Facelifts for Existing Floors and Flooring
If you have an existing wooden floor there is nothing to compare with the satisfaction of restoring it to its natural beauty. Sanders are not difficult to hire and make the job much easier, although you may need to finish off some areas by hand. This can be heavy and time-consuming work so pace yourself, and take adequate ‘work breaks’.
Before you start
Check for loose and damaged boards and remedy as necessary. Sweep up all dust and debris. Seal the door with masking tape to keep dust from the rest of the house and open the windows so you are working in a well-ventilated space.
Sanding a wood floor
Insist the hire shop staff show you how to use the machines and provide a full set of instructions.
Sanding is a very noisy business, so only work during sociable hours and warn your neighbours (they might like to go out for the day!).
Hire these for the day or weekend. You will need:
• A large drum machine.
• A small belt or orbital sander for the edges, or a sanding attachment on a drill.
• Coarse, medium and fine abrasive strips for each machine.
• Ear defenders, goggle and face mask.
Ensure the floor is solid wood since a sander will pulverize wood strip, wood mosaic panels, parquet or other veneers.
1. Wearing the safety equipment, begin with the big sander and a coarse abrasive sheet. Work diagonally across the floor, taking care not to knock the skirting boards (baseboards).
2. Change to a medium-grade abrasive and sand parallel with the direction of the boards.
3. Finally, switch to a fine-grade abrasive, again working in the direction of the boards. Empty the dust bag frequently, and vacuum up wood dust from the floor.
4. Use the orbital sander or the sanding attachment on your drill to deal with edges and corners. Again, work through the different grades of abrasive paper.
5. Finish by hand-sanding any areas the machines have missed.
6. Vacuum thoroughly, including windowsills and crevices between the boards. Wipe over the floor with a soft cloth soaked in white spirit, to remove any remaining dust.
Create a geometric pattern or an eye-catching border, simulate a rug or give your floor a faux marble or tile effect: the possibilities are limitless.
1. Start in the corner furthest from the door so you have a clear exit and begin by applying a thinned coat ofto the whole floor. Allow to dry.
2. When marking out your design use chalk and a rule to keep lines crisp, and low-tack masking tape to delineate the edge of each colour as you work.
3. Now apply the paint, making sure your brushstrokes go in the direction of the wood’s grain (length of floorboards). For any special effect, such as marbling, make sure you do a trial run on some spare wood first.
4. Remove masking tape carefully and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before protecting all paintwork with several topcoats of.
Staining and sealing
Oils and varnishes darken or yellow wood slightly, and woodstains can come up much stronger than on a shade card, so test first on a spare piece of sanded wood or in an unobtrusive corner. An undercoat ofthinned with white spirit will dilute the effect of a stain. Each finish will need several coats. Lightly sand between coats to ‘key’ the surface for the next coat, and wipe away dust with a cloth and white spirit.
Reviving vinyl or linoleum …
Special makeover paint can bring new life to tired vinyl or lino. Try:
• a simple border effect outlining architectural features or defining kitchen units or bathroom fittings
• printing a Victorian tiled look with sponges cut into geometric shapes
• stencilling a unique patterned flooring. There is no need to varnish the floor after using this paint.
… and concrete
Industrial floor paints can transform a concrete or cement floor. A chequerboard effect can look stunning.
‘Water-based floor paints give a more solid effect than coloured stains and give a new lease of life to unattractive boards’.