A pristine wood floor is one of the most eye-catching features an A-class house could ever have. The only thing probably more eye-catching is a faded, dilapidated, and scratch-filled wood floor that’s been neglected through the years or kept partially hidden by out-of-style shag carpeting. As a proud homeowner, you probably don’t want your guests’ heads turning for that reason.
If you have an old wooden floor hiding underneath all that furniture and shag, maybe the time has come to let it out. A lot of people nowadays have come to recognize the decadent feel and aura of sophistication that a flawless wood floor gives a house. Comparable in effect to antique or exotic furniture, a good wooden floor can act as both the foundation and the centerpiece to the overall theme and ambiance of your home.
The only thing you’ll need to worry about is giving your old wood floor a much needed makeover and making it look brand new. This is a moderately complicated task which you can either do yourself, or let professionals do the work for you.
Whether going for a DIY project, or just calling up the pros, you need to know all the steps involved in refurbishing and refinishing wood floors beforehand. It’s important that you read through these steps carefully and follow them to the letter because the project has a potential for expensive and catastrophic mistakes that are going to be hard to fix later on.
Examining The Damage and Deciding What to Do
This is the easiest part. Take all of your furniture out of the room and roll up your carpets if you have any. The whole floor needs to be bare so that you can get an accurate picture of its condition.
Look for scratches and scuffs. Feel for warps on the wood and listen for creaks. For the most part, scratches are fine. These floors are covered with a clear protective coating so the wood underneath might not even be scratched at all. Warps or cracks are a little worrying though. These usually signal that the wood needs to be replaced. If this is the case, I suggest you do the replacement and repairs first before refinishing your floor.
Assuming that all you found were scratches and the occasional exposed wood, you can safely proceed to the next step.
Rebuffing vs Sanding The Finish
This step requires a bit of decision making as well. Rebuffing is when you use a floor buffing tool to prepare the clear coating (aka the finish) on the wooden floor for restoration. On the other hand, sanding is using a drum sander or sandpaper to completely remove the finish entirely.
Choosing what to do is simple. If there is any part of the wood that isn’t covered by the finish anymore, or the wood floor has been waxed or treated with an oil-based soap, you have to sand the whole thing. Otherwise, rebuffing will suffice.
After you have rebuffed or sanded the entire floor, the only thing left to do is to apply a finishing coat. There are three kinds of finishes to choose from: water-based, polyurethane, and acid-cured. Go to your local home improvement stores and ask about the differences of each. Likewise, you can also learn more about them here. I’d recommend going for the polyurethane.
Usually, three coats of finish are applied, but be sure to look at the instructions of your particular finish in case it says otherwise. After you’ve put on the first coat, you need to wait until it gets dry before applying the second one, and so on.
Since refinishing is hardly easy work, some of you may find it easier to let a professional do the work for you. Here are the two main points to consider:
- Professionals have their own equipment. You don’t have to rent buffer tools and drum sanders which cost about $250 together.
- Professionals are less likely to make beginner mistakes and less likely to ruin your floor.
All of the hard work you put into refinishing your wood floors will definitely pay off in the end. Just think of how nice it will look when you throw your first ever house restoration cocktail party!