Thinking of Having Your Hardwood Floors Sanded? Here's What You Need to Know Before You Do!
Thinking of having your hardwood floors sanded? Here is what we learned after our first experience with having this done:
Firstly this is a task well beyond my limited handyman skills so instead of doing it ourselves we hired a flooring contractor to do the work. We were preparing to sell our house and the dark red floors were showing a lot of wear in the high traffic areas and many other spots had visible scratches from our two dogs. The first lesson we learned was when the contractor showed up the morning the job was supposed to start and asked why all of our furniture was still in the house. We had not been specifically told to remove everything and we assumed that they would move the furniture from one room sand and stain there and then move onto the next. We learned that this was not possible because there were no thresholds on our floors between the rooms. Rather, the hardwood flowed in between the rooms. This meant that there was no area where they could stop staining and let it dry without leaving a visible line. So lesson learned, discuss moving your furniture ahead of time, and if necessary make plans to do so before anyone shows up to sand the floors!
The entire process of sanding the floor took several passes and about 2 days (this did not include any bedrooms or the finished basement). The use of the large belt sander generated a large amount of very fine dust (and noise), bringing us to next lessons learned and I would highly recommend you do the following before the sanding begins: cover your vents and HVAC intake in the affected rooms. Cover any furniture left anywhere in the house. Cover your light fixtures and appliances. Cover any fishtanks\bowls. If you are able, remove clothes from closets in the area and seal the doors with plastic. Remove art and pictures from the walls. Remove curtains. Wear a mask if you stay in the house.
**Remove all pets from the house until the floors are completed as they have more sensitive respiratory systems than humans and the noise will also create a very stressful environment for them**.
Once the floor is sanded it is a great time to ask the contractor to sample the colour on the actual floor. This will give you a good idea what the stain will actually look like on the floor in your home. The stain was applied by hand using rags and took about a day. While it is wet you cannot walk on it so don’t get painted into a corner! Once the stain is finished being applied the contractor will apply two applications of top coat. This will take at least two days as the first coat needs several hours to dry before the second coat is applied. This will remain tacky for hours and depending on the area of the home you are having done, it might be best to spend the night out of the house. Next lesson learned - the odour from the top coat is extremely strong and unpleasant. Another great reason to stay out of the house for the night.
One thing to note about the finish on the newly stained floors is that we found it to be considerably easier to scratch that the surface of a manufacturers floor product. This might not be a great solution of you have a large dog as their nails will leave visible scratches in the surface. Be sure to check the feet on your furniture for nails or rough spots and cover as necessary. Once the second coat is dry your floor is ready to enjoy….after you clean up the dust that is. And don’t forget to change your furnace filter!
Written By: Brad Chisling (firstname.lastname@example.org)