The Basics of Floor Refinishing

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Bergen County NJ┬áinvolves sanding the surface of your wood floors to remove deep scratches, gouges, and discoloration. It’s a labor-intensive, time-consuming process that gives your floor an entirely new look.

You can also refresh your floors without sanding using products used on previously sealed hardwood. This will soften light scratches and dings but won’t eliminate them.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

When refinishing wood floors, the first step is to sand them down. This is a messy, labor-intensive process, and it’s important to use the right tools and follow the proper procedure. If not done correctly, the sanding will leave behind unsightly patches of wood that can show through your finish.

When you’re ready to sand, start with a coarse-grit sanding pad. This will remove most of the existing finish and expose the raw wood beneath it. After sanding, vacuum and dust the floor thoroughly before moving on to the next step.

The next step in the floor refinishing process is to stain the floors. This is a very important step because it determines how the finished floor will look. Be sure to talk with your refinishing professionals about what you’re looking for and ask them to test stains on your floors before they start working. You may even want to do some research on your own and find stains you like the look of so that your professional can match them when it comes time to apply them.

Once the floors are stained, it’s a good idea to allow them to dry for two or three days before applying a final coat of polyurethane. When you’re refinishing wood floors, you should choose a polyurethane that’s low-VOC (volatile organic compound) to help reduce the amount of chemicals in your home.

To apply the polyurethane, make sure your floors are completely clean and vacuumed again. You should also use a tack cloth to make sure there isn’t any dust or other debris in the floor before you begin. If you’re using a water-based finish, you can use a paint pad on edges and corners; if you’re going with an oil-based finish, a china-bristle brush or lamb’s-wool applicator should work.

Finally, it’s a good idea to put felt pads on the bottom of your furniture pieces as you move them back into place. This will prevent the furniture from scratching your newly refinished floors. In addition, it’s a good idea to cover all doors with plastic sheeting and remove any baseboard molding at the wall-floor joint so that it doesn’t get damaged by the sander.

Staining is an essential process of floor refinishing, though it can be one of the hardest parts. Unlike the finish that provides a protective coating, stain actually colors your hardwood floors, and it is crucial that the color is uniform throughout the floor.

Stains can be oil-based or water-based, and they come in a wide variety of hues from which you can choose. You should test the stain on a small area of your flooring to ensure that it looks the way you want it to before applying it to the entire floor.

Once you’ve chosen your stain, a professional should apply it using a brush or rag in sections, following the direction of the wood grain. Then, the excess stain should be wiped off after a few minutes. The color of the stain should be allowed to dry before resealing the floor.

Aside from the choice of stain, it’s also important to consider which species of wood your floor is made of. Some woods are more difficult to work with than others. Hickory is notorious for blotchy stain, and maple and birch can have trouble with consistency as well. Working with these woods is challenging and requires a lot of experience to get right.

After the stain is applied, a polyurethane or similar finish should be added to protect it and provide a sheen. The number of coats of polyurethane is important, and a three-coat system typically looks better than two. The polyurethane should be tested on a small section of the flooring before it is applied to the entire floor, to make sure that you’re happy with the result.

Before the polyurethane is applied, your refinisher should vacuum the floor and use a tack cloth to clean up any dirt or debris. Then, the floor should be sanded with a pole sander using 100-grit sandpaper. It’s important that the sanding is done correctly, and the wood is free of all dust, grit, and debris. The floor should then be vacuumed again, and a tack rag should be used to wipe up any remaining residue.

When the stain has dried, it’s time to apply a final protective coat. This coat will protect the hardwood floor from water and daily use, while also adding shine and a hint of color. There are many options available for this coat, including polyurethane and natural oil finishes. You can even choose a sheen, from matte to high-gloss, though keep in mind that a high sheen will magnify imperfections on the wood.

Before applying a finish, it’s important to thoroughly clean the floors. This is to remove any dust particles that could mar the surface of the new coating. You can use a broom, mop, or damp microfiber cloth to remove dirt and dust. It’s also important to remove any rugs or other floor coverings. Be sure to close the air vents before doing this, so that sanding dust doesn’t enter your home through the ductwork.

It’s also a good idea to evaluate the condition of your hardwood flooring before deciding whether or not you need to refinish it. If the floor is scratched or stained, a full refinish may be necessary. However, if the floor is still protected by its wear layer, it may only need a light screen and recoat.

It’s also worth determining what kind of hardwood you have, as different types require different refinishing methods. For example, laminate planks are made of synthetic materials layered and embossed with grain patterns to mimic the look of real hardwood. These floors are almost impossible to refinish, but chemical abrasives can be used for recoating. However, if you have solid hardwood floors, they can be refinished using traditional sanding and staining techniques. Once the floors are refinished, it’s essential to wait 24 hours before walking on them with socks or soft-soled shoes. It’s also a good idea to wait at least four days before moving furniture back into the room. The curing process can take longer than this, so be sure to consult the manufacturer’s recommendation for specific times.

Once your floor is sanded and free of the old finish, it’s time to stain it. It’s best to do this with the help of your floor guy, who can show you stains on other floors that look good and give you advice about what works in your home. Then, once you’ve chosen a color, it’s good to test the stain on some boards (or, better yet, your walls) to make sure it looks right.

A note here: Stains and varnishes can be oil- or water-based; the latter tends to have lower VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than the former. You should choose the type that’s right for you and your wood.

Once the stains are applied and the floors are rubbed down, it’s time to apply the top coat. This will add protection to the surface and help it resist scuffing and scratching for longer than it would without the coating.

Whether you opt for stain or varnish, the standard is at least two coats. You may decide to go for more, and it’s always a good idea to use a high-quality product that’s designed specifically for wood flooring.

Then, once the floors have a chance to dry and cure, it’s time for furniture to return to them. If you’re refinishing the entire house, you’ll need to move everything in advance, and it’s a good idea to have a temporary living or sleeping area for your family and pets. This will help reduce the inconvenience and keep everyone away from the hazard of dust, fumes and wet paint for a few days.

Finally, it’s important to remember that even the most careful refinisher will ding your baseboards (the wood trim where your walls meet the floors) here and there with the sanders. This will need to be touched up with a bit of stain and polyurethane, so it’s a good idea to hire a painter to come in and do this before you bring your furniture back into the room. It will probably cost you a few hundred bucks, but it’s better than paying to refinish your floors again down the road because of a shoddy touch-up job.