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Do It Yourself - Refinish Wood Floor

Errol Bunker

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Are you planning a refinish wood floor party for your upcoming weekend?

If so you might want to read the article below by contractor Bruce Dobbins. Refinishing a wood floor is not for everyone and requires quite a bit of elbow grease and attention to detail. Find out what Bruce thinks below:

Should You Refinish Your Wood Floor Yourself?

When refinishing any wood floor it is best if you hire someone that is in the business to do it. I know this because I have done them myself and found it to be very stressful. Finding a rental center that has both the rough sander and the finishing edge sander, then picking it up and returning it on time is bad enough without even mentioning using them without destroying the floors!

Now I’ll tell you, I am very fussy when it comes to the finished product so I take extra care not to make any “bumps” in the floor as the sander direction is changed from forward to reverse. This occurs if you pause too long before moving the sander in a new direction or you are pulling up or pushing down too hard on the handle to steer the sander. I still get the bumps so I’m never really satisfied with the outcome when the job is done.

Using the edger is yet another challenge! The thing about the edger is it doesn’t get to the very edge of the wall so you have to use a sharp chisel or putty knife to finish. I tried taking the baseboard trim off but you still have to finish by hand because the trim will be sitting higher if you don’t remove the “edge” that is the height of the floor before sanding. Also, if you have baseboard heat, you will have to finish by hand along them as well.

Okay, you’ve sanded the floors yourself because a: you thought you could save money and b: you started but realized that the job was too much for you, then discovered that no contractor wanted to come and complete your job! or c: your wife said you wold never be able to do it! Now comes the part where you decide what finish to apply on your “new” floors. Should you stain them or just put a coat of clear finish on them? This is a matter of personal preference but I like a light or natural look to the floors because I think this brings out the beauty in the wood. The hard part about the finish coat is keeping the dust off as it dries and also being able to sleep in the house with all the fumes in the air as it dries!

Choosing the right contractor to do the job could prove to be difficult but here are a few simple rules to follow. Always ask to see a laminate floor that they have done or at least some references. Check to make sure they have insurance in case something goes wrong and how long have they been in business. Sometimes checking with a local lumber yard or paint store will yield a name of someone reliable or you can do what most people do: Find a name from the classifieds or on-line and make some calls and go with your “gut” feeling! I would be hesitant if the ad said something like “Jack of all trades” instead of “Floor re-finishing” Good Luck!


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