Sanding Floors Process and Lack of Preparation
If you are thinking about sanding your wood floor then think again; that is think it through carefully, understand the process and spend plenty of time on valuable preparation. When it comes to sanding wooden floor you cannot have too much prep time, in fact it is mainly a lack of preparation that leads to a botched job which can be both disheartening and expensive to put right.
First thing is to empty the room including the curtains, and if possible remove any doors for ease of working. When the room is bare scrutinise the boards carefully for any gaps, nails or otherwise damaged areas. Don’t bother too much with discolouration as that will be toned down by the sanding process. The important thing is not to ignore flaws, no matter how miniscule. Gaps have a tendency to widen if not filled, and nails that stick up will almost certainly damage your sander if not your fingers, so get those little devils out of there soon as you spot them!
In terms of damaged boards, a plank that is crumbling, rotten or has significant holes in must be taken out and replaced. The older your floor is the more chance you will discover some kind of damage, some of which may not be apparent until you remove the veneer by sanding. Replacing a floorboard or two may not be a huge job and depending upon the type of wood, you may be able to get a piece of reclaimed timber to match in.
You will need to hire a drum sander and a small hand held orbital sander if you don’t have one in your toolbox. The orbital sander is ideal for getting up close and personal around the edges of the room, in the corners, behind doors and the like. When working with a hand held sander be careful of radiator pipes, vents and any other protrusions.
When you have completed the perimeter sanding and worked about 12 inches into the room all around you should now have a square of unsanded wood flooring in the centre of the room looking a shade or two darker than the sanded border. Now it’s time for the ‘heavy artillery’ – a drum sander!
Use the sander carefully, moving along the wood grain of the boards. Don’t rush this process, but don’t leave the sander running idle on the floor either, as this will seriously damage the boards. A steady pace across the room is what you are after and when you want to stop, even for a few seconds, tilt the sander off the floor and switch off the machine. When the sanding is complete you should no longer be able to differentiate between the hand handed outer perimeter and the rest of the room.
Next stage is to thoroughly sweep and lightly vacuum the room. Inspect your work with a critical eye. Are the boards perfectly smooth throughout? Make sure the sander has not caused any hollows or dips that weren’t there before. If you think it necessary you can repeat the sanding process with no detriment to your floor, if properly carried out. If you deem it necessary for a second sanding then use a finer grade of sandpaper for the smoothest possible finish. When the second sanding is completed then vacuum once again.
Your floor is now ready for the finishing to be applied. Popular finishings are varnish stain, oil and lacquer although the ideal topcoat largely depends upon the type of room and how much traffic it receives.
Because the finishing process is more difficult than you may think, take time to read instructions fully before starting the application. Get the finishing wrong and you will be sent back to sanding.
Give yourself plenty of time to sand your floor. Don’t try to do the whole shebang in one weekend for that way lies pressure and usually a botched job. If you have any questions about sanding floors or any other aspect of real wood restoration why not give your floor the respect it deserves and get a no-cost quotation from an experience floor sanding company? This could save you more than money if you are unsure of what to do.