Idea Notebook - Atlanta Home Improvement Blog

Sanding and Refinishing Makes Hardwood Floors Look New

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By Janice Howell, vice president, MODA Floors & Interiors

Like many fine things, hardwood floors need an occasional touch-up to retain their
beauty. Except in cases of severe damage, these floors can be sanded and refinished
rather than replaced, not just once but multiple times over the years. The process
removes a thin layer of wood containing polyurethane and stain, ridding the wood of
scratches, marks, and discoloration. The newly exposed wood can then be restained
and restored to its original luster. Sanding and refinishing can also be done on
hardwood floors in otherwise good condition simply to change the color.

Photo courtesy of MODA Floors & Interiors / Shaw Floors

With periodic maintenance and prompt attention to any significant damage, quality
hardwood floors can last a hundred years or more. Water damage is one of the main
threats. However, professionally operated drying systems can often restore the wood
to its natural state. “Cupping” may occur if the water stands on the floor for too long,
but if the cupping is less than 1/16th of an inch, the flooring can often be sanded and
refinished. When the damage is more severe, it may be possible to remove and replace
only the damaged wood. The remainder of the wood in that room or adjoining rooms
can then be restained to match the replaced section.

Protect the beauty and durability of your hardwood flooring by hiring a professional
who knows the right tools, techniques, and materials for each job. As with any home
improvement project, select the contractor carefully. Skill and professionalism can vary
considerably, so get referrals and ask questions that may help you judge a person’s
capability. For instance, does the contractor use dust containment equipment, which
results in a significantly cleaner worksite? Will the contractor sand the floor more than
once, as is recommended, using varying grids of paper each time? Does the contractor
seem qualified to properly operate the heavy sanding equipment without damaging the
wood? Also find out if the contractor uses branded stains and polyurethanes such as
Bona or Dura Seal.

Photo courtesy of MODA Floors & Interiors / Shaw Floors

You can sand prefinished engineered wood flooring if the wood has a thick enough
wear layer. A better alternative may be to clean, buff, and recoat the wood. Traditional
hardwood floors can also be recoated to remove surface marks, although this process
will not remove deep scratches or allow you to change the wood’s color. However,
recoating the wood every five years or so extends the time between resands.

A properly maintained hardwood floor helps ensure the value of your flooring
investment. Check out more expert advice from Atlanta home improvement professionals.

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