Even the best quality timber floors will start to show signs of wear. Over time, foot traffic, physical damage, pest and moisture damage and other general effects of age can start to take their toll on your flooring. Timber floor sanding is a solid investment in the future of your home, helping to preserve and enhance their appearance, as well as protecting them from wear and tear.
Whether you’re going to make this a DIY project or plan on bringing in the experts, here’s your guide to timber floor sanding and getting the pristine, glistening timber floors you’ve always dreamed of.
Clear the floors
Before embarking on your timber floor sanding project, it’s important to remove all furniture and other items from the room first. This will help ensure that you get a smooth, even finish. This step will also save any of your furniture or belongings from getting damaged, as well as ensuring you get complete coverage of your timber floors. It’s also an important step in making sure that the room is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling dust particles.
If there is any furniture, or other items, that can’t be removed from the room, ensure that they are covered to prevent them from getting coated with sawdust. You should also make sure that any legs, bases or skirting boards, basically anything touching the floor, are taped up or otherwise protected to prevent damage from the sanding equipment.
Clean the floor
Once you’ve removed all the furniture from the room, you’ll need to vacuum the surface to remove any dirt, dust or debris. Failing to remove debris from the floorboards could lead to the sander grinding the particles into the wood, causing scratches and making it more difficult to achieve a smooth, even and blemish-free finish.
In addition, vacuuming will help to minimise the amount of airborne dust created by sanding, making the task easier to complete and reducing the risk of respiratory problems. So, before you reach for the sandpaper, be sure to give your floors a good cleaning.
Repair any damage
When it comes to timber floor sanding, one of the most critical things you can do is to repair any damage to the floorboards before your start sanding. Not only will this help to prevent further damage, but it will also create a smoother surface for sanding, making the job easier and preventing damage to the sanding equipment.
Cracks and damaged areas can often be repaired with putty or wood filler, so be sure to check the condition of your floorboards before getting started. You’ll also need to make sure that every nail or screw is sitting below the timber surface so that the sandpaper won’t catch on one and rip. Once the repairs are complete, you’ll finally be ready to start sanding your floors and create a beautiful, new finish.
Sand the floors
As the old adage says: the right tool for the right job. And floor sanding is no exception. It requires professional tools to ensure you get the best results.
Belt sanders are the best tool for quickly removing old finishes, coats, stains and varnishes from hardwood floors, exposing the raw, undamaged timber beneath. But before you start sanding, there are a few things you need to know.
First, always start with the rough edges and work your way inwards and sand in line with the timber grain. This will help prevent any damage to the floor. Second, make sure to use a dust mask to avoid breathing in any harmful particles. Thirdly, be sure to take your time and be careful not to sand too much off the floor. Ideally, you want to remove as little as the surface as possible when sanding
While you should be able to get most of the job done with a belt sander, for the best results possible you can use an edging sander to get to the skirting boards or into corners where the drum or belt sander can’t reach. Finally, using a detail sander will allow you to get into those very tight and hard to reach places, ensuring to get an even finish across the entire floor. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to get the job done quickly and easily and avoid hurting yourself or your floors in the process.
Thoroughly clean the floor again
Once the sanding is complete, there will be plenty of dust stuck to the surface. To remove this dust, vacuum the floor again using a soft-bristled brush attachment.
Start in one corner of the room and work your way systematically across the floor, being especially careful to vacuum any crevices or hard-to-reach areas. Once you’re finished, your floor should be free of sanding dust.
However, before you apply any finish to the timber, the floor needs to be thoroughly washed to remove all traces or sawdust. Even if the floor looks clean, minute particles of sawdust and other debris can remain trapped in the wood grain, and these particles can affect the final finish of the timber.
Apply a sealer or varnish to the timber floor
Applying a sealer or varnish to a hardwood floor is an important part of protecting the floor from wear and tear. The sealer or varnish acts as a barrier against dirt, dust and moisture, helping to keep the floor looking great for as long as possible. The sealer or varnish can also help to protect the floor from physical damage like scratches and scuffs.
While there are many different brands and types of sealers and varnishes on the market, it is important to choose one that is specifically designed for hardwood floors. Applying a sealer or varnish to a hardwood floor is a relatively simple process, but it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to achieve the best results.
And there you go! After completing all these steps you should have glistening, smooth timber floors that look good as new. It’s generally recommended not to walk on the floor for at least 24 hours or place your furniture back on it for 72 hours after you’ve applied the final coat for the best results possible.
If your floors have been installed properly, finished well and are well-maintained with regular vacuuming and mopping, you shouldn’t have to repeat the timber floor sanding process for another 10 to 15 years. This is the greatness of wooden flooring, allowing you to refresh your home and keep up with modern design trends without the expensive and time-consuming task of installing new flooring.