Posts Tagged With: hardwood floors

What to Remember When Refinishing Your Hardwoods

Refinishing Your Hardwood FloorsRefinishing your hardwoods is a DIY project you need to understand fully before undertaking.

The most important things to remember:

  • It takes time
  • It takes patience
  • It takes elbow grease

Prepare to Succeed

Refinishing your floors isn’t a quick DIY project. It usually takes longer than a weekend, so be prepared to live with dust and fumes for a few days longer. As with any home renovation, patience is key. Doing the right preparations beforehand will help things go smoothly. Using a floor sander (orbital or drum) is tough on the body, so tag team on the sanding.

Know Your Floors

Before sanding your floors, determine if they can be sanded. Because true hardwoods are solid wood, they withstand the loss of the top layer through sanding. Laminates will be ruined if sanded. It is better to just re-seal and buff engineered flooring.

The 4-Step Process

  1. Prepare. Make sure the floors are clean of all dirt and wax. Remove all furniture, seal off doors, vents, outlets and light switches. The object is to control dust from getting out of the room (and there will be a lot of it!).
  2. Sand. Start with 60 grit sandpaper and work your way up to 120 grit for the final sanding. Work in a straight path along a wall in a semi-circular motion. Always keep the sander moving to avoid creating uneven grooves.
  3. Clean Up. Learn to love the vacuum because your diligence in cleaning after each sanding determines if your finish is blemish free. Frequently check the vacuum filter for clogs. Damp mop floor thoroughly when done.
  4. Finish. Work with a brush when applying sealant around the perimeter and a lamb’s wool applicator for the rest of the floor. Overlap the application with the area worked with the brush. Allow 24 hours to dry. Buff and vacuum before applying second coat. Apply stain in the same manner as sealant. Finish with a couple of coats of polyurethane.

Choosing a Floor Sander – Orbital or Drum

One of the biggest decisions you have to make for this project is which type of sander to choose – orbital or drum. Orbital sanders take longer to do the job but are easier to use. Drum sanders are harder on the floors but they get the job done quickly. Both have a mind of their own, so know your skill level when attempting to operate them.

Tips for Successful Refinishing Projects

  • If working on other renovation projects, save refinishing the floors until last.
  • The finish takes longer to dry in humid and rainy weather. Wait for dry weather.
  • Remove adhesive from a previous flooring with glue remover, rather than sanding. It is tough to sand off and can stain wood.
  • Practice with your sander on a sheet of plywood to get consistent with your strokes.
  • Use an edging sander to smooth out sanding swirls around the walls. Hand sand tight spots like corners.
  • Use a hardwood floor attachment on your vacuum to avoid scratching.
  • Allow dust to settle in room before removing plastic sheeting and doing your final cleanup.
  • When using oil based sealant or stain, use a respirator.
  • Odors from polyurethane can linger for a couple of days so leave plastic up over doors if the fumes bother you.

Keep Off My New Hardwood Floors!

Let the floor dry completely before moving furniture back into the room. It’s a good idea to avoid shoes, bare feet and pets getting on them for the first 48 hours. Until then, don a pair of sunglasses, wear your socks and slide around your refinished floor like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Clothing is entirely up to you!

Expert Advice

From orbital sanders and floor edgers to fans and shop vacuums, our expert staff is always on hand to help with your DIY hardwood refinishing. For even more helpful info to get you started, check out our blog, How to Re-Finish Your Hardwood Floors to Perfection. As always, if you have any questions about pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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

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

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