Some Flooring Tips!

Some Flooring Tips!

I have a friend who works as a floor professional at a local flooring company. I asked him what are the usual questions that his clients inquire him about and concerning floors. He told me his top-of-mind recall of inquiries: refinishing hardwood floors, sanding hardwood floors, installing laminate floors and engineered hardwood floors.

Our flooring at house is the most used everyday. We walk in it, we run in it, we drag heavy items on it sometimes, we spill drinks on it accidentally, etc. But do we really know how to take care of them? What if we need to repair them or that we need to reinstall another flooring? Who do we call? A handyman? Yes, you can call them for help, but in fact, as my friend have told me, as long as you know what you are going to do and have extra hands to help you out, you can cut handyman expenses and do it yourself.

Since my friend have told me that refinishing hardwood floors, sanding hardwood floors, installing laminate floors and what are engineered hardwood floors, let me share to you this feature on flooring FYIs.

BASIC CARE AND CLEANING HARDWOOD FLOORS

Abrasive threats to hardwood floors are dirt, sand, and grit. They act like sandpaper on your floor’s finish resulting to dents, scratches, and eventually dulling over time. Here are any tips to keep your floors looking shiny and new, like they have just been installed:
‘Use floor mats or rugs by your home’s entrances. Allowing this traps dirt and prevent damage.
‘Wipe away spills promptly. The more the spilled liquid stays on your flooring, the more it will mark your flooring finish with white silhouettes.
‘Sweep or use a vacuum cleaner to clean hardwood floors. But make sure that you use a vacuum with a brush attachment. After sweeping or vacuuming your floor, you may need to damp mop your floor, and be sure to use a floor cleaner that has neutral pH.
‘Don’t stress too much over floor scratches. If you have children or pets around the house, it is likely that there will be scratches on it. In instant that the scratches become noticeable, you can always have them sanded or refinished.

REFINISHING HARDWOOD FLOORS and SANDING HARDWOOD FLOORS

Refinishing your hardwood floor will greatly add value to your house as they are very popular feature in interior design. Hardwood flooring is timeless and will add warmth to any home. If maintained correctly the flooring should last forever. Refinishing hardwood floors takes time, patience, and the proper tools and techniques, but the results can be extraordinary. There are three parts in refinishing your hardwood floors: sanding, staining, and finishing. Follow these tips carefully:

Sanding the Floor

1.Remove all rugs and furniture from the room.
2.Check the floor carefully for any nails and pound it down below the surface, and carpet staples or tacks and pull it; any of these could rip your sandpaper and ruin the sheet.
3.Rent a floor sander from an equipment rental shop. Traditional drum sanders do a good job but are quite heavy and would take any getting used to. Or consider a orbital sanders designed for floor refinishing that is easier to control. Whichever you choose, ask for a demonstration of how the sander works before you leave the rental shop. Get a good supply of sandpaper that will fit your rental machine.
4.Run the sander over the floor in the direction of the wood’s grain. Push or pull the sander in straight, even strokes. Don’t sand across the grain.
5.Remember to keep the machine in motion while it’s turned on.
6.Remove the heavy-grit sandpaper when the whole floor is sanded, and clip a lighter-grain sandpaper (60 grit) into the sander.
7.Sand scratches and lines in the floor as some times as necessary to remove them.
8.Go over the floor again with the next lighter grain sandpaper until you achieve a smother feel on your surface.

Staining the Floor

1.Decide if you need to stain the floor or if you would prefer to leave the floor natural in tone, in which case you can move on to applying a finish.
2.Brush the floor clear of all sawdust from the sander using a broom.
3.Use a shop vacuum or a tack rag to pick up even finer dust. The cleaner the floor at this stage, the better your finish will look in the end. Don’t forget to open the windows to ventilate the area.
4.Apply any stain with a rag to a corner of the floor or the back of a closet to check that the color is the one you want. Wait 5 minutes for the stain to dry. When you’re satisfied with the color, you’re ready to continue.
5.Apply a first coat of stain to the rest of the floor. Use a brush if you need to apply heavier, darker coats (smooth out with a rag). If you need lighter, more controlled applications, use only rags to work in the stain. Apply with long, even strokes, going with the grain.
6.Allow the first coat to dry. If necessary, apply a second coat, or touch up light spots. Make sure the floor is completely dry before you apply finish.

Finishing the Floor

1.Stir the container of polyurethane finish; shaking the mix will create air bubbles that show up in the final finish.
2.Apply polyurethane with a brush or roller, using smooth, even strokes with the grain to avoid marks in the finish.
3.Allow the finish to dry; this will take about 3 hours depending on the brand.
4.Add a second coat. Allow the final coat to dry overnight at the least, and up to 3 days before moving furniture or rugs back on the floor.

INSTALLING LAMINATE FLOORS

Laminate Flooring Is NOT Hardwood Flooring. Some people think it’s a type of hardwood flooring like “engineered” floor, but laminates are just printed pieces of paper laminated onto a fiberboard and sealed with a protective coating. They are relatively cheaper in the market than hardwood flooring. However, if you are on a budget, laminates can give you the look, if not the feel, of hardwood flooring. They are easy to install, durable, and easy to maintain.

Believe it or not, the installation instructions are labeled at the laminate’s packaging. To figure out some boxes of laminate you need, measure your floor by multiplying length, width, and 1.1 (this gives you around 10% margin for error and allowance for special cuts). If calculating the square of your room is not your forte, let a professional help you double check.

Laminates come in three types: glued-down, glueless, and pre-glued floating floors. If you are installing laminate floor, prepare these things you’ll need: moisture barrier, spacer, tapping block or rubber mallet, shoe molding, caulking compound, measuring tape, crowbar, and saw.

‘Measure your room to determine how much laminate flooring you will need to purchase. Be sure to include cut-out areas and closets in your measurement totals.
‘Purchase your flooring. Be sure to buy 20 percent more than you will need. This is important because you may make any mistakes or there may be any pieces that are discolored. Also, you will need to keep any after installation in the event that a piece is damaged and needs repair.
‘Open the boxes of laminate flooring and let them sit in your house for two to three days before beginning installation. This will allow the floors to acclimate to their surroundings. Failure to do this may result in buckling of the flooring.
‘Clear your room of all furniture and use a crow bar to gently remove any existing shoe molding.
‘Lay out the floor before commencing with installation. This will give you a chance to see how it will look and to be sure that you have enough pieces. When doing this be sure to take into account the cut out areas and the closet spaces. This is also a good opportunity to check for damage on each of the pieces.
‘Gather your materials including: spacers, blocks, measuring tape, crowbar, jigsaw, miter saw, rubber mallet or tapping block, right angle square and caulking compound.

Install Laminate Floors

‘Prepare your sub-floor by placing a moisture barrier over the floor. This is a foam-like material that you should lay across the surface of the sub-floor. Be sure to work out the wrinkles and pull the foam tightly against the walls. Also be sure that the foam pieces do not overlap. You can tape separate pieces together.
‘Begin laying boards along the most prominent wall. Be sure to leave at least 5/16 inch space between the board and the wall. This can be accomplished by using plastic or wood spacers. Also be sure that the groove side of the board faces the wall.
‘Attach your next board according to the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany your box. Be careful not to damage the tongue of the board you are attaching. Often a tapping block and or rubber mallet is used to snap the boards together.
‘Continue attaching boards until you reach the end of the row. You may need to cut the last board in the row using a table, miter saw or jigsaw depending on the type of cut necessary. Use any remaining piece of the board to start your next row.
‘Begin your next row adjacent to your starting position. Continue this process until you have covered your floor.
‘Replace your shoe molding to cover the gap between the boards and the wall.
‘Fill any small cracks or spaces between the wall and the floor with a caulking compound that is similar in color to your flooring. Your laminate floor installation is complete.

ENGINEERED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Engineered hardwood flooring is made up of a core of hardwood, plywood or HDF and a top layer of hardwood veneer that is glued on the top surface of the core and is getable in almost any hardwood species. The “engineered” product has been designed to provide greater stability, particularly where moisture or heat pose problems for solid hardwood floors.

With engineered flooring, you get the look of a hardwood flooring and the benefits like sanding the top layer. Another extraordinary thing about engineered wood is the range of installation options: the thinner varieties can be nailed down, the thicker kinds can be installed as floating floors; or you can glue it or staple it.

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