It is an unfortunate fact that, by virtue of its nature, timber flooring will often degrade to such an extent that it must be restored. There are a number of ways by which this can be done, but the most effective and widespread of these is floor sanding. This requires a number of steps, each capable of returning timber floorboards to a lustrous and healthy condition, if done correctly. Floor sanding can be a daunting task to those who have no experience and it is strongly advisable that unqualified individuals consult a professional in floor restoration prior to undertaking any such works themselves.
Assess the condition of the floor
This is the first step to the floor sanding process and is necessary to grasp the extent to which the floor must be sanded, coated and restored. In particular, it is important when engaging in this step, that consideration is had for any potential water damage or protuberances – namely nails or concavities – and the way in which the floorboards have been joined.
Prepare the floor
Prior to commencing work with the sanding instruments, it is absolutely imperative that all the relevant precautions have been taken to prepare the floor. Failing to do this to an adequate extent can considerably damage the floor and the sanding equipment. There are several specific factors that must often be addressed in this stage and the more pertinent of these are listed below.
Remove any floor coverings
A floor covering might seem an obvious impediment to sanding, however issues can be consequent of more than the covering itself. For example, some carpets might leave an adhesive residue on the flooring following their removal. Such residues are unlikely to inhibit the sanding instruments a great deal, however in the more extreme of circumstances, they have the capacity to be of some detriment to the finish of the timber upon the completion of the process. It is best to consult a professional in floor restorations, so as to ascertain precisely what steps are necessary in this regard.
Clean the floor
This step is somewhat concurrent with the previous one and requires little more than a vacuum, mop and perhaps a slight scrub where adhesives or residues might remain. This serves to ensure that no particles of dust or dirt impede upon the ability of the sanding equipment to achieve the best possible outcome.
Ensure the floor is completely level
The initial assessment of the floor is likely to have uncovered areas in which there are protuberances or distortions in the timber. These must be addressed prior to the commencement of sanding, as they are capable of considerably damaging both the floor and the equipment. The most common convexities in timber flooring are prominent nails. These can easily be managed by using a nail punch and a hammer to force the head of the nail beneath the surface of the timber. The remaining concavities – including those left by the nail punch – can then be filled with wood putty and sanded back by hand, until flush with the timber surface.
The sanding itself ought to be conducted in close consultation with a professional, as excessive or inadequate sanding can be of considerable detriment to timber floorboards. Additionally, sanding can generate a great deal of sawdust and this can create significant mess throughout a house and in poorly ventilated areas, be somewhat of a hazard. It is advisable therefor, to seek a floor restoration expert with equipment that vacuums the dust as it is produced by the sander.
This is the final stage and similarly to the sanding, it should be done in accordance with the advice of a professional. Making the relevant enquiries at a reputable flooring specialist will ensure that the correct stain is used in conjunction with the appropriate advice, so as to provide the floor with a radiant and protective finish that best suits the need of the homeowner.