Refinishing Hardwood Floors: DIY or Professional Help?

The great things about hardwood floors: they’re pleasing to the eye and very durable, meaning that if they start getting worn out, they probably don’t need to be replaced. All you need to do is refinish them in order to make them “pop” once more.

Now, we say “all you need to do”, but that should be taken with a word of caution. While it is possible to refinish your floors by yourself, experience is key here. A professional will know how to handle the process from start to finish, whereas someone who is inexperienced may skip some steps or do them improperly. A poor refinish can devalue your home rather than improve it!

A pro can take anywhere from two to five days to complete the task, adding time for complex jobs or poor weather that interferes with drying times. They will typically do one of two things: 1) they will rebuff the finish, or 2) they will sand and finish the floor. The downside to hiring a professional is, of course, the cost. Either of these two jobs can cost you anywhere between $1 and $4 per square foot of floor that needs to be done.

If you don’t want to shell out the money for a pro and you are supremely confident in your DIY ability, here’s what you can do to save some cash.

First of all, make sure you’ve purchased some high-quality dust masks or respirators. You will also need eye and ear protection (this process is messy and loud!). You can seal off doors and other rooms with plastic sheeting to prevent dust from escaping to other parts of the home.

If you’re going to buff the floor, you will need to rent a buffer and purchase about a gallon of floor finish. Make sure you test the buffer and the finish before committing to doing the whole area! Find a small, inconspicuous spot, buff out the old finish, then apply the new one. If it sticks, you’re in good shape.

If your intention is to sand and refinish the floor yourself, you’ll need to rent a drum sander and buy sandpaper, wood filler, and floor finish. We do not recommend using a drum sander unless you know what you’re doing with it, due to its tendency to gouge the floor if left in one spot for too long. Use progressively smaller grains of sandpaper as you go to get a nice, smooth surface.

Be smart about this process! We can’t emphasize enough that this is a job for somebody that at least has experience, if not formal job training. If you aren’t certain of your own ability, it is a lot cheaper to hire a pro than it is to have to redo everything after a mistake. Good luck!

-Kelly Dillon

Rearranging Furniture 101

Occasionally, a given living space will need a change of some kind. Perhaps the walls need to be painted a different color, or those drapes need to come down and be replaced with blinds, or maybe all you need to do is rearrange things a little bit. Moving the furniture in a room can be a daunting task, but if done properly, it can make your space look new and exciting without having to spend money on paint or blinds.

The great thing about furniture rearrangement is that there is no set-in-stone rule for how it’s supposed to be done, so you can afford to be a little adventurous. There are only a few tips that you need to get started:

1) Find the focal point of the room and build around that. This is likely either a television or a fireplace. All you need to do is orient everything so that it draws the eyes towards that centerpiece.

2) Don’t place too many items in the room. This creates a cluttered, overloaded look and can appear uninviting. If a piece isn’t being used for comfort, utility, or storage space, consider moving it elsewhere.

3) Try to avoid placing too much along the walls of a room. This looks very stagnant and leaves a lot of open space in the middle of the area. Obviously, entertainment centers and couches can go on the perimeter, but try and break things up with some armchairs, a coffee table, or an ottoman.

4) Think about the function of the space and how you intend to use it. One of the key things you can do in any room, regardless of its intent, is to encourage conversation. For a living room, point two chairs at one another. For a kitchen, add some bar stools to the counter so you can talk while you cook.

5) Last but not least, take accurate measurements before you start going to town on this project. You don’t want to move your couch and then discover that it doesn’t fit where you wanted it to go! Try taping out the dimensions of your furniture to get a better idea of how everything fits together. Keep in mind that you’ll need walking room and space to pull out chairs.

-Kelly Dillon

Preventing Scratches in Hardwood Floors

When you compare it to any other type of flooring material, hardwood is unfortunately the most susceptible to scratches from moving furniture such as chairs and tables. If you intend on keeping your hardwood floor for any considerable length of time, it’s important to keep it properly maintained and for potential damage to be minimized. Here are some simple solutions to prevent the majority of scratches in your flooring:

The first and most obvious solution is to just not move any furniture. This is likely for large fixtures like dining tables and heavy coffee tables. Pick out the spot where you want the table to go, place it there, and then don’t shift its position. Of course, there is always the possibility that someone will bump into the furniture at some point and leave scratches anyway, so keep that in mind. If you are worried that an accident will move the furniture, place some kind of barrier between the legs of it and the floor. Felt, cork, or rubber pads will protect your floor while allowing you to move the table if necessary. If you are confident that the furniture will not have to move, you can go so far as to add carpet tape or velcro to the bottom of the legs to secure it in place.

We understand that never moving a piece of furniture is unrealistic, especially if you have chairs that need to be pulled out and pushed back in. Luckily, the same rubber pads that can be used for tables can work just as well on a chair! You can also look into either adding wheels to the bottom of chairs and tables if they’re going to have to move, or buying furniture that already has wheels.

What if you have a piece of furniture that needs to move around the house, but you had never intended to move it after setting it down the first time? Not a problem: if you’re moving anything heavy across hardwood, you can prevent scratches in the floor by folding up a cotton towel and slipping it under the legs of the furniture. Just make sure that you have a helper to tip the furniture for you so that you don’t risk getting your fingers caught under something heavy!

– Kelly Dillon

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Unconventional Floor Options: Cork

If you own a home, chances are that you have either carpet or hardwood flooring. To the layman, it might even seem as if these are the only two options available to any homeowner. At Classic Floor Designs, however, we offer a host of other choices, one of them being cork floors. What is a cork floor, and what is it good for?

Cork has a very soft and warm appearance that is pleasing to the eye. On top of that, it is incredibly soft and yields easily to the touch, making it feel great underneath your feet. This makes it a popular option for areas where people do a lot of standing, such as the kitchen. The softness also acts as a cushion if your family has children who like to play and are prone to falling down!

The interior of a cork consists largely of air-filled chambers that not only retain warmth, but noise as well. This makes cork a great insulator and will keep noise levels down (useful for upper floors). This can help save you precious money on energy bills!

The one cautionary word that we have on cork floors is that they aren’t the most durable option that is available. Pets can easily scratch it up, furniture and dropped objects can cause punctures and tears, and heavy set pieces will leave dents in it over time. However, cork is very easy to maintain and refinish if necessary. A correctly installed cork floor should only require a regular vacuuming to get rid of dust and small particles, and any spills that occur are easy to clean up since the cork is sealed on installation. Just like a hardwood floor, all that a cork floor needs for refinishing is a good sanding and either staining or resealing.

So what are your thoughts? Does a cork floor sound like something that you could use in your own home? Give Classic Floor Designs a call today to schedule a consultation!

-Kelly Dillon