To refinish those old hardwood floors, the first thing you will need to do is sand off ENTIRELY the old worn finish. That is to say the top layer of the floor. You will need a floor sander, which you can rent at a reasonable cost. You will also want a handheld power edge sander for sanding tight against walls and in corners. Both units have a vacuum and dust bag system to lessen the amount of dust left behind as you sand the surface. And for safety, always wear a dust mask, eye and even ear protection.
Once the sanding is finished, you will fill any nicks or gouges in the floor with wood putty and a broad knife. Let the putty dry fully according to the package directions and then very lightly sand the putty filled in areas smooth by hand with medium then fine grained sandpaper.
Once you’ve finished with all the sanding, you must remove all wood dust from the floor, molding, and walls COMPLETELY. Wipe down all the walls and moldings thoroughly with a lightly damp cloth. You don’t want any dust falling onto the floor later on, when your new finish is drying. Let the dust settle, and then vacuum. Then vacuum again! A regular shop vacuum with a dust filter will do the job well. Then after you vacuum the entire area use several tack cloths to wipe the entire floor surface.
The type of floor finish you choose will depend on the look you want for your floor and the desired durability of your finished wood floor.
Wood Floor Finishes:
Polyurethane. Oil-based or water-based. Polyurethane wood finish comes in various degrees of luster. Both finish types darken the wood floor to some degree, although some newer water-based products will not darken the flooring as much. Poly finishes are excellent for high-traffic and high-moisture areas.
Varnish. This wood flooring finish as well, is sold in a variety of lusters, from a matte to a high gloss. The higher the gloss, the more durable the protection of the surface of your wood floor. Varnish will often times darken with age.
Penetrating sealer.This finish offers a natural wood look that brings out the grain of your floor. It may darken and slightly change it’s hue over time. Penetrating sealer offers very good protection for your wood floors, especially when thoroughly waxed. Although it is less durable overall than polyurethane or varnish wood finishes. For best results you will want to seal the floor entirely on the same day you finish sanding it to prevent the surface from absorbing any moisture and to prevent from having to re-clean the area. If you need to apply more than one coating of floor finish remember to vacuum then wipe the entire area again with your tack cloth. You must remove all the dust between the wood finish coats, or you will end up with a rough and ugly floor.
And always wait a minimum of 24 hours after the final coat dries before moving furniture into the room. AFTER teh final coat DRYS. This is important to maintain the integrity of your floors finish.
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