The Simplest Way to Restoring a Wood Floor
If your wood floor is in reasonable condition and does not require extensive repair or plank replacement then a complete restoration should take between 2-3 days. It is probable that the toolbox of the average DIY enthusiast does not include an industrial drum or belt sanding machine, so this piece of kit can be hired for the duration. Remember to purchase the appropriate grade of sand discs (drum sander) or sheets (belt sander) at the same time.
Because sanding machines are fairly boxy units they are unable to get in flush to the edges of the room. So you will have an approximate one-foot wide area around the room which you will have to sand manually with an orbital or edging sander. Again this tool can be hired if you do not have one.
For your own safety, check the condition of the machine before you leave the hire centre. When hiring any type of equipment ensure that a full set of instructions are provided at the time of rental, and check the machine is in good working order before taking it out of the shop.
Remember that using a walk through floor sanding machine is noisy work, so you might want to wear appropriate safety equipment including ear defenders and face mask. As a courtesy to neighbours you should let them know in advance that this work will be carried out and perhaps avoid sanding during the evening.
This article assumes the appropriate preparation has been carried out prior to sanding including emptying the room, removing loose nails, repairing planks, gap filling and the like. Any items which cannot be moved should be protected with dust covers, as sanding will generate a fair amount of dust. It is also a good idea to seal interior doors closed if possible and keep all windows open.
Fit the machine with a coarse grade of paper and start up in accordance with instructions provided. Start sanding lengthwise along the boards from one side of the room to the other. Carry on in this way until the entire room has been sanded. Change the paper to a finer grade and get ready for the second sanding. The second sanding should be carried out walking in the opposite direction but still along the boards lengthwise. Never sand across the wood.
Never rush the sanding process. Keep the machine moving slowly and steadily but never let it stay run whilst stationary. Each pass of the sander should overlap the previous line just a little which ensures a smooth and even sanding throughout. Make sure to empty the dust bag on a regular basis as you work.
Edges, corners and other nooks and crannies will require to be sanded by the edging tool. Extremely small spaces can be worked on with a scraper or even a chisel if needs be. Make sure to use the same grade of sandpaper as used on the main part of the floor.
After sanding, vacuum carefully and make sure all residual dust particles are removed before applying the finishing product. Small dust shards can be removed by a light application of white spirit on a lint-free cloth. Allow to dry fully before moving on to apply the finishing product. You can select from varnish, woodstain, lacquer or oils depending upon the type of room, the throughput of traffic or your existing décor. All finishing solutions sold in the UK are free of harmful toxins but may smell strongly so keep windows open throughout the process.
Finishing can be applied with a small roller, a rag or a good quality brush. Always apply in small areas at a time, along the grain of the wood and avoid applying too thickly. Leave to dry overnight.