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Get They Floor Did- Floor Refinishing 101

240V logler hummel belt sander- first pass.

It has been all the rage of recent to bring back those original classic cherry oak hardwood floors of circa 1950’s craftsmanship. However the task of refinishing a hardwood floor is not to be underestimated and entails quiet a few details you may not be considering. Navigating the in and outs of floor refinishing can save you a lot of time and money. Here are just a few pointers to consider when refinishing your hardwood floor.

The process is straight forward. I starts with  a couple passes with increasingly fine course sandpaper on a 240V logler hummel belt sander, usually 80 stepped to 120 grain. This ensures a smooth finish free of texture and abrasion. A smaller edger will be used to get along the walls and door jams to the same effect. Next you want to use an air compressor and carpenter nails at points in the flooring that have a persistent creaking. This will help soften the floor acoustics caused by natural shifting in the home. You then want to apply wood filler to fill the separated and gaping boards for a flush even finish. This can be made from the sawdust or purchased premixed and applied with a trowel. Once the filler is dried the staining process begins. After the stain is applied it is industry standard to apply 3 coats of clear polyurethane to seal and protect. The entire process is typically given a $/sqft amount and charged accordingly. Anticipate paying $2-4.00/sqft depending on area, season and availability.

Your choice in stain and finish.

STAINS If you are lucky enough that all or most of the major stains sand out, then finishing the floor in its original mosaic pattern may be the way to go. If, however, there are major stains which persist after sanding, then you will have to decide whether to repair these areas or use a darker stain to help mask up some of the damages. Most vendors and home improvement stores will have a bevy of stain options to choose from. Typically a floor vendor will make custom stains, which will be a hard match if they ever stop producing the mix or trends change. Therefore it may be less expensive and more readily available to use common commercially available stains.

The 3 coats of clear polyurethane applied at the end to seal and protect your floor comes in the standard finishes- gloss, semi-gloss, and matte. Please bear in mind that although gloss will have the most appealing finish, it will also show scratches and blemishes a lot easier. So if you anticipate high traffic on your hardwood floors, then consider a semi-gloss or matte finish which is more forgiving to wear and tear. This is most often the case in rentals, since we can anticipate for higher traffic and a greater need for a longer economic life. Stick with Matt (pun alert).

Old & Damaged Base Boards.

BASEBOARDS You are going to want to consider whether the baseboards are going to need to be replaced, restored or upgraded. Most contractors will try and convince you that you need to replace the existing baseboards with a modern 3-4″ upgrade. This is because it is a high margin fix from both a materials and labor perspective for a flooring vendor. Typically vendors will charge a $/linear foot cost for materials and installation. This could be an estimated $2-4/linear foot and can add up to several hundred dollars additional expense depending on the materials selected. The truth is if your baseboards are in decent shape, then they can be reused. A competent vendor does not even need to remove them as they will mitigate the amount of damage done by the edger sander. Alternatively, most vendors can remove, stain, refinish  and reinstall old baseboards to recycle materials. Given that the materials are now synthetic and less expensive, it may behoove you to go with all new baseboards unless there is something vintage about the finish you just cant replicate.

Spot Repairs.

REPAIRS If you are going to take the time to bring back the grander of the your old hard cherry oak floor, then it is well worth the additional expense to go ahead and have any restorative repairs done as well. Although this is typically a couple hundreds dollars extra that you didn’t count on spending, the expense is a drop in the hat compared to the over all costs. Common repairs would be high traffic areas, pet urine stains, water damaged or bowed planks and closure of floor furnace ports. You will be happy you did when the entire floor is finished with no blemishes like new.

 

High Traffic Area

Persistent Pet Urine

Water Damages

 

Always consult a licensed professional flooring specialist to determine the expense and likelihood of restoring your old hard wood floor. It may be the case that going with an alternate material like laminate or LVT may be more suitable and cost effective. A contractor from our network can help you make that determination. For more information about  your purchase and future rehab goals please feel free to contact us direct for some design pointers to maximize your home’s equity.

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