What is the overall hardwood floor refinishing process?
There are four main stages to the process
1. Preparing the floor. 2. Sanding the floor . 3. Coating the floor . 4. The Curing process.
1. PREPARING THE HARDWOOD FLOORS
Before sanding, all nails are removed or set below the floor surface. Any repairs that may be necessary are also made at this time. The floor is then thoroughly vacuumed to remove any debis.
2. SANDING THE HARDWOOD FLOORS
The hardwood floors are sanded with a course and/or medium grit sandpaper using a drum sander, an edger and , if there are radiators, a radiator machine. The sanding process is completed using a fine grit sandpaper. Edges and corners are scraped by hand to remove any remaining finish or machine marks. Floors are then buffed with a fine screen on a buffer . The sanded floor is then vacuumed thoroughly.
3. COATING THE HARDWOOD FLOORS
After the vacuuming, the floor is coated with a stain or penetrating sealer which hardens the wood surface , protects the wood floor from water, dirt and stains and provides a suitable base for the polyurethane finish. When floors are to be stained, the homeowner should ideally be available to confirm the color of the stain before the stain is applied to the entire floor. The following day, the hardwood floors are lightly buffed , thoroughly vacuumed, and the first coat of polyurethane finish is applied. This process is repeated two more times to achieve a four coat system.
During period of high humidity, an extra day or two between coats may be required to ensure proper drying. This may extend the time required particularly in the summer months or in rainy weather. Adequate ventilation not only enhances drying, it prevents the build-up of the volatile fumes. If possible, pilot lights should be turned off during the finishing process.
4. THE CURING PROCESS
Hardwood floors finished with an oil based polyurethane are usually dry enough to walk on in a day , however, the finish remains quite soft. In the first week , the finish cures or hardens significantly and can continue to cure for a month. Special attention to the care of your new floor should be taken during the first month period to avoid damaging the finish before it is fully hardened.
Hardwood floors finished with a water based polyurethane are usually dry enough to walk on in only a few hours. This type of finish continues to cure for up to one week. Special care should be taken during this time.