Posts Tagged With: floor sanding

How to Re-Finish Your Hardwood Floors to Perfection

Refinish Your Hardwood Floors to Perfection

Bringing a dull, scratched hardwood floor finish back to perfection used to mean sanding down to bare wood, but not always. A technique called screening takes off the worn top layer of coating, leaving the wood underneath ready for a new finish. It’s inexpensive, less risky and lets you do the work yourself without the hassle of hefty clean-up.

Screening is accomplished with the use of a floor polisher and clog-resistant sanding disks called screens. The weight of the polisher and its synthetic-wool pad hold the screen in place, but you don’t have to have a lot of strength or skill to use one. As long as the floor is not waxed and the wood underneath is not stained or damaged, the screens remove just the floor finish, such as
polyurethane. Then, you can re-finish the wood as you desire.

Steps for Screening

Step 1. Remove everything that collects dust from the room. Seal off doorways, duct registers and cabinet doors with plastic sheeting and masking tape. Open the windows if possible. Remove baseboard molding and put on a respirator.

Step 2. Prepare the screening disk by sanding it with a palm sander and 100-grit sandpaper. Use four screening grits, from rough to smooth (60-, 80-, 100- and 120-grit).

Step 3. Fit the floor polisher with the first screening pad and begin screening the floor, just like you would to sand it. Use the palm sander or sanding pad and sandpaper to get into corners and edges.

Step 4. When the screening is complete, wipe down walls and vacuum dust up from all surfaces. Use a tack cloth to pick up any remaining dust on the floor.

Tips for Sanding Floors

If the floor is waxed, stained or damaged, sand the floor down to the base wood using a drum sander and edger.

  • Keep the sander moving, so it doesn’t dig into the wood or leave a noticeable swale
  • Move at a steady, even pace, sanding away a uniform amount of top coat and wood
  • An edger will fit into many corners, but not all, so use the palm sander

Finish the Floor

The most popular and readily available floor finish is polyurethane, because it’s tough and resistant to constant foot traffic. Choose an oil-based or water-based polyurethane depending on the effect you want to achieve. Oil-based polyurethane dries slowly, is relatively smelly and turns a light amber color with age, while water-based dries quickly, emits no odor and remains clear. With both types of polyurethane, apply at least two coats along the grain of the wood. For the smoothest finish, use a pole sander to sand lightly between each coat using 100-grit sandpaper, leaving the last coat shiny, which will last for years. Polyurethane finished floors can also be waxed and buffed.

To add a different color to a floor rather than the natural wood color, use a penetrating hardwood floor stain before finishing with polyurethane. Apply the stain along the grain of the wood with a rag or paint roller directly to the screened or sanded floor as evenly as possible.

Allow the stain to dry before finishing with several coats of polyurethane – again, sanding lightly between coats.

Penetrating oils and sealers like linseed oil, soak into the wood and the floor will require a wax for protection. Apply directly to the screened or sanded wood surface. Occasionally, wax is used as the only floor finish. Make spot repairs on wax floors by rubbing lightly with steel wool, then applying more wax and buffing.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your floor refinishing projects. If you have any questions about how to choose floor polisher or floor sander, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Check our recent blog post, How To Sand & Finish Your Wood Floor in 3 Simple Steps, for more helpful information. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Featured Products, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How To Sand & Finish Your Wood Floor in 3 Simple Steps

How To Sand  Finish Your Hardwood Floors

When it comes to refurbishing your hardwood floors so they look new again, a sander is your best friend. Actually, you’ve got a few new friends in the sander isle at your local rental store, because to sand a wood floor to perfection before finishing, you’ll likely need to use more than one kind of sander. Depending upon the condition of the floor, you’ll use a variety of sanding techniques, too.

For instance, if the floor is flat or new, plan to sand it up and down, following the grain of the floor boards. However, if the floor is uneven, painted or varnished, plan to sand it across the grain at a 45-degree angle to remove unwanted finish and avoid damaging the wood.

Step 1. Prepare for the Messy Job

Sanding involves dust, noise and mess – and it’s best to be prepared for it. A few precautionary measures you should take before beginning any sanding:

  • Wear a respiratory mask, ear protectors and other protective clothing
  • Prevent dust from spreading to other areas of the house by covering doors, windows and even air grills for duct work
  • Work in a well-ventilated area, opening windows if necessary
  • Prep the room and the floor by removing all furniture, draperies, base shoe molding, any protruding splinters or screw heads, nailing down any loose floorboards and sweeping the surface clean of debris

Step 2. Choose the Right Sander/s for Your Floor

Types & Function of Sanders
All sanders use sandpaper specially made for each type. It’s best to change the sandpaper as soon as it’s spent. It’s also critical to progress through sandpaper grits, from coarse and up, to remove finishes, flatten the wood and polish off any scratches. In addition, sweep or vacuum the floor clean between grit changes. Here’s a rundown of the types of sanders and their function:

Drum Sander – uses a rotating drum wrapped in sandpaper, which can be replaced by unscrewing the retaining strip, feeding a fresh sheet of sandpaper around the drum, then re-securing it. Drum sanders do the heavy-duty work of removing old paint and varnish with a continual application of sanding grit, producing a smooth finish. Start be sanding diagonally in one direction across the floor, changing direction for the next set of diagonal runs followed by a final run in the direction of the wood grain.

Orbital or Rotary Sander – uses a rotating sanding disk that produces the same smooth finish regardless of the direction of the wood grain or sanding runs, leaving no swirl marks. Best used for the first sanding of the floor rather than between coats of finish or paint.

Edging Sander – uses a disk of sandpaper to sand areas of floor that are close to the walls or baseboards. Usually hand-held, this specialty equipment is mounted on a big motor and includes a bag for collecting dust.

Corner Sander – uses a vibrating sandpaper head in a triangular shape that fits nicely in corners and other small spaces like under a radiator.

Buffer – uses a rotating sandpaper disk to screen, which blends the edge-sanded perimeter with the drum or orbital-sanded area, polishing out sanding scratches. Buffers also give a sanded floor a final buff or polish before finishing.

Step 3. Apply the Finishing Touches

Once the floor is sanded, screened and buffed to the desired smoothness, sweep and vacuum to remove any remaining dust or debris. Touch up any rough places with hand sanding. Wipe with a damp sponge and let dry.

Choose your finish and apply. Two coats of water-based varnish can be applied in as little as one day, with light hand-sanding between coats.

If your wood floors are scratched on the surface, you can clean and remove the scratches without having to sand down to bare wood. Find out how by reading our blog, Spruce up Your Wood Floors in Time for Winter Entertaining.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with your sanding projects. From drum sanders to rotary sanders and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, Featured Products, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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