Hardwood floors have been installed in homes all over the world for thousands of years. The finish on hardwood floors has changed and improved a great deal in the last 20 years making them even more popular and increasing the number of homes that have installed hardwood floors. For the past 30 years there was a trend towards carpeted flooring, however now increasingly consumers are opting for hardwood flooring in new homes as well as part of renovation projects that are being undertaken. They prefer hardwood to carpet because of the nice clean finished look that hardwood provides and they last for many years if properly taken care of.
Hardwood Floor Refinishing
There are many types of hardwoods that are used and there are many finishes as well, however they can be grouped into three main categories:
- Natural shellacs, lacquers and varnishes
- Oiled floors
- Polyurethane floors
More Detail About Floor Finishes
We will describe each of these floor finishes and then how to refinish each flooring type. Whether you are in Denver or some other city, hardwood floor refinishing projects can make your home much more beautiful and increase the overall look of an otherwise tired looking hardwood floor.
Natural shellacs, lacquers and varnishes – they were used in the past along with waxes and provide a protective coating on the flooring. In order to refinish a floor with this kind of finish on it, all of the existing finish must be removed and sanded smooth. Only then can you add a new finish onto the floor to protect.
Oiled floors – this is the most common type of flooring finishing agent. It is used throughout the world and also should not be confused with petroleum oils. Most are vegetable oils and are naturally drying on the flooring
Polyurethane floors – this finishing product became available after the 1940’s and is sold under various brand names as a urethane or a varnish. Again with an existing floor, you must sand off all of the current finish down to the bare wood and then re-coat the wood with the finish agent that you plan to use.
Most new homes that have installed hardwood floors will not need to refinish their floors for many years unless they are particularly hard on their floors. Maintaining them and keeping them clean will help to maintain the shine of the floors for a very long time. For example, never wear your shoes inside the home. shoes track in dirt and grit which over time will scratch your floors and dull the finish.
Vacuum often and damp mop to maintain your floors. Do not use soaps especially oil based soaps. Talk to your flooring company to find out the recommended cleaning products for your floor.
One of the huge advantages of a wood floor is that it does not accumulate dust and hidden grit or odors. It sits right on top of the floor and that is why you need to vacuum often to avoid tarnishing the finish.
Refinishing Your Hardwood Floor
Sand with the grain and never across the grain. Use and inline sander that does not orbit the sandpaper, other wise you will have tiny concentric circles throughout your floor. Sand all of the existing finish off the floor using progressively finer levels of sand paper until you a nice smooth finish. Once the floor is fully sanded, you can then apply the finish of choice to your floor. You will have a brand new floor that looks like it was just installed.
Most hardwood floors are of a standard thickness with lots of room for sanding off the old finish. In some situations such as an older floor which has been sanded many times, there will be less and less wood available for sanding before you wear completely through the hardwood floor. be careful to not take too much of the unfinished wood off the floor to avoid this problem. Otherwise you may have to replace the entire floor.
Refinishing a hardwood floor is a lot of work, but very rewarding as well. Take your time if you are doing it yourself and avoid those frustrating mistakes we all make when we are in a hurry. Otherwise hire a professional in the Denver area for hardwood floor refinishing work.