With time, hardwood floors scratch, dull, and begin to look old. That should not be cause for concern, as hardwoods can be replenished to look new again.
This is done by sanding off the old top layer and applying a new protective sealant coat, a stain, or paint. This process is called refinishing and it is usually carried out after every between five to ten years of the hardwood's lifetime.
You can do the sanding and refinishing of a hardwood floor on your own if you have some knowledge but it is usually a good idea to hire a professional expert.
Sanding is usually done using specialized machines such as a drum sander or belt sander. For small areas, like while fixing scratches on a hardwood floor, you can sand using a handheld fine grit sand paper or the finest steel wool.
Preparations before sanding involve removing furniture and household items from the room as well as checking and fixing any protruding nails, staples, and tacks. Any adhesive used for previous coverings should also be removed.
This will give you a smooth working place without causing any problems to the machines.
Sanding is normally a noisy and dusty process and the operator always wears protective gear.
By the end of the process, there will be plenty of saw dust on the floor that needs to be cleaned. So, how do you clean a hardwood floor after sanding?
How to Clean Dust from a Sanded Hardwood Floor
Sanded hardwood floor lacks a protective layer and therefore you cannot use water or liquid cleaner on it.
When exposed, it will absorb water or the cleaner and warp. Water spots or stains may also form on the surface.
There are approved methods you can use to clean the dust before applying a polyurethane sealant or staining the surface. They include the following:
1. Sweeping compound
Applying an oil based sweeping compound on the surface helps attract and absorb dust.
It prevents a cloud of dust in the air, making it easy to sweep and remove it. Do not apply too much to avoid any abrasiveness — a light sprinkle will do the job.
Do not let the compound stay on the floor. Take a soft bristle broom and sweep as you move the compound over the floor so that it can trap maximum dust. Gather it and collect it using a dust pan.
Safety is important while using any chemical compounds. Remember your gloves, dust mask, and eye protection gear.
2. Dust mopping
Dust mops are the best for cleaning dust on unfinished hardwood floors.
Microfiber dust mops attract and trap dust without lifting the mop head, and this prevents the dust from blowing in the air.
They are also soft and clean gently without scratching your floor.
Begin by dusting higher areas such as the ceiling, walls, and windows and finish up with the floor.
A vacuum with a strong suction power is ideal for sucking up dust and small debris from a sanded surface.
An upright vacuum with a beater bar can scratch a wood floor, but if it has a setting that only turns on the motor without engaging the beater bar then you can consider it.
The ideal vacuum to use is one with a soft-bristle floor brush connected to a wand or a flat, plastic head canister vacuum.
4. Mineral spirits
Sweeping with a broom or dusting with a dry mop can leave behind small, fine dust particles that should be cleaned before refinishing a hardwood floor.
Mopping with water will be risky to the unprotected wood.
Using a water-free solvent such as mineral spirits to clean such soft dust particles will be ideal. Paint thinner is commonly used for the tacking process.
Do not use recycled mineral spirits as they can affect your wood in a negative way.
Soak a soft rag into the virgin mineral spirit and wipe the floor to clean the dust. The mineral spirit evaporates fast without posing any threat to the wood.
It also attracts and picks up the finest dust particles and gathers them on the rag.
Refinish your wood immediately after cleaning before the dust resettles back and interferes with the process.
Sanding always produces an exemplary outcome before staining, refinishing, or painting the wood.
What Are the Benefits of Sanding a Hardwood Floor?
Sanding and refinishing your wood floors comes with a lot of benefits.
- Value restoration: The wood looks new again and that restores the value of your home.
- Beauty and elegance: Sanding removes the old surface and exposes a clean, shiny layer underneath.
- Protection: Refinishing with a polyurethane layer protects the wood against water damage, scratches, and daily wear and tear.
- Sanitizing: Sanding evens out the surface, clearing any small crevices where pests and bacteria can reside.
- Longevity: This process makes your hardwood last for years without losing its value.
Sanding gives you an opportunity to restore your old, damaged hardwood floors, change the look, and refinish with a protective sealant.
It should be done by a professional for a satisfactory outcome, especially if you are dealing with a large area or entire floor.
Taking good care of your hardwood after refinishing will see it remain beautiful and intact for many years.