SAND & FINISH
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THE HARDWOOD FLOORING REFINISHING PROCESS PREPARATION
This is a very important stage, because the sanding and buffing process creates a significant amount of dust. Make sure that your furniture is properly covered and all areas are sealed before having your hardwood flooring refinished.
It is important to sand the floor several times with different grades of sanding paper. The first sanding is with a rough grade of paper according to the condition of your floor. This will remove the existing finish and remove a thick layer in order to penetrate the bare wood to be refinished. The next sanding stages are important in order to achieve smoothness and create a level surface for the application of the finish. The edges must be sanded with a special machine. Areas that are hard to reach will be hand scraped.
Before the first layer is applied, the hardwood flooring must be buffed with a buffing machine in order to prepare the floor and remove any unseen scratches. It is impossible to see all the scratches when the finish is removed, and when the new finish will be applied the scratches will be highlighted. Buffing is also essential between coats. Between every application of the finish coats, the wood floor must be buffed in order to smooth the small pieces ("the crumbs") and achieve maximum smoothness.
This is the professional name for the finish coat. The two most popular types of polyurethane are oil-base and water-base. Today, most of the finish applications are water based. Some buildings do not permit the use of oil base. The advantages of a water base finish are: It dries fast and enables the refinishing process to be completed faster by applying several coats per day. It is environmentally friendly and there are no toxic fumes (This is especially important if you have children or pets). The finish is clear, so most people prefer it rather than the yellowish orange tone of oil based polyurethane. Oil based is considered more durable, but it is possible to apply several coats of water-based polyurethane in order to make it more durable. There are some very durable water finishes available. The only reason to use oil based polyurethane is if you prefer the darker tone (sometimes preferred in traditional or country style designs). You should also select how shiny you would like your floor. The options are high gloss, gloss, semi-gloss, and satin.
This is a great possibility if you would like to add some color to your wood floor. It is recommended to use an oil based stain, although there are water stains available. The stain must be evenly applied and then removed in order to penetrate the wood. There is a variety of standard stains available by Minwax who is the leading brand in the industry. A new technological development allows custom stain mixing making it possible to stain the floor in any color you desire. Staining requires expertise and will take longer, and therefore will cost more than a regular natural finishing process.
After these steps are complete, you can immediately begin enjoying your beautiful, refinished hardwood flooring!