Restoration and Refinishing for Hardwood Floors

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Restoration and Refinishing for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood flooring is a pretty rare characteristic for homes nowadays; this has to do with the fact that making such a floor can be very expensive and requires good treatment and maintenance, and the fact that there are many cheaper, and for some, more attractive options. Most homes with hardwood floors have them because they are original, antique pieces that have passed the test of time rather successfully. People still opt for them to this day, but only those who can afford them; they are indeed remarkable, preserve heat, and give a more natural, welcoming air to a home. However, they are also quite easily damaged, especially if they’re not well treated and lacquered.

If you have hardwood floors and they’ve become damaged, scuffed or scratched, we’re going to show you what your options are. In some cases, hiring a professional is the best idea, but for minor problems, or maintenance purposes, you can do this yourself.

Maintenance

Depending on the wood they are made from, hardwood floors can be easier or harder to chip; an important factor deciding this is also the presence or lack of a rug; rugs will protect a hardwood floor, but they will also hide its beauty. If you keep rugs, you still have to do maintenance work on the floors just as often, because dust and dirt are even more likely to seep into the wood under them. Spots where furniture and rugs are will always be more prone to damage; highly circulated areas will also show the first sign or wear.

In order to properly maintain hardwood flooring, you must clean it well often, something like once a week; this will eliminate the need to heavily scrub the floors when you’re finally cleaning them, which can result in scratching and wear. Frequent, good cleaning will make sure dirt doesn’t harden on the floors, and they can maintain their finish and lovely color. Dark-colored wood can be even more pretentious, as it will start to whiten in traffic areas. Wash your floors only with special detergents, or with clean, lukewarm water, making sure you’re not leaving wet spots. Priming is also a part of constant maintenance; depending on the type and quality of the wood, you may have to prime the floors about once a year, or even more seldom. We will detail this part later on.

Restoration and Refinish

It is almost inevitable that hardwood floors will become chipped, chaffed, scuffed or scratched in time, or even heavily damaged. This can simply occur as a result of the passing of time, but it can also be active damaging, created by moving furniture, or furniture that has sat in the same place for years; even long exposure to the sun can discolor and deteriorate the wood. Restoring it is almost always possible, but in some cases, professional help is the best option. If your hardwood floors are just superficially scratched and a bit dirty, you can bring them back to life yourself. Here are the steps:

  1. remove any items from the room, including cables or anything else that will get in the way;
  2. clean the floors well;
  3. use a special sanding tool to remove the old layer of finish (there are also chemical removers or strippers for newer coats of finish, but avoid them if you’re not certain on using them);
  4. manually use sandpaper to smoothen areas that were no sanded or buffed well, to eliminate scratches and marks;
  5. vacuum and wash the flooring again, to remove any traces of dust;
  6. nail down or replace any loosened nails; if some have become too visible during sanding, you can hide them with some sawdust that you glue over, then sand over carefully to bring to a level; wood paste or wood plugs found in hardware stores can also be used for this purpose, just make sure you get the right nuance;
  7. when the floor is clean and dry, bring in your finish or lacquer and start applying it with a roller and paintbrush for corners and difficult areas; wait until it dries, then apply a second coating.

Details About Priming Your Floors:

  • when you start using the finish, wrap the edges with tape, so you don’t coat the walls as well;
  • start in the corners and on the edges, because they are more difficult to get right and will require the most patience;
  • use an old watering can with a cloth over its mouth to spread the primer, after which you brush over it quickly before it starts drying, and spread it evenly over the surface;
  • for easier areas, like the center of the floor, you can even use paint rollers, because they’ll get the job done much faster; just make sure they’re not made from frills, because that will leave marks on the floor.

When a hardwood floor has been badly damaged, such as being eaten by woodworms, badly bent by accidents, has started molding and rotting, there is little you can do. Some options are to replace the badly damaged planks, which is cheaper than replacing the entire floor, and to paint them in bold colors, like black or red, if they have become discolored and no longer look well naturally. However, if you do the maintenance described above once a year, or every two years, your floors should remain in very good condition for many years to come. Original flooring is important for the value of a home, and for its authenticity as well.

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