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DIY: Hardwood Flooring

do it yourself hardwood floorsDo-it-yourselfers face a daunting task if they want to install new or refinish existing hardwood floors by themselves. However, new installations can be made much easier if the homeowner selects one of several new varieties of prefinished interlocking hardwood flooring. Homeowners considering hardwood floor projects can find an abundance of information on the Internet.

Find the most complete information on hardwood flooring by clicking right here, TODAY!

There are a variety of sites that will point you to sources providing complete information on purchasing and installing hardwood floors in your home. Other sites will give you step-by-step instructions on how to refinish an older wood floor, with pictures! And of course, there are many retail flooring outlets that would be more than happy to come out and do the job for you!

Doing It Yourself

Before you consider a do-it-yourself hardwood floor installation, you want to pick the kind and style of wood floor that best suits the character and function of the room you have chosen to remodel. Today, there are wood flooring selections that are sure to please any family’s tastes and that will fit in with any décor.

Installing attractive, durable, and long-lasting hardwood floors doesn’t have to break the bank. Budget-conscious consumers will be pleased to know that hardwood flooring can be economical, as well as add a distinctive style and flavor to any room in your home.

DIY hardwood floorsOne of the biggest flooring sites on the World Wide Web devoted to floor coverings of all types is sponsored by the WFCA, the World Floor Covering Association. Click on “hardwood flooring,” and home remodeling enthusiasts will get a detailed look at the hottest trends in hardwood flooring across the U.S.

The WFCA divides the content of its website into a number of categories that provide do-it-yourselfers with a great deal of information about current trends in hardwood floors. There are also guides for choosing a type of wood and what to look for before you buy.

Installation is covered in great detail with photos and diagrams showing each part of the process. Once installed, the WFCA offers tips floor care. (You’ll also find a page on this site on post-installation floor care, cleaning, and maintenance.) There are sections on teh WFCA site devoted specifically to the hardness of various wood varieties and even to homeowners looking to install radiant heating.

The final pages of the WFCA site provides convenient definitions of wood flooring terms and handy calculators to compute the amount of material and supplies each do-it-yourselfer will need to complete his or her own hardwood flooring project.

The Latest Hardwood Floor Trends

diy hardwood floorDo-it-yourselfers, considering hardwood floors for their homes, are looking for more than just good looks. While the value and durability of hardwood are important concerns, most consumers are looking for something more: The added value of authenticity. Hardwood reveals a lot about its owner’s values, tastes, and preferred style.

Retailers who specialize in hardwood flooring also offer information for do-it-yourselfers, both in their stores and on line. Another informative website is that of Inter County Floor located in Long Island, NY.

Every hardwood floor is unique in the way that displays its natural beauty. The top flooring trends reflect a desire to bring the “art of nature” into the home, through the installation of hardwood floors. Therefore, the biggest trend in new hardwood flooring is authenticity.

This trend takes its cues from the past, when all new homes contained wooden floors of one type or another. To replicate early American themes, homeowners now select wide plank, distressed, and hand scraped floors. A second choice captures the imagination by using exotic wood strains from all over the world.

diy hardwood flooringModern homeowners also select softer, more sustainable flooring products like bamboo and cork as alternatives to traditional hardwoods. As global deforestation has become a major concern for environmentalists, consumers have turned towards more products that don’t come from irreplaceable trees.

Bamboo is a grass that re-grows after it is cut, while cork is made from tree bark that regenerates without destroying the tree it is taken from. Both of these products provide the natural beauty and durability found in traditional hardwood floors, and both come from completely sustainable material sources.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing for Do-It-Yourselfers

Most any authentic hardwood floor can be restored to its former beauty using modern tools and floor care products. However, floor refinishing is a labor intensive process that requires a number of steps and some careful planning. With time and patience, most homeowner can learn how to refinish the hardwood floors in their home.

The good news about floor refinishing is that it is, more than likely, a once-in-a-lifetime project.

The original hardwood in most American homes is already 70, 80 or even 100 years old. Many homes dating back to the 19th century are still occupied and contain their original hand-finished floors.

When refinished properly, homeowners can look forward to many years of enjoyment and utility from their revitalized hardwood floors. The differences between the old dull and weathered flooring and newly restored and finished wood can be truly amazing. The do-it-yourselfer’s investment of time and materials will most definitely be rewarded for many years to come.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing Made Easy

do it yourself hardwood flooringThere are many how-to manuals on the market today. Most home or big box lumber stores, or building supply companies, will have racks of books devoted to any home care or remodeling project you can think of. You can also find information on installing hardwood floors, here, on this site.

Due to the recent increase in popularity of hardwood flooring, there are many available books and magazines that detail the process of refinishing older floors. One of the most popular series of books for do-it-yourselfers is the “For Dummies” collection.

Once considered a novelty, the “For Dummies” series of how-to books gives plain language instruction in a wide variety of content areas including hardwood floor care, installation, and refinishing.

The Refinishing Process – Sanding

The sanding process is the most tedious and time-consuming part of floor refinishing. Two different power tools, an upright floor sander, and a handheld sander can make fast work of even the oldest, darkest, and grimiest hardwood floors.

Upright sanders can usually be rented at a local home store or hardware store. They are relatively easy to use and come with attached vacuum bags for easy cleanup.

Do-it-yourselfers simply load a particular grit of sandpaper and follow the machine across the floor.

The handheld machine is used for smaller, hard-to-reach places, such as corners, doorways, steps, and landings. It too will come with a dust collector bag to minimize the amount of dust particles in the air.

do it yourself hardwood floorSanding machines will allow the user to evenly remove the old floor finish as well as sand the floor. Sanding usually requires a minimum of three applications; first using coarse sandpaper, followed by medium grit sandpaper, and then a fine grit for spot finishing.

During the sanding part of the process, it is important for the do-it-yourselfer to wear a dust mask, goggles, and ear protectors. One must always consider safety when working with power tools.

After sanding, it’s time to fill in any cracks or holes that may be evident in the wood surface. An inexpensive putty knife is the best tool for this part of the refinishing process.

Ask your local hardware store owner about finding the right putty for the job. After allowing the wood putty to dry, spot sanding is once again required.

Finally, after all the sanding is done, you’ll want to carefully clean the entire room, removing any dust and sand particles from the floor and walls. This can be accomplished by the process known as tacking, which is nothing more than using a damp cloth or rag to wipe off the remaining dust from the exposed surfaces.

Step Two – The Finish

There are three main choices for finishing your newly sanded hardwood floors. The first is a clear coat of either oil-based or water-based polyurethane. This finish is perfect for high traffic areas or areas that are subject to a lot of moisture, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

hardwood flooring diyPolyurethane is a clear protective coating that resembles a plastic sheet covering your floor. Polyurethane can be applied as a very shiny or less shiny coating, depending on the homeowner’s personal tastes.

While it goes on clear, one disadvantage of polyurethane is that it will darken with age. If damaged, polyurethane is also difficult to repair.

Varnish, the old standby in floor finishing, is still widely in use today. Varnish is a very durable finish and provides the do-it-yourselfer with a number of choices in shine and luster. As a general rule, the higher the gloss or shine of a varnished floor, the more durable the finish.

The most popular hardwood floor finish choices are stains that penetrate and seal the wood while bringing out the richness of the wood’s natural grain. These products come in a variety of colors and shades and can mimic most any coloration found in nature. Stains are also quite durable.

Stains and sealers may also darken over time. While these finishes are less durable than polyurethane or varnish, they are easy to spot repair and are perfect for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and other areas of the home that are subject to lesser amounts of traffic.

Homeowners will usually want to apply at least two coats of finish to newly sanded floors. Between coats, it is necessary to buff the floor and then wipe the floor with a damp cloth or mop to remove any residual dust and dirt.

After the third and final coat of finish has been applied and allowed to dry–usually 24 hours–it will be time to move your furniture back into the room, relax, and enjoy your finished do-it-yourself flooring project!

Check out the latest styles of natural hardwood flooring right HERE on this page!

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