Want to bring your hardwood floors back to their former beauty, but don’t have the money? Then read on for some tips on how you can refinish the floor yourself.
If you have the time and don’t mind doing the work, then refinishing your floors yourself is a great option but before starting out, it’s not a bad idea to get an estimate from a professional so you can compare the cost of doing it yourself to what they would charge. You’ll get quite a shock at the amount that is charged. It may cost over $1000 to have just 1 room done. You could carpet over it for less, but doesn’t carpeting over beautiful hardwood floors seem, well, wrong?
It is actually rather easy to refinish a wood floor – if you pay attention to what you are doing. To sand the floor, you need a drum sander and possibly a belt sander which can be rented at your neighborhood Home Depot or hardware store. They can help you figure out which machines you need to rent, what kind of sand paper you should buy and also can help with the type and amount of stain and finish for the floor. You might also want to get some dust masks and plastic to section the room off from the rest of the house. Fine particles of dust will get everywhere – even if you section off the room, but you may be able to minimize the impact on the rest of the house.
The most important part of refinishing your floors is learning how to control the sander. The key to running the sander is to make sure it keeps moving at all times, otherwise they are simple to use, although a bit hard on the ears. If you stop in 1 spot, you will probably get a big gouge in your floor. Equate it to using an iron on your clothes – if you stop in 1 spot too long you’ll burn a hole. The sander is similar since it creates a lot of heat, keeping it in 1 spot can burn or dent your floor.
You do need to be careful with the sander as it is self propelled. When you first start it up, make sure you hold on firmly. Don’t be afraid of the machine but make sure you maintain complete control. Relax, after a few spins, it may even start to seem like fun.
After the old finish is removed, you need to apply the stain and new finish. Think of this as the same as doing your nails – first you remove the old finish, then basecoat, color and topcoat. Sometimes you don’t want color on your nails so you skip that part. In your floor you might also skip that part (the stain) but you still want to use a finish to protect the floor.
When selecting a finish you can pick from an oil based or polyurethane (water based) finish. When selecting an oil based finish you will need to decide if you want a satin, gloss or semi gloss finish. It’s probably best for you to use satin on a hardwood floor as it will help hide any flaws in the wood and is much more pleasing then a bright shine Using oil based finish is better for wood floors as it casts a warm amber glow. Water based, on the other had dries quicker and resists yellowing.
No matter which you choose, you must let each coat dry before putting down the next coat. Think back to the nail polish analogy! Follow the manufacturers instructions on the finish before you occupy the room again. Usually you can move your furniture back in after about 24 hours.
As you can see, the task of refinishing your floors need not be overwhelming. Think of it as giving your room a manicure. Take it one step at a time and use care in the process and you can have a great looking floor and save yourself almost $1000 to boot!