However, for your hardwood floors to serve their purpose, they need to be maintained properly. Unlike ceramic or marble, wood is porous and is more susceptible to damage by chemicals used to mop the floors or weather conditions.
So how do you take care of your wooden floors? What tips and tricks can prolong their life? Well, the obvious answer is to have them sanded and polished periodically.
Here is everything you need to know about wooden floors and their maintenance.
Need Help with Floor Sanding?
Before you can get started with all the polishing, you need to find a reliable company to do the work for you quickly and perfectly. Doing something like this on your own isn’t the brightest of ideas.
Why don’t you choose this company called ‘Floor’, based in Brisbane, Australia? You will surely receive the service that you require to get your floor looking squeaky clean.
What is Sanding Paper?
Most floor sanding and polishing companies charge based on the tools and chemicals they use during the service. If you have a good idea about what they will use, you can better choose between the kind of flooring services they are willing to offer you.
Let’s start with the most important component of the entire procedure: Sandpaper.
some hardware care to consider
Sandpaper, as the name suggests, is paper (or in some cases a cloth), covered with coarse materials such as aluminum oxide or silicon dioxide. In the past, the most commonly used forms of abrasives used to make sandpaper were glass or sand.
Sanding paper is used to remove layers of varnish or paint or make the surface of things like wood look smoother. Sometimes sandpaper is used to rough up any given surface to prepare it for applying glue or varnish. This roughing up promotes better adhesion of the products that will be laid on top of the surface.
Sandpaper exists in several grits (which is a measure of its coarseness). The higher the grit number, the finer or softer the sandpaper. For example, a 20 grit sandpaper is very coarse, but a 1500 grit sandpaper is very delicate. The nature of work decides what grit should be used.
What is Floor Sanding?
So what exactly happens when you sand your floors?
This is when you scrape the surface of timber floors (which is the kind of wood commonly used for floors) to prepare it for polishing or removing an existing layer of polish that has worn off or needs to be replaced.
The sanding of wooden floors needs the workers to go over the wood with many different sanding grits to completely remove prior coatings or make the wood smoother.
What is Floor Polishing?
After all the tireless scraping, going back and forth with many different grades of sandpaper, we get to the part that changes the look of your floors and gets them looking brand new – polishing.
Polishing is done in multiple layers. The very first coat of polish is usually used to seal the freshly sanded floor. The second and third layers are usually done to give your hardwood floors a certain finish – matte, glossy, or natural, depending on what you choose.
Polyurethane is one of the most commonly used forms of polishing or coating. However, this chemical not only smells bad, but it is also toxic to breathe. Thankfully, improvements have been made to the overall formula of traditional varnish.
The new polishes are water-based, have no unbearable smells, and are non-toxic. They are also UV-cured, which means the polish dries instantly, and you can start walking on your floors as soon as the job is done.
Why Should You Polish Your Floors?
There are many reasons why polishing your hardwood floors is necessary.
Firstly, the weather greatly impacts the state of your wooden floors. During the summer, timber floors tend to expand, but the opposite happens in winter. Especially in humid weather, timber floors run the risk of warping and eventually cracking.
Secondly, using harsh cleaning chemicals on bare timber wood could eat away at it and eventually destroy it. If you have the habit of using a lot of detergent in your cleaning water, you run the risk of eroding your coating (if you have a coating on).
Strong detergents dull the appearance of the polishing. This could also lead to you needing to frequently get your polishes redone – that means more expenses from your end.
some floor maintenance to consider
Lastly, summers can be brutal in terms of humidity. Like I mentioned above, humidity contributes to the wear and tear of your floorboards. Humid, sticky, and scorching weather is the bane of all hardwood floors. It also promotes the excessive buildup of dust and grime, giving your floors a very dirty appearance.
Polishing your hardwood floors will prevent them from getting affected by weather to a great extent. It will also protect them from the harsh chemicals used to clean the floor. Not only that, but it’ll also keep your floors looking brand new.
How Your Floors are Sanded
- With the help of an angled sander and a galaxy sander (both of which are important machines used in floor sanding), the existing coating is removed. This gets rid of all the dirt and grime accumulated on top of your floors. Ultimately, this exposes the bare timber underneath.
- The above step is repeated, but the second time around, a medium grit sanding paper is used. The particles on this paper are angled in the opposite direction of the ones on the sanding paper that was previously used.
- Finally, a sanding machine with sanding discs (of medium grit) is used to smooth and level out the timber floorboards.
This concludes the sanding process. Once this is done, we move to the polishing step.
How Your Floors are Polished
Polishing, like sanding, is a multistep process. However, unlike sanding, this isn’t continuous. There is a lot of layering involved, and in between each layer of coating, there’s a drying time too.
- The sanding process leaves behind many scratches and marks on the floorboards, which will become visible after the coating is applied. The last thing anyone wants is a floor covered in numerous scratches. So, to prevent this, the floor is buffed using a floor buffer. The buffer effectively removes all scratches and marks, leaving your floors looking untouched.
- Then, the coating is applied. The very first layer is usually quick drying and is used to seal the bare timber floorboards. You can imagine this to be a priming layer for all the other coats that will follow.
- The next coat is a water-based coat that is odorless and toxin-free.
- The last layer of coating is the polyurethane coating. Don’t worry; it’s non-toxic and can be cured with UV. Curing this gel under some UV light hardens it instantly.
some flooring options to consider
The final coating is tough, durable, and industrial grade. Your floors are going to thank you for this, as this will protect them for a very long time.
Lastly, The Costs and Working Time
Now that we have looked at the polishing process in detail, it’s time to think about the pricing and the amount of time it takes.
Normally, you will be priced based on the overall size of your home. It doesn’t have to be your entire house – they will give you an estimate after looking at how many square meters you asked them to work on.
The price also heavily depends on the kind of coating you end up using. If you opt for a cheaper option, you’ll be using the regular coating. The UV version is much more expensive, but at the same time, it’s more durable.
As for the amount of time needed, it takes roughly two days to get the job done. Again, the amount of time needed to finish the job depends on the size of the area and how long it takes for the final coating to dry.
Normally, with UV-cured polyurethane, you wouldn’t need to wait that long, as I mentioned before. As soon as it’s exposed to UV light, it becomes super hard, so you can get back to living as usual in no time.
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Image Credit: floor sanding by twenty20.com
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