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DIY or hire a professional to refinish your hardwood floors?

DIY or hire a professional to refinish your hardwood floors?

No matter how much you DIY, refinishing a hardwood floor is a daunting task. Hiring a professional should be given serious consideration. Let’s take a look at the drawbacks to consider before choosing to DIY.

Hardwood floor refinishing can be quite a time intensive process, using up days and weeks of your time. From preparing to stripping, sanding, repairing, refinishing, and cleaning up, taking on a DIY floor refinishing project can eat up all of your free time. It’s also not without its stresses.

If you are sensitive to dust, have asthma or allergies, this is not a task for you. The dust from sanding gets everywhere and sanding hardwood floors is tougher than it looks. You may initially think your bare floor looks great. However, minor imperfections can become more apparent once the finish is applied. Any lumps, bumps or scrapes you’ve left behind will be highlighted. A professional has the experience to deal with wear and tear problems as well as more complicated challenges like water marks, gouges, holes, and fatigue from foot traffic. They are also able to provide invaluable insight for appropriate finishes based on material, environment, durability, foot traffic, grain pattern, appearance, and much more.

Ultimately, the biggest concern when doing DIY floor refinishing is to use your time, effort, money, and resources only to complete the job below standard and then still need to hire a professional to do the job. Even worse, you could damage your hardwood flooring during the process and end up spending more than it would have originally cost you. The choice to DIY or hire a professional for your hardwood floors is a difficult one. Be sure to give both sides ample thought.

Equipment and materials for hardwood floor refinishing

DIY or hire a professional to refinish your hardwood floors?

If you are going to complete a professional hardwood refinish job, you will need to have all the necessary equipment. There is a decent list of material you will need. Some of these materials are everyday materials that you can find in any store that deals with carpentry or flooring equipment. Let’s get right into it.

  1. Stripping Agents If your flooring has a particularly thick finish or many layers of paint, you may want to start the process by stripping the hardwood floor.
  2. Sanders To smooth your hardwood floors and remove old finish, you will need some sanders. You will need both an orbital sander for the main area and a smaller sander for edges and corners. An orbital sander can usually be rented. Although this sander is very powerful, it is not what professionals commonly use. Professionals often employ a drum sander that requires skill and perfection, as this type of sander can cause very severe damage if used by an untrained person. The small sander will be required to reach the spots that the orbital sander cannot reach. An alternative, albeit not recommended, would be to use your hands, but it would be very time consuming. 
  3. A Shop Vacuum Whether or not you’re dust sensitive, we’d recommend buying some dust masks and goggles. In addition to that, you will need a vacuum to clean up the dirt and sawdust remnants. Steer clear of water-based or cyclone vacuums. These types of vacuums are prone to clogging and breaking when dealing with wood and other leftover materials. Go to a hardware or home improvement store and get something non-fancy but efficient.
  4. Sandpapers Be sure to use high quality sandpaper. Good quality sandpaper will last longer and do a better job refinishing your floors.
  5. Wipe-on stains and finishes If you’re going to DIY, wipe-on products, gel topcoats, and gel stains are very easy to use and keep you from dealing with the headaches of drips, sags, brush strokes and longer wetness that are all characteristic to brush-on products.
  6. Rags You will need rags for wiping the stains and finishes on. You can use something you have at home as long as it is neat and lint-free. Look out for sharp objects, buttons and zippers on the surface to make sure you don’t do any damage to the surface of your finish.
  7. Other regular equipment Tarps and painters tape will help to keep the dust generated from the sanders contained. You will need some paint rollers or small brushes to apply the new finish. A pry bar or putty knife may come in handy if you have some repairs to make; just make sure you buy wood putty that matches.

Hardwood floor refinishing preparation

DIY or hire a professional to refinish your hardwood floors?

Whether you plan to DIY or hire a professional to refinish your hardwood floor, it’s important to prepare your floor and your home for the process. If you have other construction work going on in your home, it’s best to save your floor work for last. You should also note that in times of higher humidity, such as rainy periods, the increased moisture can compromise the work and a professional is strongly advised.

To begin, you will want clear the floor of all rugs, furniture, and other items. Anything else that needs to be protected from debris and dust should be removed or wrapped. The doors, outlets, and vents should be sealed to prevent dust from spreading.

Once the floor is cleared, it should be checked for any nails or sharp objects. If a carpet has been recently removed, double check for any carpet tacks or staples that may remain. Any sharp objects on the floor will damage the sandpaper and sander. If there are any nails, try to get them out without damaging the floor or tap them below the surface. Look for any gaps and cracks in the floor and try to fill them before starting to ensure a uniform consistency. Remove any severely damaged flooring and thoroughly sweep or mop before beginning.

You will also need determine the new finish and decide how to remove the old one. Whether you opt to sand or strip the finish, ensure that the work area is well ventilated. If you decide to remove the finish with a stripping agent, confirm that it won’t cause damage to your floor. If your hardwood floor has been refinished a significant number of times or is aged, you are better off using the services of a professional to ensure that the integrity of the floor is maintained during the refinishing process. Ample preparation will also be required if glue needs to be removed from the hardwood flooring. Heat, adhesive removers, or stripping agents are likely options to be employed.

On a final note, floor refinishing and preparing your floor are a physically demanding tasks, and this should be given serious consideration when deciding if you want to DIY or hire professionals. If you are going to DIY, be sure to take the appropriate personal precautions during the process. Use protective gloves, clothing, eyewear, and breathing masks to ensure that you stay safe.

The value of hardwood flooring

Your home is arguably one of your biggest investments you may ever make. Our home demands constant effort and money to maintain or increase its value over time. If you’re one of those home owners that someday expect to cash in on a high return on investment, you may be constantly pondering how you can improve the value of your home in a cost effective and quick manner. One of such options is to opt for hardwood flooring and here are 5 amazing reasons why you should consider a hardwood flooring investment:

  1. An ageless, high quality look Compared to other flooring options, Hardwood floors sport an ageless appearance for a long period of time. Another big plus is the fact that hardwood floors actually get better over the years and become more valuable. Along with the warmth, class and value of wood, hardwood floors are elegant and aesthetically superior and give the impression of spaciousness when installed.
  2. Strength and Durability High quality hardwood floors go through rigorous manufacturing processes (including kiln-drying) that leave the finished products highly durable to last from generation to generation. These flooring options are able to withstand significant foot traffic. They are tough, strong and have a very low rate of wear and tear. Damages to hardwood floors can also be repaired without having to repair the whole flooring and the maintenance needs are lower as hardwood floors are actually stain and spill-resistant unlike carpets and rugs that absorb stains and spills.
  3. Better Acoustics, easier to clean Another benefit of hardwood floors is the great acoustic value it offers. A properly fitted hardwood floors does not house any hollow sounds or vibration and is very easy to clean. This is because hardwood floors do not accumulate dust, dirt and debris in large amounts. Simple vacuuming and moping is enough to keep your home neat.
  4. Eco-friendly and better indoor health Hardwood floors present a healthy and eco-friendly choice for your home and the environment. Hardwood floors have no embossing that trap dust, animal dander and particles. It also has no fibres or grout lines and is anti-allergenic as seen with carpets or rugs. These options are therefore the best for a healthier indoor air quality.
  5. Home Value Hardwood floors are classified as classics and present an increased value and ROI to your home. When you use a hardwood floor, you lower the chances of buyer’s disapproving of your flooring. Also, using a hardwood flooring means that allergic buyers are open to purchasing and since the value of these floors increase over time, there is a higher chance that you can get more cash out of a deal if your home is hardwood-floored.

Choosing Hardwood is a great long-term investment and presents a strong case when negotiating a resale on its own or for the property. This feature alone can give your home as high as a ten percent boost when you consider the class and aesthetic appeal it lends to your home.

Hardwood Floors with Stunning designs and grain patterns

Hardwoods represent one of the most attractive and most durable flooring options in the market. Hardwood flooring also holds several advantages over several alternatives with its long-lasting look, ease of cleaning and maintenance, visual aesthetics and the increased market value that it brings to your property.

Another benefit of opting for Hardwood flooring is the plethora of flooring styles that buyers can select from, ranging from maple to pine and cherry. With that being said, it is imperative to know that each hardwood flooring type has its unique set of properties that distinct it from other hardwoods. If you’ve already made up your mind to install hardwood floors, here are our top 10 picks worth reviewing so you can pick what is unique and right for you and your space.

  1. Oak
    Oak is a staple hardwood floor material employed in the North Americas. The flooring type is highly resistant to dents and scratches which makes it a suitable alternative for home owners who have a lot of traffic in their homes and do not like rugs and carpets. Oak comes in a plethora of stain colors and will more often than not sport an obvious grain pattern. Oak flooring can begin to look worn after some years, a simple refinishing will touch them up and bring them back to their former glory. Red oak is popularly used because of its ability to coordinate with a wide array of design styles. The reddish tones amplifies the beauty of the flooring
  2. Mahogany
    Mahogany is cherished for the beauty and color of the wood. This hardwood is very durable and water-tight when employed as a flooring option. The popularity of the mahogany is due to its elegant, ageless and classic look on the ground. It has a fine grain pattern that presents an overall stunning aesthetic to any space it is installed in and can be suitable for cold climates or regions.
  3. Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus hardwood flooring lends quality and style to your home. The hardwood is often mistaken for mahogany and will easily pass at first glance. Eucalyptus is highly available and eco-friendly. This has increased its market share and similarly lessened the price per ft. Using eucalyptus hardwood flooring alongside white furnishings will leave your living room with a vibe of elegance.
  4. Hickory
    When you step into a rustic or log home, chances that you are going to find Hickory is very high. This hardwood is one of the most durable options and is ideal in homes where a large amount of foot traffic is expected. Hickory has a close grain with little figure and can be used to complement any and all type of design.
  5. Maple
    Maple is very popular for its widespread use in flooring and furniture. Maple hardwoods have very hard curly grains that are highly durable that it is the choice standard for bowling alleys. For design, maple has a subtler grain pattern and its unique color is very desirable to the home. This one can’t absorb dark stains as much as other hardwood floors can.
  6. Ebonized hardwood
    Wood ebonization is procedure that seeks to add charm and luxury to the wood. This consequently makes ebonized hardwoods lend their rich dark and opaque tones to compliment a wide variety of design styles that may be used in the space. Dark hardwoods like cherry, walnut and oak give an elegant appearance and ebonized hardwoods typically stand out in any space that has a neutral appearance.
  7. Walnut
    Walnut wood brings a sparkle to your home and keeps it shining. The glow, however, comes with a price. The walnut hardwood is very strong and durable and can have rich shades from light to dark chocolate brown colors. Walnut also offers a considerable number of grain patterns that leaves you with options to choose from.
  8. Rosewood
    With a unique fragrance and a variety of grain patterns, Rosewood is a top pick in the hardwood category. It has colors ranging from light yellow to purple and has a distinct rose fragrance. Although earlier largely used as furniture wood, the hardwood has joined the flooring category.

The bottom line.

When it comes to hardwood flooring, there are a variety of choices. For the amateur, the differences in design, graining and texture may not be spotted but each wood has its own distinct properties that align with your taste, making an option more suitable than another for your flooring needs.