Question:

My mother grew up mopping floors with pine disinfectants. I installed Bruce prefinished flooring in her home a couple of years ago. Needless to say I told her not to use water to clean her floors, but she did not listen. Now the flooring has become grainy in texture and dull. Since this is a laminate floor product, how would I go about refinishing them. I was told this could be done up to 3 times. I can't seem to get the information even at Bruce's homepage.

Can you point me in the right direction?

Answer:

Dear David

You must mean laminated or engineered wood floor, laminates are vinyl.

If and only if the floor has at least a 1/8" top veneer layer can you POSSIBLY sand it once. If the floor is reasonably flat you MIGHT find a professional willing to chance this sanding. You see, he has to sand off the beveled edges as well as flattening the floor for the first time. So the ability to sand this rather thin veneered floor is limited. I guess it also depends on how well the installation was done. It can only be judged in person by an honest pro. Find one.

If in the other hand it is a thicker 1/6" veneer layer you should have no worries, by all means have it sanded and refinished at least this once. Make sure they use a finish that is easy to re-coat. I would suggest you apply 3-4 coats of a good quality oil modified polyurethane. Use no lacquer sealers !!!! Water based finishes are out, they may further damage the veneer.

Be SURE to read my floor maintenance article inthe Floored News section, and before you hire someone read my Hiring Contractors article in the Hardwood Authority section of this web site.

Oh, and if you have the thinner veneer, and the pros refuse to sand it, consider chemically stripping it instead. Read my article on this subject also in the Floored News. Once all the old finish is off, you may be able to smooth the floor with an Orbital Floor Sander (article on this in the Case In Point section) and finish it with 3-4 coats of OMP.

This last method may not work well if the floor is a waxed prefinished product (you didn't say). It's very hard to get all the wax out the seams, and this will interfere with the new finish.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.

You may also find these articles helpful:

1. Prefinished Hardwood Floors: How To Choose!

2. Avoiding Squeaks And Pops When Nailing Down A New Strip Floor

3. How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors without dust!

4. Avoiding Squeaks And Pops When Nailing Down A New Strip Floor

5. How To Take Care Of Your Health And Safety when Installing, Finishing, Repairing or Cleaning your wood floors


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