Whether you are restoring hardwood floors that have been damaged in an incident or hardwood floors that are simply worn from use, you have a choice ahead of you: do you attempt the hardwood floor restoration yourself, or do you hire a professional?
Here is everything you need to know to make the decision on how to complete your hardwood floor restoration.
DIY Hardwood Floor Restoration
Restoring hardwood floors is a home improvement project that can definitely be tackled by the ambitious do-it-yourselfer, even if you have very little experience. Restoring hardwood floors will take patience, a good bit of time, and some specialized equipment, however, so it’s important that you take plenty of time to prepare yourself for the task ahead prior to jumping in to this restoration project.
Select Your Stain/Finish
Test it in an area on the floor and, if you like it, test it in several more places with different lighting! Be sure to sand down the existing finish with a rough square of sand paper before testing finishes, as this will have a significant difference in the look.
Prep the Floor
Clean the floors, removing any dust and debris. Replace any missing planks, hammer down any pieces that have come up with a rubber mallet, and use a wood filler to fill in any gaps. Gently hammer down and replace any nail heads that have come up, but be sure to use a nail kit so you do not create any additional damage to the floor. Remove any tack board from the edge of the room if there was carpet over the floors previously
There are two options available to you when it comes to sanding your floors: chemical sanders and electric sanding machines. Chemical sanders are possible to use and many like them because they do not create the mess of an electric sander, but a chemical sander will not get the job done as well as the electric sander. Your best choice is to rent an electric sander from a home improvement company and go for it! Make sure to sand the perimeter (4-6 inches) of the room, where the electric sander can’t reach with a rough sand paper. Be sure to wear a mask and open windows for ventilation.
Clean the Floors
Make sure the floors are entirely clear of all the sawdust before you begin applying the new stain/finish to the hardwood.
Apply the Stain
Using a synthetic bristle brush, begin applying the new stain. Be sure to wear gloves, a mask, and clothing you don’t care for, as this can be messy work. Keep all the windows and doors to the room open for sufficient ventilation. When applying the stain, start from the edge of the room and work your way in, but don’t “paint yourself into a corner."
After the first coat of stain has dried completely, do a second coat. Applying two coats will not only give you a richer color, but will help assure that the stain was applied everywhere.
Apply a polyurethane coat on top to protect your newly restored hardwood flooring.
Hiring a Professional Hardwood Floor Restoration Company
Sometimes, the time involved in doing a hardwood floor restoration yourself may not be worth the savings, especially when factoring in renting the equipment and purchasing supplies. As when you are hiring any professional contractor, there are many companies out there that offer hardwood floor restoration and sorting through them can be a daunting task. Here’s what you will want to consider before contracting with anyone:
- Are they licensed and insured? Accidents happen, and you won't want to be sorting through who is responsible for what charges after damage has already occurred. Make sure any company you choose to use for your hardwood floor restoration project is fully licensed and insured.
- What have others thought? Check reviews! Angie's List and Kudzu are two good places to start, and definitely check if the company has a Facebook page. People tend to review places most often is they have a particularly bad experience or a particularly good one, so make sure to read the comments and see why someone is leaving a 1 or 5 star review! Also, check out the Better Business Bureau and make sure the company has a clear history.
- Collect Prices! Do some comparison shopping, and make sure they give you the specifics for everything included in the price. It's OK for you to choose to go with the company who is maybe going to charge you a little more, especially if they are well reviewed and the company you would rather work with. It is also perfectly acceptable to negotiate the price. Many companies will be willing to work with you on a payment plan, as well.