Hardwood Floor Refinishing Northern Virginia
, whether you simply need to refinish your hardwood flooring, or you have discovered an old hardwood floor underneath years-old carpet, you can restore the look and bring back the beauty of the floor when it was new. Don’t go running for a sander and varnish just yet, however. Kind of like customers at a hair salon, one floor may require a different cut and color than the next. Choose the finish removal appropriate for your floor and the finish that matches the wood.
Hardwood Flooring Back To Life
Before you do anything in regards to your hardwood floor refinishing Northern Virginia project, you need to determine the condition of your hardwood flooring in your Fairfax VA, Alexandria VA, Arlington VA or any other area of Northern Virginia area home and the finish as well. Knowing the age and thickness of the original hardwood floorboards, how many times the floor has been sanded, and the finishing products previously applied helps you decide how the floor should be stripped and how it should be finished. Making a mistake can be costly and damaging, so if you aren’t sure, a little investigation is in order. At the same time, make note of problem areas that may require a little extra prep work before refinishing the wood.
Assess Hardwood Flooring Condition
Keep in mind that refinishing a hardwood floor is a lot of work and time-consuming. Hiring a company to perform hardwood floor refinishing Northern Virginia may be a better option for you. However, even if you choose to let a pro handle your floors, you can significantly lower the cost by assessing your floor yourself and performing the prep work so the pro can get right to work.
- Is there anything stuck to the floor, such as remnants of old flooring and adhesives? Don’t attack such spots with a sander – it will be rough on the sander and sandpaper and may result in uneven sanding. Remove old floor coverings manually and use specially designed chemical strippers, as appropriate, to remove adhesives.
- Are there nails sticking out of the wood boards? Are there boards missing or any significant cracks in the wood flooring? Missing boards need replacement – consult a professional if you are uncertain how the floor was originally installed and how to do it yourself. Cracks will fill easily with a little wood putty, spread over the crack with a large spatula and then sanded with the floor once cured. Nails need to be well below the floor surface.
- Can you see stains soaked into the flooring? Are there deep scratches and dents? While wood putty can fix many blemishes, some may require replacement of the floorboard involved. Deep stains may require a thorough sanding to remove, and, even then, traces may remain. Some hardwood floor refinishing Northern Virginia company will even try oxalic acid, but it bleaches the wood at the same time as it removes the stain.
- Is the current finish fairly sound? Perform a water test to judge the condition. Simply drop a spoonful of water on the floor and see if it soaks in or beads up. If the water simply pools or soaks in slowly, the current finish may not need as intensive of a refinishing treatment. If the water soaks in quickly, the floor needs to be sanded down to the wood.
- What finish was previously applied to the wood by the last hardwood floor refinishing Northern Virginia company? Wood finishes are not interchangeable – once you use one finish product, unless you sand the floor completely down to the wood, you need to use the same product again.
Hardwood Floor Refinishing Fairfax VA
Once you’ve examined your floor and considered the condition of the current finish, how thick the wood and what areas may cause problems, you’ll have a better idea of your floor’s needs. Before refinishing the floor, countersink nails, fill cracks and replace boards to prepare for the job ahead.
Refinishing Hardwood Floors – Choosing Method
Take the time to remove baseboard moldings or anything you may bump against on the wall. Hang plastic over doors and tape across vents and electrical outlets – any sanding creates a lot of dust, and you don’t want it spreading through your house. Finally, choose a refinishing method depending on the level of refinishing your floor condition demands.
- If the floor has a wax coating and it looks scratched, wet the scratches to see the reaction. If the scratch seems to disappear, try buffing the floor with additional wax for a simple hardwood floor refinishing.
- Sometimes, if you catch the floor soon enough, you can simply re-coat the wood after removing the existing non-wax finish, a process often referred to as screening or scratch-sanding. This requires a buffing machine or floor polisher, fit with special clog-resistant sanding disks of different grits. Easier to use than drum sanders commonly used for complete finish stripping, screening abrades and removes the finish without sanding the wood. A belt sander is necessary around the edges.
- Strip, rather than sand, with chemicals. For most finishes, the same solvent that softened it will also remove the finish with a little work and patience. After that, it’s simply a matter of applying a new, compatible finish according to the product instructions. The exception is a wax finish. The problem with wax is it’s very difficult to completely remove. You may think it’s gone, but it soaks into cracks and between boards and then, when you apply a new finish, surprise! The finish doesn’t cure (harden) and all your work is for nothing.
- For the most intensive refinishing job of all, you’ll need heavy-duty equipment – a buffer, a drum sander, an orbital sander, a floor edger, a Shop-Vac, lots of sandpaper (did we mention lots?) and various tools such as paintbrushes, rags, rollers and such as needed for stains and finishes. The big sanders can be rented fairly inexpensively, by the day. The ability to handle them may not be quite so easy. The first in the process, the drum sander, is loud and. Start it while tilted, not in touch with the floor, then slowly lower it. Practice in unnoticeable areas and keep it moving at all times. It sands very aggressively. Both the drum sander and the orbital, used at the edges, begin with 20- to 60-grit sandpaper and work up, one grade at a time, to 120.
Hardwood Floor Refinishing – Time To Finish
At this point, if you’ve stripped your finish and sanded your wood, you have almost endless possibilities for finishes. A varnish, for instance, may be used alone in clear or colored formulas. A stain topped with polyurethane is another popular choice, or an old-fashioned linseed or tung oil covered with wax may suit your preferences. Research your options before deciding what to use – a wood floor lasts nearly forever, and you don’t want to have to do a complete refinishing anytime soon. With care put into hardwood floor refinishing Northern Virginia floor, and a little time and attention put into taking care of the new finish, you won’t have to.
Until next time,
Chad Durbin | President |Total Flooring