Hardwood floors are a stylish and durable addition to any home, offering easy care and an attractive appearance while raising the value of your house. However, it is important to finish hardwood floors before using them. This ensures that the wood will stay in good condition and not be affected by the wear and tear of everyday life. An attractive finish will ensure that you get years of beauty and use from your floors.
Choose the Type of Finish
When most people think of choosing a finish, they immediately consider colors and levels of shine. However, there is more to this decision than meets the eye, The material of the finish is also important. Most people choose oil-modified urethane, which is the most common and most versatile type of finish. However, there are also specialty finishes for special situations, such as indoor/outdoor use and high wear. You can find out more about different finishes at Wood Floors: Why Finish.
Prepare the Room
The room or rooms involved should be 70 degrees or more because finishes are meant to work at higher temperatures. It is best to do the finishing on a dry day without rain or humidity, because even slight humidity in the air can prevent the finish from setting properly. You will be working with windows open due to the fumes, so the weather outside is very important to the end result.
Prepare the Floor
First, the floor should be almost completely smooth. If not, it will need to be sanded to remove uneven sections and splinters. Second, the floor must be cleaned thoroughly. Even a speck of dust will cause unevenness in the finish, so many people also clean the walls and other surfaces around the floor as well. This deep cleaning will need to be repeated between coats of finish as well for best results.
Most finishes are most attractive and durable when three coats are applied. Each coat should be applied evenly and then allowed to dry before cleaning (again) and repeating the process.
Allow Appropriate Curing Time
It is generally a bad idea to walk on a newly finished floor for the 24 hours after finishing. The floor should not be swept or mopped for at least one week. Spills should be avoided during this time and wiped up with a damp rag immediately if they do occur. Keep rugs and floor covering off your newly finished floor for at least two weeks. Once this period is over, place small pieces of felt under all furniture to prevent scratches in your beautiful, newly finished hardwood floors.
There is no ‘magic’ to creating a perfectly finished hardwood floor, merely a lot of hard work. However, this work is an investment in the longevity of the floor and the beauty of the rooms in which it is located. If you follow these simple suggestions, you are sure to be pleased with the end result.
Wood Floors: Consumer