Refinishing and Refurbishing Your Floors: Sand and Shine

At first, it looked perfect, and now you look down on it with a worried and forlorn look. Whatever happened to your floor? There were times when it was so clean and shiny, but now? It is not looking its best.

So, what can be done? Is there a way to renew the looks of your floor without spending a boatload of money? Must you use the services of a contractor or professional, or are there some jobs which can be done DIY-style?

First of all – there is indeed a way to refurbish the looks of your floor. There is definitely a way to get your floor looking better, even after years of neglect. Furthermore, it doesn’t even have to cost a lot. Obviously, the financial aspect changes with the floor type and size, but the costs don’t have to be astronomical.

Before You Begin on The Floors

What kind of floor is it?

The first thing you need to figure out is your floor. What kind of floor is it? Is it marble? Stone? Rock? Wood? Ceramic? You need to know which type of floor it is, in order to know what not to use on it. Using the wrong kind of substances can seriously damage certain types of floors, and the price of replacing floor tiles can sometimes be a hefty one. Besides, if you are interested in replacing the entire floor, there is no need to bother with refurbishing the old one.

Also – what is the size of your floor and what is your budget? You need to take these things into consideration when it comes to making a calculated decision.

The best thing would be to get those floors cleaned when no-one else is around, in an unoccupied home. The process is a noisy and dirty one. If we are talking about a house which is going through extensive renovations, the best time to get this done would be before the walls are painted, since at that time there are no people around, and many times there is no furniture either.

Sanding vs Polishing Floors

Sanding is the process of peeling or filing the topmost layer of your floor

Sanding is the name given to the process of peeling or filing down the topmost layer of your floor and revealing the layer underneath it. This provides the floor with a shiny new look, even if it is 20 years old and full of coffee stains. This is done by trained professionals, using a variety of methods, in accordance with the type of floor they are dealing with.

At first, the floor is thoroughly cleaned. After that, the cavities in between the tiles are filled with a special grout sealer. This takes several hours to perform, usually, at which point the resulting dust and dirt are cleaned up, and a special sanding machine is brought in to make a first pass along the tiles.

The sander functions by making use of metals or even diamonds which are installed at the bottom of the sander, but some floor sanders utilize sand paper and different types of fabrics or materials. Every floor has a level of sanding which it agrees with, like many other surfaces. This is partly why this process requires professionals. Unprofessional sanding can potentially lead to the total destruction of the floor in question.

After the sanding – sometimes weeks or months afterward – a sealant compound is brought in, and the tiles and cavities are filled in and buffed up. The reason why you need a long stretch of time between these steps is so that you can be certain that the floor is completely and unequivocally dry. When work is in progress, there is always the chance that some water or other liquid will penetrate the microscopic cavities and holes in the vacancies between tiles. If you seal up a tiny cavity with water trapped inside of it, it could be detrimental to the entire operation.

Polishing is the process where a polishing machine is used on the floor. The machine cleans difficult and tough-to-remove stains from a wide variety of floors, and is also helpful for some floors which have been scratched or bruised.

Techniques For Polishing Floors

Crystal polish is the most popular in Israel

Crystal polish – the most popular polish in Israel. It is a polish which can withstand scratches and drag marks, and it lasts a long time. This is a polish which includes an element of sanding – not with a diamond, but nevertheless effective. That is why many sanding contractors use this machine at the end of a sanding job in order to put the final shine on the floor.

Wax polish – the simplest polish out there. The machine goes over the tiles, and it covers them with a layer of wax. This makes the floor shine and sparkle, but it’s less useful when it comes to drag marks and scratches. The wax polish has a more limited lifespan, and it is necessary to repeat the process annually in order to preserve the look. Also, there is a danger of slipping and sliding on the wax.

Acrylic polish – this is a polish which has no real shine, but it is highly durable. It is very common in public spaces, where there is a lot of foot traffic. There is also very light sanding involved, but it is not up to the standards of a sanding machine. The acrylic polish leaves you with a clean floor, and it lasts for a while.

DIY Floor Refurbishing

Sanding and polishing both (usually) call for a more professional and experienced hand. Doing it wrong or in an amateurish manner can result in an uneven floor which doesn’t share a unified look, and – as with the sealant – it could lead to a complete failure to refurbish the floor.

On the other hand, there are ways of making your old floor sparkle without calling for a professional, and in some cases, this can be done without spending money on each square meter. The most important thing to consider, when approaching the floors with a DIY method, is the type of floor that you have. The guiding question here would be: how do we clean the floor without damaging it?

As previously stated, using the wrong kinds of substances can cost you. Materials like water and bleach are only suitable for certain types of floors. If, for instance, you will try to wash a hardwood floor with water, it may cause the floor to become warped. If we are talking about marble or stone, bleach could potentially seriously harm it.

There are several renovation methods which can be used: cleaning with a specially designated powder (or even laundry detergent!), using floor tile stickers, or using porcelain. Every solution has its “do’s and don’ts”, so it is vital to know which kind of floor you are dealing with, and which materials need to be used.


Consult with a floor professional

There is a variety of ways to make your floors look better. Some would be more suitable for those of us who are renting – in other words, people who are not about to invest too much in the process, but who still want to provide the floors with a cleaner look. Some methods will be more suitable for those who are interested in investing more money and giving the floor a long-lasting shine.

Obviously, nothing is written in stone. Some landlords and tenants can work out a solution together. Every method has advantages and disadvantages. Either way, if you are in doubt, it is best to consult with a floor professional. This way, you will save yourself time, money, and energy, and you will be able to have a floor with a nice shine for an affordable price.

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