Patience with hardwood floors

Refinishing hardwood floors takes patience

We all need patience for a lot of things in life. Commuting, grocery line ups, or waiting for that new season of your favourite show to make it to Netflix. Recently I was reminded of the patience I need in my job refinishing hardwood floors when I was asked to take a look at a hardwood floor by a real estate agent, on behalf of his clients, who had bought the home. He asked if I could drop by. “OK, I’ll come take a look and go over the options”

Later, when I walked in the door I immediately noticed the strange discolouration of the floor. It was apparent that the hardwood floor had been refinished recently. What was causing the discolouration was that the sanding process had failed to remove all the old finish. When the new coat of finish or stain was applied it obviously wouldn’t match up and the imperfections were obvious.

For any well done hardwood floor refinish, the old finish or stain must be completely removed, or you will get an ugly blotchy look to your floor.

Another issue that was found was that the finish was very soft. You could you use your finger to peel it off the hardwood like candle wax. You shouldn’t be able to do that. The reason for this was that the finishes had been applied to quickly, leaving no time for the solvents to escape. It’s hard to say how many coats were applied, but let’s say two coats were applied. The final coat was applied when the other coat may have been hard enough to walk on. It may seem ok to put on another coat, but if too soon, you will be trapping the solvents, and that coat of finish underneath will never cure.

Putting on too many coats within a short window of time is not recommended. Time must be taken between coats for the curing process to happen, as well as getting airflow throughout the house to exchange the solvents for fresh air. Without this, the finish will never harden.

The only way to fix this, is to refinish this hardwood floor. Sand the floor completely to bare wood, and then begin the finishing process. Patience is needed throughout the refinishing process. Sometimes the floor is harder to sand than you expected, but if you rush, other problems will arise. Maybe you want that finish to be dry already, but again, if you rush, more problems.

With this particular home, I was working with some great people who wanted something different for their hardwood floor. They chose a grey custom stain colour, and we all think it turned out great.

IMG_1525 I will post another entry on how you are not limited to just browns for staining a hardwood floor. There are many colour choices if you so desire.

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