The questions asked when I speak with clients about refinishing are usually: "How much dust should I expect after sanding?" And "Is the smell going to be toxic and strong?"
The process of refinishing hardwood floors has come a long way in the past decade and remains very simple. The improvements are in the finishing products used and the dustless sanders that have hit the market.
I'll start with the finish, your 2 basic options are oil based or water based.
Oil based finish can have a strong odor, sometimes causing your client to leave the home during the work. It has a distinct look to it, usually more glossy than water based, and it's a clients personal preference to select it. Oil based finish is also less expensive in most cases, bringing down the overall cost of the job. It's drying time is twice as long as water based and the durability is a close second.
My advice is to always use a water based finish, my personal favorite being BONA. It's a Swedish made, fast drying, low VOC (volatile organic compounds), tough as nails finish. You don't want harmful chemicals in your home or around your family. You can choose a semi-gloss or satin look and they also make a terrific cleaner that you can use after, to keep your floor looking great!
Next is the mess that's created by the sanding process. If you haven't had this done in a while, I'm sure you're thinking that it will be everywhere, and clean up will be a nightmare. That's not the fact these days. With the introduction of dustless sanders, the clean up is quite easy. No one can claim 100% dust free, if they do, hang up the phone. Its about as believable as Empires "Free flooring" :) The sanders will however catch 98-99%, leaving just a very slight dusting that can easily be wiped up. A good contractor will also hang barriers to close off their work area to the rest of your home and cover any vents.
Make sure that if not going with a natural finish and using a stain, you have the contractor test out your color choices after sanding. They can look very different than what's on the can or color key. Not only stain a small portion with the color, but put a coat of finish on it as well. The look can vary and you only get 1 shot to make it perfect.
Total Flooring, LLC doesn't cut corners. There are small things a "bad" contractor can do that make a big difference in how your floors will look and perform. Ask questions, don't be talked into a finish that you don't know of, or want. I've been in the business over 20 years and have been asked to fix newly refinished floors many times. That can't be done, you'll pay for it twice, or be an unhappy consumer. This is usually because the contractor dragged the sander backwards and there are noticeable ripples in your floor, or they had claimed to know how to use a natural oil finish....and didn't.
These are just a few of the basics that can help guide you when selecting a good company to refinish your hardwood. For more, please contact us at www.totalflooringva.com and we are ready to answer all of your questions. We take pride in your home.
Until next post and thank you for reading.
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Chad Durbin, LEED GA
Total Flooring, LLC