As tough and beautiful as a wood floor is, it’s really no match for a family. Every generation wears down the finish with spills, drops, grit tracked in on shoes, shifting furniture, and worst of all, the scrabbling claws of family pets. The good news is that the damage usually isn’t permanent. Most wood floors can be refinished, which involves sanding away a paper-thin layer off the top and then applying coats of clear polyurethane finish.
Sanding and Refinishing
If scratches in your floor don’t go all the way through to the wood, it might be possible to scuff-sand your floor with a buffer and apply a fresh coat or two of finish. The process is easier and less expensive than sanding down to bare wood and takes less time. In a few hours your floor could look as good as new.
Sanding your hardwood floors takes three sessions with progressively lighter grit sandpaper. To begin, we use a coarse 30-40 grit, then a medium 50-60 grit and finally a fine 80-100 grit. After sanding the room’s center, we sand the edges using a power hand sander and in the corners, we use a detail sander. We will then examine the floor and fill any gouges or holes with matching wood filler where necessary. If the floor feels rough after sanding with the 100-grit paper, we will buff it with a 120-grit screen. Buffing with a screen helps smooth out fine scratches.
Staining the floor is only necessary if you want to change the floor color. To do so, we apply a pre-stain conditioner and apply the stain by hand with rags. If you’re not staining the floor, we will apply a sanding sealer. Let it dry for 24 hours, then lightly sand with 320-grit sandpaper. Finally we apply 2 coats of Bona water based polyurethane finish.
Just because you can rent a sander doesn’t mean you should. Even if you believe that you are a jack of all trades, you still might not have the stuff it takes to refinish your floors.
Seriously, you could end up with a floor that has so many dips and grooves, you’ll get seasick. Worse, you could make a dangerous newbie mistake and start a fire.
Even if the cost of hiring a pro makes you sweat, don’t consider taking on the job yourself. Do you really want to put your home value on the line to learn a new skill?