Refinishing hardwood floors to perfection is hard work. A-Max Hardwood has over 15 years experience in honing our craft to give you the best possible product. Below is a little guide to show you the process of refinishing hardwood floors and what they will go through prior to you seeing it 100% done. A floor can go from looking looking worn down and just plain gross to beautiful and smooth. This guide will briefly mention our “dust containment” process, if you want to know more make sure to click the link to read about that as well (link). There is a ton of information below and is not a short read but it will give you a step by step understanding of the refinishing process. Enjoy.
Before, middle and after pictures of the process. What an incredible change.
The Steps to Refinishing:
#1: The Walk Through – Once on the job site the crew must go through the whole job and look for any thing they need to be aware of. This could be: an uneven floor, holes or knots that need to be filled, sub floor issues, etc. The reason we do this is to get an idea of the direction of the job and the full steps needed to get to the end. Not every job is the same so we don’t like to treat each job the same.
#2: The Initial Cut – For an old floor an initial cut will be 36/40 grit. For a newer floor to get out things like dog scratches and other minor imperfections we will need a 50/60 girt paper. With this inital cut we will sand at around a 16% angle to get the floor even and flat. This is a key for a later step.
#3: The Re-Cut – The next cut uses the same paper but we go with the grain. (straight with the board lines). This might seem odd, but it is a way to get out those 16% angles out without much effort as well as gets the floor flatter. You can see the general use of the Hummel below.
#4: Edging #1 – Now it is time to edge the full perimeter and any other areas that could not be reached with the Hummel. An edger gets very close to the wall or baseboards and cuts the floor to the Hummel’s cut. This gives a nice even appearance and allows us to keep the floor uniform from wall to wall. This will be done on the same grits as the Hummel and should blend beautifully. Below is a video of the general use of the edger.
#5 Vacuum #1 – Vacuuming is a critical part in the whole process. The machines and vacuum pick up a ton of dust and wood chips. However, there is always some left behind as well as some rocks and debris. It is best to pick it up now before more sands continue in an effort to reduce deep scratching.
#6: Last Hummel Cut – We then jump 1 grit to an 60grit/80grit or 100 grit paper on the Hummel depending on what the initial cut was at. This gets the floor ready for the Trio. It is not so much cutting the floor but more for focusing on removing any scratches created by the initial cut
#7: More Edging – This will be the last time you use an edger. We use 100 or 120 girt depending on what grit was started with and what grit you want to end on.
#8: The Toe-Kick Edger: This machine gets under your toe-kicks to bare wood and make them match the other wood already sanded.
#9: The Trio – The Trio is designed to make your floor as flat as possible. This should be used 1-2 passes and end on 100/120 grit. It will leave the floor super smooth, flat and overall beautiful. There is no other machine on the market like it or that could take its place.This machine works wonders. If you did the Hummel correctly this step makes the floor look absolutely amazing. The only downside is it is a slow machine. See below how the machine is ran.
#10: The Orbital – The orbital is a small little sanding machine we use to go around the perimeter again to get rid of and edging marks. This would be on the last grit paper we used on the Trio.
#11: Scraping the Corners (Ugh) – The last thing to do with orbital is scraping the corners. This allows us to get the corner wood to match the rest of the sanded wood we have already covered. Think of this as like taking a razor blade and running it across wood. Takes time and elbow grease, but is a very important step in the process.
#12: Vacuum Yet Again – We must now vacuum the floor again and get every bit of debris off the floor. There should only be a little here and there but every bit counts. When it comes time to put the finish on it makes the floor that much smoother.
#13: Water Pop – This might sound odd but, I assure you it is the best thing you can do to create a beautiful finished process. Water-popping the grain is where you take a wet rag and put it on the floor just prior to the sealer. This allows you to pop the grain of the wood. By popping the grain you hide tons of microscopic scratches that can generally go undetected but by water-popping you mask them even better to create a beautiful finished project.
Wow, finally we are almost at the end of the process.Now we move on to the sealing process. It takes a lot of effort to get this far but all the steps above are vital to ensure this process turns out beautifully. The sealing process takes a lot of attention to detail and the right technique. A beautiful finish can make or break a floor and we have put together our three step process to ensure a strong and beautiful finish on all the wood refinish or install.
#14 Sealing the Floor – The Glitza is finally ready to be applied on the floor. Glitza is a nice product to seal the wood from moisture and other elements. This is the first coat put on to the wood. It will take around 8~ hours to fully cure. See how one of A-Max’s own puts the finish down. The applicator is called a “T-Bar”.
#15 The Buff – The next morning we come back to the house/job and the floor will be gritty. This is where the buffer comes in. we take the buffer with a screen (very high grit so it almost does nothing to the floor) and take the grit out of the finish. Once this is done the floor is ultra smooth and is now ready for the final coats. You must vacuum after this step. You can see how easy the buffer is on the floor in the video below.
#16. The Final Coats – Once the floor is fully prepped you can then put 2 of the final coats down. Generally we use Bona Traffic for these steps. This is another great finishing project that gives the floor a strong but beautiful finish.
The above is how you successfully prepare, sand and coat a floor in Boise, Idaho or any of the surrounding areas. This process above takes around 8-12 hours with 2 guys. The key to a successful project is taking the time needed on each step and avoid short cuts and being rushed. If they are rushed you will have an inferior product you will not be happy about. This is why A-Max Hardwood always makes sure we do the very best job every time. Not only is your floor something you will see everyday for years to come but it is a reflection of our company. If you have any questions about hardwood flooring feel free to give us a call which can be found at our main site http://www.a-maxhardwood.com.