Hardwood Floor Refinishing Process

Bring back the life of your hardwood floor and you will see the value of your home again!

Hardwood floors can last for the life of a home. However, with the wear and tear of everyday use, they will eventually need refinishing. Please keep in mind refinishing hardwood floors can be a time-intensive process that involves multiple steps.

For Instructions, Tips and Suggestions To Help You Get Ready and the Project Off to a Good Start, Please Click Below:


Pre-Installation Checklist
Endless Stain Color and Finish Options

Find the perfect stain color for your project by browsing our stain gallery.


Stain Gallery

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How Does It Work?

We use a variety of dustless sanders and machines, most all of which are either connected to a vacuum dust collection system, have one built in, or have very little dust created when used. Of course, this is a dustless re-finishing process, however, we are sanding floors and there may be a minute bit of dust to clean up after we are done.

Electrical Panel Access

The sanders we use require 220v power, which means that we’ll need to connect our cords directly into your electrical panel. Our Crews assume that your panel is in the basement (let them know if it’s not) and request that we have a clear path to the breaker box itself.


The Process

1. Prep the Room

  • Remove all furniture, window treatments, rugs and carpet. Each area that is part of the refinishing project must be clear of all furniture and contents. Together we should determine the best location to store it while we do our work—perhaps an adjacent room, the garage, basement, deck, etc. If you don’t have a practical place for storage you may need to rent a pod. This is very useful when you have limited storage. While we are pretty good at moving things in and out, some times it is best if you hire professional movers (unusally heavy, awkward items, delicate, large items, lots of glass, etc, we may be more comfortable if you have a professional team take care of the move). If we are removing any existing flooring, you will need to contact your township regarding bulk trash collection. You can expect any carpet to be cut in 4-5’ long rolls, wrapped in duct tape. Some towns, neighborhoods and developments permit the goods to be placed at the curb for collection by the township, some strictly prohibit it. If Royal has been contracted to remove and dispose of these things from the premise it will be listed on the purchase order.
  • 2. Patch and Repair

  • We Will Check the floor for larger holes or cracks and repair using wood filler. After the filler dry completely. We will wipe down the floor with a damp rag to remove all debris and dust.
  • 3. Sand the Floor

  • For this step, we will use a drum sander. We'll start sanding with the 40-grit sandpaper. This is a very coarse paper that will do the heavy-duty work of removing scratches, dings and the old finish, but will leave a rough surface. Because the drum sander is large and cumbersome, we will use a different sander for the edges of the room. Using the same grit sandpaper on the edge sander to sand right up to the wall. We will repeat the process using 60, 80 and then the 120-grit paper on both the drum sander and the edge sander. Each round of sanding will reveal a smoother surface with all repaired holes or cracks flush with the floor surface. We will Vacuum and wipe dust from the floor between each step.
  • 4. Buff the Floor

  • Buffing the floor will remove tiny sanding marks and give a completely smooth finish. In this step we will be using a 120-grit sanding screen.
  • 5. Prep for Sealer or Stain

  • We'll make sure your floor and room are completely clean. In order for the stain to penetrate the wood evenly, we use a technique called "water popping." Mixing a solution of one part denatured alcohol to two parts water. Our crew will spray the floor, covering the floor completely. This causes the wood grains to rise and better accept the stain.
  • 6. Natural Wood Tones or Stain Selection

  • Your bare floor is now ready for either stain or sealer. If you want to change the color of the wood, we will apply sample stain colors directly to small portions of your newly sanded floor. Making it much easier to select the stain color you prefer.
  • 7. Sealing the Floor

  • After the stain is dry or if you are skipping stain, we will finish by sealing the floor. Sealing protects the floor from water damage, dings and scratches and adds luster and shine to bring out the beauty of the wood.
  • Oil Based Polyurethane vs. Water Based

    Applying polyurethane adds a protective coat to wood floors. It takes on the scuffs, scratches & dents & increases water resistance. There’s two types of polyurethane – oil based & water based

    Durability

    Water based polyurethane are equally durable as oil based polyurethane. Both can last around 10 years.

    VOC’s & Odor

    water based has very low odor & VOC’s compared to oil based, area can be safely occupied during application, much more environmentally friendly. Oil based has very strong odor & high VOC’s during application, area must be vacated for at least a few days.

    Dry Time

    water based usually needs 2-3 hours between coats to dry, 24 hours to walk on, and house can remain occupied. Oil based take one coat a day can be applied, 24 hours to walk on, and house must be vacated at least 3 days.

    Color

    Water based doesn’t change color of wood, dries clear and stays clear. Ideal for light colored wood. Oil based darkens the color of wood adding yellowish tone, amber tone continues to darken over time. More suited for dark color wood.

    How Long Does it Take?

    Sanding Time

    Our Crews can sand about 1,000 to 2,000 sq ft in one day. Keen in your mind that newly installed, unfinished hardwood is easier to sand than resand of treated and/or older hardwood flooring. Cleaning products that you have used on your hardwood floors will slow sanding, as it gums up the sandpaper. Any repair work/patching or removing of carpet, staples, etc., adds additional time to your hardwood flooring project. If your hardwood has suffered moisture damage and is cupped or rippled, it will need additional sanding time.

    Note: The overall size of the job, the type of polyurethane that you pick, and humidity are the main factors in a refinishing timeline. Oil based polyurethane takes twice as long to dry as a water based poly, and only one coat can be applied per day. If you are going with a stain on the hardwood flooring, this adds at least one additional day to the project as well. Humid conditions slow drying times of everything: stain, polyurethane (both oil and water)

    Oil Based Polyurethane

  • For a natural (no stain) sanding job with 2 coats of an oil based polyurethane finish, the minimum amount of time needed to complete a job of 1000 square feet or less is 2 to 3 days, add one more day if you decide to go with 3 coats. Floor stains require additional sanding as well as an additional one to two days for drying

  • Water Based Polyurethane

  • For a natural (no stain) sanding job with 3 coats of water based polyurethane finish, a 1000 square feet or less can be completed in one to two days. For water based with floor stains add one more day.

  • Recommendations and Drying Times

    Oil Based Poly
    • We highly recommend that customers and their pets be out of the house completely, as the fumes are not safe to inhale
    • For at least 3 days after the final coat, your newly treated hardwood floors can be walked on with socks only
    • Do not allow pets (especially dogs) onto a floor newly treated for at least one week after completion
    • Water Based Poly
      • It is possible to remain in the home during the process
      • 3-5 hours after the final coat is applied, floors can be walked on with socks only
      • Do not allow pets (especially dogs) onto a floor newly treated for at least one week after completion
      • General Recommendations For Oil & Water Based Poly
        • Do not reset any area rugs for 3-4 weeks
        • Do not use any cleaners for a period of 2-3 weeks, including water
        • Never use popular oil soaps, nor wax, acrylic, polish or shine restoring products
        • Do NOT use any type of steamer type mops on the hardwood- hot steam will violate or blow the finish & cause a’milky’ness’, that will have to be correctedr
        • Minimize street shoe traffic and no hi heels
        • Do NOT walk on your newly treated floors bare feet for at least 10 days
        • Avoid rolling wheels- toys, suitcases, etc. and do NOT drag chairs, stools, etc.
        • Place protectors under feet of furniture- use felt ones with good adhesive, or rubber cup
        • Clean up any water spills, pet urine, plant water or major spills asap
        • If strong direct sunlight affected your wood in the past you may want to consider window treatments or window tinting

    Important Notes

    Cleaning

    Learning how to clean hardwood floors is one of the best ways to protect your investment. When you care for your hardwood floors properly, they’ll last a lifetime. Make sure to follow our hardwood cleaning guide:


    Hardwood Cleaning Guid

    Failure to follow the proper cleaning guide will void all warranties (Installation and Material).

    Humidity Level and Temperature

    Throughout the year, the level of humidity in your home will change. This affects your hardwood flooring. Wood, like most natural materials, reacts to changes in its environment, including the relative humidity level:


    Learn More: Humidity Level

    Failure to maintain the humidity level and temperature inside your home will void all warranties (Installation and Material).

    Wood Species Matter

    Different hardwood flooring species tend to absorb stains in various ways. Keep this in mind before you choose a particular stain color. Red or white oak floors, tend to be the perfect candidates for staining. These materials are known to absorb stains well, In contrast, exotic wood species such as cherry, maple, mahogany, walnut, etc. have tighter grains and smaller pores, that's why we discourage you from staining them. There’s a great chance you won’t be satisfied with the result. It may be best to enjoy their natural beauty in its unstained state.

    Refinish Flooring or Painting Your Home First?

    It is recommended to do most of the painting AFTER the flooring and most of the prep work BEFORE the flooring. Touch ups are required after flooring installation by a professional painter. Scuffs and stains may be present due to the nature of the installation. If you’re planning to get your walls fully repainted then we recommend you do the prep work like sanding and patching walls before we install so no damage is caused to the floor.

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