How Do You Restore Oak Flooring?

We all know that oak flooring can look spectacular in your home. Sometimes, however, the shine does dim and wear and tear can affect how it looks. Let’s take a look at what goes into restoring your house into a home you’re proud of. Remember, we highly recommend talking to a professional when it comes to floor restoration. A slight mistake can prove to be quite costly in the long run!

What should I do before restoring oak flooring?

The first step in restoring a floor is to remove the carpeting, it sounds obvious but you won’t be able to do much with the carpet in the way. We then move onto removing the shoe base moulding if you have one, you’ll need a pry bar, gloves and knee pads. Shoe base molding is the quarter-round molding attached where the floor meets the wall. It is essential to remove it gently so that nothing breaks.

Be sure to clean the floor near the entrances and exits as dust and grit from your shoes or boots can act as an abrasive to the wooden flooring. Therefore, it is essential to regularly clean these areas. By doing so, you reduce the risk of surface debris damaging the finish. You should also avoid applying any wood floor polish to the floor, and remove any that is currently on the floor, as it can clog up the sanding discs and belts.

Sanding oak flooring

Separate your work area from the rest of the house as you’ll be creating a vast amount of dust while sanding. Make sure you cover any air vents, windows and doors with plastic sheeting. Use a hardwood floor cleaner to remove any wax and fill gaps and cracks before you start sanding. It’s easier to spread the filler over the old finish rather than over bare wood. A good way to do this is to thin latex filler with water until you can pour it and then spread it over the entire floor with a grouting float. 

Primarily, sanding an oak floor consists of two heavy machines which are a drum sander and an edger. They do require a certain amount of skill however which is why we always recommend hiring a professional (like us). The drum sander is used for a majority of the floor, wearing off about 1/16 inch of wood off the wood on each pass. The edger, however, a heavy disk sander, sands areas which the drum sander can’t reach. You’ll still need a floor scraper and palm sander for especially tight spaces though. Although you would usually run the machine along the flooring, some professionals create diagonal passes with course paper to level severely warped floors.

Refinishing your floor

Stains are fairly easy to apply to oak with a rag. Work towards a doorway so you don’t get stuck in a corner though! You can use an oil or water-based finish on oak and the best way to apply either product is with a weighted floor finish applicator. Drag the finish along the grain of the wood with the applicator but keep in mind to avoid streaks, bubbles and brush marks. It only takes about two or three coats of finish. You should lightly sand each coat with a floor buffer and a sanding screen before applying the next coat.
Feeling a touch overwhelmed? We don’t blame you. Restoring a hardwood floor can be a large task that takes time, money and a lot of patience/effort. That’s why we’re here to help! Take a look at our website for more information or feel free to get in touch so we can have a chat. Speak to you soon.