Restoring London Hardwood Floors
London homeowners who take pride in their hardwood floors sanding can bring back that ‘va-va-voom’ with restoration techniques that, depending upon the condition of the floor, may be done by the enthusiastic individual who has a smattering of DIY knowledge and a lot of passion for the task. With many London homes fortunate enough to have original hardwood flooring it is no wonder that householders wish to preserve their beautiful floor whenever possible.
If the floor is suffering from normal wear and tear, scuffs, light scratches and the like then it is probable that a householder who is physically fit can successfully undertake the restoration of a floor in this type of condition.
Preparing the way
However pristine the floor appears to the naked eye, do not be tempted to cut corners on the preparation. The floor must be thoroughly vacuumed, damp dusted and all naturally occurring gaps between the boards filled. These spaces will occur as the floor ages and expands and contracts along with the temperature and can be filled with wood putty or resin fairly easily by using a spatula or a putty knife. Wipe away all residual material before it hardens.
Similarly loose, broken or otherwise damaged floor boards should be repaired or replaced as necessary. If the floor is particularly old it may be difficult to find a good replacement match. If this is the case then you can use a plank from a cupboard interior or hidden area and replace that one with a close-as-possible match. Throughout the years and with various refinishings and stainings the floor will undergo, the ‘new’ plank will eventually merge with the existing floor colour as long as it is the same type of wood.
If the floor has not been restored within the last decade or so then it will require two, possibly three, rounds of sanding. An industrial sander can be hired from a DIY outlet and consists of a ‘walk through’ machine which can be taken along the plank lengths sanding as it goes. Coarse, medium or fine paper discs can be fitted to the machine with the first sanding using the coarse paper working up to the fine.
If you have never used a sanding machine before then read up on it carefully before starting the work. Never try to push the machine downwards or actively rub at the floor with the machine, even on troubled areas. Allow the machine to do its work sanding as it moves and never allow it to stand idle whilst running.
The perimeter of the room which this type of sander will not be able to reach can be sanded by an orbital sander. If you do not have one of these in your toolbox once again a hand-held sander may be hired. With this piece of kit you will be able to access right up to the wall, alcove and cupboard areas, stairs and other small spaces.
When the entire floor is uniformly smooth and even then the sanders can be put away and it’s on to the next step.
All finishing products available in the UK are toxin-free but it is wise to have a steady flow of air throughout the room whilst working. If you prefer a glossy finish varnish is a popular finishing choice, with a good selection of coloured varnishes also available.
Matt finishing can be obtained by using lacquer or oil which is worked into the floor grain with a soft cloth.
To change the colour of the wood you can apply wood stain. Remember that stain should be applied sparingly. Wipe on with a lint-free cloth then immediately wipe off again covering small sections at a time.