Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whitewashing Wood Floors

The art of whitewashing has been enjoying a well-deserved resurgence over the past 10 years by homeowners who are looking for that traditional country cottage ambience and look. Even smaller rooms look good with whitewashed floors, as it helps make rooms appear larger and with clean, fresh, uncluttered lines. There is no doubt about it: a whitewashed floor has an old world charm that is fresh and light, and brings an historical interior to the most modern type of home.

Old style whitewash was produced by blending chalk and calcium hydroxide (lime) together to make a paint-like solution, which was then applied to any type of solid wood flooring sanding. The neutral shade of whitewash is a brilliant backdrop to any kind of furnishing and décor and looks especially great in family dens and bedrooms. If your kitchen has a real wood floor then whitewashing will give it a real country feel that contrasts very well with dark oak furniture.

Whitewash, by its nature, is not an in-your-face pizzazz of glamour; rather it offers a timeless elegance and understated taste. Durable and tough, whitewashing a floor brings additional protection and it hardens much like a finishing product. Use whitewash to bring out the beauty of wood grain because, unlike paint, whitewash does not cover the natural texture of wood. Whitewash is one of the very few solid floor options that can look both elegant and informal, depending upon the surrounding décor.

Whitewash your own floor

The first step in whitewashing a floor is to sand off all remnants of the old finishing veneer. The best way to do this is to hire an industrial sanding machine, which you walk along the sanding floorboards lengthwise from one end of the room to the other. The machine, fitted with a belt of sandpaper, will sand the floor as you move along, but be careful not to stop walking whilst the sander is operating because the machine will continue to sand on the spot and could cause ruts in the wood.

Once the floor has been sanded two or three times then you can, after vacuuming thoroughly, apply the whitewash mix. If you are looking for the distressed look apply the whitewash with a rag in small areas but using long strokes and following along the wood grain and for a smooth finish apply with a good quality roller. It may be that several coats are required to give the look you want, so bear in mind that each coat must be allowed to dry fully before reapplying.

Whitewash naturally sets as it hardens and acts as a strong protection for all types of wood flooring, but if an additional shield is required, perhaps if the room has heavy traffic, you can apply a sealing solution once you have applied the final coat of whitewash. Whitewash responds particularly well to a finishing of polyurethane-based product or finishing oil solution.

Don’t be too worried applying the whitewash though. If your mixture is too thick and covers too much of the wood grain you can simply sand it off and reapply whitewash with a thinner ratio mix. If you are unsure about mixing your own whitewash solution then you can purchase ready-made whitewash at any good DIY outlet.
It is possible to whitewash all types of hard and softwood flooring as well as engineered wood to good effect.

If you are unsure of whitewashing the floor yourself you can call in a professional wood sanding company who will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the cost.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Floor Sanding in Your London Home

If the wood flooring of your London home suffers from being tired, dull and worn you can transform and rejuvenate any type of hard or softwood flooring back to its original state without forking out a fortune. London houses, notably Central London terraces, were often built with solid wood flooring which would cost a fortune to install now. So those lucky homeowners are in the best position to restore these floors without spending even a fraction of a full installation cost today.

Original floor sanding in London property built at the beginning of the 20th Century right through to the 1960s will probably discover the wood planking is thicker and wider than modern floors, making them more robust and versatile than their modern counterparts.

No matter what the current condition of the floor, it can be visibly improved by some TLC in the form of repairing, sanding and refinishing. Of course the more neglected the floor has become the more care it will require. But in the main it is fair to say that repairing and replacing planks where necessary, along with sanding and refinishing, goes a long way to returning any solid wood flooring to its former beauty.

To DIY or not to DIY?

Many homeowners will feel the restoration of an aging wood floor in their London home to be a project they would like to get their teeth into. If you have a more-than-average skill of general DIY and is in good health then there is no reason why you shouldn’t do it yourself. However, if spending periods of time on your knees and bending is a no-no for you then you can obtain a free quotation from a specialist London floor sanding company and hand the job over to the experts instead.

The advance of technology has meant more refined and less messy floor sanding tools have evolved over the past decades, although there will always be a degree of dust in the air when using a sanding machine. Bearing this in mind, it would be wise for any asthma sufferers to be away from the home whilst you are working.

It is highly likely that you will require to hire an industrial sanding machine, propelled either by a belt or a drum, as well as using an orbital to get into small corners, fire surrounds etc. Don’t be daunted if you have never used a large sanding machine before, but make sure you read and understand all operating instructions before attempting to sand the floor. You will need to use a large sander that you will walk along the length of the planks, sanding as you go, unless you are sanding a tiny box-room or landing, when you will be unable to use a hand held sander to complete the floor sanding process.

Depending on the current state of the floor it will require two or possible three sandings, and each time you pass across the floor you will affix a finer grain of paper to the machine.

You will know when you have completed the final sanding as the floor will feel smooth with no splinters, cracks or clinging bits of old veneer. The colour of the floor will also be several shades lighter with a scrubbed look. Don’t worry if this is not the colour you want your floor to be, a few coats of finishing will darken it down to a more natural shade as will natural daylight, traffic and normal wear and tear.

The choice of finishing will affect the colour of the wood and you can change the colour completely by using a coloured wood stain. On the other hand if you like the current colour you can use a clear varnish finishing.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Recoat and Screen Solid Wood Flooring

Recoating or screening describes the process by which the veneer of a wood floor is scraped very lightly to remove the topmost layer only before being recoated with fresh finishing. The term screening comes from the mesh screen, which is used to delicately remove worn finishing. By using the screening process you can ensure that only the very top coat is removed, which offers a renewed look to your floor without need for a full sanding and refinishing job.

Popular in commercial premises in rooms with heavy football such as gyms and pool surrounds, a recoat and screen can also work wonders in domestic settings with more and more homeowners benefitting from a topcoat finishing. Whilst screening does away with surface scratches and spots it will not go deep enough to repair gouges or heavy stains. Recoat your floor only if you are looking to remove surface wear and tear. Otherwise, re-sanding will be necessary to bring the floor back to pristine condition.

A facelift for your floor

All floors will eventually require a sanding and re-polishing but until that time screening is a viable and cost-effective method of Botox for your floor! A well-carried out screening will add years of life to the floor staving off the day when a full refurbishment becomes necessary.

The handy DIY-er can undertake recoating by hand, or if you don’t feel confident enough you can turn your floor over to a professional floor sanding specialists company with the additional advantage of all work professionally carried out and fully guaranteed.

However if you feel that screening your solid wood floor is a task you would like to undertake then here is the relatively simple but painstaking process to a lively and fresh looking wood floor.

First things first…

Before you start make sure the room has good ventilation. Vacuum carefully first and use a gentle cleaner to remove any build-up of dirt and grit. Begin screening with a 120-grade of paper (black) and always sand along the wood grain with a light hand. Move slowly and carefully along the length of the planks and avoid over-screening any one area. When finished screening vacuum and wipe the wood with a damp cloth to remove all debris.

Choose your finishing product carefully, and take into consideration the finishing which has already been applied. For example, topcoats which are oil-based are absorbed into the wood so if the floor is unstained it is likely to have been finished with an oil-based product. Another clue to oil-based finishing is the yellow/gold effect this type of finishing has on solid wood flooring sanding. If the floor has small blemish marks a satin finish will be more forgiving.

After screening has been completed then apply the new coat of finishing. The best method of application is via a small lambs wool pad which should be soaked in solvent being used (either mineral spirits or water as appropriate). Apply the finishing in smooth strokes moving along with the natural grain of the wood. Nooks and crannies are best reached by a good quality brush which will not drop bristles onto the floor.

Allow the veneer to dry out completely (24 hours at least) before walking on it. Leave the room empty of furniture for as long as you can (3 days is perfect if you can do it). After this time the floor will be fully hardened and can be polished by a buffing machine or you can use a hand held duster if the room is not too large. However use a buffer if you want a highly polished and ultra-smooth look.

Recoating and screening successfully can add years of life to an existing veneer.