The proper sanding and preparation of your wood floor is the Very important to the finished product of your hardwood floor. A proper sanding job will make the floor finish last longer as well as making it easier to care for.
The first “rough” sanding causes large peaks and valleys in the floor. The second “medium” sanding removes the large peaks and valleys left by the first sanding. The third “fine” sanding removes all the small peaks and valleys left by the second sanding. If a Floor mechanic skips from the rough sanding to the fine sanding the result will be peaks and valleys left in the floor. When the finish is applied there will be very little difference between the peak and the top on the finish. This will result in the finish wearing out much sooner than it should. It will also mean the the floor will be much harder to care for. Make sure the floor mechanic who is sanding your floor uses the proper sanding sequence and does not skip cuts to save his time which will cost you in the end.
Types of Finishes
The next thing to be knowledgeable about are the finishes offered. Below is a break down of the three types of urethane finishes: Oil-based polyurethanes, acid-cure oil-based urethanes (Swedish finish) and water-based urethanes. Remember, each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Oil-based urethanes are inexpensive. They have an odor during application and are in the middle range on the durability chart. They also yellow rather quickly and do not hold up well to scratching.
- The Swedish finish is the second-most durable finish. In addition, the cost is low for a high-end finish that is resistant to wear and scratches, easy to clean, and non-yellowing. The negative is the amount of odor during multi-day application and drying time.
- Water-based urethanes come in a wide variety of durability–from the “builders’ grade” (lowest in durability) to the high-end “commercial grade (Bona Traffic), and everything in between. Bona Traffic is the most durable finish option, 10% more durable than the Swedish finish. It holds up well against harmful chemicals, and is very scratch and wear resistant. Bona Traffic is non-yellowing and very low in odor; however, it is also the most expensive option.
As in all forms of home improvement, there are many shortcuts that can be taken that may greatly reduce the life of your floor. Here are some of the things you should look for in a hardwood flooring contractor. Make sure whoever you hire has insurance. Not only liability insurance but the most important insurance to have is Workman’s comp insurance. If a worker gets injured at your house and the contractor does not have Workman’s comp insurance you may be liable. And with medical cost this could easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the contractor burns down your house your home owners insurance should cover that. Most home owner policies only carry $5000.00 medical on them, which would not go very far if a worker was seriously injured. It is also very important to get the certificate of insurance directly from the insurance agent and not the contractor. This assures that the policy is still enforced. If the policy gets canceled for any reason it is the agent’s responsibility to notify you. If he does not, you are still covered even if the policy was canceled. Another important item to look for would be the Warranty. It is important to have a written warranty. If the contractor is not will to stand behind his work there may be a good reason for that. It is just as important as the warranty is to make sure that the contractor is planning to be around for at least the length of the warranty. Make sure that he is trained in the products that he is using. Most manufacturers hold classes for their products and upon completion certify the contractor. Some manufacturers do not warranty their products unless they were used by a certified contractor.