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Hardwood Floor Restoration

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Over the past couple of decades, hardwood floors have experienced a renaissance.  This traditional flooring was the standard until the 60s and 70s when wall-to-wall carpeting became the standard for home design.  Nowadays, hardwood flooring has risen in popularity partly because of its unmistakable beauty and partly because of its ease of cleaning.  Whereas in the past home buyers might see an old hardwood floor and think of how to cover it,  home buyers today are often excited to discover hardwood under carpet and try to think of ways to restore it.  Refinishing these floors can be a challenging task, but there are few design challenges that have such a striking impact as a newly restored hardwood floor.

So, what do you need to know about hardwood floor restoration?  Let’s take a closer look.

Safety First

As is the case with any home renovation or restoration project, you want to take the necessary safety precautions.  With respect to hardwood floor restoration, you’ll be using sanders and refinishing products so you should expect to work with dust and fumes.  Invest in some dust masks and always wear ear plugs when operating equipment.  Similarly, when you’re applying sealers and finishes, always wear a vapour respirator, gloves, and eye protection.

Choose Your Sanding Equipment Carefully

If your hardwood floor has significant signs of wear (including scratches and scuffs), you’ll probably want to sand it first.  If you’re not experienced with restoring flooring, you want to choose a sander that is easy to use but effective.  Most restoration experts will use a drum sander as they are the most efficient, but also require the most experience to operate properly.  For a do-it-yourself project, random orbital sanders are easier to control and can be moved either with or against the wood grain.

Once you begin to remove the old finish, take it slowly.  Start with coarse-grit abrasives and move to gradually finer grits until you achieve your desired level of smoothness.  Approach floor sanding as you would mowing your lawn by sanding in rows and overlapping slightly from one row to the next.  Also, don’t neglect the corners or edges of the floor by using a palm sander near baseboards and recesses.  After you’ve done all the sanding, be sure to remove all dust, hair, and debris by vacuuming and then wiping the floors clean.

Seal and Stain

Once the sanding is complete and you’ve cleaned the floor you can apply a sealer coat.  Sealing the floor is not always necessary but helps to ensure an even stain.  Always make sure to apply seal and stain evenly and work in small areas.  It is best to apply thin coats of stain and apply more coats in order to achieve a smooth finish.

Hire a Professional

Ultimately, restoring your hardwood floors is a job that can be done yourself, but if you haven’t got a lot of restoration experience, you might want to hire a professional.  The increased cost will be justified when you see professional results.

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