Sanding and polishing can bring back the amazing look of aged timber floors. Read this article to learn the procedure and some great tips!
Sanding and polishing give an old timber floor a new life and gives the room a bright, shiny appearance. To accomplish that, you can visit this excellent site to hire an expert in sanding and polishing—or as a cheaper and better option, do it yourself (DIY).
Although refurbishing a timber floor might seem like a good DIY project, making costly mistakes in the process isn’t the desired result. It can quickly become an unattractive floor, or worse, the entire flooring will need to be replaced.
However, with the correct preparation and tools, restoring your timber floor can be a cinch. In this article, we will show you how you can do it in some easy and simple steps. Let’s get started!
Timber Floor Sanding and Polishing Preparation
Before getting started, preparing the room is a crucial step. Overlooking can affect the outcome or can cause health or environmental problems. Here are some tips on what you should do before the process:
Clear Out All Furniture
Move all furniture, like wardrobes, dining sets, and sofas out of the room. This includes the inside of any built-in cupboards, or anything else (such as rugs) covering the floor.
Check for Tacks, Staples, and Smooth Edges
Remove any tacks and staples from the floor is polished. If the timber floor is covered with carpet, it needs to be removed as well, including any edge pieces that are keeping it in place.
Cover or Remove Items Underneath Your House
If your house is a Queenslander or any kind of property having space underneath, make sure to cover or remove all the items. Liquid can drip through and damage the items, and the last thing you want is your car covered with dark brown polish.
Cover All Grills and Ducts
Sanding is a dusty process. These fine dust particles can ruin furniture and appliances. Therefore, before starting the process, turn off ventilation and cover all grills and ducts with plastic. Put plastic sheets over vents and wall hangings, computer outlets, power outlets, and any other electronic devices.
Remove Unsealed Food
Polyurethane, which is used as a part of the polishing process, can cling to nearby food and spoil it. Therefore, to prevent the unsealed food items from being tainted, remove them from your pantry and any other storage areas.
Sweep and Vacuum the Floor
Clean the floor thoroughly to remove any dust and debris before starting the project.
Ensure Personal Protection
“Safety is No Accident.” Put on your dust mask, earmuffs, and safety glasses, and go through the safety instructions before you begin.
Sanding Timber Floors
All modern sanding procedures involve specialized sanding machines. For the timber floor sanding, you will need a drum sander and a hand edge sander. A drum sander is used on most of the floor, while the hand edge sander is for the remaining hard-to-reach areas, like baseboards and edge corners.
Sandpaper with the correct grit is also required for this project. Begin sanding your timber floor with coarse sandpaper (like 24 grit), follow with medium grit, and finish with a fine one (like 120-grit sandpaper). However, in the case of a relatively new floor, skip the first part and begin with medium grit.
The Initial Sand (the Coarse Sand)
Begin from a corner of the room with the coarse sandpaper and work diagonally to the other corner. Repeat the process at least three times. Then move on and finish the floor at 45 degrees to the floorboards. After finishing the whole surface, use the edge sander with the same grit to finish the corners. Don’t forget to vacuum the room between stages to remove dust.
The Medium Sand
The process of sanding is the same except this time the sanding is done along the length of the floorboards. This stage is required to polish off the scratches made during the coarse sand.
The Final Sand
Before you begin with this stage, fill all the holes with a water-based putty and let them dry. Then with fine sandpaper, follow the same process as the medium sand. Repeat until you’re satisfied with the smoothness and quality of the floor.
Polishing Timber Floors
Two kinds of floor finishes are used on most timber floors: water-based and oil-based. The most used one is a water-based polyurethane varnish, which cures quickly and produces less odor. Oil-based resins are also a popular option.
Floor finishes come in gloss, semi-gloss, or matte finishes. A high gloss finish may look great; however, it is not recommended for high-traffic floors as it highlights imperfections and scratches.
After you’ve chosen the kind of finish you want to use, mix it by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the varnish to the floor surface with a varnish brush. Smooth brush strokes across the boards to prevent bubble formation.
A temperature of 12-25°C (55-77°F) is considered ideal for varnish application. The drying time differs by manufacturer and type. Wait for the varnish to dry before applying a second coat. Apply a third coat when needed.
Cautions after Completing Sanding and Polishing
Don’t Walk on the Floor for at Least 24 Hours
This will prevent damaging the finish while it’s still curing.
Leave Your Shoes Off for a Day or Two
Shoes pick up gravel and other abrasives that can demolish the newly polished flood. Therefore, avoid walking across the floor in shoes for some days when the floor is entirely cured. Never wear stiletto heels on a hardwood floor. Indentions on the floor are left by the heel point.
Wait for Three Days Before Replacing Furniture
Wait at least three days after the final coat is applied before you put your furniture back. Avoid dragging furniture; try lifting and placing where possible to avoid gouging or scratching the floor.
Move Rugs Every Two Weeks
When rugs are kept on wood floors for an extended period of time, they can leave a permanent mark. Therefore, move rugs to a separate spot after two weeks.
In conclusion, sanding and polishing provide an economic method to breathe new life into old timber floors. There is no strict rule, but a general rule is that you should sand and polish every 10–15 years to maintain the health of your timber floors for years to come.