors will have a huge top finish build up at the edges, so you will want to use a highly coarse grade sand paper with your edger but on your first pass, you should try using a drum sander. You will also need a respiratory mask while sanding because there will be a lot dust flying everywhere in the room where you are working. Make sure you sand along the grain unless the floor is totally damaged that grain are almost invisible. Remember to use your safety gear because splinters will fly around in the room and you don’t want to get hurt badly. Replace sanding belt any time it clogs and ensure to go over each area at least twice. Your first sanding pass will be to remove the finish that is on top of the hardwood floor. The second sanding pass will be to remove remaining finish on the floor. You can make use of the 80 grit sand paper in the second pass while the third sanding pass is the final and it is to even out remaining scratches on the floor. A 100 grit sand paper can be used in the third sanding pass
4. CHOOSE AND APPLY FINISH
An oil based finish is usually a great finish with a warm glow. This satin finish will hide a lot of imperfections in the work and also make the floor grains appear boldly. The only bad side is that it gives off toxic fumes which can be very harmful to health. So if you are to make use of this type of finish, the best thing to do is to allow for a proper ventilation into the room where the floor has been refinished.
The water based finish on the other hand dries out well and does not give any toxic fume that may harm anyone.. It requires little maintenance and it resists yellowing of the floor as well. There is another option of waxing the top surface or applying natural oil.
Apply the finish to the edges of the room first by using a bristle brush and ensure to keep the layers even and thin.
Use a lambswool applicator for the main area of the room if you are using oil based finish while a paint roller will do for a water based finish. Start from an edge that is a bit far away from the door so that you don’t get caught inside after work is done. Bend all brush mark into the floor with a foam applicator while the work is still wet and allow the finish to dry for about a day before you add a second coat. Although water based finish dries out quicker than a day, it is still best to leave it for a day at least. Check if the grains have not been raised, and if they have, gently sand them back in position before you apply the second coat. Remember to remove all dust from the room before applying the second coat. Upon applying the second coat, leave the room to dry for 7 days or less before occupants can start using it again.
RECOAT WITHOUT SANDING?
Yes, it will be a very wasteful idea to refinish a room or an entire house simply because there are 2 or 3 scratches on the floor. In fact it is a waste of money. The best thing to do in such a situation is to simply recoat the affected floor. If your floor is a waxed floor, it is best to remove the entire wax from the floor because if coated with the wax, there will be bubbles that will make the floor look terrible. If you check the floor very well and after assessing it, you can see that the damage has eaten deep down into the wood itself, then, refinishing with proper sanding is the way to go.
COST OF REFINISHING HARDWOOD FLOORS
Usually it costs between $2-$5 per square foot if the job is handled by a professional. The company handling the work can also increase or decrease the charge as the case may be. Other factors that can cause increment or decrement in the price includes the type of wood, the quality of the finishing you are to use, the number of coats of finishing to be applied and several other factors. You should bear in mind that the removal of furniture and other properties available in the working space may have to be paid floor or may be done for free, depending on who is handling the work. You can even save a lot of money by hiring a professional to only sand your floor you and you can buy and apply the finish coatings by yourself
Is Refinishing Worth It?
Well, as a hardwood floor user, it is not advisable to pass the advice to refinish your floor. Apart from the fact that refinishing hardwood floors restore the old glory of the floor and bring back its lost beauty, it will also protect the floor for so many years against wear and tear of everyday use. Without refinishing, which is a type of hardwood floor maintenance, you will definitely end up with a totally worn out and damaged hardwood floor that will either be totally replaced or partly replaced. As I said, it is a form of maintenance and therefore hardwood floors must be refinished as regularly as possible to maintain its beauty, restore its glory and extend its life. Always remember that a gorgeous floor is a part of a great house. Hardwood floors add value to your house but when it is damaged, it reduces the value of your house. And whether you are planning to sell the house or keep it forever, proper maintenance of the hardwood floor will help make the house look gorgeous, inviting, and also sellable.