December 22, 2022

The Risks of DIY Hardwood Flooring Refinishing Projects

Man as a craftsman or do-it-yourself worker laying hardwood floor in the new apartment

Hardwood flooring projects are one of the costliest home improvement ventures for homeowners. While new hardwood floors cost a fortune, refinishing old flooring can still be expensive. Due to the increasing fees of installation and refinishing services, many homeowners opt to complete them alone. Although do-it-yourself projects allow more creativity inputs, flexible time, and small budgets, DIY hardwood flooring ventures can become a nightmare. Here are some of the risks you need to understand before you consider refinishing your old wooden floorings alone.

Problems That Can Happen When You Use a Professional Sander

One of the processes you need to do before refinishing is to sand your old hardwood floors. Sanding allows you to remove old stains and finishes from the floorboards. It also ensures you get a smooth, even surface to deal with scratches and dents.

When you refinish hardwood floors, doing it with an electric hand sander is almost impossible. Hardwood finishes need enough power and weight to remove that hand sanders can’t provide. They also waste more time and money.

To ensure you get a smooth, even surface, you need to buy or rent a professional floor sander. However, these sanders are temperamental. Home remodelers need to have the required skill and talent to handle them. When you use them without experience, you can end up destroying your floors.

You can encounter several problems once you use a professional sander with limited skill and knowledge. This equipment is powerful enough to cause deep, irreparable depressions in your hardwood floors. Homeowners who plan to sand their floors themselves need to learn how to handle and use these tools fast, but the success percentage won't reach 50%.

In addition, sanding is a physically exhausting process. While it may look like pushing a big, wheeled sander is easy, keeping the machine leveled is tough. Remodelers must have proper control over the equipment, and sanding the floors can exhaust you before you even finish the area. Exhaustion can affect how you handle the sander, which can lead to more mistakes. 

Dust and Its Effects on Your Health

Sanding hardwood floors using DIY tools and instruments produce huge amounts of dust. While dust is not a general health hazard, inhaling them in high quantities is dangerous for your health. Professional refinishing services have better equipment and know the best dust abatement techniques.

Although the internet is a vast library of information, learning how these techniques work won’t happen in a day or two. Some services also have a dustless system to avoid having these issues.

The Sanding Capacity of Your Hardwood Floors

When refinishing old hardwood floors in your new home, homeowners need to consider several factors. Start by identifying the type of hardwood flooring you have. Solid hardwood floors can be sanded and refinished many times, but engineered hardwood can only be sanded and refinished once.

If you have solid hardwood floorboards, it doesn’t mean you can sand them immediately. There’s a limit to how much you can sand wooden floors. Check if the planks are thick enough to handle another sanding and if they have the same thickness.

Recognizing the sanding capacity of hardwood flooring is difficult for DIY remodelers. Professionals have the skill and knowledge to check if they’re uniform and thick enough for the process.

Health Hazards of Chemicals and Varnishes

Most products used for refinishing hardwood floors have VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are harmful chemicals that reduce the air quality in your home. They also have short and long-term health effects depending on the levels present and your exposure to them.

The VOCs in finishes evaporate into the air while the product is wet and as it dries. Depending on the type of finish you apply to your floor, you can have low to extremely high levels of harmful chemicals lingering in the air. When you use these products without health-safety masks and gear, you become vulnerable to many adverse effects like temporary dizziness, headaches, and even cancer.

Some polyurethane finishes, especially the oil-based ones, have xylene, ethylbenzene, and acetates which are dangerous to your health. Slow-drying varnishes also have higher VOC levels, and exposure to them during and after application can irritate your skin and affect your breathing.

Professional refinishers follow the VOC safety protocols and use the proper health safety gear while applying the finishes. They also have extensive knowledge of the best products to use for your hardwood floors without compromising the health of homeowners and the surrounding environment.

Understanding the Risks of DIY Refinishing Projects

DIY projects are cost-effective and flexible solutions to expensive home improvement plans. While it promotes creativity and develops the homeowner’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the success of amateur DIY-ers will still depend on the projects. Although some projects are more successful with DIY, that’s not often the case with hardwood floor refinishing. Knowing and understanding the risks involved will help homeowners plan their next steps.

Are you looking for certified hardwood floor refinishing services in Austin, TX? Contact Kelly Hardwood Floors and talk with an expert today!