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Myth # 1: I can probably refinish my own floors…

You probably can. What outcome are you expecting though? How much time do you have on your hands?

Seriously though, your first challenge is going to be with the rental equipment. Rental store floor sanding equipment is just nowhere near the same level as the heavy duty, industrial tools that a professional floor sander has at his disposal. Our equipment is balanced and meticulously maintained, which is more than one can say for most rental equipment.

In the hands of a “newbie” or someone inexperienced, you can imagine what the results would be. One almost invariably ends up damaging the floor and greatly reducing its wear layer and life. Some courageous souls do go ahead and attempt to sand their floors. Some do have “fair results,” often not knowing that they have significantly reduced the life of the floor by removing more than they should have.

The next challenge, even if you do succeed in sanding your floors to the bare wood and you’re satisfied with the results, is the application of the finish. Most store bought finishes are relatively easy to apply. An industrial finish that will guarantee long-lasting results is simply unavailable to the  public. These finishes cannot be bought in retail stores. They’re far too challenging to apply to let the public have access to them without training.

On top of that, how long do you want to inconvenience your family? Without the right tools – which can cost professionals up to $60,000 – it could take days or even weeks to complete, and still you’d be left with an unsatisfactory finish that you’ll be reminded of every time you glance down at the floor.

So yes, you can refinish your own floors, BUT… you can’t say we haven’t warned you!

 


 

Myth # 2: Finishes on Pre-finished flooring are harder than site-applied finishes…

Most pre-finished hardwood flooring comes with a factory-applied finish that is cured by ultra violet light in controlled environments. Most of the higher end pre-finished flooring manufacturers will apply up to seven thin coats, some with additives for extra durability such as aluminum oxides. These extremely fine coatings are most often sprayed on. Following the applications, they are cured with UV lighting. The end result is an extremely hard finish often guaranteed for 15-30 year of normal use (with of course all the small print included that limits the real-life terms of the guarantee).
 
Over the years, we’ve had to refinish many solid pre-finished floors with factory UV cured finish. Yes they still wear, despite what their marketing may say. Site-finished floors and pre-finished floors both require the same maintenance and care to make them last. Pre-finished flooring manufacturers like  to oversell their product’s ability, while finish manufacturers like to be more realistic regarding their products performance.

 


 

Myth # 3: The best quality finish will prevent my floors from denting…

Floor finishes, no matter how strong, will not prevent a hardwood floor from denting because they simply are not designed to. One must understand the difference between “impact resistance” and “wear resistance.” Floor finishes are formulated to resist wear. The density of the wood itself is the key to a dent-resistant floor. For example, maple, oak, fir, and Brazilian cherry all resist impact to different degrees. Given the fact that virtually all wood used for flooring can and will dent, you want to use a high-quality floor finish that will yield and flex when subjected to impact, still retaining a “seal” of finish where the impact occurs. Let’s face it, we all drop something on our floors sometime or another.

 


 

Myth #4: A high-quality finish will not scratch…

This myth is common because of the “smart” marketing of some pre-finished flooring companies.They found out that if they guarantee this, they’ll sell more product and not many consumers will bother with their very limited, qualified (abundant fine print) guarantee.
 
Realistically though… dragging a sharp, metal-tipped object while applying significant weight across a floor surface will scratch any given finish, no matter how hard the finish. Even a porcelain floor tile will scratch when subjected to such pressure. This though is not what floors are normally subjected to.
 
A professionally refinished hardwood floor should hold up very well under normal foot traffic – even if you’re an active family with pets. Over the years the “high traffic” areas may show a change of sheen but this does not necessarily mean that the finish is near to being worn through.
 
One will always see in direct sunlight over time what we call “micro abrasion.” These are very fine abrasions to the top surface of the finish. Virtually all floors will show signs of this as we live and walk on them no matter the quality of the finish. This is to be expected.
 
Lifestyles vary. There are home settings where large, energetic dogs have free reign to run around. Others may have a family member who is wheelchair bound or one who uses a walker or crutches. Or maybe your family doesn’t take their shoes off inside your home – and this is fine. Your hardwood floor contractor should query you on your lifestyle prior to recommending a finish so he can match one to properly suit your needs. This is a sure sign of a professional.

 


 

Myth #5: Applying as many heavy coats of finish as possible is best…

This is a common misconception. The number of finish coats that is recommended to apply is approximately three to four. This includes most often a “sealer” coat and three to four finish coats. All coatings should be evenly applied to their recommended coverage rates. This will ensure proper drying and lifelong adhesion between coats. 

Excessive top coatings tend to give the floor a look as if it were plastic or artificial. It also must be said in the case of solvent-based finishes, which yellow over time, that the appearance of the wood grain becomes obliterated. Many times we have difficulty determining a wood species given the fact that the numerous coatings applied to it years prior have taken on the look of a painted surface. 

 


 

Myth #6: I should regularly wax my hardwood floors…

WOW, it’s hard to believe this one is still out there making the rounds. This was the case a long, long, time ago. Quality floor finishes applied by a professional do not need waxing. Doing so can be hazardous because it can make the floor slippery. And if you do wax your floors, you’ll never be able to re-coat them if you wish or need to at a future date. The existing wax will prevent the newly applied finish from adhering properly. Removing years of old wax entirely from off a floor surface is virtually impossible short of sanding the floor down to the bare wood.

 


 

Myth #7: A stain can be put in the finish to give color to the floor…

Not successfully. You may have seen products in your local large retail store that boast this capability. In fact, such is the confusion that your average homeowner will often refer to the finish as “stain”. Many believe that you choose the color of floor finish to apply. This is not so. All floor finishes are clear and dry clear. Stain is a wood dye, or coloring. 

Mixing the two is not the recommended way to stain a floor. A floor is properly sanded down to the bare wood, meticulously prepared, and then a color of choice is applied. After that dries and cures, clear topcoats seal and protect the floor. This is the recommended and approved method of staining a  floor. 

Mixing stain into the finish compromises the integrity of the finish itself and this will most often void the warranty provided by the supplier. From time to time, we still see this attempted even by some professionals. Doing so tends to obliterate the beautiful wood grain, masking its natural beauty. Most often we have found that this becomes a desperate last-minute solution for some to mask a poorly refinished hardwood floor.