ProWorks Step-by-Step to a Quality Refinish
For very old or damaged floors, we begin by sanding with 16 or 24 grit paper, known as open coat abrasives. This aggressive sanding is used to address deeply penetrated finish products and to even out elevation problems within and between boards.
Preparation of the Test Patch
You need to be excited about the color of your new floor, and we need to know you’re excited. That’s why we do a test patch on every job. On a small area of your floor, we quickly go through our whole sanding cycle, then apply a sealer and one finish coat, so you can see what the new color looks like: not in a picture or a handheld swatch, but right there on the floor, where you can view it with your family in natural light. We will leave this patch alone as we work until you let us know you’re comfortable with the color of your new floor. If necessary, we can use this patch to test stain options.
The typical cut sand is done with 40 grit paper. If the floor has been sanded with open coat, the cut sand will “smooth out” the rough surface left by the coarse sandpaper. Often, though, this is our first pass with the sanding gear, and its purpose is to remove old finish products and expose the raw wood of the floor, preparing the surface for trowel filling.
Besides using cutting edge dust containment gear, we use backpack vacuums to keep a clean worksite all the way through the process. Here, we want to remove debris and dust before filling the floor so that wood filler left in your floor is free of contaminants.
On our hands and knees, we use a tile float or trowel to spread wood filler across your entire floor, pushing it into cracks and gaps to provide a continuous and flat surface. Here’s one of the ways we differentiate our service from our competitors. Rather than skimping on filler by using sawdust to fill cracks, or cutting costs by spreading filler too thin, we do this as if we were frosting the birthday cake of someone we love.
After the filler has dried, we “slick” the floor with 80 grit abrasives. This step removes excess wood filler, leaving it in any cracks and gaps where it belongs, addresses sanding marks left by earlier passes, and leaves the floor smooth and ready for screening.
At this point in the process, we begin to work on the areas where our machinery cannot reach. Every inside corner of the floor is meticulously scraped by hand to remove old finish, then hand-sanded with 40 and 80 grit paper. After all, we want even the out-of-the-way parts of your floor to last long and look great too!
After thoroughly vacuuming your floor again, we use an orbital floor buffer with 80-100 grit screens to take your floor to a whole new level of smooth. Screen abrasives look just like screens on your windows. They are a light abrasive which close the grain and removes scratches left after the slick sand.
Hand Screen Butt Ends
The special attention we pay to the edges of your floors helps ensure a more beautiful floor with maximum adhesion and longevity. The more we abrade (sand) your floor, the more adhesion points are created for chemical bonding with the polyurethane finish product. This is important on every square inch, which is why we never miss even the areas our buffer can’t reach.
Vacuuming and Dry Tacking
Remember what Mom said about cleanliness? Well, besides that, it’s a huge part of professional finishing to “coat clean”. We take every measure to ensure we’re applying finish to the cleanest surface possible, which translates to a prettier, more durable floor for you. We thoroughly vacuum every square inch of the floor and then tack it with a dry electrostatic mop to get it clean as a whistle.
Stain or Natural?
With the help of test patches we have provided earlier in the process, you’ll know by now what color you want your floor to be. If you’ve chosen the natural color, we’ll apply a sealer coat now. On the other hand, if you’ve chosen to have us stain the wood to a color other than its natural hue, here’s where we do it. Stain is rubbed in by hand, then toweled dry with clean rags, and left to cure- new color accomplished! A sealer coat is applied to the floor once stain has dried to protect and lock-in the new look.
First Finish Coat
After vacuuming the floor again, and damp-tacking to ensure it is as clean as it can be, it’s time to slow down the pace, switch the radio to cool jazz and calmly and generously lay down our first coat of top grade polyurethane finish. It takes focus and a cool, steady hand, and we love to shoot for the perfect coat every time.
After the first finish coat has dried (3-4 hours for water-borne products), we then will use our buffers and our hands to screen your floor again with a pad or screen rated between 100 and 150, depending on how the wood has responded to our first application of finish. This step will smooth out any raised grain in your floor and provides a scored surface for excellent “bite” on the final coat.
Second Finish Coat
We vacuum again, damp tack to get your floor ultra clean, then float in another fat coat of finish. Someone else can find the Horn of Valhalla and the Holy Grail. Our quest is the Perfect Coat for your floors.
Third Finish Coat
After the second coat of finish has dried, we’ll walk you through before we vacuum and damp tack your floors, this time in preparation for a third finish coat. We’re never stingy about this last application, because we want your floors to be beautiful and well protected with the richness and depth you can only get from a nice, thick final coat. After four hours, you’re ready to enjoy your beautiful new floor by ProWorks.