Timber floorboards give any room the foundation it needs to truly shine. Good wood floors set the tone for the rest of a space, so it’s important to spruce up your boards correctly. You could hire professionals for the job, but if you’re working on a budget you can fix your floors on your own. All it takes is an attention to detail, a good timber floor sanding technique, and a positive attitude.
Match Your Floorboards
Before you start restoring your old floorboards, you need to pick out some new boards to match them. It’s a good idea to consider your lifestyle when choosing the wood. Are you the only person in the house? Do you have kids or pets that may scratch your floors? These are all things to consider before you buy anything. This will determine the strength of the wood you need.
Next, you should try to pick a wood that matches your floorboards. Before going to the store, make a note of how many planks you’d like to replace. Taking a picture along with you to match the color and grain to the new boards will help you decide which choice is best for you. You’ll also want to consider the thickness of the boards. You wouldn’t want your new boards to be too thick or thin. Sanding would turn into a nightmare.
If you can’t find a color that exactly matches your existing planks, don’t worry. You can strip the old floor along with the new planks and coat them all with the same finish. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can pick a different color that goes well with your original to give a bit of visual interest to your space.
Prep Your Old Boards
Before you can start putting down your new boards, you have to prepare your old ones. This isn’t difficult to do. You’ll want to start out by giving the room a good cleaning. Then, check to see if any of the boards are loose. You’ll know they’re loose if they squeak when you step on them. Make sure any nails or screws that are raised above the floor are removed. These nails and screws are what cause floorboards to loosen. When they aren’t fully in the floor, the boards start to drift apart. This can be easily fixed by drilling new screws into the old holes. You can cover the screw-heads with wood filler, then use something to scrape away the excess. Just make sure you don’t drill the new screws in too far. It could split the wood.
If you think you can simple hammer in the nails down to fix the looseness, try that on a few before completely taking them out. No use in removing them if you can just hammer them back in place!
This is the fun part. Floor sanding can seem daunting, but with the right tools and a good attitude you should be able to handle it easily. You can rent all the sanding supplies you’ll need for the job. For flat floors, you’ll want a random orbital sander. If you’ve got a bit of a warped floor, then you’ll have to use a drum sander. Both are relatively easy to use as long as you keep moving and keep the machine under control.
Start at the farthest corner from the door using a coarse grit sandpaper. Move a little right before you turn it on to avoid any chips in the wood from the sander. Make sure to move in the direction of the wood grain. When you get to the end of the room, quickly move to the side and begin going forward. You want to make sure you’re slightly overlapping with your previous line. Continue doing this until your whole floor is finished. For the edges, use a hand sander with the same grit of sandpaper. Again, go in the direction of the wood grain. You want to make sure that the sanded areas are smooth and even, so take your time.
After vacuuming the floor, pass over your floor two more times just like the first time, but increase the grit of the sandpaper for each pass. On your third pass, you should be using a very fine sandpaper. Make sure to vacuum between each pass.
Finally, it’s time to apply polish. Floor polishing is like adding the frosting to a cupcake—it makes everything look complete. It’s easy, too. Use a paste wax for unvarnished wood floors, or a liquid wax. Either will work on an unvarnished floor. All you have to do is apply it with a damp cloth and apply it directly to your floor.
And voila! You’ve successfully transformed your old timber floorboards into a timelessly beautiful hardwood floor.