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Wood Floor Care Tips

Key topics for facility professionals. Keywords for this topic: wood floor, floor care

Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff

Wood floors can be a popular choice because of their ability to create a warm, upscale atmosphere. But wood floor care should be considered before a decision is made. When it comes to wood floor care, what should facility managers know?

Surface preparation is the key to producing a good-looking, long lasting finish for wood floors. Workers should sand new floors one to three weeks after installation to allow time for settling.

Old floors can be refinished before they become too badly stained or scratched in order to minimize the amount of surface removed. To do it, remove carpets, furniture and drapes and sweep the floor clean of dirt and grit. Workers also can remove molding strips using wood wedges against the baseboard to prevent scratching or marking. Replacing affected boards might be the only way to get rid of some deeper stains, such as urine or ink.

Workers can remove scratches, yellowing and other minor surface defects by sanding with a power-drum or belt sander, which brings out the wood’s original color and beauty. An edger gets into places where the drum or belt sander can’t reach. Corners and closets require hand scraping and sanding. Power sanding should start about two-thirds of the way from an end wall at one side of the room, in the direction of the wood grain.

A sander with a drum elevation control lever on the handle provides control so the drum is never lowered when the sander is not moving. Workers should overlap previous sanded floor areas so they sand only three inches of new flooring on each pass to create a smooth finish. A sander vacuum bag minimizes dust cleanup.

They can address separations between boards or holes by applying a filler compatible with the finish coating, letting it dry, and hand sanding. Next, they can apply a penetrating sealer coat the same day, which soaks into the wood and hardens to seal the new surface. Two sealer coats are recommended with a wax finish, and one with a polyurethane finish. After overnight drying, they can buff the sealer, clean, vacuum and dust.

Polyurethane and water-based urethanes are mainly synthetic resin-plasticizer blends. Water-based urethanes dry faster, but cleaning crews shouldn’t use a steel wool buffer between coats because loose particles will rust and cause discoloration.

Getting More From the Floor
by Thomas A. Westerkamp

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