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Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?
Wood floor installation may be expensive. This makes people who may have never even picked up a screwdriver or hammer to seriously consider installing everything themselves.
Floor installation is priced on a square meter basis, although flooring companies (either local or Internet) might offer installation as a part of the purchase on rare occasions. What most companies do is refer you to either a preferred third-party contractor or give you a list of installers and let you decide instead.
What Full Floor Restoration Is All About?
Many people try to sand their floor unsuccessfully not purely because of lack of proper training and expertise but because of the fact they underestimate the amount of work involved. Let’s check what is in store:
Cleaning. Before starting the renovation process the floor’s surface must be in perfect condition and the furniture removed. There will also be cleaning between repairs, after each sanding round, after gap-filling and certainly before applying the different finishing products.
Floor repairs. This includes salvaging and replacing floor boards, hammering and removing nails, screws or staples. Fixing uneven floor and if it is reclaimed – scraping bitumen. Without those procedures, the surface can never be sanded properly.
Sanding. Multiple rounds from coarser (24) to finer (120) grits with professional equipment. People imagine they can just walk around with the machinery and wherever they go the floor’s surface will immediately become smooth but there is a lot more to it. Certain types of hardwood flooring like engineering, for example, require a delicate touch, quality not everyone has.
Gap-filling. The process of removing the empty spaces on the floor left by changes in temperature and humidity can often become a problem. Not filling the gaps will leave the place vulnerable to draughts.
Buffing. The final part of the sanding process where the last, minor floor imperfections are truly removed.
Staining. If you want to change the floor’s colour this is the point when it happens. Arguably one of the hardest parts of the renovation process due to the fact it requires precision and knowledge how to colour match.
Sealing and finishing. Usually, the service involves the use of multiple coats of finish the ensure a longer lasting result. The right choice of product is crucial for the overall look your floor will achieve.
You might want to consider the following issues if you're thinking of installing your floor yourself:
- Proper floor restoration sometimes involves staining or gap filling and these are both best left to experienced floormen.
- Do your own research on floor sealants and never fully trust customer assistants in retail shops, such as BnQ or Wickes. What is sold there will usually do, but most specialised products are highly specific and only available to professionals.
- Hire proper floor sanding equipment - 8" or 10" belt machines and an "edger". You need to account for hardly reachable areas like corners, skirting, stairs etc. as well as how to address dust.
- Find someone who has already done it and have a talk and preferably, have a dry run using mock flooring or samples, don't get your feet wet right away, allow for some time to get used to what it feels like and don't try to learn on your own floor, it's a costly mistake. This is not a rocket science, but you need to prepare and be successful at the first do, which requires confident toolset and equipment use.
- Remember to check all floorboards and fixed any that have worked loose before you get down to work. You might need to replace damaged and weakened boards and this is the best time to get rolling.