Beginner's Guide To Refinishing Hardwood Floors In A Commercial Property
No matter how much you look after your hardwood floors, it can’t escape the everyday wear and tear that flooring experiences. Commercial properties, in particular, will undergo a lot of pressure to the nature of being exposed to a high volume of traffic. Even sun exposure can change the colour of the wood.
Though regular maintenance and cleaning can prolong the original beauty of your hardwood floors and keep them in good condition, they will, eventually, need to be refinished, and high footfall areas will need doing so more often.
Refinishing a floor in a commercial property will require the expertise of a professional, sheerly due to the size of the property and how much time it may take. Not to mention that a professional refinisher will ensure that the job is done correctly.
Even though the work is being carried out by someone else, it’s still important to make sure that you are well informed on the process of refinishing; from why it’s necessary to how it’s done...
Why do hardwood floors need refinishing
The purpose of refinishing hardwood floors is to restore the planks of wood back to their original colour and condition. This may be because you are planning on selling your commercial property and want it to look good for potential buyers, or you may just reach a point, after a number of years, where your hardwood floors need a bit of TLC.
The actual act of refinishing hardwood floors is the sanding the surface to remove the layer of worn down, scratched or damaged wood to reveal a fresh new layer of wood and then re-applying a new coat of lacquer or oil.
It will be clear when the time comes to refinish your hardwood floors as there are a few telltale signs. If your flooring has a large number of scratches, boards are starting to grey or lose their colour, or there has been water damage of some sort to the wood, then it’s time for a refinish.
Another common situation that buyers may find themselves in when they have purchased a commercial property, and which leads them to invest in a refinishing service, is the discovery of aged hardwood flooring under carpet, vinyl or newly installed wood flooring.
With a little work, the flooring can be made to look as good as new, instead of investing in the time and cost of getting brand new hardwood flooring installed.
Hardwood floors should not be refinished too often - and they shouldn’t need to be if they are well-maintained. Each time hardwood floors are refinished, a thin layer of the surface of the wood is removed which means that, eventually, the structural integrity of the wood will be compromised after being refinished a number of times.
How many times you can refinish your hardwood floors will depend on a few things; one of those being whether the floor uses engineered wood or solid wood.
For example, solid 20mm hardwood floors can be refinished up to ten times before they need replacing, making them one of the longest lasting types of wood you can use on your floors.
On average, hardwood floors only need to be refinished every 7-10 years (this is more commonly towards the lower end of the scale in high footfall areas), so, if you do the maths, solid hardwood flooring can last at least 70 years from the date of installation which is more than the lifetime of a property owner.
How to prepare your hardwood floors for refinishing
Whether you are doing the whole process yourself, or hiring a professional, there are steps that need to be taken to prepare your floors for refinishing.
In fact, most of the job is the preparation and it can take a whole day to get your floors in the right shape for the actual refinish.
You should start by cleaning your hardwood floors to remove any dust, dirt or stains - this will make it easier to carry out a thorough inspection of the floors which is what you would need to do next.
Following the inspection, you should fill any cracks, replace or repair any damaged boards and make any exposed nails or protrusions flush with the surface of the flooring. This will prevent any damage being done to the tools and equipment that will be used to refinish the floors.
The next step is to sand down the flooring, which is where many people feel it’s best to hire a professional as it does require the use of large machinery. The room being refinished should be closed off to keep any dust or debris within that space and away from other rooms or areas in the property.
You should run a belt sander over the floor up to five times with increasingly finer grit sandpaper. It’s really important to be careful not to hold it in one place for too long, otherwise it will make the floor uneven.
Any tight/small or hard to reach areas should be tackled with an edge sander or sandpaper.
Finally, you’ll need to sweep and vacuum the floor to remove the dust caused by sanding. Once the surface coat has been removed you must avoid any water on the boards at this can cause deep stains which cannot be removed. The floor then needs to be buffed which cleans the floor as well as relaxes the wood fibres ready for final coat of lacquer or oil.
How to refinish a hardwood floor
After you have prepared your hardwood floors, by sanding, cleaning and buffing, if you want to change the colour of the floor, now is the time to apply a stain to the wood. Pick a stain that best suits your needs and allow 12 hours to dry once it has been applied before you add the finish.
If applying a final lacquer, we recommend a primer first, which helps the lacquer to stick to the surface of the floor. There are specific lacquers on the market that are best for commercial properties because they can withstand high traffic areas a lot better, so it’s worth doing your research on this - or seeking the advice of an expert.
Each coat of lacquer takes up to four hours dry sufficiently before the next coat is applied. It will then be another 24 hours (whilst the finish dries) before you can bring your furniture back into the room and start using the hardwood floor again.
Though there are a lot of steps involved and it can take a couple of days, the process of refinishing your hardwood floors is worth the time and effort. It will lengthen the life of your hardwood floors and restore their beauty and, as a result, leave your commercial property looking good as new.
At Inner Space Flooring, we don’t just supply and install hardwood flooring, but we also offer an expert hardwood floor refinishing service. If you don’t feel confident enough to refinish your wood floors yourself, or you just don’t have the time, then our professional service is your best option.
We can do everything from preparing the floor to advising you on the best stain and finish for your floors, so all you have to do is sit back and wait for the room to be ready.
Call us now on 0121 684 4772 to find out more about this service.