How to sand and varnish a wood floor in London
When you lift up the corner of the average fitted carpet in London you’ll very often find that there are wooden floorboards with real potential lurking beneath. These can be brought back to life if you know how and are willing to put in a little bit of time and effort.
Advantages of wooden flooring
There are numerous advantages to having bare wooden floorboards rather than carpets in a property. They’re easier to keep clean for a start, and the microscopic germs and dust mites that thrive in soft furnishings and cause or exacerbate allergies will find no safe haven here.
A few items of specialist equipment will be needed for effective wood floor renovation and finishing in London, the main one being a heavy duty electric sanding machine. An upright sander is used to do most of the floor stripping, with a smaller edging sander for the edges next to the skirting boards. A special type of brush will also be needed for application of the varnish finish. The only other pieces of kit required will be a hammer, floor pad, mop and bucket and the varnish itself.
Mind the gaps!
The first step is to seal off the room in the London property you’re working on so the dust won’t travel and to wear safety goggles and a dust mask before you hammer in any protruding nails.
Fill the gaps using slivers of wood dipped in glue for the larger spaces and papier mache for the smaller ones. Soak the mache in wood dye first, and then force it into the gaps.
With the sanding machines, start with a coarse paper first, fitting it tightly round the drum, and then with the drum raised start the sander. Lower the drum gently to the floor and starting from one end of the room guide the sander to the other end, lifting the drum up just before reaching the opposite end.
With the edging sander, start the machine with it off the floor and then lower it down and guide it around the edges of the floorboards as close to the skirting boards as you can get. There may be some unavoidable scuffing of these.
Applying a varnish
Once you’ve finished sanding, vacuum all the dust up and then give the whole floor a wipe with white spirit before leaving it to dry. The purpose of a varnish is to seal and protect the floorboards and you can apply it using a floor pad. This will be supplied along with the varnish in a plastic container. Load the pad by dipping it in the varnish and start at the wall opposite the door, in a corner. You have to apply the floor varnish in the same direction as the grain of the wood. When you reach the opposite end of the room, apply the varnish starting from that end to keep things consistent.
Once one coat has been applied, leave it to dry for two hours before applying the next one and keep going until you’ve laid three coats of varnish down. When your wood floor refurbishment is completed, clean the brushes with regular washing-up liquid and warm water.
For a proper professional finish to a wood floor restoration in London, use a light sandpaper to gently go over the floor between coats of varnish, then mop the whole floor and wipe it down with paint thinner to remove all the dust before applying the next coat. This will lead to a better finish and a floor that is harder and more durable and therefore longer lasting.