Complete Hardwood Floor Restoration
One of the best methods of discovering whether your hardwood floor requires a complete restoration is to lay a single droplet of water directly onto the floor. If the water soaks into the wood slowly then the floor simply requires a deep clean and buffing to bring back its sparkle. If the water is absorbed straight away this means the interior of the wood has become exposed through time and your floor will require a complete restoration.
The first step to complete hardwood floor restoration is the sanding process. If you are doing it yourself then you will probably hire an industrial sander (belt or drum sanders are the most popular sanders for the DIY-er) which you will fit with sandpaper and move lengthwise along the floor boards.
Before sanding, check that the boards are at least 5cm (approx. ¾ inch) thick as the sanding machine will remove a fair percentage of the floorboard surface. If the floor is less than 5cm then you would do well to bring in a professional sanding company to avoid expensive damage to the existing subfloor.
Remember too that hardwoods that have been constructed in a tongue-and-groove style are less robust and cannot withstand as many sandings as a solid plank floor can. If your hardwood floor is relatively new then the thin construction may mean there is a possibility that it would be unsafe to sand it at all. Once again the best advice is to check with a professional Wooden Floor Restoration company if in doubt.
Sanding is integral to the restoration process as it brings each board back to its original smooth and even quality. Sanding also enhances the raw state of any type of hardwood and accentuates the grain. One of the main reasons hardwood flooring continues to remain popular in UK homes is because of the beauty and depth of its natural grain.
Realistically, you will find you have to sand at least twice to achieve the even tone and refined texture you are looking for. Whilst it is possible to sand a good-sized room using an orbital hand sander, it is not a job for the fainthearted! It’s better to hire an industrial strength sanding machine complete with a full set of instructions and handy do and don’t tips. The hire shop will also sell you the sandpaper to fit into the machine. Ensure you buy different grades of paper so that you can refine the finish on the boards with each sanding. Rule of thumb: the smaller the grit number, the rougher the paper.
If you have never used an industrial sander before it is clever practice to do a test area that will be concealed by furniture or scatter rugs just in case. Even with a hire sander you will still require to hand sand around the edges of the room as well as around cornicing, fireplaces and any other hard to reach places.
After each sanding it is imperative that the floor be well vacuumed with residual dust particles allowed to resettle for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming again. Always use appropriate safety equipment and goggles and the room you are working in should always be well ventilated.
When you have completed the final sanding and vacuuming you can now assume your floor is ready for the final part of the Floor Sanding and Restoration process: the finishing.
There are various options to choose from; clear or coloured varnish, woodstain, lacquers, floor paint or oils. Whichever finishing product you use always adhere strictly to the manufacturer’s directions and, once again, keep the room well ventilated, even on a cold day. It would be wise to try out a little finishing on a small area which will be covered up to make sure it is exactly what you want.
Assuming all is well then and your are carrying out the finishing process, do not feel tempted to hurry it along. Finishing veneer should only ever be applied by hand and in small areas at a time. Some topcoats will require more than one application and drying times will vary too.
When the floor is completely dry you can choose to add extra lustre by buffing or polishing before returning the furniture to the room.