Essential Floor Sanding
Whilst it is true that floor sanding is an essential part of long-term maintenance of wood flooring, it is never a good idea to sand every few years ‘just to keep the floor in good condition’. Over-sanding is actually harmful to wood as it thins the boards and can cause breakages and splinters.
Floors that are routinely used in a typical family setting should require sanding every decade or so. If a floor looks as if it requires sanding after for example 5 years of a refinishing it will be because of one of two reasons:
a) The initial sanding was incorrectly or incompletely carried out.
b) The floor is not being cleaned and/or maintained properly.
When cleaning real wood flooring avoid all beach products and harsh abrasives. Lukewarm water is often enough to remove light dust and dirt from the floor on a fortnightly basis with light vacuuming in between times.
For floors which look lacklustre and dull, a polish with an industrial buffing machine yields terrific results. These large machines are available for hire and are relatively easy to operate and manoeuvre.
Sanding is essential, but over-sanding is detrimental
Like most things in life, too much of a good thing is bad and sanding wood flooring is no different. Unless the floor is in an extremely bad condition then avoid sanding too often. Stains, scrapes and gaps can often be taken care of individually without redoing the whole floor.
It is most important that when sanding needs to be done, it should be done with specialist care and expertise in order that it does last the requisite decade and prolongs the life of the floor.
It is possible for the enthusiastic DIY-er to sand and refinish a wood floor on a budget. If this is a project you want to try your hand at, then the best advice would be to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible including health & safety information. Do not skimp on the preparation work and allow plenty of time to complete the process.
Before sanding commences take the opportunity to check the floor for flawed or loose boards and other issues, which should be addressed before sanding. The fewer flaws the floor has at base level then the better it is going to look when properly finished. For example, glaringly obvious gaps between the boards will only become highlighted when the floor is sanded and finished.
Remember that the purpose of refinishing a floor is to draw the eye to the wood in all its glory. But this means flaws will also be highlighted! So it’s best to remove then before starting the refurbishment.
One finishing product should never be applied on top of another, so this means avoid applying varnish, lacquers and oils until the floor has been sanded thoroughly. The Floor Sanding and Finishing makes the planks porous and the finishing product will become easily absorbed into the wood. More than one coat will be required. Always check instructions for both drying times and safe usage of the product.
Adhere strictly to the health & safety codes for interior floor maintenance. Always have a good through-flow of fresh air in the room. Keep children and pets away whilst work is ongoing, and seal up unused interior doors to prevent dust particles entering the rest of the home. As far as possible, remove all fixtures and fittings from the room.
Wear the appropriate PPE, which should include safety goggles, gloves and ear defenders. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident in the use of all machinery and tools used in the process, and if you are hiring an industrial sanding machine, make sure you know how to operate it before leaving the hire outlet.