If you have hardwood floors that are showing their age, you can properly restore them by following some easy steps. When doing restoration work, be prepared by having the proper tools, including a wet-dry vacuum, safety glass, a long-handled sponge roller, and both an orbital and belt sander, among others. Here is how to restore your hardwood floors in order to add value to your home.
Use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to remove all debris on the floor. Clear the area and clean the floor thoroughly with a good quality commercial wood cleaner.
Use a hammer to pound down any nails that protrude up from the surface, making sure you countersink them just enough so they do not interfere with any sanding passes.
Fill in nail depressions, chips and gouges in the wood with wood putty, leaving a small rise of putty on the surface. Re-nail or screw-in any base boards that have warped or loosened from the wall so that you have straight, even lines.
You will need an orbital sander and a belt sander to accomplish a three-step sanding process.
Use a belt sander for the first pass over the floor. Move the belt sander over the hardwood, moving with the grain from one end to the other. Make multiple passes over areas of the wood that might have either chair or table leg scuff marks.
When finished with the first pass, equip the orbital sander with the same grit belt and sand the area next to the baseboards. After you’ve finished, vacuum up the residual sawdust.
You should repeat this process three times using slightly stronger sandpaper grit each time. Be sure to move at a speed that doesn’t burn deeply into the wood, yet removes any evidence of the old finish and discolorations.
Vacuum up the dust and use a rag dampened with floor cleaner to remove all minute particles.
Your floor finish depends upon your preference and decor. You can apply either an oil-based polyurethane stain or a water-based one. The oil base stain will take longer to dry, but might produce a slight yellowing effect with age. These stains are available in satin finish, full gloss or semi-gloss.
Apply the stain with a long-handled sponge roller. Use a light coat to make your first pass. Try to make the stain swath about 5-feet wide, then begin again, overlaying the first coat.
It’s best to stain the entire floor before any of the sections begin to dry and setup. If you are happy with the stain hue after one pass, quit and let it dry for 24 hours. If you want darker coloration, make another light coat over the first or as many as you require.
Use a small sponge applicator to cut into the baseboard area during your first stain pass and thereafter with each following coat, blending the floor stain in with the baseboard stain.
When you have achieved your desired tone (or darkness), let the floor dry for 24 hours or more— the longer the better. If you can avoid traffic over the area, let the floor dry and cure for a week. Avoid mopping the newly finished floor for at least two weeks.
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Jennifer Parker manages her own home improvement blog and also writes for Floor and Décor, a flooring retailer specializing in hardwood flooring.