The Pitfalls of RESURFACE Solid Wood Flooring
Whilst there are few things more satisfying than a wood floor that you have restored yourself, here are some things to think about before you take the decision to DIY. That is not to say sanding and finishing a floor cannot be carried out successfully by the enthusiastic amateur, but it is best to balance out the pros and cons before starting out so that unnecessary expense is avoided.
The first thing to understand is that the sanding part alone is extremely labour intensive so if you have a weak back, knees or are unable to work in small areas in may be best to bring in the professionals. However, if you are reasonably fit then there is no reason why you should not try your hand at doing it yourself.
Sound sanding advice
Make accurate costings including replacement planks, machine hire and finishing products so that there are no nasty financial surprises once you are underway. If you have no previous experience of using an industrial sanding machine such as a belt or drum sander then visit the hire outlet prior to starting the job and speak to a knowledgeable member of staff. Always make sure you have the correct size of machine to do the job. Also ensure the sander is in good condition and has been regularly maintained before renting it.
A standard piece of advice regarding walk through sanders is never ever allow the machine to idle or remain in one place for any length of time. When the machine stops moving the disc will continue to rotate and dig out nasty and hard-to-remove gouges in the floor.
Whilst you will need to move the machine around with purpose if you are to remove all of the existing finishing, avoid cutting corners by too heavy a hand and ruining your floor. In real terms, expect to sand the floor two or perhaps even three times before you reach a finish which is smooth and even enough to successfully apply finishing.
It is extremely important that all of the original veneer is sanded off before moving forward to apply the new. If you are hiring a sander then it is worth taking a weekend hire rather than just for a day. After each subsequent sanding you can use a finer grain of paper. If the original condition of the floor has old carpeting and shellac grains clinging to the boards then you should start with a very coarse grain and work up to the finer grains.
Remember that the belt or drum sander will be unable to get right into the edges of the room so you will have to leave about 12-inches clear all round and this area you can sand by hand. Similarly with corners, nooks, crannies and staircases should be sanded by hand.
Work with a very light touch to avoid leaving machine marks on the floor, but if you do discover a drum mark you can feather it out by using an orbital sander if the indentation is not too deep.
When the floor has been sanded properly it will feel smooth as silk to the touch and will have lightened considerably. After a thorough vacuuming it is now time to apply the finishing product.
These products are available in both water and oil-based finishes. Just like paint, oil-based products take longer to dry than do water-based solutions although oil-based polyurethane finishings are easiest to apply if you are doing it yourself. Do not skimp on the finishing product; buy the best quality you can as the finishing is the icing on the cake of your wood floor restoration and the part that everyone will see. That being said, there is no use in having a perfect veneer if the foundation sanding has not been carried out properly.
For a perfectly restored wood floor then, all levels must be carried out perfectly to ensure a beautiful and long-lasting wood floor finishing of which you can be justly proud.