Frequently Asked Questions

Sanding

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Edges

Corners

Gap-filling

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Beading around the skirting board

Q1 My floor looks terrible, is it worth sanding?

Most old, untreated floors look pretty awful once the carpet has been removed. You can expect dirty, gray, warped boards, some possibly cracked and split. Holes may remain from previous plumbing and heating installations. Many protruding nails are likely, as are patches of old paint and adhesives. Several boards may be loose, misaligned or have been badly cut. All of these problems are commonplace and can easily be solved. The first part of ever job involves a thorough inspection of the floor; I'll check that every board is securely nailed down, repair damaged boards or replace where necessary, fill any knocks, dents and holes and clean the dirt out from the gaps. Preparation is everything when it comes to producing a fine floor. Warped boards can easily be sanded level, with paint and adhesives removed along the way. (Top)

Q2 Will there be lots of dust?

Many people have heard horror stories about floor sanding, expecting the air to be thick with dust, dust to pile up against the skirting boards like snowdrifts and to swirl around the house and settle on ever surface. To be fair, old fashioned machinery and much of the more primitive machinery available on the hire market can produce frightening amounts of dust. However, the machinery used by today's floor sanding professionals is very, very different. I use the latest German and Swiss machinery which has simply superb dust extraction built in. Furthermore, I use a dust extractor with every power tool I use and vacuum the floor constantly. The dust produced is very minimal. This is not only essential to care for my customers home (which I take very seriously), but also for my own health and because there must be absolutely no dust left when I come to varnish the floor. My customers frequently comment on just how little dust there is. (Top)

Q3 Do I need to move all my furniture?

Ideally yes, if at all possible. Because each floor is sanded several times, I need easy access to the whole floor. Similarly when varnishing. If you can remove all the furniture before I arrive then that would be perfect. If you have any particularly heavy items then leave them until I arrive - I知 more than happy to help move furniture where it would be a struggle for you alone, and I知 an expert at maneuvering awkward sofa's through tight doorways! However, there are occasions where it simply isn't possible to get some pieces of furniture out. In these cases I sand and seal one half of the room, move the furniture onto the treated half and then do the other half. (Top)

Q4 Do I need to remove my old carpet?

No, no need to pull up the old carpet, I can do this for you. If you would like me to dispose of the carpet for you then that's not a problem, although I壇 have to charge a little as I have to pay to dump carpet. If, though, you'd like me to cut the carpet into small, manageable pieces, rolled and taped up, then you take them to the tip yourself (where disposal is free for householders) then I値l do this for no extra charge. (Top)

Q5 There are lots of old nails and tacks sticking up, what happens with these?

These are either removed or hammered flush with the board. During the preparation stage (before sanding begins) I generally pull up dozens (or literally hundreds!) of nails and tacks. Any left are simply ground away by the machinery. (Top)

Q6 Some of my boards are split and damaged, can they be replaced or repaired?

I can replace any amount of flooring, from a single piece to the entire floor, using genuine, characterful, aged, reclaimed boards, chosen to match the colour and grain of the rest of your floor. However, damaged boards can often be saved. Cracks can be invisibly glued back together using adhesives stronger than the wood itself or bad bits can be cut out and fresh wood grafted in. (Top)

Q7 My floor has been painted. Can this be sanded off?

Yes, a previously painted floor can be sanded back to beautiful clean wood, however many layers of paint there are. (Top)

Q8 There's a black 'tar-like' substance covering my floor, particularly around the edges. Can this be removed?

This is a substance known in it's day as 'stain'. When central carpets were popular back in the 1950'S the boards which were left exposed were coated with this stuff, layer upon layer, every few months. Over the decades that followed the black from the underlay of fitted carpets combined to produce the unpleasant 'tar' effect. Not a problem though, this can all be sanded away. (Top)

Q9 I have a patch of concrete left over from an old fireplace hearth. Can it be removed and re-boarded?

The concrete from an old fireplace hearth can be broken up and removed, a new section of joist fitted and boards laid over the top. Rather than just re-boarding the hearth area, I take every other board up across the length of the floor and move them forward to cover the hearth, filling in the missing boards at either end of the room. This leaves no ugly lines, but instead a perfect job where it is impossible to tell afterwards that a hearth ever existed. (Top)

Q10 Is it worth filling the gaps between the boards?

In ground floor rooms there can be a draft coming up between the boards. This is because air must circulate freely in building foundations and 'air bricks' (ones with holes drilled right through) are fitted to let in fresh air from outside. In certain houses, filling the gaps can make a tremendous difference to how warm a downstairs room is. Upstairs rooms are rarely drafty because air does not need to circulate in this way, so filling the gaps will make little difference. However, floors with all the gaps filled do look particularly gorgeous, so many of my customers ask me to do this simply on aesthetic grounds. Also. quite often people with young children ask me to fill the gaps because kids just love to post things through! (Top)

Q11 How will the gaps be filled?

I fill gaps with fine sanding dust mixed with an adhesive cellulose filler. This gives a near perfect match to the surrounding wood. Before filling, though, I drive slivers of wood deep down into all but the finest gaps and work the paste in above the slivers. This prevents any of the filler from falling through or working it's way out. (Top)

Q12 Tell me about the sanding process. Is it possible to sand underneath radiators, behind radiator pipes and right into the corners?

Generally I'll sand your floor five times over. I start with a very course grit that quickly sands the boards completely flat and level with one another. The following four grits become increasingly fine, each removing the scratches left by the last. The final sand is with a very fine grit that leaves a beautifully smooth, unmarked finish. The edges are treated similarly, though with a different machine, sanding right underneath the edge of the skirting board and beneath all radiators. I use a triangular corner sander to finish the job, getting right into the corners and behind the pipes. I have a number of different machines, allowing me to sand virtually any tricky area - particularly useful for getting right behind washbasins and toilets when working on bathrooms. (Top)

Q13 I have parquet flooring. How is this sanded?

Parquet flooring looks truly magnificent when freshly sanded. Because the grain of parquet blocks lie in opposing directions to one another the floor must be sanded both across and with the grain for each separate grit used. With a little care, however, beautiful results are possible. (Top)

Q14 Can hardwood flooring be sanded?

It is perfectly possible to sand many types of hardwood floors. It's a delicate task because the uppermost veneer is fairly thin, but removing the surface and re-sealing produces excellent results (Top)

Q15 what colour will my floor be when it's finished?

Natural sanded pine floors varies in colour, from a glowing golden brown to a delicate hint of pink. The exact colour is determined by the conditions under which the trees were grown, the resin content of the wood and the length of time it has aged. If you'd like me to take a look at your floor then I can sand a little area while I知 with you so that you can see just what colour your boards are. Parquet and hardwood floors can be a number of different colours or a mixture of colours, typically containing beech, cedar, ash, maple or oak. (Top)

Q16 Can my floor be stained a different colour?

I can stain your floor to just about any colour or shade you can imagine, from American walnut to Burmese teak, Peruvian mahogany to Indian rosewood. I have around thirty different colours that I regularly use, so I can create any colour scheme that you have in mind, or match the floor to the colour of any of your furniture. (Top)

Q17 Tell me about varnishing.

My preferred varnish is a top quality Scandinavian product called Bona Kemi Mega. This far exceeds any of the varnishes available on the high street in terms of finish and durability. I apply three thick coats, finely sanding between the first and the second coat. Most of my customers chose a semi-matt (satin) finish, rather than the high sheen of gloss, but either are available. Once your floor is varnished there is next to no maintenance. Simply clean it and forget about it. (Top)

Q18 Can my floor be waxed?

I can certainly wax your floor as an alternative to varnishing. Wax is the most traditional seal for a sanded floor. It looks absolutely beautiful and has a lovely old fashioned smell and feel to it. However, it does require a certain amount of maintenance and must be re-applied and buffed up at regular intervals on any areas of the floor which experience heavy traffic, though not in areas which are not regularly walked on, such as under furniture. This is fairly easy to do and I can leave you with full instructions. An advantage of wax over varnish is that if you scratch the floor you can simply rub more wax into the scratch to remove it. I use Leibermans floor wax. This is an excellent high build, low maintenance specialist floor wax. (Top)

Q19 Tell me about oiling floorboards

Floor oils produce a very tough finish with a fabulous, deep silky sheen. I use a superb product called Osmo-polyx-Oil. Two coats are necessary, with a light sanding between coats. Like wax(above), floor oil requires a level of maintenance with re-application necessary occasionally in areas which are regularly walked on (easy to do and full instructions given). Again, like wax, an oiled floor has the advantage that any scratches can easily be removed simply by rubbing more oil in. (Top)

Q20 Can my floor be painted?

I can paint your floor with ultra-tough, high pigment floor paint. This is available in a number of colours. One coat of primer and two of top coat are necessary. Painted floors are an attractive alternative to varnished boards. They are extremely hard wearing, very easily to maintain (any chips or scratches are simply painted over) and with the correct choice of paint produce stunning results. (Top)

Q21 Can you sand my floors and I値l do my own varnishing?

I知 happy to stop at the sanding stage and let my customers save money by doing their own varnishing. I give full instructions of how it should be done to produce excellent results. I can even supply the varnish (or oil/wax/floor paint) and all the applicators that are needed. When varnishing, the boards need a light sand between the first and second coat, but I値l explain exactly how to go about this and leave you with some suitable sandpaper. (Top)

Q22 I have an unsightly gap between the bottom of my skirting board and the floor. What can be done about this?

With many floors there tends to be a slight gap between the bottom of the skirting board and the wooden floor. Sometimes the gap can be quite wide. This is easily fixed by securing a thin strip of beading to the bottom of the skirting board. Once this is painted over to match the colour of the skirting boards it simply appears as part of the original skirting. (Top)

Q23 Tell me about sanding stairs.

Sanded stairs look truly magnificent. When the carpet is initially removed from a staircase the steps are dirty, grimy and filled with nails and staples. Typically, each step and riser has a painted section of about six inches wide to the left and right, built up from numerous coats of old paint. However, after a few days of nail pulling, scraping, sanding and buffing, I can leave your staircase glowing with life. (Top)

Q24 How long will the work take to do?

For an average sized living room of three meters by three meters, in a reasonable condition, I壇 expect the work to take two days. The first half of the first day would be spent on preparation - fixing damage, pulling out old nails, filling holes and nailing loose boards down. The rest of the day I'd spend sanding, getting the bulk of the work done by the end of the day. On the morning of the second day I'd finish off the fine, final sanding. The afternoon would be spent varnishing, with three coats down by the evening. If the job required filling all the gaps as well then this would take an extra day - therefore three days in all. (Top)

Q25 How long does the varnish, oil, wax or paint take to dry?

The varnish I use is very quick drying. It's possible to walk on the first coat after just thirty minutes as this coat soaks right into the wood. The second and third coat can be walked on after about an hour. Quick drying varnish has the advantage that it's very convenient for my customers, especially when doing an entrance hall which restricts access in and out of the house. I always warn my customers before I apply each coat in case they need to cross the floor, so access is never restricted by more than one hour.
Wax requires a single coat, but cannot be walked on for about eight hours. Oil needs two coats, both taking about eight hours to dry. Painted boards also need about eight hours drying time, with three separate coats necessary. Obviously if I知 working on an area that restricts access to the rest of the house this can be a little inconvenient for my customers. However, I知 very aware of this and sympathetic about the problem. I'll try to fit around you wherever possible, for example leaving the sealing until first thing in the morning, so that it can be dry by the time you return home from work. (Top)

Q26 Who will do the work?

There is just me. I don't employ anyone else so it will be me you'll deal with from the first phone call to the final coat of varnish. As the owner of the business I take tremendous pride in my work and want each and every floor to be perfect. It's also extremely important to me that my customers are delighted with the finished floor, my customer service and my treatment of their home. Each job I do establishes my reputation for craftsmanship and service and as I get the vast majority of my work through recommendations I want to leave you feeling thoroughly satisfied and telling all of your friends! (Top)

Q27 will I need to move out of the house while the work is done?

No, no need at all. Throughout the sanding stage it's possible to walk across any floor I知 working on at any time. The only time you'd need to stay off a floor is during varnishing, which would be no more than an hour per coat. If I知 painting, oiling or waxing this will be about eight hours per coat, but I知 always happy to work around your needs. As far as noise is concerned, although it's noisy in the room that I知 actually working in, it generally isn't too bad any where else in the house. (Top)

Q28 When can I move my furniture back in and start using the room again?

Generally furniture can be moved back in and you can start using the room the following day. The finish will reach its final, hardened state after about three days. I recommend not walking on the floor in outside shoes for these three days, but socks or slippers are fine. (Top)

Q29 I need to decorate. Should I do this before or after sanding?

Decorating can be done either before or after sanding. There's little dust involved in sanding with modern machinery so no damage will be done to fresh paintwork. Also I'm very careful around paintwork so your beautiful new walls will remain clean and free from marks. The only risk is the odd scuff mark on the skirting boards which happens from time to time whilst sanding the edges. This will be very minor though and five minutes with a paintbrush would fix all the marks that I壇 make. It's generally easier to paint a room before the floor is done because you don't have to worry about getting drips of paint on it, or marking it with the feet of a stepladder. If you want to decorate afterwards then plenty of dust sheets are important and I壇 advise standing the feet of ladders on top of a piece of board laid on the floor. (Top)

Q30 Do you charge VAT?

No, I知 not VAT registered, so there is no VAT to pay. (Top)

Q31 Can I have a free quote and some advice?

If you'd like a quote and some advice then just give me a ring. I generally work until about 5.30 to 6.00pm, then quote between 6.00pm and 8.00pm. If you ring me in the morning or early afternoon then I値l come over the same evening if at all possible, if that suits you. If early evening isn't convenient for you then we'd always be able to work out another suitable time for the quote. I知 very flexible. I can generally work out the price on the spot and then send you a full, written quote within a day or two. The quote is completely free and there is absolutely no obligation to book. If you do want to go ahead then just give me a ring and we can work out a convenient date to start. (Top)

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