Wooden floors, properly finished, retain their allure for many years. Types of wooden floor materials include timber, cork, parquet and bamboo. Eventually, all require rejuvenation at some point. Wood floor sanding and refinishing should only be tackled by experienced professionals to ensure the floor provides many more years of elegant service. When hiring a refinishing team, here are five critical questions that must be asked.
1. What Will Floor Sanding Repair?
To test if a wood floor needs a complete refinish or only cleaning and polishing splash a few beads of water on the floor to see how quickly they soak in. If the floor absorbs the water slowly, then the finish is intact. If they penetrate quickly, the finish is gone and a complete sanding and refinishing is required.
Likewise, if parts of the floor exhibit stains, warping or deep scratches, a complete refinish is needed. Some water stains and scratches deeper than 2 or 3 mm may not be removed by sanding alone. Fillers may be used or parts of the floor replaced if the damage is severe.
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Not all wood floors can withstand a complete refinishing process. Flooring material with a thickness of less than ¾ inch may not survive a deep sanding. Some newer wood floor materials are as thin as ¼ inch thick. Tongue and groove floors should also be examined carefully to see if they could be deep sanded. A professional refinishing contractor can determine the proper approach for any wood floor.
2. Do You Use Dust-free Machines?
Older sanding machines generate a tremendous amount of dust from the finish the wood. A professional refinishing contractor employs only dustless technology. Dustless belt sanders, edge sanders and dust containment systems remove 99 percent of the dust before it enters the atmosphere of a home or shop. Plastic curtains are not required, and there are no worries about dust re-settling to spoil a new finish. Even better, there is no time-consuming cleanup of the home environment when the job is finished.
3. Who Is Responsible for the Cleaning up Afterward?
If a floor sanding contractor is using dustless technology, there is little to clean up afterward. Dustless technology is so good that home or shop owners need not remove items from shelving. The dust and other waste materials, such as sanding belts, brushes, disposable gloves, empty cans and so on, should be bagged by the contractor. Typically, they leave these bags behind for the home’s regular garbage pickup, but it is not unreasonable to ask them to dispose of the waste for an extra fee.
4. Do You Finish and Polish the Floor After Sanding?
No one should use a contractor who does not handle the entire process of refinishing a wood floor from start to finish. If a contractor only does the sanding, then there may be a gap between when the sanding is completed and the finishing contractor is available. Meanwhile, the home or business is essentially unusable by the occupants or customers.
Refinishing contractors should provide a choice of finishes. Typically, they offer a water-based finish and a solvent-based finish. Either type, if of good quality, should last many years if maintained properly. There are differences to consider however. Water-based polyurethanes are low odor, dry faster but require more coats. Solvent-based finishes have a stronger smell and require more time to dry but require fewer coats. Some people prefer the amber color that solvent-based finishes impart to the wood versus the completely clear finish of water-based polyurethanes.
5. How Long Does the Job Take and Is the Price Fixed?
Most refinishing contractors provide a fixed quote based on the type of floor material, the amount of floor sanding required and the type of finish. A rule of thumb for the length of the job is a day per 30 to 40 square meters of floor. If there are concerns about the accuracy of a fixed quote, then the owner should discuss all the steps of the job in detail with the contractor to see if adjustments can be made. If the owner anticipates making many changes as the job progresses, then it may be better for both parties to agree on an hourly rate in order to avoid delays.
Daniel Johns is an interior design professional. Her recommends Webb Floor Surfacing as the leading Timber Floor Sanding Contractor in Perth, WA.