Wood is natural, looks great and complements nearly all styles of décor. However, time, active children and family pets can all take their toll on your beautiful floor. Eventually scratches and stains will stop being characterful and become annoying, and that’s when you will want to get the floor refinished to freshen up its look. This involves sanding it back, then applying three layers of polyurethane seal. It might sound simple, but there are few things to be aware of to make sure your investment pays off.
Make sure you get a contractor who really knows what they are doing. He will be using an industrial sander, and you do not want some amateur driving it all over your precious timber, removing too much and possibly weakening it. Ideally, get a referral from someone you trust. Then if you ask the contractor their advice on how much work is needed, you will be able to trust their evaluation. If your floor is not gouged too badly, a full refinish may not be necessary. A light sanding (known as screening) followed by what is called a maintenance application of polyurethane may be all that is required.
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Refinishing involves a lot of dust and noise, and you cannot walk on wet polyurethane, so allow up to a week for a full refinish. If you decide to stain the wood, that is another process which add time to the project. This report from the Guardian has some tips on how to improve the finish on a wood floor yourself.
If a floor is so damaged it is beyond saving, an alternative is engineered wood flooring. Made from timber layers that are fused together, it can look as good as solid wood floors but has more stability, especially with changing temperatures. This makes it a great choice when installing heating under the floor. If you want to find out more about engineered wood flooring, it would be a good idea to consult experts in the field, such as http://www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/engineered-wood-flooring.
Even the most careful contractor might scrape the surface of skirting boards or door frames, so you might want to have some touch-up paint on hand to take care of small imperfections afterwards and ensure that every surface of your home looks impeccable.