Hardwood Floor Restoration
Hard Wood floor restoration is undoubtedly a big project. But if you feel you’d like to try your hand at hardwood floor restoration then read on and find out how to do it right first time, every time!
You will have heard this before but it is so true that it is worth repeating here again – any successful project starts with proper preparation. Get the prep wrong and you are carving out a DIY nightmare for yourself which could cost you a lot of money to put right further down the line. Even if you have extensive DIY experience in other areas, if you have never restored a floor before then read up on the subject first. Do your research, speak to those in the know, understand what tools you will need and how to use them. Think the whole process through in your mind from beginning to end and when you think you’ve got it right – then think it through again!
Give yourself plenty of time to complete your project. Don’t try to hurry it along in a weekend. Better be safe and allocate at least a week for the process from beginning to end including drying time for the finishing veneer.
Now you are ready to begin
Assuming you have gathered all the intelligence and tools required for a professional looking restoration, the first thing to do is to clear the room of everything , not only furniture, but fittings and skirting too. Anything that can be removed should be – take it out carefully and put it in another room out of harm’s way.
The best way to initially clean your hardwood floor, especially if it has been hidden underneath carpets for a long time, is a wet wash using an abrasive type of cleaner. Scour the floor using a hard bristled brush and a sponge. Clean in small areas and be sure not to over-wet the floor. Spillage should be removed immediately as this can cause warping. You will be surprised how much dirt comes off the floor during this initial cleaning, so be sure to rinse each section with some lukewarm plain water as you go. Allow the floor to completely dry before carrying on.
Should you discover any boards that are clearly beyond repair or show signs of rot then these must be replaced. This is often the most challenging part of the wooden floor restoration process for the amateur DIY-er. Removal of the board can be done safely and relatively easily by a chisel and a steady hand, but the hard part comes when you are trying to match the wood. This is particularly true with older floors, and you may find you have to enlist the aid of a professional flooring company to get that perfect match. Remember too that any replacement board must be seasoned to match the colour of your existing floor.
If your floor is untreated then the washing will show up the boards as rough with a slightly raised grain. This is natural and should this be the case it is probably best to sand the whole floor by hand. If you are hand sanding an entire floor you can make it easier by using a sanding block.
If your floor has been sanded before then – oh joy! – you can safely use an industrial sanding machine which you can get from most good hire shops. You will have the choice of either a drum or a belt sander. Either way the machine has to be ‘walked’ along the length of the grain slowly and steadily so as to avoid over sanding to cause ruts in the wood. Make sure you’re completely familiar with the operation of the machine before you leave the shop, and if in doubt, ask!
Your floor may require two or three sandings and each time you sand you should use a finer grade of paper in the machine. Make sure you thoroughly vacuum the floor after each sanding.
When your floor is uniformly smooth and even with any replacement boards successfully blended in you can now apply your finishing of choice. Whether you choose varnish, woodstain, lacquer or oil always follow directions. Apply the product in small areas, working into the wood with a soft cloth before moving on to the next section.
Allow 48 hours, drying time before returning furniture and fittings to the room.