Refinishing FAQ – Hardwood Floors
Wooden flooring is a highly desirable feature in any modern home. It adds a timeless, stylish look, and a can add a significant amount to the value of your property. However, most people have no idea where to start, so here are some of the most frequently asked questions on how to get started with sanding and re-finishing to transform your wooden floor.
Won’t it be expensive?
Not necessarily. You can save a large chunk of money by undertaking the work yourself. Your local hire shop will be able to lend you the required equipment, and advise on the best course of action for your needs.
What machinery will I need?
In general terms, there are main pieces of machinery you will require. The majority of the floor will be sanded using a drum sander, or an orbital sander. The drum sander is the heaviest duty and the most common, which will generally be what is recommended by most professional sanding companies. For the borders of the room you will need an edge sander as the larger drum sander will not be manoeuvrable enough to get into those hard to reach places. Finally, a vibrating sander might be needed in order to remove any unsightly gouges or divots caused during the sander process and to create an even texture across the floor.
But I’ve never sanded a floor before, how do I know if I’m doing it right?
Sanding the floor is not a particularly complicated process; it is more that it requires careful attention and a degree of patience. The movements when using the sanders should be fluid, non-jerky motions and always against the direction the sander if it oscillates. You will need to change the paper in the sander between layers, moving through from a rough grit to a finer one to get the required effect.
Will I damage my floor?
Not if you are careful. Sanding is a permanent process, as it means removing a layer from the wood, so it is certainly possible to damage your floor. For this very reason it is worth designating an area of the floor that is less visible, perhaps covered by furniture, in order to practice with the various sanders and get comfortable with them. The drum sander in particular can take some getting used to as it is heavy and very powerful, so it is the most likely to cause damage to the floor if you are not prepared for using it.
What do I need to do once I’ve finished sanding?
When you have finished sanding, and removed any excess dust that might be caused, you will need to decide what to do about applying a finish. If you want a glossy look, then a polyurethane varnish is the idea finish, but you may also want to think about applying a stain first to change the colouring of the wood. This will depend on what your particular needs are, and not all stains will be appropriate, so it is worth consulting a professional if you are unsure.
For more hardwood floor finishing tips see our recent post.