Real Wood Floor Restoration – Time for a 10-year clean up?
Wood floor renovation is vital to keep hardwood floors sanding looking their best and whilst over-sanding and too-frequent restorations are undoubtedly detrimental to wood flooring, there will come a time in the life of any floor, no matter how well tended, when restoration will be required to being that floor back to life.
A makeover every 10 years
Given that the average floor will require a makeover only every decade or so, it seems reasonable that the industry has moved quite a bit from how restoration was once carried out. There have been some amazing innovations in the restoration of real wood flooring in the last decade, not least of which is the dust-free sander.
It’s based on the traditional drum or belt sanding machine that you ‘walk’ along the grain of the planks, with the machine sanding as it travels. The new dustless sander works on the same premise except that it has an integral filter system which successfully removes dust particles not only from the floor but also from the air. This makes the dust free sander ideal for use in homes with asthmatics and allergy sufferers.
Another recent innovation is the ethical sourcing of additional wood pieces to match an existing floor that has damaged or rotted boards, or to add an extension. It is now much easier for the industry to obtain wood planking from reputable and sustainable sources with a start-to-finish documentation now available from tree felling, processing, treating and to landing in UK warehousing. By purchasing from such outlets, manufacturers are guaranteeing ethically produced real woods to ensure the continuance of the industry, as well as providing sound wood flooring for eco-aware customers.
After the sanding process has been completed many floor owners choose to use a sanding sealer. Applied prior to the topcoat veneer, sanding sealants are much more than a simple sealing product. To explain: after a thorough sanding by whichever sanding method chosen, the floor boards will house miniscule strands of barely visible wood particles which must be eliminated for a smooth and even floor finish.
One method of getting rid of these shards is by hand sanding with fine grain sandpaper – effective but not always practical if you are working on a medium to large sized room or function suite. This process works by finely sanding along each and every board with increasingly finer grades of paper.
However, by using a sanding sealant you are hastening the process of fibre removal as the product works by anchoring the loose lying wood shards in one place, making them easier to gather up with the sandpaper. Once the sealant has been applied you can immediately work on the floor using the highest grain of paper with optimum results, saving hours of hand sanding.
However the user should be aware that sanding sealant will not allow wood stain to be applied on top. If stain is the finishing of choice then it is essential to apply the stain product before the sealant. The loose particles can then be taken away by gently applying steel wool to the fibrous areas whilst being careful not to rub through to the sealant.
Floors can now be finished in the traditional way using polyurethane, varnish or lacquer based products or simply by polishing with a buffing machine to achieve a high gloss finish.
Whichever method is used, never sand against the grain of the wood as this leads to scrapes, scores and wood damage over time. When hand sanding avoid over sanding any particular area as this leads to scoops and dips being inadvertently carved into the planking.