Restoring Hardwood Floors: Turn the Old into Gold
Restoring hardwood floors is a huge advantage of wood flooring. One of the biggest attractions of hardwood flooring is that it can last for years, decades, or even more than a century!
That means that if you move into an older home, even if there are carpets hiding them, there is a chance that there may be a hardwood floor under there just crying out to be restored to its former glory!
The question is: Is it worth bothering to restore hardwood floors? The answer is a resounding yes! Nothing will enhance the look of your entire home as much as a restored hardwood floor. Let’s look at how you can go about it.
Why Restore Hardwood Floors?
One of the main reasons that restoring hardwood floors is becoming so trendy is that very often the hardwood floors installed in old homes are made from very high quality wood. They may be made from old growth boards or from quarter-sawn material, both of which is far superior to most types of modern hardwood flooring.
Finding out what is under your carpets
There is no mistaking the sound of a hardwood floor, even when it is obscured with carpet or other flooring! If you have heard the sound of the floor under your feet, then there is only one way of finding out whether you should start thinking about restoring a hardwood floor: lift a corner of the carpet, and take a look!
Choose a corner of the floor that is not too visible (just in case you decide not to start restoring your hardwood floor immediately) and peel back a corner of the carpet. You may need a solvent or a utility knife to get the carpet loose if it has been glued on!
Can My Hardwood Floor Be Restored?
The next question most people have about restoring hardwood floors is how to tell if theirs can be restored. The only real factor here is the wear layer. This is the layer of flooring left above the tongue and groove itself. As long as there’s enough left on your floor to allow for sanding, your floor can probably be restored.
How Does Hardwood Floor Restoring Work?
There are professionals out there that specialise in restoring hardwood floors but in many cases it is a costly process. It is possible to restore old hardwood floors yourself, although it is a bit finicky and time consuming, depending on how easily the floor can be uncovered. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons how how much work you’re willing and able to do.
Another option is to have a professional take care of some of the more difficult parts – like removing the glue from the floor and repairing damaged boards, then you can take over the rest of the process.
Here is what you are looking at if you decide to go ahead with restoring hardwood floors yourself:
- Peeling off the old carpet. Remember that there is often an underlay and it is often a good idea, when tackling a project like restoring hardwood floors, to take it one room at a time. Unless you are sure you can finish the job in one phase, doing it any other way will leave you with ugly floors throughout your home for the entire time, until all the floors are done!
- Removing dirt, glue, nails, screws and other items that you will probably find under the floor will require some elbow grease and some special products
- Having areas of the floor that have been cut out (for old heating ducts and so on) repaired – either by you or a professional.
- Removing and replacing boards damaged by pet stains, and other stained areas that cannot be repaired. Old boards from areas like closets can be used, where new boards will not be noticeable. This get you closer to a color and aging match.
- Sanding the whole floor using the various grits of sandpaper using a drum sander (that can be rented for a day or two from a home improvement or flooring store)
- Vacuum the floor thoroughly when you are finished!
- Applying new finish or stain. This itself is a tedious process that takes care and precision.
- Buffing and polishing your newly finished and restored hardwood floor.
Trend: Reclaimed hardwood flooring
You may even find that it is possible to buy ‘reclaimed’ hardwood floorboards and use them in your home in a new floor installation. This is old wood that may have been used for other purposes, for example a boat dock, and the reclaimed hardwood is dried and processed into flooring. It’s a very unique product that makes for a one-of-a-kind floor.
All in all, restoring hardwood floors is a worthwhile endeavor. Whether the floor has been hidden under carpet for a few years or has never seen the light of day, the process of restoring hardwood floors, if done correctly, can give your home a makeover and increase its worth. Your restored hardwood floors will breathe new life into your home. There is simply no comparison to an original, antique hardwood floor!
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