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Wood Stripping VS Wood Sanding

Posted on March 28th, 2014 In: Wood Floor Restorations News

unnamed (2)When deciding on how to deal with the proposition of renovating your home, wooden flooring is often a popular choice. But what if you were ahead of the curve, and already have wooden flooring and want to breathe life into it years down the line.  What are your options? In most cases, either stripping or sanding the floors and re-finishing the wood is the most common solution, but both processes come with specific pros and cons which may or may not suit your particular needs.

Chemical stripping

One option is using chemicals to strip the finish on your floor away, taking the wood back to its original state prior to having a finish added. This is done using a solvent, or some kind of caustic solution which is applied using a paintbrush and left to work its magic. It sounds simple, but it does have some fairly major downsides, none more so than the harmful fumes. Chemical stripping requires the room to be incredibly well ventilated, which obviously will not always be practical depending on what time of year the work is being undertaken, limiting when it can take place. It can also be quite a messy process and requires the solution to be removed at the right time to remove only the required amount of layers from the surface. However, it can be kinder to the wood itself, offering a less abrasive option than sanding does and can be more appropriate for removing certain types of finish, such as paint as the chemical reaction is more effective than sanding.

Machine sanding

The most common option for re-vitalising your wooden floor is using a sander to remove the top layer of finish on the wood. Sanding machinery can be hired from a number of hire shops all over the country, and it is a relatively easy process. However, sanding can be messy, creating a large amount of dust despite recent advances in reducing the amount of excess particles. It is also a more labour intensive option than chemical stripping, but can yield more impressive results. Also, with sanding there are variable options available depending on the machinery you use, with techniques such as screening available if you want to use a less intense option rather than using a drum sander which can be quite a good job.

Conclusions?

In all honesty, it is hard to say which is better out of sanding and stripping. Both options offer different advantages and disadvantages which make them more or less suitable for particular jobs. Like most types of home improvement work, it is about matching the correct process to the requirements of the job at hand. For example if you have a painted finish on your wooden floor then stripping will likely be more effective, however if you want to remove a basic polyurethane finish and you need to do so during the colder months of the year then sanding will be more appropriate. As always, the best course of action is to ask a professional prior to starting any work and get advice on what option is best for you individual needs.

To revisit our post on wood floors vs carpets, just click here.

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