If you are planning to refinish your timber flooring, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind.
Buy some safety gear
The process of refinishing wooden floors can be surprisingly hazardous. As such, you will need to buy some safety gear to avoid being hurt whilst you carry out this task.
For example, it is usually far more efficient to use an electric sander for this process rather than sanding the floors by hand. However, this piece of equipment can be very loud and will cause the dust from the sanded floorboards to be flung into the air. Because of this, you should invest in a pair of ear muffs (to ensure that your hearing is not damaged by the loud noise from the sander), a set of goggles (to prevent the dust from entering and irritating your eyes) and a respirator (to avoid inhaling the dust particles).
The respirator should also be worn when you're applying the varnish, as this substance contains a whole host of chemicals that may cause lung irritation if inhaled in large quantities.
Additionally, you should consider purchasing a pair of steel-capped boots; whilst these are not essential, they will protect your feet if you accidentally run the electric sander over them during the sanding process.
Inspect and prep the floorboards before you begin
It's also important to inspect and prep the floorboards before you begin; this will ensure that the refinishing process goes smoothly and that the end results of the project meet your expectations.
For example, you should check the floorboards for protruding nails; if you find any, you should either pull them out or hammer them down so that they are level with the boards.
The reason for this is as follows; if you run the electric sander over a nail, the nail could slice through the moving sheets of sandpaper and damage the equipment itself.
Additionally, you should look for any gaps or small holes in the floorboards and use some wood filler to fill up any ones that you find; this will prevent the varnish that you eventually apply to these boards from pooling in these openings.
Finally, you should look for signs of fungi, such as dry or wet rot, on the floorboards (examples of these signs include the wood feeling soft or starting to crumble). The floorboards should be replaced before the refinishing work begins, so as to ensure that the fungus does not spread to and destroy the other refinished floorboards.