Hardwood floors are beautiful and durable. With proper care, they can last several lifetimes. A wood floor that's dull or scratched, however, is probably in need of refinishing. Luckily, a little know-how and the right tools make refinishing hardwood floors a snap.
Just A Little Off The Top
If your hardwood floor has polyurethane finish and no deep scratches or gouges, you can revitalize your hardwood floors with a process called screening.
Screening works like traditional sanding, but uses a lighter, easier to control floor polisher. Screening hardwood floors removes the surface finish without taking away any of the underlying wood.
Screens are sanding disks designed to be clog free and to fit a 16-inch floor polisher. Screening disks come in various grits (60, 80, 100 and 120) like sandpaper and range in price from $6 to $10. Screening disks and floor polishers can be found at most rental centers. A floor polisher can be rented for around $25 a day.
Preparing The Room
Remove everything from the room including drapes and other wall hangings. Screening is not as messy as traditional hardwood floor refinishing, but it still generates a lot of dust.
Seal all entries with plastic sheeting and tape; plastic on both sides of entries will give added protection. Seal off ventilation registers with plastic and tape and seal all closet and cabinets doors with tape. If possible, open any windows and place a fan to direct air and dust outside.
Temporarily remove quarter-round molding. Remove any carpet staples or tacks and use a nail set on any flooring nails that stick out above the surface of the floor.
Screening Your Hardwood Floors
To knock down any high spots on your screening disks, run a sanding block with 100- grit sandpaper over each disk.
Make sure you have proper eye and respiration protection before beginning.
Starting with a 60-grit screening disk, use the floor polisher to screen as much of the floor as you can, working along the grain of your hardwood floors. Use a sanding block with a matching grade of sandpaper to sand along the walls where the screening disks won't reach. You'll want to screen the entire floor four times, moving up through each grade of screening disk up to 120-grit.
When you're finished, thoroughly vacuum all surface (including walls, and ceiling) and wipe floors down with a tack cloth.
Polyurethane finish will leave a tough, clear surface on your screened hardwood floors. Polyurethane finish is available in two types: water-based and oil-based. Water based finishes dry quicker, but oil-based finishes are better for beginners.
Apply polyurethane finishes per the manufacturer's instructions, working with the grain of the wood. Apply two coats, allowing plenty of drying time between coats. Allow the second coat to dry 24 to 72 hours before moving furniture back into the room.
With all the hardwood flooring choices on the market, it's tough to know which choice is right for your lifestyle. Focusing on durability and maintenance will help you get a floor that stands up to your family and looks great.
Hardwood floors are often a sought after feature for potential homeowners. These floors have a classic beauty and are quite durable if they are cared for properly. Well made and cared for hardwoods can last for decades if not longer.