Sand Your Hardwood Floor Successfully
The process of revitalising your hardwood floor starts with sanding. Get it right and you can successfully build upon that foundation and fully restore your floor to its former glory. Because floor sanding is the keystone of hardwood renovation it is a process which must be carried out with precision and care. Vital steps missed at this stage will show up in the final effect as a bit of a botched job. So get the basics right and your floor will reward you by sparkling like new!
When the room is empty of all fixtures and fittings give it a vigorous sweep with a hard-bristled brush, followed by a thorough vacuuming. Make sure to get in between the boards and remove as much dust as you can.
Now it’s time to inspect the floor. Even though you have seen your floor many times, amazingly enough when you look at it without furniture you will probably see little flaws you never noticed before. There’s old tacks or carpet nails, split boards or planks that have shrunk and warped through time leaving gaps that need to be filled, or floorboards that have become loose. It is essential that you repair the faults at this stage as protruding nails and the like can seriously damage the sander as well as being a health and safety hazard for yourself.
Don’t cut corners
No matter how good the floor looks to you now do not ever be tempted to apply a finishing without first sanding the floor. Sanding removes all traces of the existing veneer and leaves the floorboards smooth and porous so that a new finishing can be evenly applied.
Industrial sized sanding machines that you can ‘walk’ along the boards are ideal for sanding a medium to large-sized room. Drum or belt sanders are available for weekend hire and if you are inexperienced in the use of this type of commercial sanding machine, the hire shop will be happy to give you some advice before you start. However, even with the large sander you will have to get down on your hands and knees with a hand-held orbital sander to get in close to skirtings and cornices.
When your floor has received its first sanding it will already look a little lighter and feel smoother to the touch. Vacuum again to remove dust residue and re-sand, this time using a finer grade of paper in the machine. On average two sandings is enough but if your floor has been neglected enough to require a third sanding you might consider leaving the wood to breathe overnight before sanding for a third and final time.
Unfortunately there are no short cuts to a perfect hardwood floors sanding so if this is a job you might think twice about attempting yourself then consider a free quotation from a reputable floor sanding company who will be glad to visit your home and assess the current condition of your floor. You may be pleasantly surprised!
As previously stated, it is essential not to skip steps or try to hand sand the whole floor. Apart from being back-breaking work, it is likely that the floor will sand unevenly and look patchy. Any flaws which can be seen with the naked eye during the sanding process will become magnified once a finishing is applied so unless your floor is perfectly and smoothly sanded throughout do not apply any type of finishing.
A well-finished floor is an asset in any home and a worthwhile investment, so make sure you get the job done right from the start. If you have some carpentry and DIY know-how then you should be able to sand a hardwood floor by yourself. But if you have any doubts then save yourself time, money and heartache and consult the professionals.