Although most homeowners have little problem performing a standard DIY hardwood floor refinishing task successfully, in some cases the expertise and experience of a professional refinisher are superior to that of a do it yourselfer. Finishing unfinished wood floors yourself is a very rewarding and enjoyable DIY project, and can save you money and time. But beware of beginner mistakes. Here are a few.
The most common mistake a beginner make when doing hardwood floor refinishing is sanding too quickly. Although wood is porous and can absorb a lot of moisture, it also has a natural tendency to swell when sanding. If you sand your floors too quickly, you may end up with squeaky floorboards, damaged finish, uneven wood grain, and compromised floor structure. A better rule of thumb is to sand slowly enough so that you can build up a moderate amount of sandpaper, but not go over the limit of sandpaper, which can damage the floor.
Another common beginner mistake is over dusting. During a hardwood floor refinishing project, especially if you’re using a power sander, it’s important to occasionally wipe off excess dust, which will help prevent premature cracking. However, excessive sowing off of dust can also cause you to miss dust particles that are smaller than the average dust particle.
One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when doing their own hardwood floors is covering the wood with layers of dust and grit. It is impossible to create a smooth and even surface with just sanding. Even a hardwood floor that has been stained, waxed or coated may have imperfections in the finish. When you see the grain, it’s easy to compare it to another piece of wood. But with visible grain, you’ll have an easier time telling whether or not the floor has been damaged.
If you do decide to refinish, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional about your choice. A wood floor refinisher or restoration company knows how to choose the best finishes to get the most out of the wood. They can also assist you in choosing a variety of products to use. For example, if you’ve stain your wood, they’ll be able to give you pointers on the types of stains to use on your floor. If you’re going for an all-wood finish, they may suggest that you buy refinished hardwoods so you save money and avoid spending time and money on sanding and refinishing. This is especially helpful if you’ve got small children running around.
Another thing to consider when choosing a finish is the type of scratches. Do you have spots or deep scratches in your flooring? Either one makes a hardwood floor look old. But having deep scratches can actually make a room look older than it really is. If you’ve got plenty of old scratches, it’s best to either sand them all away or have them professionally repaired. That said, if you have small ones, it’s often possible to remove them without replacing the whole thing.
It’s also important to think about the different ways in which you want your floors to appear. Some people like the way that their wood looks when it’s just scratched or worn. Other people like their wood to be totally clear so that any potential visitors to their home know that they’re real. There are several finishes that can achieve both of these goals, including the highly popular clear wax. Hardwood floor refinishing can help you achieve the look you want if you’re ready to put some time and effort into it.
Once you’ve chosen a finish, you’ll need to decide what type of stain to use. There are a variety of different types of stains, including latex, oil-based, water-based, vinyl, and synthetic. Before you begin to refinish hardwood floors, make sure to choose a stain that’s right for your type of floor and budget.