Tools Needed To Refinish Hardwood Floors

Tools Needed To Refinish Hardwood Floors – If you have worn wood floors and don’t have the money to have them professionally painted, I have an exciting story to tell you about how to refinish wood floors yourself. . . save significant money and develop your manual skills at the same time. There is a floor in a house that some of my children and grandchildren have moved into behind this article, and these young people finished the floors themselves using the methods you will learn here. But first, a story.

In the spring of 1967, my father worked nights after his day job and on weekends to refinish the hardwood floors just before we moved into our first family home. In the spring of 1991, I watched the sun rise through an open window as I toiled all night to finish the hardwood floors before moving into my first home, which I was building myself. In the spring of 2019, my son-in-law, Paul, was working around his day job to finish the hardwood floors in the first house he bought with my daughter Catherine and their boys. If funds are tight, I can tell you for sure, based on three generations of experience, that any talented non-professional can make their wood floors look great again without spending a lot of money. It’s an old-school approach to minimizing costs, and it works. The floors you see below are from Caitríona and Póil’s house.

Tools Needed To Refinish Hardwood Floors

When Kathryn and Paul bought their first home in the spring of 2019, the wood flooring in the high-traffic areas of the 103-year-old place was completely thrown out. Every room featured bare, gray wood, and the kids couldn’t afford the $4k estimate to have it professionally painted before they moved in. Then I suggested our family’s old approach to sweating. The mess below is typical of what Paul encountered on that wood floor.

Should I Refinish, Repair, Or Replace My Hardwood Floor?

Similar gray stains and wear are common on old wood floors. This is the same floor that looks much better filtered in other parts of this article.

Paul had never finished a piece of wood before but after some guidance from me the floors are now done. The ugly, gray areas you see above are gone and a lot of money saved. Except for a few minor issues, his floors look as good as if they were repainted by a professional. Although it took him 96 hours to sand and bond 1,300 square feet of floor (it would be much faster if he had to do it over again), Paul “earns” $37 an hour per trip in after-tax dollars. I’m a firm believer in Benjamin Franklin’s old saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Paul is also a bigger and better man because he met a challenge and prevailed.

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Newly finished red pine flooring in the 103 year old house my daughter and son in law bought in spring 2019 and some of the tools he used to do it.

Sanding is the most challenging part of a job like this, and professional floor painting contractors use large sanding machines that you walk behind. Anyone can rent a machine like this, and that’s what Paul did. But it didn’t start that way. My initial suggestion was that he try sanding his hands and knees using a manual sander. I’ve sanded thousands of square feet of floors like this myself, and I know that working with a belt sander saves time, hassle, and the expense of renting, transporting, and shipping a sander Back. The manual belt sander works and is practical for floors without heavy layers of old finish. It is also easier to throw than a large machine.

How Much Does It Cost To Refinish Hardwood Floors?

In Paul’s case, after successfully sanding several rooms with the manual belt sander approach, we decided to try a walk-behind sander to speed up progress on the more difficult areas. The easiest type to use is a vibrating abrasive pad. Often referred to as floor “skirt squares” or “caps,” they are less likely to sand the floor, but they also work with the slowest sanders. In retrospect, he would have made better progress with a belt-style floor sander. They use a large abrasive belt that removes material faster than a pad machine while being relatively easy for beginners to operate. I highly recommend avoiding what they call a “drum sander”. This uses a spinning roller and is much more likely to fall off than the other two types. Regardless of how you sand, the DIY floor painting process boils down to the same six steps.

The square buffer floor sander (right) is slower but easier and safer to use without chipping the floor than the faster belt sander (left).

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Wood floors make any space look a little nicer, but they need maintenance to keep them looking their best. The steps below are for floors that have gone so far that they need to be sanded back to bare wood. If your floor isn’t that bad, you may have an easier time of it. Watch the video at the end of this article for details.

Rough sanding removes old finish and gray miles. Paul first used a 16-grit sanding pad in the sander. When it comes to abrasives, the “grit” number refers to the number of abrasive particles per square inch. So the 16 grit is extremely coarse and really only applies to a square sander. If you are using a belt sander, then 40 grit is the coarsest you want to start with. Will you try the hand strap approach I suggested to Paul at the beginning? In that case, the 60-grit tape in this machine is the first thing

Sanders To Use When Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Finer sand to prepare for sealing. A 40-grit abrasive followed by 80 on a sander or an 80-grit disc on a hand-held random orbital sander does the job for intermediate sanding. At the beginning of this stage of the work, your floor has no older finish and your goal is to make the wood smoother. If you’re a carpenter, you might be surprised that the floor sanding process doesn’t use as fine an abrasive as what you’d use to build furniture. A final sanding with 120-grit sandpaper in a random orbit completes the sanding.

The floor should be thoroughly vacuumed to remove all dust. This is very important as the remaining dust will make the floor quite rough after the first final coat is applied. This is especially true if your wood floor is old and has large gaps between the boards. They will fight the dust that gets kicked up when you brush some urethane on, which will make a gross mess. A shop vacuum is a great tool for cleaning wood floors before sealing (and the cracks between the boards), but be careful. Many shop vacuums have hoses and wheels that leave black marks on bare wood if you’re not careful.

Next is the application of a floor covering with a brush. Most floor coverings on the market dry too quickly, leaving behind brush strokes and bubbles. I do not like. The few oil-based floor coverings on the market make success much easier. The best in my tests are the Varathane Pro Finisher with a matte finish. Sticks well, flows well, but feels dry to the touch in about 6 hours.

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Urethane quality has declined as low odor formulations have been made to meet government regulations. However, Pro Finisher (shown below) is as good as the old oil based urethanes of years ago and is still available. Whatever you do, be sure to choose urethane with a satin or matte finish. Polishing brings out the flaws of any floor, but a matte sheen, or lack thereof, makes things look so much better. Also, be sure to stir each can of urethane thoroughly, even if it looks like there’s nothing to stir. Additives that cause urethane to dry without a shine often settle out, and in some cases you can’t even see these additives. If you don’t stir, your floor will go from gloss in the urethane-coated areas to the top of the box, gradually becoming less shiny as you use the lower half.

Refinish Hardwood Floors In One Day (diy)

This is the best modern urethane I’ve used (and I’ve tried a lot). It’s oil-based and dries slowly enough that brush strokes and bubbles flow well when wet.

As you work, select 3 to 8 floorboards at the far end of the room, then apply urethane to them with a 4-inch-wide brush, working from one end of the boards to the other as a group. Once you’re done with that group of boards, cover the next group of boards closer to the door. Continue until the floor is ready. Portable 500 watt quartz halogen floodlights make it easy to see where you’ve covered and where you’ve missed. Always cover your floor with a good light that shines at a shallow angle to the floor.

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