If you have hardwood floors at your home that have a very dull appearance, it might be time to refinish your floors. Over the years, dirt can become trapped in the upper layer of the floors, creating this unsightly appearance. It is a project that is best suited for dry conditions. This is because will it is a very porous material. You will be stripping off the upper layer of the sealant that was used, and this will expose the natural wood which could absorb moisture. If you are able to choose a few days that are nice outside, this is a project you can complete on your own. Here are some of the best strategies to use with floor refinishing projects that can help improve the interior of your home.
Two Ways To Refinish Your Hardwood Floors
There are two separate strategies you can use to improve your hardwood floors. First of all, you could do a complete refinishing project. This will require you to sand the entire surface of the floor down to the wood. The other option is to only take off the top coating of the polyurethane sealant. The choice that you make will be dependent upon what type of stains that you are seeing. If water has discolored the wood, or if there are deep scratches, a full refinishing project should be completed. However, if there are only minor scratches, and a slightly dull appearance, then you will do what is called a screening refinishing project.
Tools And Equipment You Will Need
You will need several different types of tools including a hammer, fan, drum sander, large palm sander, and a respirator or dust mask. You will also need the sanding discs to sand the upper layer of the polyurethane off, or to take it down all the way to the wood. The equipment that you will need will include painters tape, plastic sheets, wood putty, and polyurethane. Low VOC stain is also recommended, along with old socks that you can use to apply it.
How To Begin Your Floor Refinishing Project
You will initially move everything out of the room before you start. The plastic and tape will be used to block all of the doorways in and out of the area. You should have an open window so that you can blow out the dust, even if you are wearing a dust mask or a respirator. If there are any holes or deep scratches, you need to fill these with putty using your putty knife. Also look for nail heads that could be coming up and out of the wood. You will tap these back in using your hammer and nail set. Once all of that is done, you will be ready to begin sanding down your floor.
Start Sanding Your Floor
It is recommended that you use a drum sander which you can rent from home improvement stores. These will use the sanding discs with a 60 grit designation. You need to complete sanding the entire floor with the same grit paper to keep everything as consistent as possible. As you are moving forward and sanding down the floor, never engage the sanding discs while you are stationary. You will end up with circular marks on your floor, and these are almost impossible to remove. You should go in one direction until reaching the other side, disengage, turn around, and then start again. Once you have completed the entire floor, you will use the palm sander which is specifically used at the edges of the room. After turning everything off, you will then vacuum up the remaining sand, and use a damp cloth to get the rest. This completes the sanding process, leading to the staining of your floor.
Apply Stain And Protective Finish On Your Floor
The next part of the process is to stay in your floor. This can be done with the socks and stain that you have purchased. It is recommended that you wear some type of latex gloves to prevent staining your hands. Once it is dry, which may take a day or more, you will then apply the polyurethane protective finish. It is recommended that you use a water-based finish because it will dry faster, and will also produce far fewer noxious fumes.
After waiting another day, your floor will be complete. This entire floor refinishing project could be done over the weekend. It is recommended that you wait an entire day after you have added the polyurethane just to make sure it is completely dry. As long as you follow these steps, you should be able to complete the project in 2 to 3 days without incident. If you have a large area, this could be very time consuming, but it will be well worth the effort.