Refinishing FAQs

What is the overall hardwood floor refinishing process?

There are four main stages to the process

1. Preparing the floor. 2. Sanding the floor . 3. Coating the floor . 4. The Curing process.

Before sanding, all nails are removed or set below the floor surface. Any repairs that may be necessary are also made at this time. The floor is then thoroughly vacuumed to remove any debis.

The hardwood floors are sanded with a course and/or medium grit sandpaper using a drum sander, an edger and , if there are radiators, a radiator machine. The sanding process is completed using a fine grit sandpaper. Edges and corners are scraped by hand to remove any remaining finish or machine marks. Floors are then buffed with a fine screen on a buffer . The sanded floor is then vacuumed thoroughly.

After the vacuuming, the floor is coated with a stain or penetrating sealer which hardens the wood surface , protects the wood floor from water, dirt and stains and provides a suitable base for the polyurethane finish. When floors are to be stained, the homeowner should ideally be available to confirm the color of the stain before the stain is applied to the entire floor. The following day, the hardwood floors are lightly buffed , thoroughly vacuumed, and the first coat of polyurethane finish is applied. This process is repeated two more times to achieve a four coat system.
During period of high humidity, an extra day or two between coats may be required to ensure proper drying. This may extend the time required particularly in the summer months or in rainy weather. Adequate ventilation not only enhances drying, it prevents the build-up of the volatile fumes. If possible, pilot lights should be turned off during the finishing process.

Hardwood floors finished with an oil based polyurethane are usually dry enough to walk on in a day , however, the finish remains quite soft. In the first week , the finish cures or hardens significantly and can continue to cure for a month. Special attention to the care of your new floor should be taken during the first month period to avoid damaging the finish before it is fully hardened.

Hardwood floors finished with a water based polyurethane are usually dry enough to walk on in only a few hours. This type of finish continues to cure for up to one week. Special care should be taken during this time.

How long does it take to refinish my hardwood floors?
The entire process of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors normally takes four to six (4-6) days. Ideally, you, your family and pets should be living out of the house at this time. If this is not possible for the entire process, arrangements should be made to avoid breathing the vapors of the finishes and to avoid walking on the floors.

What are my options for finishes?
Oil based polyurethane or Water based polyurethane
Sheen choices are very important as well. Both oil and water based polyurethane finishes come in 3 sheens; gloss, semi-gloss, and satin. Gloss polyurethane gives a very shiny appearance and a somewhat harder finish due to the higher solids content of the polyurethane. Satin polyurethane gives a flat, subdued finish. Semi-gloss is somewhere in the middle. The level of shine/gloss can be changed during subsequent re-coating of floors, so don't fret...

What do I need to do to prepare?
There are a few items the homeowner will need to do before Brooks can refinish your hardwood floors:

Remove all furniture, drapes, and wall covering (such as pictures)
Remove wall to wall carpeting/padding, tack strips, and staples. Brooks Hardwood Floor Refinishing also offers this as a service.
Clear access to the dryer outlet and main electrical panel box.
Safely secure all pets in an area away from work area.
Seal doorways with plastic or sheets (use painter’s tape on painted surfaces)

When can I walk on my floors?
After the finish dries (8-24 hours after each coat) it can be walked on gingerly in flat-soled, nontextured shoes, though it is recommended to use them as little as possible during the coating process.

When can I put my furniture back in the room?
It is recommended that the finish be given an initial drying period of five to seven days before furnishings are carefully placed in the room. In emergency situations, this drying/curing period can be shortened to three to five days, but this is not desirable. Use of fans and heat can help shorten the drying period. Rugs may be placed on the floor after one month.