You can maintain the look and feel of your wood floors without endangering your health or the environment by using natural finishes. You start the refinishing process the same way.
Prepare The Wood
When your floors are scratched or gouged, you need to start by repairing the damage. This way, when you finish your floors, you’ll have a clean, smooth surface.
You can do this by sanding and buffing the wood of your floor. First, clear out the room and clean the floor with diluted vinegar. Then, use sand paper to smooth out the edges of your floor where the buffer won’t reach.
You can rent a buffer to do the main body of your floor, but you can also use sandpaper to sand the entire floor by hand. It’s a big job, so you have to weigh the cost of time and money.
Sanding and buffing strips away the old finish and refines away scratches in your wood. You will need to wear a mask, because this produces a lot of dust and the previous finish may have used toxic chemicals.
If your floor has gouges, you’ll want to repair the damage before you apply finish. Clean out the gouged area and then apply wood filler. You want to be careful not to smear the filler across the surrounding surface. Mound it slightly, though, because filler shrinks as it dries.
Once it’s dry, sand over the filler in order to create the smooth look you want. Then, thoroughly vacuum the wood dust from the entire surface of your floor.
Selecting The Finish
There are many products available on the market to finish your wood floors. When you are concerned about your health or the environment, you will discover that many of these products use chemicals you don’t really want in your home.
Don’t worry. There are many safe, natural finishing products available. You can search for products that use natural oils to provide the finish you want without the risk of hazardous chemicals.
Some products to consider include:
- Natural Oil Finish by Monocoat
- Polywhey Natural Floor Finish by Vermont Natural Coatings
- Tung Oil by Real Milk Paint
You can choose the coloring and the shine you want, using natural options. Avoid products that rely on petroleum or other hazardous chemicals, because those chemicals aren’t necessary.
Finishing Your Floor
Again, you want to start at the edges of the floor and apply your finish around the perimeter. This time, use a brush for the paint.
You can finish the rest of your floor using a paint roller with an extension handle. This will feel similar to mopping the floor and is less physically demanding than painting the perimeter.
You should allow your finishing product to dry for at least three hours. Then, you will need to apply a second coat to the floor. The second coat should also try in three to eight hours. It is recommended that you wait about a week before returning the furniture to the room.
Once you have started using natural products, you can choose to maintain your floors. If you buff every two years, you can avoid the need to sand and repair your floor. This way you can maintain the appearance and look of your floors with less work. Check out Hardwood Champion for hardwood cleaning tips and thisoldhouse.com for more information on how to refinish wood floors.