It’s inevitable. For most people having a wooden floor offers the nicest aesthetic in a room, but the surface will become tarnished after a while.
Where there is a lot of foot traffic, for example, it’s easy for wooden floors to get scratched, dented or chipped. In homes all sorts of things can scratch their surface. From pet claws to the occasional dropped plate or cup that could leave an unsightly gouge, the surface of a real wooden floor will, at some point, need re-sanding.
Not only does it look bad, but it could also be unsafe.
But the benefits of sanding are worthwhile. Not only will it make it look like a new room, or at the very least make it feel much ‘warmer’ in appearance, it will be easier to clean. Wooden floors don’t hold the dirt and dust like a carpet does.
Public buildings, such as a museum, don’t escape either.
A Floor Like New
Luckily sanding breathes new life into your floor, rejuvenating its appearance and creating a safer environment at the same time.
The best machines today only emit around 3-5% dust. So, while there will be some dust it’s nothing like most people’s notion of having a floor sanded. It’s still a common misconception that sanding a floor leaves your home in a thick layer of dust that you’ll be finding months later.
But modern machines with built-in vacuums will eliminate most of this.
The vacuums however can’t eliminate the noise. And in all honesty, there will be some noise if you are having a floor sanded. You might want to let the neighbours know in advance.
Modern sanding can be done fairly swiftly and a large room, one that’s say 20sqm, can be sanded and finished in a day. The finish is much like paint in that it will dry quicker in a warm room, and one that’s well-ventilated.
To give you a rough idea about how long each finish type takes, lacquer can take between two and six hours to dry, while oil-based finishes can take 24 hours. Again, it depends on the conditions of the room.
You should keep furniture off the new floor surface for at least 48 hours.
If your new floor is part of an overall redecoration of the entire room, you should do any decorating after the sanding has been done. Remember to get any pipework or work that needs doing on things like cables under the floorboards done first.
Getting your floor finished by a professional sander will definitely create a longer lasting floor than many DIY finishes. You’ll get the right floor finish for your needs.
As a rough estimate an oil-finished floor will need to reapply the finish approximately every two years. A high traffic seal might last up to nine years.
Caring for Your Floor
The key comes in how you treat it. Dragging furniture across wooden is pretty much guaranteed to scratch a floor. It’s a good idea to put protectors under your armchair or sofa feet and always lift furniture if you’re thinking of moving it.
Other things like not wearing shoes indoors can, over time, help prolong a floor’s finish. Placing rugs down is an obvious win and placing them at entrances can help catch debris like stones that might get walked into the room and scratch the floor.
Other things you can be doing to help keep that lasting shine include:
- Clean any spillages as soon as they occur
- Sweep or dust the floor every day
- Vacuum at least weekly
- Use a good hardwood floor cleaner every month
With wooden floors it’s doing the little things often that count. You will also need to choose your tools wisely.
Poor quality brooms and mops can leave scratches. It’s also advisable to not use soap and water on a hardwood floor. The same applies to the hoover you use. The hoover should have a hard floor setting so it’s best to use it to prevent unnecessary scratching.
A floor will need refinishing at some point. But how often that happens depends on how you look after it in between. Taking some simple maintenance steps can prolong the life of your floor and reduce the need for more frequent finishing.