Hardwood floors add beauty and value to your home. They will also require refinishing on occasion if you are to keep them in good condition. Knowing when and how to refinish your floors is important, which is why the following information should come in very handy.
Signs your Wood Flooring Needs Refinishing
Hardwood floors will eventually show signs of wear, which indicate it is time for refinishing. Some signs that it is time to refinish your floors are:
- A dull finish
- Uneven wear
- Spots that contain little or no stain
- Cupping, which involves individual planks peeling upward at the corners
- An excessive number of dents or dings
It is sometimes possible to eliminate superficial damage by screening your floors and then adding new finish. However, when the damage extends to the wood itself, it is then time for refinishing.
Precautions when Refinishing Wood Flooring
You can sand and refinish most wood floors around eight times. After that, there may not be enough wood left to provide you with a sturdy floor. When done properly, a refinishing job can last you upwards of 20 years. So unless your hardwood floors are more than 160 years old, they should be okay to sand down.
Before doing any sanding, make sure your wood flooring contains at least 1/32” of wood. Check by lifting up one of your register vents and then measuring the thickness of the wood.
Ensure your planks are actually hardwood floors and not laminate. Laminate floors contain thin layers of wood that are glued together, and unfortunately are not suitable for sanding.
The Refinishing Process: Getting Ready
Before refinishing hardwood floors, you will first need to remove all the furniture from your room. Next, carefully take off baseboards with a crowbar, then label and set aside. Cover any electronics or other delicate equipment with plastic or remove them from your room altogether.
Check your wood flooring for protruding nails, staples, or tack strips. Remove these items so as not to cause damage to your sander.
Sanding Wood Flooring: The Basics
You’ll need either a random orbital sander or drum sander when sanding hardwood floors. Use a random orbital sander if your floor is fairly flat and a drum sander if you have uneven or wavy floors.
Keep in mind that both of these have the potential to create deep grooves or scratches in your floors. This could require even more sanding in order to correct. As such, you should consider using a professional if you are unfamiliar with how these sanders operate.
You’ll go over your wood flooring three times, using different grits of sandpaper during each pass. Start with a coarse sandpaper to remove the bulk of the damage, then follow it up with a medium and then a fine grit.
Refinishing Pattern for Hardwood Floors
Begin in the farthest corner of your room and work in the same direction as your grain. Sand only one row at a time, keeping the sander in constant motion to prevent floor damage. Move as close as possible to the edges of your room. Once you have gotten there, overlap your previous work by a few inches and continue sanding along the grain until you reach the other edge.
Use a powered hand sander when refinishing the edges of hardwood floors. As with the larger sander, operate in the same direction as your grain and overlap your previous sanding job just slightly. Once you have sanded all areas of your room, thoroughly vacuum all dust before doing a second pass.
Second and Third Passes
With your hardwood floors vacuumed, any holes or gouges will be readily apparent. Fill these holes with a wood putty before making a second pass. Make pencil marks along the edges of your room so that you will be able to see where you have sanded.
Go over your wood flooring a second time using medium grit sandpaper. Use the same method as before, sanding with an orbital sander in the center and then completing the work with a hand sander near the edges.
Vacuum your floor again before completing your third pass. By now you should be familiar with refinishing and should have no trouble operating an orbital or hand sander.
Prepping for Finish
Refinishing leaves a lot of dust behind. You’ll likely find dust on your windows, window sills, and other surfaces. This dust must be removed prior to adding stain; otherwise, it might get into your product and leave an unsightly finish.
Wipe down your walls, ceilings, trim, and windows with a damp sponge. Wash pictures and knick-knacks, as well as your shelves and windows. Finally, use a soft cloth to wipe your hardwood floors down with mineral spirits. This will remove any embedded dust and leave your wood primed and ready to receive its stain.
Adding Stain and Sealer
Always apply stain according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure your room is well ventilated and that you have the right protective equipment (gloves and mask) available.
Begin in the same corner in which you started sanding. Apply stain with a soft-bristled brush, using precise, even strokes. You could need between two and three coats in order to achieve your desired effect. Allow at least 24 hours between coats for the stain to thoroughly dry.
A coat of polyurethane will provide additional protection for your wood flooring. Apply polyurethane in the same manner as stain, taking care not to paint yourself into a corner. For maximum protection, add two coats of sealer. Wait at least 24 hours between your first coat and the second.
Wood Flooring: Refinishing for Beautiful Results
Refinishing your wood flooring will provide you with amazing, beautiful results that will last for years. It’s a great way to freshen up those old floors so that they look like brand new again. Follow these tips when performing a DIY project, but do not hesitate to contact a professional if you need help with refinishing.
Brucke Flooring of Tulsa
Contact Brucke Wood Flooring in Tulsa, Oklahoma today and let our capable and knowledgeable wood flooring staff assist you. Brucke Flooring prioritizes the highest quality hardwood flooring and we specialize in refinishing, restoring and installing wood floors in Tulsa.