Just like going to the dentist, wood flooring also needs a check-up.
Before attempting a recoat, we will inspect the floor for wear, thus determining what steps will be necessary to refinish the floor. If the finish is worn to the point that the color of the wood is not uniform or that bare wood is exposed, complete resanding and finishing is necessary. If the wear is not that severe, there are several options. Typically, a buffer is used with a screen, pad or other abrasive and the floor is recoated. There are also various systems available to clean the floor and simply coat over it, with no abrasion necessary.
When recoating, the first step is to determine what type of finish is already on the floor. It is important for us to know what has been used on the floor, and what kind of maintenance habits you have been using.
If the floor was installed or last serviced before the mid-60’s, you should assume the finish used was varnish or shellac. To determine, this scratch the surface in an inconspicuous place with a coin or other sharp object. If the finish flakes, it is probably shellac or varnish. These finishes are rarely used today and will need to be completely sanded down before application of a new finish.
If it is a wax finish, it may be very difficult to recoat the floor with a surface-type finish (i.e. oil-modified, waterborne, conversion varnish, moisture-cure), even with resanding. There are several methods to test for wax (perform the tests in an inconspicuous place, such as in a corner, in a closet or under furniture). One is to use a small amount of mineral spirits on a clean, white rag in an area that has not been exposed to high traffic. If a slight yellow or brown color appears on the rag, then paste wax is probably present. Another method involves taking a piece of screen or sandpaper and lightly abrading the floor. If residue balls up, it is a paraffin-based product. Yet another test involves putting two drops of water on the floor. If white spots appear there after about 10 minutes, the finish is probably wax (the white spots can be removed by gently rubbing them with #000 steel wool dampened with was). If wax is not present on the floor, most likely the finish can be coated over with a regular surface finish.
Next, the floor should be cleaned with a non-residue cleaner designed specifically for hardwood floors. Then, use a buffer with a conditioning pad, a sanding screen, pad or sandpaper to abrade the surface finish – the recommendations of the manufacturer of the finish to be applied (steel wool should never be used with a waterborne finish). After abrading, vacuum all dust possible and tack the floor with a lightly dampened towel.
Factory-finished wood floors can be recoated, usually with the same procedures that are used for site finished flooring. Screening/padding and recoating is recommended to restore the finish when it shows excessive wear but is not totally worn through. Sanding and refinishing is necessary only when there is severe damage, such as finish completely worn through, to a large area. Severe damage to just a few boards can be repaired by replacing only those boards.
For factory applied UV-cured aluminum-oxide-type finishes, consult the wood flooring manufacturer’s directions for recoating. The process for recoating such floors involves an adequate abrasion with a buffer and recoat, and/or a chemical recoating system.
Spot touch-ups for small finish repairs are possible, but they may not offer the same appearance as a total recoat. Many finish manufacturers offer a consumer-oriented product for minor spot finish and stain repairs. Depending on the extent of the repair, however, buffing and recoating of the entire floor may be necessary.
Although rental sanders and buffers are readily available, resanding, buffing, and/or recoating of a wood floor is a job best performed by a wood flooring professional. Contact Raphael Hardwood Flooring today for a free evaluation of your flooring. You can contact us at 209.366.0664 or for your convenience, you can request services from this site
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