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Timber Floors

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  • Timber Floors

    Hi Guys

    Anyone going to rejuvenate wooden floors then read on:

    Timber FloorsMitre 10
    Through a series of three articles I'll explain how you can rejuvenate old floorboards so that they are returned to their original splendour.

    Basically the job will involve sanding the floorboards and then coating them with a heavy-duty polyurethane varnish.

    There are two ways to get the sanding done; the first entails looking in the Yellow Pages for a professional to do the job for you and the second is to do it yourself.

    Beware: if you're going to do the sanding yourself, you need to be prepared. It's not a job for the faint-hearted and it does create a lot of dust!

    No matter how well you cover things up, dust will get everywhere so you must wear a good dust mask. (Check at your local Mitre 10 store for the correct mask. Cheap, disposable cotton ones are no good for floor sanding.)

    You'll also need earmuffs as sanding machines are very noisy.

    Where to start
    Most hire companies have floor sanding machines available. They are larger versions of the belt sander you may have in your workshop.

    The biggest difference, other than size, is that they have a long handle to allow you to operate them standing up.

    A word of caution about floor sanding machines is that the moving belt must never come into contact with the floor whilst the machine is stationary. The reason for this is that the belt will dig a large groove into the floor.

    Most machines have a system that allows you to switch the belt on so that it is rotating but it will not touch the floor until you activate a lever. As you release the lever start to move forward. Once the belt engages with the floor it will start to move forward under its own power.

    Make sure you fully understand how to operate the machine you are hiring before you even think about starting on your floor boards.

    There is a lot of preparation to do before you go to hire your sander. To start with the floor must be clean and free of any old glue.

    If you have removed a floor covering such as vinyl, make sure all the adhesive is scraped off. (Note: Old vinyl may contain asbestos. Have your flooring tested for asbestos by a professional company before you pull it up yourself. If your vinyl does contain asbestos, it will need to be removed professionally.)

    Clean off any thick layers of old polish too. Repair damaged or loose boards and then you start punching the floorboard nails to sink them in (otherwise the nails will become exposed as you sand down the boards and exposed nails will rip the sanding belts very quickly).

    To punch the nails you will need a hammer and nail punch and, most importantly, something to kneel upon because you will be spending a long time on your knees while doing this job. Take your time and make sure that you punch every nail below the wood surface.
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  • #2
    Hi Guys

    Here is Part Two on rejuvenating wooden floors.

    Sanding Timber Floors 2Mitre 10
    This is the second article in the series about sanding timber floors. Please make sure that you have read the first article, preparing to Sand Floorboards, Preparing To Sand before proceeding with this one.

    The process of sanding floorboards is going to create a lot of fine dust. I'm sure that when you started the floor preparation, you will have removed all the furniture from the room you are working in. (If you did not then now is the time to do so.)

    I also recommend that you seal the room as best as you can from the rest of the house. I use plastic drop sheets (these are inexpensive and available from your local Mitre 10 paint department) down the walls and over the doors and windows. The drop sheets can be held in place with masking tape. A good tip here is to seal the doors on the other side to where you are working, sticking the plastic drop sheet to the floor with masking tape. Obviously you can't do this with the door that you will be using as an exit. For this door use a rolled up newspaper as a dust excluder.

    It is very important that you get the hire company to show you how to use the sanding machine you are hiring. Different machines will have different instructions. Not only do you require the main sander, you will also need to hire an edging sander. Usually hire companies rent these two machines together.

    Using the sanding machine requires you to follow some basic rules of sanding:

    You must sand along the grain and not across it.

    Start with a course grit and work up to a fine, finishing grit belt. The coarseness of the belt will depend on how badly marked your floor is and how much of the surface you need to remove to smooth it down.

    Stand in a corner, against a wall that allows you to look down the length of the floorboards.

    Position your machine so that it is close to the wall but does not touch the skirting board running along the boards you are working on.

    Switch on, lower your belt and move forward.

    Move forward at a steady pace, do not stop in one place with the belt working on the floor this will cause damage to your floorboards. If you need to stop, as you will need to when you get to the opposite wall from where you started, lift the belt.

    Now you will work the same surface, this time walking backwards to where you started from.

    Lower the belt again and move backwards slowly to the starting point. At the starting point you will have to lift the belt again and change position to complete the strip so that you move right up to, but stop just short of, the skirting board.

    It is necessary to do this shift in position because when you started your back would have been against the wall with the machine in front of you, thus leaving an unsanded area where you were standing.

    Repeat the whole procedure along this strip as many times as you need to in order to get the floorboards ready for smoother grit belts. When the first strip meets with your approval, move to the next strip. Make sure that you lift the belt whenever repositioning the machine.
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx


    • #3
      Hi Guys

      I am having trouble locating Part Three.

      "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx


      • #4
        waiting with anticipation


        • #5
          Hi Whitt

          Found it.

          Sanding Timber Floors 3
          Chris Bennett for Mitre 10
          This is the third article in the series of sanding timber floors. Click for parts one and two.

          By now you should have a perfectly sanded floor except for a narrow band around the edges of the room where the sanding machine could not reach without damaging the skirting boards.

          Edge sanding
          This is where you'll need to use that edging sander. If you did not hire one initially, then you will have to pop down to the hire centre and get one. (Do not use your handyman sander because in most cases it will not be powerful enough.)

          Edging sanders are professional machines made for the purpose. Because these machines can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, please make sure that the hire centre staff show you how to use the one you are renting. You must make sure that you are not going to damage the skirting boards.

          Stand back now and admire the beauty of the wood you have exposed. Do this for a few minutes because now comes the hard part, dusting!

          Sweep or vacuum the floor and any exposed surfaces that dust has settled upon. Carefully take down any dust sheets you may have erected, fold these carefully and take them outside to shake the dust off. Now you will need to dust and clean the whole room before attempting to apply any finish to the floor. A tip I picked up a long time ago was to use a number of lint free cloths and carefully go over the whole floor (including the skirting boards) to get rid of the last particles. Use one cloth until it gets full of dust then place it in to a plastic shopping bag, then use the next one until it needs to go in the bag and so on. If you run out of cloths you can reuse one from the bag providing you shake it out well before using (not in the room of course!) Wash the remaining cloths for use on other projects.

          When you are absolutely sure that all the sanding dust has been removed, the next stage will be to apply the finish of your choice. I cannot place enough emphasis on the importance of cleaning the sanding dust because once you start to apply the finish, any dust left will mix with it and produce a very rough surface.

          Apply a finish
          The most popular type of wooden floor finish these days is hardwearing polyurethane 'varnish'. There are many types and brands available, some are water based for quick dry and easy clean up, some are high gloss and others dry to a matt sheen finish. Most products will require at least three coats.

          It is most important to select a product that is made specifically for use on floors. My advice is that you pop down to your local Mitre 10 store and talk to the paint department experts. They will help you to decide on the best product, brushes and cleaners for your circumstances.
          These articles can be found at:

          "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx


          • #6
            heres a few extra tips from somersoft.
            Note the use of a lambswool applicator. Also the first coat of sealant will need to be thinned down and does not go as far.

            all in all it is hard work. but you can save alot of money doing it yourself.
            Don't forget to buy some knee pads as preperation will take ages. Especially if you had carpet previous and had thousands of nail holes needed to be filled.