I know. It’s horrible. Horrific really. I’m sorry for even showing this. But someone, somewhere, has to speak up! These floors need to be rescued! Are you up to the challenge?
Where Did We Go Wrong?
I’m really not sure how it ever happened, but the cold truth is that many homes still have hardwood floors under that wall-to-wall carpeting! And many of them can be salvaged, restored, and made to look like brand new. It’s not that tough. You can hire a professional, or you can take the DIY route.
These same ideas would apply to those of you who just want to refinish the floors you have.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
The Type Of Flooring You Have
While I don’t think there are many newer floors covered with carpet, there are many that are in need of re-sanding. If you have a newer floor, you really need to know what type of flooring is it. The number one question:
Manufactured plywood type product, or solid lumber (usually 3/4″ thick)?
If you have a manufactured floor covering, usually sold pre-finished, then you really have to be very careful when sanding. The top layer of solid wood is sometimes extremely thin. In many cases, pre-finished wood flooring cannot be sanded at all. In those instances, the best you can hope for is to “screen and coat” your floor (which can produce great results).
But if you have a solid wood floor the chances are good that you can sand and refinish those floors to a like-new condition.
The Condition Of Your Wood
The next question is, can your wood stand up to sanding? I live in the Southern US. We have termites. They eat the floor.
The funny thing is, they only eat it right up to the underside of the surface. I guess it’s stealth mode or something because you never know they are there! But if you try to sand that floor you’ll find out! Big holes open up quickly this way.
If you can get under your floor, like in a crawl space, you can really inspect it. Otherwise, the best option (I know of) is to go over the whole thing carefully with a hammer, tapping the floor and looking for soft spots while listening for hollow places.
If it’s determined that your floor is solid, then you’re ready to sand and finish it.
Use Professional Sanding Equipment
This isn’t a job you want to take on with a little palm sander! Floor sanders can be hired by the day or even by the hour. You generally will need two machines, a large walk behind sander, and a smaller handheld edger. Though I do know people who have done the whole job with the edger.
It’s Very DIY’able
Sanding and finishing a floor is something you can do yourself and in the process you’ll be doing a good thing! You’ll rescue a beautiful floor and make your home much better in the process. Hard floors are easier to keep clean, last longer, and are much better for folks with allergies.
Here are some links to help you:
(strange… both the video and the hgtv article show a palm sander!… I would rent the flooring ‘edger’ as shown in the how-to from the UK)