Hardwood Refinishing FAQ
1. How much does it cost to refinish hardwood?
The cost of refinishing hardwood floors is dependent on various factors. Most contractors work on a sq ft price, but just as a general guideline. The price per sq ft is adjusted according to the following criteria: What condition are the floors in now? What type of finish would you like to coat your floor with? Would you like to stain your hardwood floors a different color? What is the overall sq ft being sanded? What is the overall configuration of the floor? Open rooms or tight quarters? It is very difficult to quote a sq ft price before seeing the floor in question. To do so over the phone would mean giving a general “ball park” estimate, which will most likely be inaccurate and therefore in the end be of no benefit to you. The best course it to have an on site, comprehensive, accurate estimate.
2. Does refinishing hardwood create a lot of dust?
Yes. Refinishing hardwood floors creates and extraordinary amount of dust, the question is whether this dust is left behind on your furniture and walls. If the company you’re hiring employs a dust containment system this should not be an issue. We are employing the latest in dust containment methods and equipment to ensure that virtually 99 percent of dust is contained during sanding. We also put up plastic and if possible use fans to exhaust what little dust may be present from the work site. When all sanding is completed, we wipe down all horizontal surfaces within the working area as a final measure to ensure “dust free” refinishing. The end result is “night and day” compared to sanders without dust containment.Dust free refinishing does not apply to the cutting of wood required for repairs or new floors. We do attach vacuums to these saws when possible, to limit the amount of sawdust created by these tools. Dust containment is also limited when refinishing stairs, which is another reason we hang plastic to contain dust.
3. Are there any smells or fumes associated with refinishing hardwood?
Yes. There are always some fumes or smells associated with the coating of hardwood floors. If you choose to alter your floors appearance with stain, these are oil based and therefore do have a smell to them. Even when using water based Poly Urethanes, the first coat is usually an oil-based sealer. This gives the wood a richer look and serves to seal the grain from subsequent coats of water-based finish, which can raise the grain, giving the floor a slightly rough texture. I would compare it to having your residence painted with either an oil or water based paint. There is an initial smell that soon dissipates over time.
4. How long does it take refinish hardwood floors?
An average size floor of approximately 600-800 sq ft will typically take 3-5 days to complete. If the floor is in need of repair or being stained, this will add time to the job. If water based finish is being used this may make it possible to finish the job a day sooner as we can put two coats of finish on in one day as opposed to oil based finish which can only have one coat per day applied.
5. Will I be able to stay in the house during the process?
There will be noise and vapors during the sanding and finishing process. Whether or not you can live in your house during refinishing depends on whether you will need to walk on the floors being sanded and whether or not you are sensitive to the odours from the finish. Even if you choose a water base finish, the first coat is typically an oil based sealer which does have an odour. This also applies to stain which is oil based. Generally, you should not walk on the floors during the sanding and coating process as it may adversely affect the finish product. It’s a good idea to have a contingency plan for living/sleeping elsewhere if the odours are causing discomfort. This may depend on where the bedrooms are situated in relation to the floor. Refinishing is best done when you can plan to be away for a few days.
6. How soon can you walk on hardwood floors after refinishing?
After the final coat of finish is applied, light to normal foot traffic may resume in 24 hours (lighter is better for the first few days). We recommend waiting 48 hours (if possible) before replacing furniture. Although the finish may appear dry, it will not be fully cured for 2 weeks, after which area rugs can be replaced on the floor and regular cleaning/maintenance can begin. Be sure to use felt pads under chairs or other furniture to prevent scratching.
7. Do I need to remove my furniture or appliances?
Furniture, appliances (in some cases but not always), window coverings and hanging pictures should be removed from the work area. It’s also recommended that shelving and mantles be cleared of breakables as vibrations from machinery or the putting up and taking down of plastic can snag on these items, causing them to fall and break. We do not remove furniture but can recommend movers and storage solutions to aid you in this process.
8. What if my hardwood is under carpeting? Will I have to remove the carpeting?
Customers should consider removing carpet themselves but if not we can include this as part of the estimate. Our customers should be aware that floors that are covered at the time of the estimate may require additional work that may not have been apparent to our estimator. We do not remove linoleum or tile.
9. Do you have to remove baseboards before installation?
If you plan to have new Baseboards/Baseshoe installed, then it is recommended that the existing mouldings be removed before sanding takes place. If not, it is not necessary to remove the existing mouldings.