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Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Give your hardwood floors new life

If you have hardwood floors, you know how lucky you are. You have flooring that is beautiful, durable, and really adds to the value of your home...when it´s in good condition! If your flooring is worn, stained, or just old, refinishing your floors could be the key to gorgeous rooms, increased value, and easy maintenance.

Many folks have no qualms about refinishing their floors themselves. It´s a big job, but supplies and equipment are readily available. However, because it is a big, messy, and inconvenient job, many of the same homeowners say in retrospect they would never do it again.

Floor refinishing overview

Refinishing floors is not like painting a room. There are key safety behaviors you need to pay attention to if you want to prevent accidents or major problems. Eye and ear protect is a must. Knowing how to handle materials is important too. Wood dust can ignite if exposed to open electrical outlets, and stain or oil laden rags have been known to spontaneously combust.

The following outlines the process, but are not intended as do-it-yourself steps;

  • The first step is to empty the room completely of its contents, then check the floor for special treatment areas. If there are squeaky boards you´ll need to silence them. Damaged boards require replacement. Any nails that protrude even slightly need to be countersunk.
  • Once the floor is repaired, it needs to be power sanded. Seal the room to keep dust out of other rooms. Carefully remove the shoe moldings along the perimeter of the baseboards.
  • Floor sanding is performed using a drum sander. It´s easy to damage a floor past repair by making really ugly gouges. Other common refinishing gaffs include missing spots in the old finish, uneven sanding, or failing to do a final sanding with super-fine sandpaper which leaves the smoothest surface for finishing.
  • Once the floor is completely sanded, ALL the dust needs to be removed. If there are remaining stains, it´s important to remove them at this point. Wood stains, depending on type, can be sanded out, or bleached out using regular bleach. Care must be taken with bleach or other stain removers. Staining wood to enhance grain or add a particular color to the wood can blend in to difficult stains and achieve even coloration. Stain can be tricky, and uneven staining is common.
  • The final finish is accomplished by applying one of a variety of sealers including polyurethane, varnish, or shellac. Penetrating sealers can also be used. It all depends on the final look you want. Polyurethanes are the most common finishes used now.

Hiring a pro

If you´ve got a few notches in your home improvement belt, refinishing floors could save you some cash. However, if you don´t have any refinishing experience, you will probably get the floors you want by hiring a professional hardwood flooring refinisher. They will have all the tools, tricks, and experience they need to prepare your floors correctly, achieve a smooth, glassy surface, stain evenly, and apply a beautiful, easily maintained finish. They´ll take over the headache of getting it "just right" and free up your time to work on other projects.

Many floor refinishers can do several rooms in a day. Costs depend on a variety of factors including the extent of floor repairs needed and the size of the project.

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