The beautiful rustic charm of a hardwood floor won’t last forever. But that’s okay. It might be time to refinish your floor if it’s starting to fall apart on you.
Here are tips on refinishing and stripping your hardwood floor in particular.
Is it time to refinish?
How do you know if your hardwood floor has incurred just normal wear and tear and can be managed or if it’s beyond repair? Well, luckily, there’s a simple test you can perform. Walk to an area of your hardwood floor that’s prone to a lot of wear and tear. In other words, an area that gets a lot of traffic. Then drop a tablespoon of water onto the floor. What does the water do? Do beads collect? If so, your hardwood floor is still in good condition and can probably be handled by conventional stain removal, cleaning and repair methods. However, if the water absorbs into the wood and darkens the color of it, you’ve probably got a new refinishing project on your hands. The faster the water absorbs into the floor and the darker the water stain is, the more immediate your problem is.
Time to strip down
Unfortunately, if you’ve got an aging hardwood floor underneath your feet, that needs to be refinished, you’re going to have to strip it. And that is not a fun task. In fact, it’s typically a task left up to the professionals. When you strip a hardwood floor, you basically remove the top coat of the wood (warts and all). A sander is then used to strip the hardwood floor. Sanders and tools like it come with detailed instructions, so if you want to strip your hardwood floor yourself, make sure to follow these instructions carefully. Otherwise, you can severely damage your floor which would really defeat the purpose of refinishing it!
Once you’ve got a more impressionable foundation and have gotten rid of the surface of your hardwood floor, you can better handle the stains and repairs. Are there cracks, scratches, deep stains? Now is the time to fix it all! If you don’t know how to, that probably means you need a skilled expert on your side to give you a helping hand or more likely, to do the job for you.
Stripping a hardwood floor is an intensive and laborious process that often will require the use of chemicals. So unless you know precisely what you’re doing, it’s probably best that you don’t take on a “do it yourself” attitude with refinishing your floor. If you do, however, make sure to wear a mask and gloves!
In some cases, you don’t have to strip the floor in order to refinish it. You can simply recoat it. So keep in mind that that might be a more suitable option.
The good kind of stain
The word “stain” has a negative connotation, but when you’re refinishing a floor, you’re going to have to purposely stain it a chosen color. This is the more interesting part of the refinishing process! It also can be a bit overwhelming, too, as you’ll have so many different choices. You can take home a few sample colors and compare it to the color scheme in your home. Once you’ve picked out a stain color, your decisions are hardly over though.
Choosing a top coat
Now you’ve got to pick out a top coat for your practically-new floor. There are oil and water-based coats. Oil finishes can sometimes look better, but water finishes dry speedier and won’t yellow. Just as a coat will protect you from the cold weather, so will a top finishing coat on your hardwood floor.
To refinish or not to refinish?
Most likely, you won’t really have a choice. If your hardwood floor passes the “water” test, then that’s a sign you’ve got to go ahead and refinish your floor. Fortunately, this is not something you’ll have to do routinely and if you do it right, you certainly won’t have to do it again in the near future.
Refinishing your hardwood floor is a significant project that will improve the look of your home and also provide a sturdy foundation for your family for years to come. It’s worth the time and money to invest in a a quality finish and it’s probably best if you go ahead and shell out the extra moolah to have a professional get the job done for you in an efficient and professional manner.