What is floor sanding and who needs it?
Semi solid wood floors and hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished. Regardless of the type of finish, all floors will eventually get damage and the finish will wear off. Some high traffic finishes will wear off faster than domestic ones, but all of it will need to be re-done once in a while. A floor sanding contractor will remove the top coat of your floor with a chain of powerful floor sanding machines and it will re-build the floor finish. Hardwood floor can be sanded many times over while semi solid wood floors can be sanded 1 to 5 times, depending on the thickness of the plank. Tiny amounts of wood will be removed by the sanding machine.
Only solid and semi solid wood floors can be sanded. There are many other types of floors that look like wood but are not wood at all.
Laminate Floors – laminate floors are not wood. Laminate floors are pressed paper with a glazing in the top.
Amtico Floors – amtico floors imitate wood floor pretty well and many people that are sure they own wood floors, find out that in fact they own plastic floors.
The floor sanding technology and the finishes available are developing at high speed. If only few years back most of the floor finishes were oil or solvent based, now days, most of the floor finishes are water based. The floor sanding machines have also improved a lot and it can collect up to 98% of the dust generated. The work is being done faster, cheaper and it lasts much longer. The new water based floor finishes are much more environment friendly.
There are many types of floor finishes available. There are no two people the same and there are different requirements in each job. If some people are looking for high gloss finishes, others are looking for matt finishes. If some people are looking for high traffic finishes, others are looking for domestic finishes. If some people love the artificial looks of some products, other love the natural looks of oil finishes. It is always a good idea to do a pre-test before finishing a large area.
Floor Varnish – floor varnishes are by far the most popular types of finishes. A good quality floor varnish will look great, it will last for very long time and it will protect the wood floor against moist and traffic. There are solvent based floor varnish and water based floor varnishes available. Most floor sanding contractors are using both types. Some people love solvent based floor finishes & some people love water based floor varnishes. Is a personal option. There are single pack floor varnishes and there are two pack floor varnishes. Those two finishes are available in solvent and water based finishes. Single pack floor varnishes are usual suitable for domestic and light commercial traffic while two pack floor varnishes are suitable for heavy duty commercial traffic. Two pack finishes mean the product comes with an extra hardener that has to be added to the product itself for enhanced durability.
Hardwax Oils – Hardwax oils were very popular for many years until ultra matt floor varnishes were invented. But even now, there are many people that love hardwax oils and that hate varnishes. An hardwax oil is a blend of organic oils with added hardener for durability. An hardwax oil can be used as finishing coat or as a primer and finishing coat. Floor oils are maintaining the original look of the wood without glazing the wood. There are clear hardwax oils and there are coloured hardwax oils. Hardwax oils are suitable for light commercial floors and domestic floors. Junckers Hardwax Oil and Bona Hardwax Oil are two of the most popular types of hardwax oils in Ireland. Many floor sanding contractors love this products.
Floor Oils – organic floor oils were used to seal wood floors for thousands of years. Organic floor oils are safe to use, it look great and it provides great protection against moist damage and light traffic. There are clear floor oils and coloured floor oils. Standard organic floor oils can be used as a primer and overcoated with an hardwax oil or it can be used as a primer and finishing products. Most floor sanding specialists can advise you about drying periods, maintenance and color options. Tovers Coloured Floor Oils are highly popular floor oils. Tover has a great unique colour range. Floor oils take 12 to 36 hours to fully dry.
Wood Stains – most professional water based and solvent based floor varnishes are clear. You can get some varnishes with added colour but most varnishes are clear. If you are looking to change the colour of your floor or any wood surface, you can use a wood stain. A wood stain is a primer that is added to a raw wood surface to change the colour. Wood stains have no protective qualities so it needs to be sealed with a hardwax oil or an varnish. The most popular wood stains within the floor sanding industry is Tover & Bona. There are about 30 different colours between those two brands so the option is great. You can even mix colours of wood stains.
Floor Paints – a floor paint can be used on badly damaged wood floors or on the stairs. Most floor sanding contractors will advise against using floor paints on wood. A floor paint kills the natural look of any wood surface but it protects better than most wood finishes. There are many colours of floor paints available. Tover sells a great range of very natural looking floor paints from Uniqua range.
Gap Filling – gaps between floor boards can make your floor look better and it can make your home very cold. A gap between floor boards can create a lot of draft on the ground floor or it can damage your ceilings if the upstairs room has gaps between the floor boards and a spillage happens. This issue can be sorted pretty fast with the help of a professional gap filler. Bona Mix & Fill Gap Filler & Junckers Prefill Gap Filler are two of the most popular gap fillers. A floor sanding company will use the dust generated by the floor sanding machine and a gap filler to mix a thick cream that can be used to fill up gaps up to 0.5-0.8 cm. A gap filler is flexible and has no colour. Just fill up the gaps with the cream and sand it well after about 2 hours. Job done. This job can be done by domestic customers as well.
There are many other types of floor finishes available but the ones listed above are the most popular ones.
Most wood floors can be repaired. The repairs can look 100% perfect or it can look bad. Depending on who is repairing the floor. If you have old wood floors, never replace old floor boards with new floor boards, unless you plan to stain the floor. While the floor is unfinished, the repair might look fine, but after the floor is sanded and primed, the new floor board will look much brighter. The original floor went through a lot of washing, sunlight & a lot of use and abuse. All this, have darken up the wood.
If you plan to do some repairs yourself, make sure that you use re-claimed wood or 100% identical floor boards.
There are two types of floor sanding systems. Dustless floor sanding and standard floor sanding equipment. Up to about 90s, most of the commercial floor sanding machines were generating a lot of dust. All this dust ended up on your clothes, walls, furniture, etc. After 90s, the industry has changed a lot. Most brands of floor sanding machines have created dustless floor sanding systems. Some professional floor sanding machines collect dust in special bags while others use special professional vacuum cleaners to extract up to 90% of the dust. It is very important to only use floor sanding contractors that use dustless floor sanding equipment. Most hire centres are hiring up dustless floor sanding equipment but there is always one…
If you ask 100 people what is water based floor varnish, about 90% of them will tell you that a water based floor varnish is a varnish made from water. Also, most people think that a water based floor varnish will wash away if washed with water. This is not the case. A water based varnish is solvent free, has no odour, creates no fumes and it last as long or longer than any solvent based based floor varnish. There are domestic water based varnishes suitable for light traffic and there are heavy duty traffic water based floor varnishes that are known to last for over 10 years. A water based varnish will not wash away while mopping it. A water based varnish dries fast and it looks 100% natural. Solvent based floor varnishes are building a glaze over the floor but the water based floor varnishes are being absorbed by the floor.
Floor Sanding Prices:
You can pay a lot of money or little money to have your floor refinished. It all depends on the type of floor that has to be refinished, the condition, the size, the finish required and the location of your job. Most people are facing the question, to sand or replace the wood floor? This is a personal decision but in most cases there is a lot of work involved in removing the old floor, disposing the old floor and fitting new floor. A floor sanding company will have your floor refinished in 1 day.
Floor sanding prices start from about 10 euro per square meter for sanding only and it can go up to 30 euro per square meter with staining, gap filling, floor repairs and two pack floor varnish. A standard living room – 20 sq meter – can cost between 200 euro to 600 euro.
Stair sanding is much more complicate than it looks. A set of stairs can take 2 days to complete. Usual, there is paint on the steps and there is a lot of work to remove old finishes and prepare the stairs for a new finish. Stairs sanding starts from about 300 euro and it can go up to 1200 euro – depending on size, condition and finish required.
Here is a picture of an old stair case restored:
- The floor sanding contractor will remove the top coat of your floor. He will asses the floor and he will decide what grit sand paper will use. Very rough floors or floor that were painted, will have to be sanded with 24 grit belts, then 40 grit, then 60 grit, then 80 grit and then 100 grit. After 100 grit sanding, the floor should be smooth and ready for priming.
- Now, all the imperfections are visible and this is the stage where repairs and gap filling is done. The contractor will fill up all the gaps, it will sort out all the repairs and he will prepare the floor for priming.
- If you are looking for change of a colour, the floor sanding specialist will apply the stain now with a special stain applicator or a floor pad and a buffer. If you are looking for a clear varnish or a clear hardwax oil, the contractor will apply the primer.
- After the primer, gap filler and the stain is dry, the contractor will apply 1 coat of varnish. Solvent or water based. After the first coat is is dry, the contractor will use fine sandpaper to sand the floor one more time. The floor will be hoovered well and another coat of varnish will be applied. Some floor sanding contractors will sand one more time after the second coat of varnish but is not necessary. If you plan to hardwax the floor, you do not have to sand the floor between coatings.
The floor is done and it looks like new. It is very easy to damage it. You need to use proper cleaning products and proper cleaning equipment. Wood floor cleaners are designed for wood floors only. General cleaning products are not designed for cleaning wood floors. Read about Junckers Wood Care Products, Bona Wood Care Products and Tover Wood Care Products. Those three brands are making cleaning products designed for wood floors
Junckers Sylva Wood Cleaner – heavy duty wood floor cleaner
Bona Wood Floor Spray Mop – the perfect tool for cleaning wood floors
Tover Pulito Wood Floor Cleaner – the fancy wood floor cleaner
Bona Cleaner For Oiled Floors – a professional wood cleaner suitable for waxed floors