Are you planning to host a huge Super Bowl party at your place this year? How about a Valentine’s Day soiree, February book club or a group binge-watch of Downton Abbey? If so, would you like to spruce up your floors first? Well, here’s the good news – you have more than enough time to refinish your floors and even install new flooring. If you start the project now that is…and, we can help!
Equipment, Materials and Time
To install a new floor you’re most likely looking at a weekend project. Add at least a week to the weekend project if you’re refinishing a floor. However, most of the equipment and materials you’ll need to get the job done efficiently are not stored in your garage. Tools like floor strippers, sanders, polishers, laminate floor staplers, tapping blocks or wood saws are available for rent, while a vacuum, hammers and a pry bar can come from your toolbox. You’ll probably want to spend a little time choosing laminate wood flooring and the foam cushioning recommended for the type of laminate floor that gets installed underneath. Then you’ll want to buy wood glue, sand paper, polyurethane finish, plywood and spacers from your local hardware store.
Once you get it all home, each project requires a bit of demo work before application, from removing all furniture from the room to sanding or buffing existing wood floors, to prying up old carpet, baseboards and flooring.
How to Install New Laminate Wood Flooring
Installing a “floating” floor, which is not directly attached to the subfloor, but uses padding in between, cuts down the sound and compensates for any irregularities in the floor.
- After all the old material is stripped away, make sure what’s left is level with the floor in the adjoining room.
- Cut new plywood to size, then secure in place with wood glue and nails.
- Position a layer of foam padding on the plywood.
- Place the first row of floorboards against the wall with the grooved side to the outside, putting spacers between the boards and the wall, which allows for the wood to expand. Cut the floorboards to size as needed.
- Fit each board tightly together by tapping each board into place using a hammer and tapping block.
- Move out from the wall, fitting boards and tapping them into place until the entire floor is covered.
- Once the new wood flooring is in place, remove spacers.
- Replace the baseboard molding, covering the gap between floor and walls.
- Bring back the furniture.
How to Refinish Wood Floors
If your wood floors are scratched on the surface, you can clean and remove the scratches without having to sand down to bare wood. Here’s how:
- Clean the floor with a hardwood floor cleaner or mix your own (10 parts water to 1 part white vinegar).
- Wipe down the floor with a soft cloth.
- Hand sand any parts a buffer can’t reach, such as the perimeter of the room, with 180-grit sandpaper. Rub with the grain about five inches out from the baseboard, until the finish dulls.
- Put on a dust mask and lightly sand the rest of the floor with a buffer/polisher, sander or stripper in the direction of the grain, making sure to keep the machine moving at all times, covering every area.
- Let the dust settle for about 15 minutes, then vacuum it up using a soft-bottomed attachment, following each strip of flooring, then sweeping across them to get any powder that settled between the boards.
- After vacuuming, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the floor a final time, along the grain.
Now you’re ready to refinish the floor by applying a fresh coat of finish. If you use a water-based polyurethane, you can apply a second coat in about three hours. If using an oil-based polyurethane, you’ll have to wait about eight hours for each coat to dry before adding another. Instead of using the finish straight from the packaging, it’s a good idea to remove any impurities by straining the finish through a cone filter into a clean plastic container before application. Also, cover your shoes with booties and your nose and mouth with a respirator.
Once a section of finish begins to dry, lap marks will appear. To guarantee a line-less finish, pour only as much finish as you can spread in a 10-minute time frame.
- Starting for a point that’s farthest from the exit door, brush a 3-inch-wide stripe beside the baseboard.
- Next, pour a 1-inch-wide stripe of finish in line with the wood grain.
- Using a long-handled roller with a ¼-inch nap cover, roll out the finish with the grain, then across it.
- Working quickly to keep a wet edge, overlap the finish with each pass, for 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes, brush more finish along the edge, then pour and roll for 10 more minutes until the floor is covered.
- Wait three hours before adding a second coat of finish.
- Wait about a week before replacing furniture.
To keep your floor looking as good as new, experts recommend a fresh coat of finish every two years. We carry a wide variety of the tools needed for installing or refinishing wood floors. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us.
About the Author
Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.