Guide

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.

Engineered Wood Flooring

If you have heard the term “engineered wood” you may not have realized it also goes by the name composite wood, man-made wood, or even manufactured board. Engineered wood is a type of flooring that is made of genuine wood with the center being hardwood, high density fiberboard, or plywood and a layer of hardwood veneer attached to the top part of the surface. Because of these core layers you get an end product with a lot of features that can make this a great option for your home.

One great feature of engineered wood is that it has much more stability than regular hardwood. The expanding and contracting reaction you get due to temperature and humidity changes in your home that causes regular hardwood flooring to buckle, cup, and crown will not usually be a factor. You can install this type of flooring in any level below the ground floor such as a finished basement whereas hardwood flooring cannot be installed below ground level. While it is not usually a good idea to install any type of wood flooring in areas where there is a lot of moisture, this is definitely one to look into for below ground installation where the moisture content is under control.

Another feature with this type of flooring is it is less expensive overall. While installation for hardwood flooring can get very expensive, not so with engineered wood. And unlink vinyl planks which do not add much to the value of your home, engineered wood floors add a greater amount to the overall value of your home while adding warmth and character. It also can be sanded and refinished a few times over its lifespan. The exact number of times can be determined by the quality of the flooring purchased. And if your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to keep up the daily maintenance of a regular hardwood floor, you will be happy to know that engineered flooring is very low maintenance.

There are so many options in flooring that one thing you can do to put your mind at ease is to contact the professionals at Dave’s Floor Sanding & Installation, Inc. We know all the latest flooring options and will work with you to give you the flooring that you desire for your home that meets the needs of your family AND your budget. We will take the time to answer all of your questions and give you a written price quote that will not change in the middle of the work. You will never have to feel you’re not sure as we will keep you updated all along the way. Talk to one of our experienced flooring contractors today, and let them put your mind at ease!

Solid Hardwood Unfinished/Prefinished

When thinking about installing solid hardwood flooring, one of the things you need to consider is whether or not to install unfinished or prefinished flooring. For several reasons there is a big difference.

A nice thing about prefinished flooring is you can actually walk on your floor immediately. From start to finish, the installation time is significantly less. The flooring does not have to be cured. When it is down, it is done, and you can move your furniture right back into the room. Not so with unfinished flooring. Since it is finished on-site you may have to wait days or maybe even weeks before you can even move one piece of furniture back in the room. The reason for this is that while the flooring may feel dry, if not left to completely cure it is susceptible to scratches. It may also take weeks to cure due to multiple layers of the polyurethane as each layer must cure completely before the next is applied, making it extremely time consuming. But I do have to say if you are interested in any type of customizing such as inlays, medallions, or boarders, having the floors finished on-site is the only way to go. With prefinished flooring this isn’t even an option.

Factory applied finishes can be more durable than those done on-site and, with everything factored in, the final cost can be much less expensive. But if you have a tendency to want to change your floorings appearance, you will not be able to do this with a pre-finished floor. Even though it is initially more expensive, down the road the unfinished flooring will be much easier to sand and refinish to give your home a new look.

While both unfinished and prefinished solid hardwood flooring having their own advantages and disadvantages, you really must weigh everything in light of you and your family’s lifestyle. What will work best for you not only now but in the years to come? With everything there is to consider, why not let the professionals at Dave’s Floor Sanding & Installation, Inc. lend a hand. We have the knowledge and the equipment to not only help to guide you in making that decision but to see that any flooring need that you have is taken care of quickly and completely. Let our experts help to bring value and beauty to your home with new solid hardwood flooring.