Hardwood floors are one of the choices homeowners have when choosing floors for their homes. Before wall to wall carpets became so cheap, wood floors were the most common floors in American homes. Wood Floors are a great choice as a design item as well - they look good, they've got a luxurious look when maintained properly, and they also last almost forever.
There are two main types of wood floors - solid hardwood floors and engineered wood floors. They differentiate by how they're made - hardwood floorboards are made from a single piece of wood, while engineered wood floorboards are made of layers of wood and topped with hardwood veneer. Engineered wood floors are more resilient to weather, moisture and fluids compared to traditional hardwood floors.
No, solid hardwood floors and engineered wood floors are not the same.
It depends. There are many variables to this question, and no two homes will get the same recommendation. It's important to understand that the location of the wooden floors in your home, the amount of traffic walked on them, the weather in your area, the humidity and the long term plans for the home are all factors to weigh in when choosing hardwood floors.
It requires several steps:
You can read more here: What is Hardwood floor refinishing?
Simple answer - Anywhere between $1.5 to $5 per square foot, which means anywhere between $150 to $1,000 per room. Precise pricing can only be given on site, and after inspecting which type of floor is it, what finishing does it have, is it a high traffic area, did it suffer direct sun, or maybe humidity or water spills?
It also depends if the floors are solid hardwood or engineered wood floors, as engineered wood floors would require a very different process from solid hardwood floors.
A simple refinishing will take as little as two days, where one day would be preparation, sanding and coating the floors, and another day waiting for the polyurethane to dry. In more complex jobs, or when the size of the job is big, it may take anywhere between 3 days and up to 7 days in total. If you plan to stain the floors as well, you need to add 24-48 hours to the schedule.
In addition, if the refinishing is due to water damage or includes restoration of a part of the wood floor for whatever reason, the refinishing can take 10 days and even more.
The most popular finish of wooden floors nowadays is polyurethane, a polymer used to coat hardwood floors which are very durable, and has a variety of looks (gloss / semi-gloss / matte). Other finishes include varnish, shellac and lacquer, which are rarely used today for floors. Some older floors are still coated by these finishes, which may require to continue using them for best results.
Applying polyurethane to a wood floors isn't a hard task, but it requires some skills and a steady hand. After you're finished sanding, cleaning and preparing the surface, apply a coat of polyurethane using a natural bristle brush or floor roller. Keep the strokes going in one direction only (with the grain) and be sure to start from the farthest corner of the room and back out to the door. Usually 2 or even 3 coats of polyurethane would be recommended.
If you're not sure how to do it, either do trial and error by learning at home, or call the pros to help you refinish your wood floors with polyurethane.
It differs from brand to brand and floor types, but most polyurethane varnishes would take approximately 24 hours to dry and be ready for light use. Before you put the room back to full use, touch the floor in a place less noticeable to see if the coating has fully dried and you won't leave foot marks.
Of course, if the room isn't ventilated, the weather is cold and there is no sun, it may take longer than that. Read more details on the polyurethane manufacturer's guide.
It takes 24 hours for a polyurethane floor to dry for first light use, so if you do it on the 24-hour mark or before - use shoe covers and hope it really dried completely. Walking freely on refinished floors may take up to 48 or even 72 hours.
You have two main choices - simple screening and refinishing, full sanding and refinishing or a complete replacement of the floors. To decide which way is best, you better consult with hardwood floors experts, who would be able to take in to account all the factors and give you the best advice.
Some of the factors affecting such decision - the floor's condition, the wood's age, the condition of the finishing, where the floor is located in the house, and of course - your budget for the project.
The best protection for your wood floors is by proper maintenance and care. This includes two parts -
Protecting wooden floors on regular basis: Clean the floors with the right cleaning materials. Make sure you don't have water or fluids standing too long on the floor. Watch out for water damage to your wooden floors. Make sure you don't scratch or gouge the floor because of dragging anything, and if you did - try to minimize the damage by taking care of it as soon as possible.
Special protection of wooden floors: in some cases, to protect your wooden floors would require refinishing them, or even restoring them. The common cases would be:
Staining wood floors can be a part of refinishing hardwood floors or their installation. The staining is meant to provide a color to the wood floors. The most common color is ebony, or a dark shade (espresso is a common color these days as well), and the second most common choice is “blonde” or natural wood color.
The stain would be applied to the floor as a sealer, and prior to coating it with protective layers of polyurethane.
Applying the stain itself is a matter of minutes, or hours if it's a larger area of floor to cover. Other steps of refinishing will take more time. In addition, the long part of applying the wood stain on the floor would be waiting for the stain to dry.
Different stains take different times to dry, and it also depends on the conditions in the room. In most cases, the drying time for wood floor stain would be 36-48 hours. Darker stains will take longer to dry. If the weather is cold or the room is not ventilated, it's going to affect the drying time as well.
Restoring a wood floor takes several steps and requires knowledge and skills. Go to this article to read more about restoring wood floors.
Yes. And no. Engineered wood floors require lots of attention and very delicate handling of refinishing. Not all engineered wood floors can be refinished, due to their structure and characteristics. If you want to find out, call hardwood refinishing experts who can help you further, or call the engineered wood floor manufacturer for more details.
It is important to mention that not all solid hardwood floors can be refinished either. If the floors have been refinished several times or damaged for some reason, it could be impossible to refinish them without creating further damage.
Cleaning wood floors is a simple process. First, clear the floor from any object that can be moved. Then, vacuum with the brush extension or dry mop the entire floor. After most dust and debris is removed, you can mop the floor using water and a few drops of dishwasher soap, or a special cleaning solution for wooden floors. Mop with the grain in smooth strokes across the room.
IMPORTANT: If your floors are coated with Shellac or lacquer, don't use water. Your floors aren't waterproof and the water will cause damage to the floors.
Last step of cleaning wood floors would be to buff the floor with a dry cloth or mop. This will make your floors shine and remove any soapy residue left on the floor's surface.
Exactly the way you clean wood floors. See section above.
When you purchase new wood floor boards from the store, you can choose between an unfinished wood floor and prefinished wood floor. As the name suggests, it’s all about the finish of the floor boards.
Unfinished wood floor: these wood floor boards will come unfinished with polyurethane or any other cover, and will be coated after they're installed. This gives more choice and freedom to the home owner, who can stain the wood, or choose which type of finish he wants. However, unfinished wood floors are harder to restore in case of damage since the coating and condition isn't unite throughout the whole floor even if done by the most experienced hands.
One main pro from unfinished floors is that since the finishing and sanding are done when installing the floor, the surface will be a lot smoother. A prefinished floor will have some grooves or inconsistencies between planks in some cases.
Prefinished wood floor: The floor boards will come coated and finished by the manufacturer, which makes them easier to handle and install. They're also easier to replace in case of damage or restoration. However, they're harder to match to existing wood floors, and if you have damage but your model is out of stock, you're in trouble.
The main pro prefinished floor reason is that it saves lots of time since there is no finishing needed. Moreover, it comes from the factory with 5-6 layers of coat, while unfinished wood will usually be coated twice or maybe three times when installed.