Repair, remove, refinish
The old adage ‘if a job’s worth doing, then it’s worth doing well’ could have been written for wood floor renovations. Each stage of the process must be carried out in longhand with no omissions or shortcuts, and those who do this are rewarded with a beautiful and elegant floor of which they can be justly proud.
Since a typical renovation will last for around 10 years (if properly maintained), it is not surprising that a classic wood floor restoration is the number one choice for homeowners and commercial businesses who wish to keep their floors looking beautiful.
Whilst there have been innovations in technology generally there are also innovative techniques in wood floor restoration, but the essence of the process remains the same:
• Repair – repair, replace and refit planks as necessary.
• Remove – take off the existing veneer by means of sanding.
• Refinish – apply a new finishing.
The first thing to do then is to examine the floor (on hands and knees with a magnifying glass if necessary) on the lookout for splits in the wood, damaged edging, rotted areas, missing planks and gaps between the boards.
It is never a good idea to skip this first step because the success of each stage is wholly dependent upon the completion of the stage before. In other words, if Step 1 is botched then that botch will be tripled by the time Step 3 comes around!
If you require assistance in fixing some of the repairs then you can enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend or a professional wood flooring company, but do not ignore repairs.
If your floor is parquet blocks it might be that one damaged tile means that a block of 4 or sometimes 6 tiles will have to be replaced. If this is the case then it is always worthwhile doing so. Again, cutting corners will lead to a poor quality finish.
If you come across any dry or wet patches that smell musty it could be wood rot. You should get an expert opinion before going any further.
When the above repairs have been carried out you can safely move on to:
Sanding should be carried out with a walk-through industrial sanding machine that travels across the floor sanding as it moves. These sanding units are operated either by a belt or a drum and do an excellent job. However, they can be noisy so it might be a good idea to pre-warn neighbours of your intention as a courtesy!
Floors require multiple sandings (three is the norm), so remember to refine your sandpaper before each round so that the delicate beauty of the wood is brought to the surface.
When the floor is blanched-looking and smooth to the touch it is ready to be vacuumed and refinished, which leads us on to:
Refinishing is important on two counts:
There are a myriad of finishing products on the market so it is really is down to personal choice. Choose wax if you like a matt understated finish, varnish for a high-gloss sheen, or lacquer for shine and sparkle. If you would like to change the colour of the floor completely you can use wood paint.
It takes around 48 hours for finishing to dry after which it is wise to wait another 24 hours before reintroducing furniture to the room. During this time keep the room well ventilated and keep children and pets out.
Solid wood flooring is easy to maintain and requires regular vacuuming, minimal mopping with plain water and a lightly moistened mop head only. Never leave water or other spills untended.