Redo or Renew?
Uncovering the beauty of your hardwood floors.
Nonetheless, Mike remains fond of hardwood floors – with one caveat: "I like them when they’re finished and looking nice," he says. "If they’re done right and well taken care of, they’re very livable."
Fortunately, lacquers have gone by the wayside and refinishing and maintaining wood floors is much easier these days. That’s a plus in Royal Oak, where many of the homes were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s and are graced with solid hardwood floors, not the laminates of today’s construction.
Mike says it’s a common scenario when people come into the store looking for help with their floors.
"Probably the number one situation is that they’ve just ripped up the carpeting and found oak flooring that could be beautiful, but they don’t know what to do with it."
Underneath that carpeting homeowners usually find two things: old carpet padding that is sticking to the floor and scratches and stains that need to be removed.
If you’ve decided to go ahead and refinish your floors, you’ve got two options: hire a professional or do-it-yourself.
"The easiest is to hire a professional refinisher," Mike says. "They’ve got professional machines – they’ll come in, sand off the top sixteenth inch of the floor and be in and out in a few days."
If you’d rather save a few bucks or invest the time to proudly say you refinished your floors yourself, then Mike offers these tips on how to go about it:
1. Before you start
2. Sanding the floors
You’ll need to rent a floor sander from any local equipment rent-all center. While you’re there, go ahead and rent an edging sander too (we’ll explain why later.)
Floor sanders are powerful and hard to maneuver, so take care when its time to sand the finish off your floor, Mike says. "A floor sander is actually a big spinning drum with sand paper on it," he says. "If you let the machine rest in one place to long, it’ll leave a grove in the floors."
Set the drum down where you want to begin sanding and pull, not push, the sander in an even manner across the floor, moving with the grain of the wood.
"You’ve got to be careful and pull it evenly or your going to get waves across the wood."
Replenishing waxed wood floors
Okay, so you’ve ripped up the carpeting and it turns out your wood floors aren’t in that bad of shape.
"Chances are the floors are waxed," Mike says, "but they might have an old varnish on them."
The best way to tell is to scrub the floor a little bit with some water. "If the surface of the wood comes up and the finish gets cloudy, it’s waxed," he says.
If you don’t want to refinish the floor, but do want it make it look its best, here’s the way to do it:
1. Mix one-quarter cup of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) with one gallon of warm water.
down on your hands and knees with a scrub brush and SCRUB!
3. Rinse the floor with a sponge mop or rag and clean water to remove the last bits of dirt and the TSP.
4. Once the floors are dry you can rewax the floors with a sponge mop – Mike recommends one of two products:
One Step® No-Buff Acrylic Finish
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Last update: September 26, 2006
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