Hardwood floors have a classic beauty and endless appeal that works well with any décor. When it gets worn or scuffed, you don’t need to replace it. Have it refinished.
Should you refinish your floor yourself?
Before making that decision, remember, mistakes on wood floors show up clearly. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing, the risk of damage is very high. You could devalue your home’s appearance. We recommend having a professional refinish your floors to protect your investment.
To better understand what is involved when you refinish a floor, here are some things to know:
Wax used to be the standard until polys became available in the 1970s. Wax is easy to apply and has a mild odor, but is not as durable. It’s also more susceptible to stains that can penetrate the wood. It requires regular maintenance.
This is a quick-drying, eco-friendly finish that also has a mild odor. It’s more expensive than the oil-based poly, but it dries in two to four hours between coats and doesn’t have the yellow tint that the oil-based type has.
Professionals prefer oil-based polyurethane because it’s less expensive than water-based and is much easier to apply. The drying time is longer—about eight to ten hours. The odor is a little stronger during application. With this kind of finish, the wood yellows with age, which is an effect that many homeowners like.
Sequoia offers a variety of finishes, including a more natural choice that’s good for allergy sufferers. It’s a plant-based finish made from natural flax seeds (non-toxic). This alternate finish is also good for pets. It’s very durable; a good cleaning should keep it like new.
When it’s time to refinish
How do you know if your floor should be completely refinished? Try this simple test: Spill a drop of water on your floor. If it soaks in immediately, the wood may already be exposed. If the drop beads or soaks in slowly, you may be okay with a good cleaning and polishing.
What is the refinishing process?
The type of job depends on the condition of your floors. If the top coat is scratched but the wood underneath is fine, you would need floor buffing tools to restore and renew the look of the top coat. This process is called “screening.” Then a new coat of clear finish would make your floor look like new.
If you have deep imperfections—stains, scratches and wear from traffic patterns—you’ll need to have your floor sanded down to the bare wood, have a stain applied, then two to three coats of finish. If you want your floor to be a certain color, it requires several applications of a particular stain, and sanding between each coat.
Because sanding can be a little tricky It’s a good idea to hire a professional so you don’t accidentally sand down to your sub-floor. That would be a very expensive mistake. Also note—some newer floors are too thin to be refinished. You’ll want to have an expert look at it first, so you know what you’re dealing with.
If you have squeaks in your floor, you’ll want to see if you can do away with them before they get refinished. A squeak is caused in the sub-floor, When you step on a loose board it rubs against the popped nail, which causes the squeak. To repair a squeek you may have to get at it from underneath the flooring and put a screw where you hear the sound.
How often to refinish
A wood floor can be sanded and refinished a dozen times during its 100-year lifespan.