Restore Wood Flooring to Look Like New
How do you keep your hardwood floor in pristine condition between renovations? It’s simple – with a screen and refinish. This works if the floor is showing a little wear and tear, maybe looks a little dull and frayed around the edges but with no damage to the boards. But remember that flooring with serious damage such as warped planks, wet or dry rot or extensive splintering should be referred to a specialist wood flooring team.
Assuming this is not the case and you would like to try your hand at screen and refinish then read on:
The object of the screen and refinish is to rejuvenate and refresh wood flooring (especially if the floor has been polyurethane finished) and offer additional protection. The average lifespan of a screen and refinish in a typical family home is around 12 months so it is well worth doing. Note that floorings that have been finished with a wax-based product cannot be screened, and similarly floors finished with aluminium oxide products must be chemically treated before screening can commence. If you are unsure if screening is appropriate for your floor then consult a professional to avoid costly mistakes.
Screening and refinishing – the process
Clear the room, vacuum and thoroughly inspect the floor for stains, marks, discolouration and other small flaws. Gently wipe these areas with a soft cloth dipped in non-abrasive cleaning solution and dry the area well.
Mop the floor with a solution of white vinegar and tepid water. Use sparingly, and do not allow water to puddle. Again dry thoroughly before proceeding as the floor must be bone dry for the next step.
Depending upon the size of the room you can decide whether to screen the floor by hand or by using a floor buffer or a pole sander. Screening is really just a term for scraping the topmost veneer of the floor in order to lay a fresh coat of finishing. When the screening is completed the floor will look rather dull and generally sorry for itself – don’t worry! This is normal and your floor will soon be beautiful and shinier than ever.
Vacuum once again, making sure all the residual dust and wood shards are completely removed. Now you can tone down the ‘rough’ appearance of the floor by spreading an appropriate solvent product along the boards by means of a lint-free cloth, which will smooth and re-seal the wood.
Best results are obtained if you use the same wood finishing veneer as was originally used during the last renovation. If you do not know what that finishing is then you can apply a test finishing to an unseen area of the floor such as the inside of a cupboard or an area hidden by curtains, rugs or furniture. If the test patch dries smoothly and does not peel then the finishing can be applied to the rest of the floor.
Apply the new finishing with a quality paintbrush that will not drop hairs, and always work along the length of the wood’s natural grain. Corner areas and other small places can be finished by using a paint pad.
Always allow through ventilation when screening and refinishing and wear the appropriate protective clothing.
Remember that although screening is a cost-effective way of lengthening the lifespan of your floor it will not remove difficult stains, high-traffic marks and, most importantly to note, screening and refinishing offers a new veneer only and cannot repair damaged or broken planks.