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I’d like to have floorboards, but where do I begin
Firstly it is always good to get advice on any major improvement to your property. Floors are a major part of your home and making the right decision on floor coverings will not only add appeal and value to your property but even save you money in both the long and short term. Polished floors are very practical and have a natural beauty and warmth all of their own. They can enhance the most ordinary of rooms as well as adding the finishing touch to an already superb decor.
Now that you have decided to have polished floors I would first check in an obscure part of your floor perhaps a corner or underneath the house, to check that you have floorboards under your existing floor coverings.
We have floor boards. Can we sand the floors ourselves?
There are many establishments that will hire equipment to sand your floors, however this equipment is constantly being used by amateurs and as a result are usually unbalanced and far from the extremely expensive state of the art machinery used by expert trades people. I would therefore suggest that you seek a qualified tradesperson to undertake this type of work. The end result a floor that will truly add value to your property.
How do we know if our floors are fit to sand?
A quick check under your house before removing your floor coverings will give you an indication as to the condition of your boards and sub-floor structure. This will save you and the tradesperson some nasty surprises once you have removed all your floor coverings – particularly if you are purchasing a new property and intend to polish the boards. Some things to look for may be evidence of termites, water damage, presence of dampness etc. Please note that this is only a suggestion and that in most instances this process may not be necessary… The tradesperson, who comes to estimate for you, will be the best judge.
How much will it cost?
Cost will vary depending on:
What you can expect when your floors are professionally sanded & coated
Sanding and finishing a beautiful timber floor is a skill acquired over many years. Bear in mind that, as all the work is done by hand controlled machines and applicators, there can be evidence of this in the floor. Further as you live on the floor it will gain a character and feel that is unique to your home. This is all part of the beauty of owning a timber floor.
What not to expect
Things you should be aware of
How long will sanding our floor take?
As most coating systems require overnight dry times the usual job will be a minimum of two / three days. This timeframe may be extended depending on the size of the job. As an estimate, most sanders would be able to sand on average 40 square meters / day. Remember to add the time for the coats to be applied and dry after that.
Will there be much smell? Can I live at home while my floors are being sanded?
Yes it will smell. Waterborne finishes are the most environmentally friendly, therefore produce less odor, All other finishes will generally require you to be in a well ventilated separate area, if you are to stay in your home whilst the floor is drying. However, as every job is different, please consult your tradesperson on their advice concerning your house layout or coatings used to ensure they meet your requirements.
What floor finish should we use?
Polyurethanes are currently the most widely used timber floor coatings. They are extremely durable, readily available and come in a range of finishes from high gloss to matt. If you are using new timber please check with your timber supplier as to their recommendation for a suitable coating as some recommend only waterborne or tung oil base coatings to be used because of their flexibility should movement in the timber arise.
What type of gloss level should we use?
The sheen (shine) level on a floor is entirely a personal choice. Factors which could affect your decision include: I) whether the areas have down lights – a lot of light on a high gloss floor will cause glare. ii) Whether you clean the floor regularly – gloss floors show a lot of dust, due to their reflective nature. iii) If you have pets inside – pet’s nails can easily scratch the harder finishes, causing them to look worn more quickly. Currently satin is the sheen level in highest demand.
What will I have to do to prepare the floor?
You can save money by removing all existing floor coverings including tacks, staples and any smooth edge carpet strips from the floor. Remove all furniture and other items on walls, or alternatively, hang a cotton sheet over pictures.
Once the job is complete, when can I move my furniture back?
Most coating will dry overnight assuming mild weather conditions (15 to 25 degrees C) however 7 to 14 days for full curing in the case of polyurethane is suggested by most manufacturers. Any normal traffic should be avoided during this period of time. Small items residing in fixed positions may be put in place carefully provided they have protective tips underneath them within 3 to 5 days check with your tradesperson or coating manufacturer to make sure there is no misunderstanding on this matter as many floors are damaged in this crucial period.
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