The first steps in any wood floor restoration process is repair, replace (if necessary) and a quality sanding job. Only once this process has been successfully completed should a new finishing be applied.
The sanding process works by using a sanding machine that is moved in a smooth action along the boards grain-wise to remove the old finishing. Even if your flooring has not been touched for many years, chances are there will be at least patches of old veneer in place, so it is always good practice to sand any wood floor back to bare wood before starting any restoration process.
Before beginning the sanding process (which can be messy if you are an amateur) take everything out of the room including curtains, cushions, furnishings and pictures on the wall. Never sand a floor without wearing the correct safety equipment, which includes goggles, gloves and a dust mask.
The next step should be to seal heating pipes with gaffer tape as well as around door frames but do not seal around windows – they should be left open. This will help in reducing dust particles, which unfortunately comes with the territory when you are using a drum sander machine!
Now remove skirting boards and dado railings and check the floor for any nails that may be sticking up, split or otherwise damaged boards and gaps between the boards. These are all simply matters of wear and tear but should be attended to before you begin sanding.
When you are using a drum sander never leave it switched on when it is stationary on the floor as this will almost certainly cause serious damage to the floorboards as the machine digs in to the wood. If you choose the DIY route the hire plant company should make you aware of any do’s and don’ts regarding your sanding machine, but if they do not then make sure you ask.
Your initial sanding should be carried out using coarse paper. When this round of sanding has been completed you can change to a finer grade and re-sand. If the floor still seems patchy in places then repeat the process a third time using the finest grade of sandpaper.
When you have completed the sanding your floor will look slightly whitened but should be smooth all over. Be sure to vacuum thoroughly and remove every particle of dust from the floor before beginning the next process of your wood floor restoration.
Softwoods such as pine appreciate the application of a primer, which seals the wood. Once this primer has fully dried (don’t try to do the whole restoration on a single day, or even over a weekend) then you can apply your top-coat of choice. If you do choose to apply a woodstain apply evenly with a cloth and allow it to dry. Depending upon what stain you use, the drying process can take from 24 – 48 hours.
When the floor is completely dry you can apply your lacquer or varnish finish, and when this has dried use a buffing machine to bring up the natural shine of the wood.
Help is at hand
If a wood floor restoration seems a bit much for you to undertake then you can always call in a professional floor sanding company – and it may well be economical to do so when you balance the costings against machine hire, consumables and time you would spend doing it yourself. In addition, with a specialist company you do have the additional peace of mind of a full guarantee.
Once your floor has been fully restored it is fairly easy to maintain, with regular sweeping/light vacuuming and a mop round once a month. That is all it really takes to keep a professionally restored real wood floor looking beautiful for years to come and as such, specialist wood floor restoration has to be money well spent.