The most commonly used finishes were shellac, varnish and seal-and-wax. Many finishers keep a pair of smooth-soled shoes for finishing only, while others will wear "booties." A step by step video for a home owner on how to use various wood floor sanders, and how to apply the finish. Satin can look like semigloss; semi-gloss can look like gloss. Areas with high relative humidity, such as Florida, are seeing maple plank gain popularity. Interesting that our 1926 house has maple flooring … Recoating and refinishing are some of the trickiest parts of the wood floor business; these articles offer help for products from newer floors to historic homes. Many contractors do not like to screen maple. Sanding Maple Stripping may be straightforward, but sanding maple can be difficult because of its hardness; you can seldom remove all the previous stain and residue without resorting to a sanding machine… Repeat floor and edge sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper. That is the only way you’ll know how your sanding is going (well, you can always wait for the finish coat, which will pop the hell out of everything you did to that poor maple). Use a pole sander or a buffer over the entire floor at 100 or 120grit to blend the straight sanding cut from the drum with the circular sanding cut from the edger. Your email address will not be published. By Avi Hadad for Hardwood Floors Magazine. Unfortunately, sense is not that common, so focus on attending schools and having good machines. Typically, the installation sanding will remove a full 1/32" of maple thickness above the tongue. Take care when abrading between multiple sealer and finish coats. This can happen with any type of finish. The first is to sand the floor with 100 grit on the drum machine and the edger, and then hand sand the edges with the grain with 80grit sandpaper. I recently was asked to look at a maple floor to fix. Contractors who specialize in finishing maple floors develop methods and procedures for completing beautiful floors time after time. There is a certain art to understanding what you’re doing to a floor while sanding it. Many contractors feel that it is"old fashioned" to get on their knees and hand-sand a floor. It is a 10 year old Bella Wood light colored floor (Maple, I think). Innovative wood floor sanding technology. You must make sure you follow proper sanding procedures and never skip a grit in your sanding … Serving the Flooring, Woodworking & Moulding Industries Since 1930. Screen scratches or swirl marks seem to have a way of showing in the final finish. Also, as the number of coats increases or as the coats become heavier, the higher the sheen level. Start your sanding at 60. From straight-lay strip to parquet, herringbone and more, these articles offer the 411 on wood floor installation. The T-bar type waterborne applicator has become popular with almost every type of finish, and is a fast way to get a uniform coating. Not so many years ago, many in our industry referred to a maple herringbone floor coated with waterborne finish as "The Floor From Hell." Maple is noted for being problematic with uneven finish sheens. Do not sand on the same diagonal path as the first sanding job, or you may end up with stripes on your floor. How big is your job? Your email address will not be published. Thank you for your patience. Three guys took the task to sand that floor. Many finishers then think that the material was bad or that the flattening agent was not mixed in sufficiently. Another commonly used finishing technique on maple is to apply tung oil or linseed oil after the final sanding. The safest approach when abrading between coats is to always use worn or old sandpaper or screens. Hard maple is one the toughest to sand because there is minimal grain and it is very hard. You are most likely going to refinish one maple floor every few years, so you will not get that many chances to practice. Chatter marks with drum machines have been around for almost 40 years, and while waves in belt machines are newer, they can be just as frustrating. You’re a professional. Working with Linseed Oil Dip the end of a rag or brush into linseed or tung oil. Well, guess what? Notice there wasn’t any “Google it” advice in my blog. Many floor finishers have found an advantage to using maroon abrasive pads between coats instead of screens (use the abrasive recommended by the finish manufacturer). Use a drum sander for your first sanding pass on the floor. Create a clean area adjacent to your work area and clean your shoes, pants and knee pads before the application of any finish coats. This was because every sanding and application imperfection tends to show up on dense, light-colored woods such as maple, and applying finish across the grain was, and still is, a challenge. Fortunately, with climate control more widespread than ever before, these issues have been minimized to some extent. When carpeting adjoins your work area, cover the carpet with a drop cloth to avoid stirring up carpet fibers and tracking them in. His floor guys sanded and bleached the maple … Of greater concern to many wood floor finishers are the difficulties that can and do arise when sanding and finishing maple. The best way to avoid this problem is to make the customer aware of the possibility. Premium Partners Most, however, are still procedural. Because of its clean, light appearance that is easy to decorate around, maple has become the flooring of choice when a light design is required. Be advised that if it eliminates problems, then it is well worth the time it takes. Many consider this a nice, contemporary “Scandinavian” look. Future sandings typically do not remove any more than 1/32" of thickness. Hand-sanding between coats with used sandpaper,screens or abrasive pads in the direction of the grain helps to avoid screen marks. If you understand these three factors, you will sand a maple floor very successfully. I pointed out everything I saw. Recently a wood floor finisher asked for some advice regarding a job he was about to begin. Maple stained Taupe To do the job successfully it usually takes an extra two days or more, depending on color, to complete the … When fine sanding maple floors, always reduce drum pressure to its lowest setting and slow the drum speed if your machine allows for it. Using a drum sander or an orbital sander (most likely a drum sander), begin sanding your floor. and,"Why do we have more problems with maple floors than we have with oak.". Problems usually show up on the third or fourth coats. The theory is that uneven coats of any low-sheen finish, especially satin or matte, can show up as shiny streaks or spots on a finished floor. The fact is that the flatter and smoother a dense floor becomes, the more critical the application of the finish coats becomes. On belt machines, keep the upper roller assembly clean. Check that wheels are clean and free of debris, inspect drive and fan belts for splits or cracks, and check pulleys for chips. By using wood-tone stains mixed with neutral or clear stain, screen marks will be less noticeable and the stain will appear to be more uniform. RELATED: The Basics of Sanding Wood Flooring.   This finisher has been in business for many years and in recent years has found customers are becoming more critical. Sanding All unfinished maple gym floors should be sanded with a minimum of three cuts using coarse, medium and fine sandpapers. Maple is hard and has a closed grain. As before, vacuum up dust once this stage is finished. Don't Use Too Low of a Grit. Today floors are being sanded with belt sanders to 120 and 150 grit and screened with 180 grit on rotary and orbital machines. Educate customers about the difficulties involved in the staining of maple so they are warned of possible appearance issues. Inexperienced floor sanders attempt rough-sanding with a grade of paper too fine to effectively flatten the floor and remove the overwood. RELATED: Get a Handle on Wood Floor Staining Strategies. There was only one panel that was made out of maple, the rest were red and white oak panels. Sanding is obviously the most essential. Stick with semi-gloss or gloss topcoats and use care when coating. It is important to feather any tool if applying a low-sheen finish. Since we were giving a little love and polish to the rest of the apartment, the contractor suggesting re-finishing the floors swearing that we could replicate the milky color. Depending on the finish being … Your buffer will not take that scratch out (but my Trio will). Have a super-clean floor and super-good abrasives. The floor was to be sanded, stained a dark brown color and finished with four coats of a leading waterborne finish in a satin sheen. Sanding a maple floor is not like sanding oak. Work your grit up until at least 100 before you start buffing. These oils tend to bring out the curly or tiger looks of the maple. This is usually the final grit for maple, birch, or other particularly hard woods, and for any floor that you would like to stain. They thought it looked great. It had every imperfection you can think of: Maple is light in color, hard and has a closed grain. When you find a process and product that works for you, don't change unless you can see a significant improvement. Hard maple floors offer a nice, light, bright look to a room, and are often paired with matching cabinetry when the home is built. … He has bought new equipment to avoid old machine problems and has tried to keep up with newer tools and techniques. The second is to screen and then "pop the grain" with water and allow to dry overnight before staining. Any one of these changes can cause problems, and when we combine them all, we have different and more complex finishing problems than in the past. Sand the perimeter of the floor with the edge sander, using the same medium grit as the floor sander. For both applications the best way to start is by sanding the maple floor flawlessly. Nikola Tesla built a working AC motor with Westinghouse several years before the math was put to paper. Professionals don’t Google their profession. Maple is a difficult wood on which to achieve uniform stain, and the appearance can look as if the stain was not applied evenly. Should the customer expect a darker, more uniform color, there are two other procedures that can be used. Worldwide leader. These can be an issue with any type of flooring, but especially with maple. Then vacuum the floor a second time. Along with maple strip flooring, more maple plank is being installed, and in areas where maple was not prevalent in the past. Have a super-clean floor and super-good abrasives. Debris in the finish coats accounts for many complaints when finishing maple. These are even more obvious under can lighting or where there are large windows. Whether you use a brush, roller, lambswool or T-bar, the key to a good finish job is an even, uniform coating. We're looking up all of your individual pricing and inventory levels. Maple flooring has had a major resurgence since white floors lost popularity in the early 1990s. it is a good idea to have one or two guys just checking you while you’re applying the finish. Sanding. When they were done, it didn’t look good. These can include sandpaper lines, abrasive selection, screen or swirl marks, wavy grain appearance, stains not taking uniformly, debris in the finish between coat abrasion and uneven sheens in low sheen finishes. As the flattening agent settles to the bottom of the applied coating, any area where there is a heavier film appears glossier due to the additional film build in that spot. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.   Also obvious on these same floors are stop marks from lambswool applicators and trail ridges from T-bars. This final sanding … Keeping equipment in good working condition and paying attention to how paper is loaded can go a long way to eliminating wave and chatter. Remember, between coats the intent is to smooth the coating, not remove it. Shiny areas can appear wherever there are heavy finish spots such as drops, puddles, turn or stop marks. When fine sanding maple floors, always reduce drum pressure to its lowest setting and slow the drum speed if your machine allows for it. A sample was made, and the designer wanted the stain more uniform. Polyurethane is a polymer complex used for finishing wood floors … Vacuum the entire area thoroughly. Screens were not yet invented. VOC compliant oil stains, which have less solvent than older products and can take longer to dry, are used nationally. Sandpaper discs (hard plating) were finding use on parquet and mosaic floors. Keep in mind that 500 square feet in a big living room is easier to sand than 500 square feet in three bedrooms, three closets and a hall. Avoid sanding maple too smooth. I am wondering if it is feasible to sand the floor … That extra sanding maybe the key to a good job. He has become very fussy in his sanding procedure and is doing the best finishing job he can, but his high-end customers are never quite satisfied. 150 grit: Extremely fine sandpaper. It is light, so even after you buffed it between coats, you can’t really see where you applied finish and where you didn’t. Many times on these old maple floors, there is a type of coating that … He is hardly alone in his concerns. He was obviously a ... Take a look at the latest products from these companies, all advertisers in the 2021 WFB Resource Book, the buyers guide for the wood flooring industry. Maple,however, is not so forgiving. Measure the rooms and get the actual square footage. What works on oak doesn’t work on maple. Prefinished Floor Finishes vs. Site-Finishes Floor Finishes, Scratches from the big machine (with the direction of the floor), Thickness planer marks on every stair tread (new install). They quickly realized their technique was poor, and their sanding sequence was mediocre at best. Most residential floors were oak. Those guys were in the business of floors for more than 20 years. The exact same way you would with floor sanding machines, but with a lot more elbow grease! In the 1950s and '60s, most final sandings on wood floors were done with 60- and 80-grit sandpapers. Tesla literally envisioned the concept, layout, schematics of the AC motor in his head before one was ever built. Start your sanding at 60. Start with a low grit like 40, climb to 60, 80 then 100. Bill Price Sr. is the president of Floormasters International, a The Villages, Fla.-based consulting business. Again, the density of the wood and the light color tend to show even the slightest amount of dirt or dust.   Depending on the finish being applied, anything finer than 100 grit may be too smooth — always consult the finish manufacturer's directions. Between coats, sealers and finishes are treated with abrasive pads with very fine sanding strips. Gradually work … A few years back I attended a floor technical school. Thoroughly vacuum not only the floor but all baseboards, window sills and any adjoining areas. Be aware that scratches tend to be more prominent if thick or heavy finish coats are applied. The best application tool and procedure is the one that the finisher is the most comfortable using. There is no magic solution or tool for sanding and finishing a maple floor. However, after just a few years the maple … You can’t put 36-grit scratches in it and expect to be able to remove them. Originally written for Hardwood Floors Magazine’s Contractor Blog on April 27, 2014. Avoid sanding maple too smooth. Maple's density and light color can make screen marks, sandpaper lines or swirls obvious. Understanding how some of these issues create problems can save you time and money. Premium Partners Also the cost to sand, stain and finish a floor is less than to install a new floor. If you happen to hit a nail, change out your belt.   The customer and his designer made it clear that the stain color and the satin sheen level was expected to be even and uniform over the entire floor area. Required fields are marked *. Minimal abrasion is preferable to aggressive abrasion. If you're sanding an older floor that has seen a lot of foot traffic, you … Final sanding of pattern floors should be performed with a screen and disk sander. Use a handheld orbital sander, ideally with a gear-driven setting. I had to come over and open my big mouth. With many of those early products being so forgiving, most of the problems encountered by floor finishers were procedural. Keep in mind that thinner coats always work better on maple. It's also advisable not to let anyone enter your work area once it is prepared for finish coats. If you head off the problems before they happen, everyone will be happier, and you will get repeat business and referrals from your customer. His customer wanted a wide maple floor finished in a 2,000-square-foot house. You will need to start with a 25 grit paper due to the hardness of the maple floor. Seal off the doorway to the room with a plastic or fabric drop cloth and cover the … If you screen before staining, be aware that the screen marks will show in any dark stain color. Since maple floors can be touchy to finish, it is never a good idea to try anew or different application tool. This procedure is still recommended for many floors, and especially for floors being stained. Some species, such as oak, are more likely to help the flooring contractor by hiding some of these mistakes. The reason this phenomenon appears more in satin or matte coatings is because of the greater amount of flattening agent added to achieve the lower sheen. P.S. The companies below are advertisers in the October/November 2020 issue of Wood Floor Business. Sand the center of the room first, and then finish with an edger. Depending on the … I sand with my wide belt sander up to 180 grit, and then use 120, 180, and 220 with my Dynabrades and then follow that with a small amount of hand sanding. Can take out the scratch from 120-grit or 100 … Sand along the grain. This comes from either trying to avoid an extra sanding or a fear of being too aggressive. Because maple is so light, scratches will not be so easy to spot like on oak floors. You will need to get on your hands and knees with a light so that your eyes are only a few inches away from the floor. One secret to sanding maple to a smooth, level finish is to start with an abrasive grade that will take down over wood at the side-match and level butting end joints. We use two Dynabrades in our shop, a 3/32" orbit and 3/16" orbit, and the 3/32" is for finer sanding. The more edges a job has, the longer and harder it will be to sand. No matter what your customer's occupation, you can show that you area professional by ensuring your customers understand the ramifications of what they request. Contractors everywhere are asking, "How has wood flooring work become so critical over the years." Tack the floor with water, a solvent product or tack cloth appropriate for the sealer and finish you are applying. Show the customer a variety of wood tone stains reduced with neutral stain. Bona USBona Pro Series Hardwood Floor Cleaner features hydrogen ... Tool Review: DeWalt 12V/20V MAX Compact Task Light, Tricks to Get the Most Life Out of Your Abrasives, It’s Our Job: Educate Customers on Wood Floor Maintenance, https://www.nortonabrasives.com/en-us/markets/floor-sanding?utm_source=Wood%20Floor%20Business, How to Sand, Stain & Finish Maple Wood Flooring, Get a Handle on Wood Floor Staining Strategies, Motors 101 & What Wood Flooring Pros Should Know, Part 1. I have a question about an engineered floor and whether to replace or sand. Maple does accept a stain, but because the heavily grained areas can create splotches if the stain isn’t applied properly and an even sanding of the existing floor is required, we recommend using … Dyes work better but limit the colors available. This step pays dividends. You need to be extra careful with the sanding because any imperfections will be highlighted once you start staining and finishing the maple floor. Sand directly along the boards instead. This is especially true when using non-compliant oil-modified polyurethane or VOC-compliant oil-modified urethane. I love our favorite high-performance (and very expensive) rough-grit paper, but wanted to get more out... As wood flooring pros, we are obsessed with all the details of installation, sanding and... Everything from basics on running the big machine to detailed buffer techniques and more are in these wood floor sanding articles. He is confident in the skills he's learned over many years, but the newer products don't seem to work the same as his old favorites. If shiny streaks or spots appear, it is difficult to hide them by recoating. Drum machines — the only ones available then — ran considerably slower than the belt sanders of today. Because there are so many items available to you, this can be a slow process. Woods with open, porous grain, such as oak, can hide a small amount of these imperfections, but they stand out on maple and other dense woods. His biggest concern on this job is not his abilities, but his customer's occupation — he happens to be an attorney. Seal Off the Room. Develop a reputation for not having problems — being the "expert"means just that. Waterborne finishes are applied in multiple coats, sometimes four or five. Thanks for all of the good advice here. Follow the oil with a coat or … No matter whether sandpaper strips or screens are used, it is the sharpness of these materials that causes marks, even in fine grades such as 150 or 180 grits. Kirk Dozek, owner at Kirk Dozek Wood Floors in St. Clair Shores, Mich., tried this new light. The Best Floor Sander for Beginning DIYers Unless you plan to sand many floors in your lifetime, your best choice of floor sander is the random orbital sander from one maker in particular. As a result, a properly maintained 25/32" MFMA maple floor will provide four to six additional sandings … Pour the oil into a … The tendency is to sand and/or screen finer to hide these sanding imperfections, and this can lead to finish problems. Fibers in a final coat can bring you back for a recoat. Absolute Coatings GroupAbsco Quick Dry Penetrating Wood ... See the latest repair and maintenance products. Avoid sanding maple too smooth. A 500 square foot job is about as about as big as a first-time do-it-yourselfer, working alone, can possibly expect to sand in one weekend. With the improvements in waterborne finish technology, flow and leveling are becoming less of a problem, but the finisher must still be vigilant. Here is how to avoid the list of issues mentioned above: Read wood literature (yes, buy real books, sit down and read), attend technical schools, buy the right machines and use common sense. When finishing your newly installed maple hardwood floors, you are stuck on the issue as to how to finish it up for there is a couple of good choices available for you.What is better and what is best for your floor? Lacquer, moisture-cured polyurethane, oil-modified poly and Swedish finishes were gaining popularity. It looked okay, and it had a clear finish, which is pretty forgiving. Prior to the introduction of sanding screens, all floors were drum-sanded, edged and the edges hand-scraped and/or hand-sanded.
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