Sanding and Finishing / Refinishing - Chicago, IL

Most sand jobs take a minimum of three to four days. Stain and finish drying times can extend the process. Dark and pastel stains add time to the job, especially if a water base finish is used. As a homeowner, there are some preparations that can be done to make this whole process move smoothly, and help keep the inconvenience of the home's upheaval to a minimum.

Dustless sanding/refinishing. We keep our machines serviced so as to keep dust to a minimum. If you do the preparations that we suggest, it will be less hassle. However, you may want to take advantage of our referral page for cleaning services.

Power. Our machines require 220 volts of power to run, and not all homes have 220 volt recepticle. Therefore, we run wires from your fuse box or circuit breaker to our machines. This gives us a constant and steady flow of electricity, as well as not having to interrupt electricity in the house.

Stain Colors. We show wood stain colors as soon as we get a small portion of the floor sanded. It is best to have a picture, or sample of the color that you are wanting. If we show more than 2-4 colors in the same range, most people have a difficulty choosing. If you show us an approximate color, we can usually show 3 colors or shades and it will be easier to make a choice.

Sanding. Sanding the floors means that we sand all of the finish and stain off of the existing floor, sand the floor flat, and remove approximately 1/32" of wood. Most 3/4" hardwood floors can be sanded 6 times as long as a professional company sands the floor each time needed. Hardwood floors should last 100-150 years, making hardwood floors the longest lasting value for the home that can be purchased if cared for by a professional team.

Our sanding process starts with either a drum or belt sander for the middle of the floor, a circular (edger) sander for the edges, hand scrapers for corners, and the final is the finer sanding by a buffer with a screen. We meet or exceed national standards set forth in the guidelines by the National Wood Flooring Association.

Drum or Belt Sanders

These are sanders that take 220 volts of power. They sand the bulk of the floor. They can use various grits of sand paper to achieve the desired results of every type of wood. We usually start sanding the floor with 16, 20, 36, 40, or 50 grit sand papers, depending upon the type of wood or top finish that we are sanding. A typical red oak floor starts with 36 grit paper, then, we use finer paper until we reach 100 grit for the final sanding. All the first cut on the floor is what we refer to as the "rough cut". The rough cut must be done with the drum or belt before the edger can finish the edges. Once the edges are done and fined off, the drum or belt can do it's final sanding. The main goal of these machines is to sand the old finish off and leave the floor flat.

Edger or Circular Sander

The edger sands all of the edges and places where a drum or belt cannot fit in to. The edging is done much liek the drum or belt as fa as the paper is concerned. It is not unusal to have the ability to use only 100 grit on the edges. Once the edging is done and the drum and belt has finished, scraping and screening is next.

Scraping and Screening

Scraping is done by hand. We use a very sharp paint scraper to plane the wood on the edges of the floor, corners, under cabinets, and stair treads. Scraping must be done before the screening process. Screening is performed with a buffer floor machine, which has either a 100, 120, or 150 grit screen. This screen is just like a dry wall sanding screen, in which, this process smoothes out the floor evenly to blend all of the other previous processes. Screening the floor is also the process that is done in between each coat of finish. After all of this, the floor is finished and needs to be vaccumed. When we vaccum, we try to clean up as much dust as we can from counters, cabinets, shelves, sills, base boards, base shoe, and vents. Not only does this help the potential of dust blowing on to a freshly stained or coated floor, but also helps with the clean up.

Staining or Coating

Stain is an oil based product that gives a seal and color to the floor. Stain is applied by hand with a trim brush around the edges and cotton cloths on the rest of the floor. Stain must be immediately wiped off after application and, in most cases, steel wool is used to pick up excess stain and smooth out the floor. When stain or finish is applied, the wood grain is raised and becomes rough. Steel wool knocks the grain back down, smoothes, and helps seal the floor.

In the case of finish being applied, steel wool is not used, but the screening process between coats serves the same purpose. The floor must be screened (abraded) in between coats of finish, because the first coat raises the grain and the grain must be knocked down smooth. Once the finish is no longer raising the grain, the floor needs to be abraded to give some teeth for subsequent to adhere to.

The Finished Floor

Separations in the floor (gaps) are not uncommon. Gaps are mainly a seasonal condition. The wood expands in the more humid months and helps close gaps in the wood. In dryer months, as in the winter, gaps become obvious because the wood contracts with lack of moisture (humidity). These types of gaps are considered normal. Filling these gaps is not recommended, because with expansion and contraction of the wood, filler will pop out and sometimes unevenly. This makes the floor look worse than the original gap, being filled in parts and unfilled in other. As far as gaps are concerned, every floor and home is different and each floor can react differently even if the floor is on the same level as another in the home. One can have larger gaps as much as maybe an eighth to a quarter inch, while the other floor has virtually no gaps at all.

Finished floors in an uncontrolled environment may have small dust particles, animal, or human hair in the finish even after the final coat. Obviously, we try to produce the perfect floor with no imperfections, but, if you do happen to see particles or a hair in the finish, you can use a fingernail to remove these. These should not be widespread across the entire floor, but it can occur in a small amount. Small imperfections in high traffic areas will wear down under normal traffice.

Wood is a natural product and has imperfections at times. This is an aspect of the beauty and character of hardwood and should be enjoyed.

Serving Chicago and all of Chicagoland with Exceptional Hardwood Floor Services.
Call today to discuss your needs: (866) 219-5209