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Floor Sanding And Varnishing-A Quick, Practical Guide

November 12th, 2010

When hiring a company or doing the floor sanding yourself; do keep in mind that you’re laying the foundation for a perfectly varnished floor. This is the reward that you will enjoy for a long time to come once the job is finished. Floor sanding is relatively easy as long as you keep a few things in mind. Here are a few helpful hints:

1. Work from coarse grain down to fine. After each pass over the floor switch to a finer grain.
2. When using a machine for floor sanding, make sure you keep it moving because if you let it sit still in one area, you’ll create a dent in the wood.
3. When sanding parts by hand, for example in corners or around heating pipes, only move along with the grain. If you move your sanding paper cross-grain you’ll create ugly scratches, which are almost impossible to remove.
4. The final step to floor sanding is what painters call the most important step in painting: removing dust. Make sure the floor is perfectly dust-free. First use a vacuum cleaner, then sweep the entire surface with a static cling cloth.

Now you’re ready for varnishing.

In the past, varnishing a floor was quite a chore. Two, three or four layers long, you’d be standing in a room where the entire floor was exhaling solvents at you. Not very pleasant-but not any longer!

Nowadays, the best varnishes are water-based. That means no solvents, no smell lingering for days, and the best? Done in a day.

What You Must Know Before Using Water-Based Varnish
The high-grade water-based varnishes of today dry within hours, literally. Most of the times, a layer will be dry to the touch in 30 minutes and can take light load after four hours. A second layer of varnish can be applied after two hours (Always check the container of your varnish for specific information about drying times!)

That means that you can paint an entire floor three times in one day, and the next day you can live in the room as normal.

It also means that you shouldn’t let the edges of a fresh patch of paint dry before extending the patch since you will see the edges of the first patch if it gets a chance to dry up. So don’t go around the room painting all the corners and under the radiators and then move on to varnish the large surfaces. Work across the floor in blocks.
Avoid direct sunlight while you’re painting since this will speed up drying time even more and cause the same ugly edges I described above.

After the first layer dries, you will notice that the fibres of the wood have raised and hardened, making the surface feel very rough. This is normal and happens because of the water in the varnish. Just wait until the layer is dry enough to sand down and use a fine grain sandpaper to smoothen the surface. Remove dust and proceed to apply the second layer.

Wood Floor Varnishing-The Long Term Considerations
When varnishing remember that clear finishes are intended to make wood look good and meet the demands to be placed on the floor after it has been finished. Choosing a clear finish for wood means juggling between its appearance; protection, durability, ease of application, cleaning requirements and safety.

When you have chosen the right varnish for the job you can expect to have a transparent, good gloss which is hard and durable and gives protection against many substances. Do take this into consideration before making decisions about how the floor sanding project is to be carried out.

Jackie writes for a floor sanding blog, of JH Sanding, who currently have a 10% online discount. This floor sanding company focus on floor sanding Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn, Carlisle and in the Lake District. They have the reputation of doing excellent work.

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