If you have recently invested in a new home, only to discover hardwood flooring that's been neglected for quite some time, a refinishing project may be in your future. Refinishing hardwood floors can be rewarding, particularly when you start to see that old shine come through. Here's a look at what you need to understand to tackle the job with confidence and make those floors look their best.
Dealing With Pre-Finishing Preparation
Start with a complete inspection of the floors. This allows you to identify any damaged boards. You'll want to replace the damaged ones before you start the rest of the work. Set any nails that are protruding from the surface of the wood. Setting drives them below the surface of the wood. Fill any holes with wood putty, and scrape it level.
Before you can sand and finish the floors, you'll also need to pull the trim from around the base of the wall in the room. You can pry it off the wall carefully with a flat-bladed screwdriver. Set it aside so that it stays secure while you work. That way, you can put it back afterward. You might even want to plan to refinish the trim for consistency in the appearance of the room. Finally, you'll want to scan the entire floor surface for any possible low spots or wood crowning. These areas need special treatment in the sanding phase, so be sure you know where they are.
Sanding The Old Finish Away
Before you start sanding, put some newspaper or something similar over all of the electrical outlets, air intakes and floor vents. This keeps dust from the sanding process out of your air vents. You'll also want to turn off any pilot lights in the house so that you don't cause combustion from the dust accumulation.
Rent a floor sander from a local equipment rental shop. Just make sure you're comfortable with its use. You have to keep it moving when it runs, otherwise you risk causing low spots in the floor from sanding too much in that spot. Consistent, smooth, and even movements are essential for the best finish. When you rent the sander, ask for sandpaper products in a variety of grit levels. You'll want to start with the coarse paper and step down to the finest stuff to smooth the surface before you stain it again.
Be prepared with plenty of free time for the sanding phase. You don't want to rush this because it will show in the final product. Not only might the floor be uneven, but inattention with the sander will also show in the finished product.
Applying The New Finish
When you're done sanding, vacuum up as much of the dust as you can. Then, wipe down the floors with tack cloths or something similar so that there's no residue left behind. Apply stain by hand using a standard paintbrush. Work in even coats, and do it slowly so that the stain has time to soak into the wood and so it goes on in an even layer. This is important to prevent discoloration in the wood or splotches of excess stain. Check the drying time recommended by the stain manufacturer to be sure that you let the wood dry long enough.
When dry, it's time to buff the wood floors with a soft cloth. This removes any of the excess stain from the surface of the wood, which is important. Then, you can apply a clear coat to protect the wood from further damage. You can apply that clear coat in the same manner as you do with the stain. Let it dry for the recommended time by the manufacturer. Once finished, you can replace the trim and remove all of the protective coverings.
If you don't feel comfortable refinishing your wood floor on your own, contact a company like Painting By Jerry Wind for professional assistance.