Hardwood floors are like marmite, you either love them or you hate them! Here at GJP, we believe they’re a timeless beauty! Especially if you live in London, you’ll often find that all you need to is pull back the carpet to find that you have original hardwood floors (as many houses in the city do), and that getting them to look fresh and full of life is not as complicated as you may think.
We’ve seen old hardwood floors in many terrible states; cracks, stains, swirls of paint from past DIY projects, you name it! Have no fear! A simple sanding process and stripping if you’ve got certain products on your floor can bring them back to their natural state in no time. If you’re unsure what materials have been used on your old hardwood floors when it was in the hands of previous owners, our team at GJP will be able to identify this quickly and easily in a consultation and will give you specialist advice as to how we can help you next.
The very first step you want to take when you’ve first stripped back the carpet is to clean the floors. Vacuuming up any dust and removing any staples/ protruding nails that were used to keep the carpet in place. If they’re especially dirty, you’ll need to take a mop to them as well; the basic idea is to have them dust, grime and product free before you get to the sanding process.
A drum sander is the ideal tool for old, beaten down hardwood floors. There is also the option to sand using a square sander but this is usually used for newer floors and you won’t take enough off with this type of machine to reveal the full potential of your floors. A drum sander will get right to the bare wood with little effort, removing any old stains and finishes as it goes. It won’t, however get right to the edges of the floor. For that you’ll have to use an edge sander or go round by hand. If your embarking on your floor refinishing project with the help of a professional, head to your nearest London hard-wear store where they’ll be able to supply you with the tools you need to complete the job.
Here at GJP, a natural wood colour is the most popular presence among our customers and a simple varnish or lacquer will really enhance the natural, woody quality. However, we do have a vast number of customers who opt for staining and if your hardwood floors are looking old and knackered, this can be a helpful lifeline for them. We recommend choosing a medium shade, half way between the raw wood colour and the darker shades as this will make the stain less obvious. We recommend a lambs wool applicator for applying stains.
It’s best to leave a good 24 hours drying time if you’ve applied a stain but after that, your all set to apply a seal. You’ll have to clean again, especially if your floor is dusty from the sanding process and it’s important that you pick up every morsel. Specks of dirt show up very obviously in the finish and can ruin all the hard work you’ve put in so far. We recommend using a polyurethane for the best, most robust results. A couple of coats of sealer will do the trick, leaving 24 hours between the two in order for each coat to air and dry effectively.