Hardwood floors provide a classic look to your home and helps to increase its value, but one must take quality care of the floors to keep them looking great for a long period of time. The best way to give older wood floors a fresh look is to get them sanded and refinished. When you start to notice the floors getting dull and faded call your local flooring professional and inquire about a sand and refinish job. The amount of time between refinishing your floors can vary depending on a lot of factors. Some of those factors include, foot traffic, wood species, humidity, and overall wear and tear. Typically a refinish job would be recommended every 5-10 years. Recently, a commercial outlet store sought out Metro Atl. Floors for sand and refinish job at their Atlanta storefront. To give insight into the process we have detailed the different steps of our commercial refinish process and included images.
The first step in the process is to remove the old finish and sand down any dings or scratches in the wood. At Metro Atl. Floors, we only use dustless sanders. The technology is relatively new and drastically reduces the amount of cleanup required. If a flooring installer does not use dustless sanders you can expect to be cleaning dust particles from the nooks and crannies of your house for weeks. In addition to the ease of cleanup, dustless sanding is much healthier than its counterpart. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), “Wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles from processes, such as sanding and cutting, become airborne. Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucous and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and cancer.” Another factor to consider regarding airborne wood dust particles is that the old finish that is being sanded contains chemicals that are harmful to breath. When the floor gets sanded these chemicals are also being displaced into the air compounding the potential negative effects of the airborne particles. Metro’s flooring professionals use what is called a Dust Containment System (DCS) on all our sanders. The containment systems are essential vacuums that are attached to the sanders and they suck the sanded dust up immediately, preventing it from entering the air. What you see below is the Clark CAV 2.2 Dustless Control Vacuum which is a Metro favorite for our hardwood installations.
After the Metro flooring pros have thoroughly sanded all of the floor’s surface area, some additional vacuuming will be done to pick up any of the remaining dust. The Dust Containment Systems will pick up the majority of the dust, but it is important to ensure that there are no particles present when the polyurethane finish is applied.
Applying Polyurethane Finish
There are two options that one can go with for polyurethane: water and oil based finishes. Metro is a fan of using water based poly because it dries much quicker than the oil based, 2 hours vs. 8 plus hours, and allows for more than one coat to be applied in a given day. It is important to start out with a base coat because water based poly’s can sometimes cause a reaction in wood floors that produces discoloration. Applying a base coat will prevent this from occurring. Simply dump the poly on the floor and use a synthetic floor finish applicator to evenly spread it on the floor. Don’t spread the poly too fast because doing so can increase the likelihood of bubbles. If this happens, as the poly dries the bubbles will stay and be visible when the finish is applied. This is not a good look. Allow the polyurethane sealer to dry for two hours and then the top coat of water based poly sealer can be applied. Wait another two hours for the next coat to dry and then apply the third and final coat of poly. It is crucial to thoroughly buff the floor between coats for best results. Metro Atl. Floors uses three different ProCoat poly products for this portion of the process: H2Oil, Premium Splashdown, and RadCoat UV Floor Coating.
Specifically for commercial use:
Ultraviolet curing of wood is the process in which high-intensity UV light is used to instantly cure coatings and adhesives. UV cured wood is a great way to reduce the overall time of an installation. Traditional means of curing hardwood floors could take multiple days to complete. By using UV light the wood floors will be instantly cured and an entire installation can be completed in one day. Using UV light to reduce installation time is a novel concept in the flooring industry. At Metro Atl. Floors we are fans of cutting-edge practices and once we tried UV light on a couple of install jobs we were immediate fans. The popularity of UV curing has grown considerably each passing year and will soon displace the traditional water and solvent-based thermal drying processes as the most common practice. Traditional techniques of heat and air-drying would decrease drying time by using evaporation. Using light instead of heat, UV curing is based on a photochemical reaction. The finish and adhesives have a chemical component included that when exposed to UV energy will instantly harden.
Here’s a look at the whole process, start to finish.
The end result is a fresh looking hardwood floor that looks better than the day it was installed!
Be sure to properly maintain your wood floors and get them sanded and refinished when the time calls for it. If your floors are looking faded and worn past cleaning, getting them refinished is an inexpensive way to have the appearance of brand new floors without the cost of a new installation. Another attractive attribute of getting your floors sanded and refinished is that you can choose a new finish color. Metro Atl. professionals always carry finish color samples and can help you choose a new color that will look great in your home. If you have any questions regarding the sand and refinish process, or if you live in the Atlanta area and are curious about touching up your floors, give us a ring or send us a message using the contact form.