Hardwood Floor Refinishing and Recoating - Tamalpais Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floor refinishing

It’s a fact, your hardwood floor is going to get scratches and dull look general wear and tear over time. It’s best to recoat your floor while it still looks good. It prolongs the life of your floor and reduces the number of times you have to do hardwood floor refinishing. Recoating will revitalize the shine and get rid of any mild discolorations that haven’t penetrated the wood. By committing to the proper care and maintenance of your hardwood floor, your floor will last for generations. It includes recoating and refinishing when required.

Reasons to Recoat Hardwood Floors

There are a number of reasons to recoat hardwood floors. The exact reasoning a person will have at the moment can vary in the specifics. Generally, it gets done either as regular maintenance or because a person wants to change the finish on their floors. Either is perfectly valid, whether it’s a maintenance coat or a different finish that you’d like to apply to your floors. In the case of a maintenance coat, you want to start thinking about recoating your hardwood floors once you start noticing scratches.  You might see them in the finish in more than a few isolated spots. If the finish is starting to wear thin across much of your floors, it’s time to start thinking about it. Tamalpais Hardwood Floors do everything from installation to maintenance coats to providing recoating services. Check out our services page to see what we offer.

The duration of coats depends on wear over time and what sort of abuse the floor and its finish receive. The finish itself also makes a bit of an impact, as every finish and sealant have their own innate characteristics. You can expect about three to five years before you see sufficient wear to consider a thorough maintenance coat. Recoating is less intrusive as hardwood floor refinishing. So you can actually extend the life of your floors with an occasional recoating. You can also put more years in between refinishings. A recoating every one to three years can stave off the need for hardwood floor refinishing for a long time. However, you may also want to recoat floors during a remodeling, to better match the new look of your home. You may just decide you want a different color than the one you currently have.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing vs Recoating

Recoating is a simple process. It involves cleaning and light sanding (scuffing) of your floor’s last applied layer of finish before you apply a fresh coat of finish. It rejuvenates your wood floor and extends the life of its protective finish layers.

Don’t confuse recoating with hardwood floor refinishing. Recoating is suitable if the floor has only small scratches, the finish has not worn through. It is also good when it does not have a build up of wax or other chemicals. This build-up will create adhesion problems causing the floor to reject the new finish, resulting in peeling and flaking.

Hardwood floor refinishing involves extensively sanding the floor to expose the wood. It is necessary when there are deep scratches, damage or floor has a build up of wax or chemicals. If the floor has been waxed and has signs of wear that are not remedied by another coat of wax, it is time to refinish.

When Can you Recoat Your Floors?

If you are unsure whether or not the floor has a wax coating, you can do your own home test. Just wipe a small area with a rag dampened in paint thinner. If the thinner removes the existing finish, the floor has a wax coating. It will require complete sanding and refinishing.

Do a small patch test in an inconspicuous area. It will help to find out if you can recoat your floors, and ensure the compatibility of the new finish. It is best to use the same finish that you previously applied. If an existing coating is not compatible with the new coating you can find problems such as peeling. If you don’t know what the existing finish is, you can test the compatibility of a new finish with the following test:

• Start by thoroughly cleaning the area with a wood floor cleaner, then lightly sand it with fine (120 grit) sandpaper.
• Wipe away all traces of dust before applying polyurethane floor finish to the area. Wait 24 hours before touching the surface.

After a couple of days, the material should show no signs of bubbling. The finish should be smooth, not rippled or of an orange peel-like texture, and it shouldn’t flake or peel away. Test this by scratching the surface with moderate pressure using a coin. If the surface passes these tests, it should be safe to seal the entire floor. If it does not pass these tests, you have to sand and refinish the floor completely.

Instructions for Recoating

Once you’re sure your can recoat your hardwood floor, the following steps will ensure a successful application of the new finish coat:

1. Begin by lightly sanding floor using a screening disk. Screening disks are open mesh abrasive screens that are used on rotary buffing machines. Floors in good condition can be screened with 120 grit screens, though if the floor is in poorer shape, 100 or even 80 grit screens are recommended. If you use one of these more aggressive screens, it is advisable to re-screen the floor using a 120 grit screen to remove some of the swirl marks and ensure a nice smooth surface.

2. Sweep and vacuum the floor to remove wood dust and dirt.

3. Dampen a tack rag with pure mineral spirits and run the rag over the floor to pick up any fine dust and oily residue. Avoid using rags treated with less refined oil-based materials such as kerosene or wax-based treatments, as they could leave a residue and cause poor adhesion and peeling.

4. Ensure the area is well ventilated and apply the finish to the edges of the floor with a brush, then coat the rest of the floor using a foam or lamb’s wool applicator. Use smooth, even strokes in the direction of the grain. Allow finish to cure completely per the manufacturer’s instructions before walking on the floor.

Tamalpais Hardwood Floors has extensive experience hardwood floor refinishing and installing hardwood floors. Contact us to see what we are able to do for you in terms of recoating or other services. We’ll be happy to go over what your floor may need.