Valor Home Services Flooring

How’s It Done: Hardwood Floor Refinishing

I actually started in the flooring business doing wood floor refinishing, and as the company grew, so did our list of services. Now, we at Valor Home Services do everything from painting to handyman and so much more. 

Staying true to our roots, we continue to deliver high quality hardwood floor refinishing with a level of attention to detail that might surprise you. Here’s how we do it.

The process 

Preparation and sanding

Refinishing a hardwood floor is sort of like “resetting” it, so we have to get it down to its raw state through sanding. 

Before we even start sanding, however, we have to make sure the room is as ready to be worked on as the floor. This means getting everything out of the room: furniture, appliances, family members—everything!

Sanding is a pretty messy process, so once the room has been cleared, we seal up doorways with plastic sheets and tape to make sure the dust won’t escape into the rest of the house. We also set up fans at windows to keep air circulating through the room and to blow out excess dust.

To make sure the floor is actually ready to be sanded, we then fill in all the little holes and gaps. Smaller holes get plugged with wood putty while larger holes and gaps get filled with similar pieces of wood. We also check for protruding nails that could rip the sandpaper and we hammer them back into the floor.

Finally, we start sanding. We give the floor three passes, each with an increasing grit of sandpaper. These three passes are done by machine, and we avoid edges. Once the floor has been sanded three times by machine, we take care of those edges by hand, going through and carefully blending the edges into the rest of the sanded floor. We take extra care to not hit the door trimmings or the walls while doing this, so we don’t leave nasty marks.

It’s incredibly important for us to do these two sanding steps slowly and patiently. A big temptation during sanding is to apply more pressure and “get it over with” more quickly, but that rushed attitude can cause an uneven sanding and ultimately a poor result. Patience and level sandpaper is how we make sure to get you the best refinishing possible from the start.

After the machine and hand sanding, we clean up all the dust. This is done first by sweeping up all of the dust we can, then vacuuming the excess, then taking a damp rag to everything: floors, walls, windows, etc. All of this dust is then removed from the house and we take care of removal. It’s very important to get all this dust out from the house, not only for air quality but because it can be highly flammable.

Staining and finishing 

Once the floor has been sanded and the dust has been removed, it’s time to get towards the “finishing” part of “refinishing.” At this point, we stain the floors. We do this by applying first a wet coat of Duraseal and then wiping off the excess afterwards.

After this coat of stain has dried, we apply a layer of sealer. We love how adding this layer helps speed up the application of the finishing layer. We use Bona for our finish, specifically Bona Mega, Bona Traffic, and Bona Traffic HD. We apply two coats of finish, let each dry, then the choice of gloss level is left up to you.

Stain color and finish style are equally important parts of the process. In case you’re curious what’s trending in stains, and what one really means next to the next, we can tell you:

  • Recently, “extremes” have been the biggest trend, favoring extremely dark or extremely light stains. 
  • Dark stains can make the color of the interior of your home “pop.” 
  • A modern brown can warm up an entire room. 
  • A light stain can make a space look larger and help more light bounce around the room. 
  • And gray falls in-line with recent furniture trends, as well as offering versatility and the ability to sand and re-stain when desired.

Finishes are another question altogether, and again it will be a matter of preference and what you’re really going for in the space:

  • A satin finish has always been immensely popular and will likely never go out of style, offering a sort of “middle ground” finish, not being too glossy and not being too dull, either. 
  • Matte finishes have recently begun to climb in popularity, offering an “untraditional” but natural look. A matte finish’s lack of gloss makes it a good option to camouflage messes, which is a huge plus in a busy household with pets or kids. 
  • Oiled finishes are another new addition to the game, offering a unique, soft matte look. 

You can learn about all of these stains and finishes on another blog post right here on the site! Or just call us. You tell us about the space, we’ll talk to you about the stains and finishes.

How do I know when I need a refinish? 

When hardwood floors are installed, the protective coatings applied are meant to last a long time—and they do! Chances are, if your floors were installed recently (and installed with good quality) you won’t need a refinishing quite yet, but how can you be sure?

The water test is a pretty sure way of finding out the state of your hardwood floor finish. Choose a spot that has a lot of foot traffic and drip some water over it. If the water collects into droplets on the surface of the wood and is easily wiped up, your finish is still in good shape. If the water is slowly absorbed into the floor over a few seconds or a full minute, your finish is starting to wear out, but it’s still good for a bit longer. If the water just quickly goes into the floor and leaves behind a dark, wet stain, you need a refinishing assoon as possible. 

If this “as soon as possible” refinishing is your case, or if you’re just interested in learning more about when, how, and why to refinish your hardwood floors, don’t hesitate to call us or chat with an expert right here on the website. Or just us a message here or on Facebook for our Hardwood Floor Maintenance Tip Sheet!

We’re refinishing floors in the St. Louis, MO area now, too, in addition to O’Fallon, Shiloh, Belleville and surrounding areas. So, if you’re anywhere nearby, we’re ready to take care of your projects right away.