As time passes the fresh look and shine of hardwood floors, both prefinished and site finished, will begin to fade and yellow in color. When this occurs the homeowner will be faced with a remodel question. Replace the flooring completely, or refinish? More often than not, Metro Atl. Floors recommends the latter to its customers. Sanding and refinishing is a much more cost effective way of making your floors look brand new again. Whether you are looking to make home improvements for your own family’s benefit or you are looking to spruce up your house so you can sell, refinishing your hardwood floors is a great way to make them stand out again.
This article will explain the different types of hardwood finishes, alleviate misconceptions, explain Metro’s process for a happy customer, detail the dustless sanding process, share advances made in materials, and identify the benefits of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors.
Hardwood flooring comes in one of two types, site finished or prefinished. The flooring can be sanded and finished at the site, or the flooring can be prefinished, which is also called a factory finish. Prefinished floors took over a broad part of the hardwood flooring market over a decade ago for a few reasons. One reason being the ability to install the floor and immediately walk on it, thus avoiding the sanding process. The cost is less expensive because the floor is already finished before it’s installed. If you have a site finished floor and it has a gold cast to it, that has nothing to do with stain but rather is a result of the oil based polyurethane yellowing over time. If you have a prefinished hardwood floor, five or more years old, it may be showing similar signs because the factory finish is oil based as well. Both types of floors may also be showing gaps between the planks. This is another indicator that it may be time to refinish. There are several other indicators that a wood flooring professional will check for to see if a floor is in need of a sand and refinish. In a future blog article Metro Atl. Floors will give an overview of the indicators so that homeowners can be aware of the warning signs as well.
Misconceptions about Sand and Finish:
How often have you heard the following? “Don’t sand and refinish your floors! My mother/grandparents/neighbors had that done and their house was left a disaster!” There was a time when this was absolutely true. With high powered Bona dust containment units, dustless buffers, back pack vacuums, and Metro Atl. Floors NWFA certified sand and finish techs that take pride in their work and care about being clean, this not true anymore!
Metro Atl. Floors‘ system for a happy customer and steps to a 99% dustless refinishing.
6 STEPS TO A HAPPY CUSTOMER:
1. Communication is key to customer satisfaction on any home improvement.
2. Include the customer in the project because you share the project.
3. Sand a good size rectangle in natural light to put down sample colors and sheens. The customer has a lot of options. Oak can be made to look like Brazilian cherry, walnut, tik. ANY species of wood that is darker.
4. Once color and sheen has been chosen record the choices. This is especially important if a custom stain mix is chosen. Always leave some stain and the poly used with the customer after the job is complete.
5. Go over any technical aspects with the customer such as picture framing fireplace hearths, borders, inlays, flush mount vents. Cover all bases before the job starts and the customer is politely asked to vacate.
6. Understand that you’ve been given trust with their home!
1. All furniture has already been properly placed in the garage or pod.
2. Plastic is placed on any door casing or cased openings into rooms that will not be sanded.
3. Plastic is placed on all cabinetry and countertops.
4. Plastic is wrapped over any clothes left in closets.
5. Vacuum and tack the entire floor that is going to be sanded.
6. Bring in the Bona dustless system.
7. Fill all gaps, scratches, gouges and any other flaw with wood filler.
8. Plug in and begin to pass the sanding machine.
9. Empty the bag at no more than ½ full.
10. The first and most crucial cut has been made.
11. Get out the hand tools and the edger’s after the first cut is 100% complete. Hand tools and edger’s are to make sure the whole floor is the same height and cut evenly.
12. Buff the entire floor with Bona’s dustless buffer and keep the hose attached to the dust containment unit.
13. Vacuum and tack the entire floor. Vacuum window sills and door casings.
14. Now the floor is flat, clean and ready to have stain pulled.
15. Pull stain evenly using in Metro’s case a lamb’s wool applicator.
16. Allow stain to dry per manufacturer guidelines and specifications.
17. Buff the entire floor with Bona’s dustless buffer and keep the hose attached to the dust containment unit.
18. Vacuum and tack the entire floor. Vacuum window sills and door casings.
19. Stain is dry now apply the sealer.
20. Allow the sealer to dry per manufacturer guidelines.
21. Buff the entire floor with Bona’s dustless buffer and keep the hose attached to the dust containment unit.
22. Vacuum and tack the entire floor. Vacuum window sills and door casings.
23. Sealer is now dry, apply the first coat of water based Bona polyurethane.
24. Although Bona water based polyurethanes are easy to pull, this is NOT A DIY project and best left to pro’s. Water based polyurethanes dry quickly and a homeowner/neighbor/friend can easily find themselves caught mid coat and there’s no going back from there. The floor has already been first cut sealed and will most likely need to be re-cut.
25. Allow polyurethane to dry per manufacturer guidelines and specs.
26. Buff the entire floor with Bona’s dustless buffer and keep the hose attached to the dust containment unit.
27. Vacuum and tack the entire floor. Vacuum window sills and door casings.
28. Now apply the second/final coat of Bona water polyurethane.
29. Allow water based polyurethane to dry per manufacturer guidelines.
30. The finish/refinish is complete and it’s time for the final walk through looking for a flaw of any kind in the floor.
31. Follow manufacturer guidelines as to when the furniture is to be placed back in the project area.
This is a typical/standard sand, stain, seal and two top coats of water based finish. If a third coat is requested and agreed upon, Metro Atl. Floors follows the same sequence of steps. Seems tedious and repetitive doesn’t it! Metro calls this a methodical system that works the same way with the same results every time.
As you can see by the steps included in the Metro process, your floor, window sills, door casings and anything that could possible let dust get into the finish have been vacuumed no less than 4 times. A combination of Metro’s methodical system, Bona’s dustless sanding system, the attention to detail Metro’s techs have for their projects and the respect Metro shows its customers and their homes, is what results in a 99% dustless refinishing! Now it’s time to put the furniture back and welcome the customer back to their home.
Think of your floor like a wall or blank canvas that needs to be painted there and there are two must have tools. A paint brush is needed for the more precise areas and is best suited for corners, around edges of the wall and the areas that transition into the ceiling. However, a paint roller is much better suited for applying paint over the middle areas and can be used to paint a greater portion of the wall. A refinish is similar in that hand scrapers and edger is used around the perimeter of the floor and a sanding machine is used for the greater part of the space (the field).
Preference Of Materials:
Metro Atl. Floors uses exclusively Bona water based polyurethanes unless another type finish is specifically requested by a customer. The reasons are as follows:
- Faster drying time so the furniture can be placed back faster
- Customer is back in their home much faster
- Their house does not smell of oil based polyurethane
- Water based does not yellow over time putting you back in the same boat down the road.
There are a number of companies in Atlanta that will do sand and finish for $.50 a square foot and less than Metro charges. Metro has never aimed to be a basement price hardwood company. We provide high-quality artisan work at a fair price. Perhaps, the lower price could be due to the materials and polyurethanes being inferior or even diluted? Maybe the lower priced options don’t have a true 99% dustless sanding system? On the labor end, maybe you wind up with uneven polyurethane, dust in the finish and swirl marks in the finish. There are countless things that can go wrong with a sand and finish and that’s why your best to go with a tried and true method! “The Metro Atl Floors Way.”
Benefits of Refinishing Hardwood Floors:
Your Floors Will Shine:
A fresh shine is what most people associate with new hardwood floors and with new finish your floors can also look brand new again. As long as your existing flooring is solid or an engineered that has 1/8 of wood veneer or more it can be refinished. Cutting or sanding down to bare wood allows for a color and/or sheen change. If you want to go a few shades darker or add a more glossed look that’s an option. Once all of the old finish and worn wood has been sanded away a color and sheen is chosen and the process begins. When the process is finished friends and visitors will not stop asking about your “new” hardwood floors.
Shine Will Last:
Metro shares with the top manufactures the opinion/fact that the quality of polyurethane finishes has drastically improved from the time your prefinished hardwood floors were installed. Because of the advances made with finishes you can expect to have your wood floors looking newer for longer. Metro Atl. Floors is a strong proponent of Bona finishes and recommends Bona Traffic, a waterborne finish that is extremely durable, be used on a large number of our jobs. The product is a great example of the advances made with finishes in regards to durability.
Refinishing Costs Less Money than Replacing:
Replacing your hardwood floors with new hardwood floors would be very expensive. First the existing hardwood would have to be removed and disposed of, new hardwood purchased, new hardwoods installed. Take the money saved by refinishing and put it towards a tile shower, backsplash or tub surround!
Refinished Floors Can Increase Your Home’s Value:
Nearly all realtors agree that homes with hardwood floors that are in excellent condition are generally worth more than homes that feature scratched, stained and otherwise worn flooring. This is a rather blatant fact, but the truth remains that if you invest in improving the luster of your wood floors you will directly increase your homes value. Even if you are not looking to sell your home in the near future, you might as well enjoy the aesthetic value now before you reap the monetary benefit later.
Refinished Floors Can Help Your Home Sell Faster:
When it does come time to sell, newly refinished hardwood floors can be just the selling point your home needs to sell quickly. With just one look at your beautiful hardwood floors, your open house guests will start looking for additional reasons to fall in love with and buy your home.
When your hardwood floors start to become dull, discolored, yellow, gaped and scratched, do not replace them. Call Metro and we will make them look brand new again!