Giving your floor a new look can be a daunting task. You will need to rent a grinder, edge trimmer and polisher.
Question: We recently moved into a resold house with wooden floors. The floors need to be repainted, but I don’t want to pay anyone to do it. How can I repair the floor?
Answer: Making your floors look like new again is no easy task. You will need to rent a grinder (drum or belt), edge cutter and polisher.
However, before you start chewing on the floor, you should understand that some floors can only be polished once or twice. For example, if you have a thin layer of veneer on top of an engineered floor (rather than a whole piece of solid wood that can be repaired), there is a risk that you can sand the veneer and ruin the look. Try to investigate in an inconspicuous place, such as a closet.
If the veneer test fails, first remove all items in the room and sweep the floor. Make sure you are comfortable using the grinder and cover the door with plastic to keep dust out. Start with a low grit sandpaper and work your way up to finer and finer grits to remove scratches from the previous grit.
Because the floor grinder is bulky and you have to stand behind it to work, you can’t start from a corner. Instead, start sanding somewhere in the center of the room, but at an angle. This will help level the floor when sanding.
Conversely, if you initially sand parallel to the wall, the sander will kick back if it hits the edge of the exposed wood strip. This will cause the grinder to dig deep into the floor and form grooves. Grinding at an angle will help reduce grooves.
Try checking with 60 grit sandpaper to make sure it’s even. If not, you can try 40 grit (the lower the number, the coarser the abrasive grains on the paper and the more material is removed). Once you find the right grit, you can sand half the room, then turn the machine around and sand the opposite wall.
After sanding the floor at an angle, run the grinder parallel to the wall with the grain of the floor. This will remove the scratches from the previous step. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove sand, then continue sanding up until you reach the manufacturer’s recommended grit amount (usually 100).
Now the perimeter of the room. For this area, use an edge trimmer, a small grinder that you hold with both hands. Move it from side to side along the grain of the wood, starting as close to the wall as possible. Gradually move the edger away from the wall until it can merge with the floor sander’s sanding area.
Sweep or vacuum again after each grit change. After the hand sander, you’ll still need to sand a bit by hand and possibly a scraper to clean up the corners and other small areas that the sander missed.
You can now disassemble the floor bumper and attach the drive pad and 100 to 120 grit sieve. This will further smooth out the sanded area where the beveler meets the floor sander. Start polishing the texture along one wall and move towards the center of the room.
Once in the center, replace the screen and go to the other side of the room, starting along the wall again. When you get to the center of the room, you’re done.
Depending on the size of the room, you may need to replace the screen more frequently. Vacuum the room thoroughly, preferably with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
The top coat you use can be oil based or water based. Both have pros and cons, but water-based coating dries faster and doesn’t color the floor. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
For water-based finishes, a compatible sealant must be used. Sealant prevents stains and prevents subsequent coats from soaking in, causing them to build up.
Sealant and top coat are applied in the same way. The sealant is poured along the entire length of the floor and then applied with a T-shaped applicator that looks like a giant scraper. The trick is to keep the front edge of the applicator wet and apply the entire floor in one continuous motion.
Pour a thin line of caulk around the edge of the wall and scrape it off with a hand scraper. Continue to pour in the sealant and distribute it with the applicator. Slightly overlap the previous stroke, but do not overdo it with the sealant, otherwise air bubbles will appear in it. Sealant dries quickly, so keep moving.
When the sealant dries, it usually needs to be polished with a fine polishing cloth. This will roughen the surface and improve the adhesion of the coating.
Apply the finish in the same way. Using a damp T-shaped applicator, apply the top coat to the floor in straight rows, slightly overlapping each row.
When you see that the nail polish in front of the applicator starts to decrease, pour a strip of nail polish in front of the applicator. When approaching a wall, make wide sweeping motions and rotate the applicator 180 degrees to change direction. Don’t stop along the way or you might leave footprints.
After the top layer is dry, wipe it lightly and remove the dust with a sticky cloth. Then you can start the fun all over again for the next coat.
Mike Klimek is a licensed contractor and owner of Las Vegas Handyman. Questions can be sent by email to Handymanoflasvegas@msn.com. Alternatively, mail to: 4710 W. Dewey Drive, No. 100, Las Vegas, Nevada, 89118. His website is www.handymanoflasvegas.com.
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Post time: Aug-24-2023