Saturday, 28 March 2020 15:24

Sanding Floors - Stage 1: Floor Assessment

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Sanding floors is not an easy job! I know because I recently sanded, repaired and lacquered a 3 bedroom house with my partner without any professional help. During the whole time this job was being done, there was no one living in the house and it still took several months. Most of the work was done after work hours and during the weekend.

It's important, before tackling this project, that you are honest and objective in your initial assessment of the condition of your floorboards and standard you are striving to achieve as this will determine how long it will take. In other words, the job will take longer if the floorboards are in poor/bad condition versus new/good condition.

  • Total Floorboard area - What is the total area that will be sanded/laquered? Get a total area m2 required as you will need this as a guide for sandpaper and laquer quantities. 
    For example, the total area of 2 rooms is:

    - Room 1 (5m x 5m =25m2)
    - Room 2 
    (3m x 3m =9m2)
    Total area is: 34m2
  • Condition assessment - Perform an honest objective assessment of the floorboards, in terms of whether you should keep them or replace them. The pictures below show floorboards (from the same room) that are in very bad condition.

    In the picture below - the floorboards on the left show glue residue and previously stained and the floorboards on the right show warping, gaps and glue residue.

    blog condition2
  • Consider House Charm - If the floor requires many repairs, it might be better to replace. Alternatively, consider the charm of the house, particularly if the colour/shape is unique therefore keeping would be the better option, even if they look tired.
  • Previously stained - Getting the old stain out will take you a lot longer, as the stain would have penetrated the top layer by a few millimetres. In the picture below, the floor still needs to be sanded back further as you can still see the evidence of the old stain (where the wood has a darker shade)
    blog condition stain
  • Floorboards previously sanded - Additional sanding might compromise the tongue and groove strength.
  • Split or damaged floorboards - Consider using old wood from the salvage yard as this will have the same age and colour and will stain/polish better. (New wood will look too new and will stain differently to the original wood)
  • Gaps between the floorboards - Leave them alone, don't fill them with putty. If the gaps bother you - consider replacing the floorboards. As long as the floor is solid it will have its own charm when polished. If you putty the gaps and the floor moves the putty between the gaps might lift and break, making it look really bad.

    In the picture below you can see the unsightly gaps between the floorboards as well as the rusty nail marks in the kitchen floor. In hindsight I should've replaced these floorboards, but I thought if I sanded them the rusty nail marks would come out, but unfortunately they didn't.  
    kitchen 11
  • Small chips - leave them there. If you sand them out and use a high gloss laquer over the top after, it will show a dip in the floor where you sanded. This is why professionals recommend using a matt finish.
  • Large chips - use putty or replace the floorboard with one that is the same age.
  • Final standard required - Good enough to sell or live in. Is it a $1M house or is it an average working family home. If renovating to sell, I would replace the floorboards if they are old and tired. New pine floorboards can be cheaper than secondhand ones. If renovating to live in, decide on the standard you will be comfortable with. For example, pine floorboards can look OK when sanded,  but not look so great with gaps. The standard required will ultimately be driven by time and money. It is still cheaper to DIY than to spend $1000's for a professional.
Read 546 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 April 2020 14:56

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