Restoring Old Wood Floors to Their Former Glory
Restoring old wood floors brings back their natural beauty and shine. If you live in an old home, wood floors are a classic touch. A perfect way to add some freshness to your home is to restore your old wood floors. It can dramatically change a room and give it an updated look. For example, you may have a really dark and worn-out stain on your floors. You can remove it and replace it with a light stain. The simple replacement of a lighter stain will add some brightness to a once dark room. At the same time, you may even want to go a step further and lighten your walls to add to the overall brightness of the room.
If you live in an old house, there might be something very unique and special about your wood floors. Some wood floors are rare nowadays. There are several species of trees that are now protected and cannot be used for lumber any more. Further, most trees that are used for wood floors today are fast growing and fast to be cut down. Many species of trees don't grow for as long as they would have historically before they are cut down. For example, you don't see a wide plank pine floor very often. Wide plank floors are almost always more than 100 years old. Similarly, you don't see a lot of old growth pine any more in forests or on tree farms for that matter. Stylistically, tastes change. It is pretty uncommon to see an ornate herringbone floor. In current times, these classic floors add tremendous value to a home because of the rareness and beauty. No matter what the case may be, old hardwood floors are almost always worth the work to restore them.
You may have moved into an old house and have the itch to restore your old floors. Maybe you have been living in the same house for a long time and finally decided to remove the old carpet to find old hardwood floors that haven't been exposed in decades! Whatever your case may be, a lot of homeowners do not know when to restore an old floor or pull out an old floor and replace it with a new one. Besides, nowadays with the popularity of prefinished floors, not everyone knows how long a quality wood floor should last with average traffic. Your well maintained hardwood floor should probably last you one hundred years. In contrast, your typical prefinished floor with average wear will last significantly less than your hardwood floor. It is dependant on the type of floor, how well it is treated, and so forth. For those of you who don't know, both engineered and bamboo floors fit in this category of floors that have a substantially shorter life as compared to a hardwood floor. Even though bamboo is extremely popular today, these floors are notorious for being prone to some serious scratches quite easily - no matter what the floor manufacturer promises you about the bowling ball finish.
That said, it will be 100 years before you have to rip it up and install a new hardwood floor if you have a traditional wood floor. Of course, you will still need to maintain. Just because something lasts a long time, does not mean it does not require maintenance. Regular cleaning is important. For example, say you live by a beach and you often track sand when you come in your house, sand will in time scratch the finish on your wood floors. Shoes will wear away your floor finish so it is best to remove shoes before walking on your floors. Water will also damage your floors, causing them to swell and sometimes even grow mold. For more information on general cleaning, please read both parts of my article "How To Clean and Maintain Hardwood Floors". The first part can be found at http://www.woodfloordoctor.com/_how_tos/articles/cleanpt1.shtml and the second part can be found at http://www.woodfloordoctor.com/_how_tos/articles/cleanpt2.shtml
Old wood floors generally, if restored properly, will add value and beauty to your home. Usually, you will know when to restore your floor by simply looking at its appearance. Does the finish look warn or uneven? Does the floor look dull? Does the wood look dirty even after you have cleaned it? Are their blotchy areas or dark spots? Often, an older, well walked on floor, will have the most wear-marks where the most foot traffic has been. For example, if the wood floor is in a corridor or hallway, usually the center of the corridor will have the most worn off finish. Are there scratches in the finish or in the floorboards? Sometimes these can be surface scratches in the finish and sometimes they can penetrate into the floorboards. Do you know when the floor was refinished last? It is okay if you don't. You be the judge and decide if your floors need to be refinished. If you think you are ready to sand down your old wood floor, you should read, "How To Sand Wood Floors WITHOUT Leaving Machine Marks" which can be found on http://www.woodfloordoctor.com/_how_tos/particlesshort/sandwoodfloors.shtml
Restoring floors is not only about elegance and the longevity of the floor. Often is a question of hygiene. Sometimes odours that come off of your floors are unhealthy to breathe in. If your floors do not smell fresh, no matter how much you clean them, maybe you have a pet or maybe you had a spill sometime ago that was not taken care of properly, read "How To Remove Various Stains and Smells From Wood Floors" which can be found at http://www.woodfloordoctor.com/_how_tos/particlesshort/removestains.shtml
Most of the time, all you are going to need to do is sand it down and finish it again. Not a big deal. However, if there is serious water damage, sometimes it is best to cut out that section of floor and replace it with new floorboards, depending on how bad it is and if extra sanding will help or not.
Even if your floors have no finish left on them because they have not been maintained by the previous homeowner, it does not mean that it is time to rip out the floors. Sometimes, if you ask a contractor, he will advise you on ripping everything out and installing a new floor. The reason for this is simple: this is a much bigger job and he can charge more for it. Often, all you will need is a thorough sanding. When sanding your floor down, remember that it may take a good sanding because floors do not wear evenly. You will see a larger indentation or more wear in the areas where the most foot traffic occurs.
Do your research. If you just recently purchased a home, ask the previous owners about the history of their wood floors. If they do not know, and have never finished them, chances are it is time to restore them slightly. You be the judge. If you like the stain, ask for the name of it so when it comes time you will know what to use. Colour matching stains is messy but possible.
The more research and reading you do before you start restoring your old floors, the better the odds are that your floors will turn out exactly the way you want them to look. Even if you decide not to do the job but to hire it out to a floor contractor, it helps tremendously to know what you want and what to look for. Old floors are beautiful, especially if they are well-maintained.