Hardwood floors are a beautiful and durable long term investment in your home. However, over time scratches and wearing can take place and the floor will need to be refinished and restored back to its original luster. Here are tips for refinishing and maintaining a hardwood floor.
Preparing for Refinishing
Refinishing a hardwood floor is a time consuming and messy job, but it is simple enough for any hardworking homeowner to do. The first step is to remove all the furniture, throw rugs and decorative items from the room. Examine the floor for any nail heads, carpet tacks or staples that may be present and remove them. Sweep the floor clean and close heating or cooling vents in the room to keep dust from traveling through your HVAC system.
Sanding the Floor
Now for the messy, most time consuming part of the job: Sanding the floor. Rent a drum or orbital sander from a home improvement or hardware store. A drum sander is very efficient but is heavy and unwieldy and more difficult to control. If it is not kept moving continuously and evenly, it can gouge the floor. It takes longer to do the job with an orbital sander, but it is usually easier to control. The personnel at the rental shop can answer your questions, give you a demonstration and help you choose a sander that meets your needs. You will also need sandpaper in a variety of grits and an edge sander, unless the floor sander is designed to sand the floor edges as well as the flooring.
To sand the floor, start with the heaviest gauge of sandpaper, 36 grit. Move the sander in a smooth, continuous fashion, working in the same direction as the wood grain and in a straight line. If you accidentally gouge the floor, run the sander over the area in a few long strokes to even it out. Sand the entire floor, then repeat the process using medium grit paper (60). Vacuum the entire floor and sand the entire floor again with the lowest grit paper (80-100). If using an edge sander, follow the same graduated process with it. Thoroughly vacuum the floor several times to remove all traces of wood dust.
Re-finish the Floor
If you are adding color to the floor with stain, apply it evenly with a rag and let dry as directed by the manufacturer. A stained or unstained floor should then be treated with high-quality polyurethane finish sealer, applied evenly with a roller or brush. Let dry as directed and then apply a second coat. Let the finish dry for several days before moving rugs or furniture back into the room.
Keeping it Beautiful
To keep your floor looking its best, sweep or vacuum frequently to keep it free of gritty dirt and sand. These elements are ground into the finish whenever anyone walks across the floor and can wear the finish away. Always use a soft brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner. Occasional damp mopping will also keep your floors looking great and always clean up spills as soon as they happen. To avoid scratches, keep petís nails trimmed, add cushioning pads to wooden table and chair legs and donít drag furniture across the floor.
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