Refinishing Hardwood Floors
Time and natural wear strip the rustic finish, the shimmering luster from your hardwood floor. Restore what’s been lost by engaging in refinishing, returning that natural allure.
You clean and clean the floor, fully expectant of capturing the original sheen of your hardwood floor, only to discover cleaning is no longer enough. Time has taken its toll, and the only recourse is to refinish your precious floor. Look for worn patches that no longer catch the light, for deep scratches and patterns of wear. The signs will be there, but you may need to look closely before making the decision to refinish. Use the edge of a finger and you’ll feel spots where the protective coating has worn away to reveal the texture of the wood fibers. Stains refuse to shift and sections of the floor are beginning to warp. A refinish is imminent.
A traditional ¾” solid hardwood floor of ¾” thickness, defined by its tongue-and-groove construction, can experience close to 10 refinish procedures over a natural lifetime. On the other hand, Engineered hardwood flooring, enhanced with its structured multi-ply build, can be refinished, but certainly not as many times. Take account of the flooring installed, the amount of traffic crossing the floor, and general wear-and-tear factors before defining the frequency of refinish. The hardness category of the wood also influences final decisions.
Getting down to cold, hard facts of the work involved, refinishing is a filthy, protracted affair that takes between 3-5 days. The critical choice here is in deciding whether you feel confident and skilled enough to take on the task yourself, or whether you should opt for the services of a skilled refinisher, someone with the training to complete the task professionally and in the minimum possible period of time. Carry out some research, contact professional flooring companies, contractors, and expert refinishers before making a final, informed decision.
Practices for Refinishing Hardwood Flooring
Refinishing the Old-Fashioned Way – The time-honored method of refinishing your hardwood floor involves a lengthy period of removing the protective coating from the wood. Time-consuming but necessary, use a drum sander to systematically work on deep scratches, the protective coating, and any other signs of wear, stains, warped panels, and uneven sections. Level the entire area, restoring the organic grain that’s such an attractive feature of hardwood. It’s essential, before applying sealer, that you vacuum every grain of dust and debris before moving on to the next step. You don’t want particles trapped under the sealer. Before generously applying the polyurethane sealer that restores your luxuriant finish, decide whether you want to stain the hardwood. Talk over sealer options with your local hardware store, as there are several options. The store will likely direct you toward either an oil-based or water-based sealer.
Remember, it’s going to be at least a few days, likely a week, before you can walk on the newly finished floor. There’s a curing and drying period that can’t be avoided.
Refinishing as a Sand-Free Method – Take another route to avoid the drudgery of sanding, and you’ll discover a new alternative, one that lightly abrades the floor with a sander before using a chemical etching solution that’s applied to the surface of the hardwood. Minor blemishes, scrapes and stains are then repaired and a fresh top coat is delivered to the floor.
You may want to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages of this method.. This dustless technique only takes a day or so, is less expensive than traditional refinishing, but there’s more chance of leaving traces of dust, particles that could be trapped by the sealer. Additionally, this is a less than optimal method of restoring heavily damaged hardwood flooring.
Sidestep the obstacles and expense of hardwood refinishing by following maintenance guidelines, keeping your floor in tip-top shape for as long as possible. For bustling hallways and active living areas, opt for hardwood floor preservation with superior acrylic finishes that easily resist wear even in high-traffic areas. A durable floor surface equals fewer protracted periods of floor refinishing in the years ahead.