Wood Flooring – Where do I Start?
Around two years ago, I purchased my first property with my fiancée. While the flat was nice, it was something of a ‘work in progress’ to say the least, needing significant work. We bought the flat with the hopes of investing money and potentially getting a substantial return on that outlay. Obviously decorating and refurbishing the fixtures and fittings were at the forefront of our minds, but it was actually what lied under our carpets that had the most potential to add value to the property. We were advised by an estate agent friend, that sanded wooden floors could be the best way to actually increase the sale price of the property by up to 20%, without actually investing a huge sum of money to do so. Encouraged, we set about finding out more, and were pleasantly surprised.
How’s your floor?
The first thing we had to establish was the condition of the floor. We pulled back the carpets and realised that the boards underneath were in perfect condition, luckily. They were certainly a bit bland and lacking in lustre, but they appeared to be stable and without any signs of rot.
DIY or professional?
Next came the process of deciding whether we were going to undertake the work ourselves or leave it to a professional. We went to a floor sanding specialist for a quote, and although the amount of money requested for the work was reasonable, we looked around further and deduced that without the labour costs it would be more cost effective to do the work ourselves. We went to our local hire shop and hired the necessary equipment ready to be collected the following day, plus lots of helpful advice and tips.
Fail to prepare, prepare to…
The night before we started the work, on the instruction of the helpful team at the hire shop we cleared our room of all furniture ready to be sanded. We also decided where was the least bit of visible floor in order to determine where would be the best place to ‘practice’ with the heavy duty drum sander in order to get used to it.
When we picked up the sanders I was surprised at how heavy and cumbersome the machinery was. It took two people to lift it into the car, and I began to wonder whether we shouldn’t have hired someone to do the work for us. However, once we got the machines inside and actually started the work it was a relatively easy. I took around an hour to get used to the weight of the drum sander, but once I was comfortable it was a surprisingly easy process to begin taking layers off the wood. A couple of hours later, the main portion of the floor was done, but the drum sander was too big to reach the edges of the room, which meant using the smaller, slightly more mobile edge sander, which took care of the borders of the room. This process had, as we were warned it might, led to a few gouges in the surface of the wood, but the vibrating sander which we hired evened these out leaving us with a finely sanded, even textured surface.
Once we had sanded the floor, and cleaned up the excess dust, we were ready to apply a finish, having opted for a polyurethane varnish. This only took a few hours to finish a couple of coats, and the finished result is wonderful, having completely transformed our floors for a very small cost. I would recommend this highly to anyone looking to add value to their home with minimal fuss, and minimal effort as a great option.
To learn more about floor sanding techniques for beginners, have a look at this blog post.