Sanding your hardwood floors - Should you DIY or leave it to the professionals? : Hirepool

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Sanding your hardwood floors - Should you DIY or leave it to the professionals?

  • 23 Jul, 2020

If you’ve lifted your carpet to find hardwood floors beneath, you may only be a few passes with a flooring sander away from beautifully finished hardwood floors. Hardwood floors are popular for many reasons; they look natural and are non-toxic, easier to clean than carpet and attract fewer germs and dust mites, making them a popular choice for those with allergies. The real question is; should you sand wooden floors yourself or leave it to the professionals?  In this blog, we’ll cover the benefits of sanding your wooden floors and the pros and cons of DIY vs leaving it to the pros. 

 

Benefits of refinishing hardwood floors 

Deciding to refinish your hardwood floors is a big call, but the potential benefits of doing this job are huge. Sanding and polishing your hardwood floors can: 

  • Remove scratches, marks and signs of wear and tear from pets or kids.

  • Elevate the look and feel of your home without undertaking a major renovation. 

  • Increase the value of your property for resale

  • Provide you with more options, such as finishing them in a different colour stain or level of shine. 

  • Offer the option to paint floors a different colour, a trend that’s becoming increasingly popular in modern homes. 

 

Refinishing your floors doesn’t only improve the appearance but can make them more durable and easier to care for.

Key considerations for sanding hardwood floors 

There are a few ways to make your hardwood floor dreams come to life. With the right gear and a bit of know-how, it may be a job you are able to tackle yourself. Hiring a professional is likely to get you the desired result, but it might not be as friendly on your wallet. There’s no one right answer but there are some things you should think about when deciding whether to DIY or pay the experts.

 

1. Cost 

Let’s face it, the cost of sanding and polishing your floors is probably the first consideration for homeowners taking on this project. There are quite a few factors that will impact the cost of sanding and refinishing your floors, such as the size of the area you want to work on, the type of flooring you have and if you need to remove existing flooring. 

 

Hiring a flooring specialist

Hiring a professional, especially a flooring specialist, will almost certainly cost you more than it would to do it yourself. While it may give you peace of mind that the job will be done by an expert, you could risk over-capitalising on your renovation - an important consideration if resale is top of mind. Spending a fortune on refinishing hardwood floors could cut into your profit margins when it comes time to sell, plus it’s a lot of cash to sink on a renovation, only to have new owners come and switch it out for a different type of flooring.

 

Flooring specialist vs handy person 

If you’re tempted to use a local handy person over a flooring specialist in order to save a few pennies, you’ll want to make sure they have a lot of experience and good references. An inexperienced handy person may do more damage to your floors, costing you more in the long run if you need to get them repaired or refinished again by an expert. 

 

DIY and save 

Without a doubt, you could stand to save a lot of money by hiring the proper equipment from Hirepool and doing it yourself. The floor sanding equipment available for hire is trade quality and designed to help you achieve the same results as the professionals when used correctly. Hirepool offers competitive rates on floor sanding equipment hire and can ensure you have the right grit of sandpaper for the task. Hirepool experts can also show you how to use their professional quality equipment to achieve the best results and are always happy to talk to you about your project. 

 

DIY floor preparation only 

If you’re still leaning towards getting a professional to refinish your hardwood floors, consider tackling the floor preparation yourself. Even doing part of the process such as floor preparation yourself could save you money. Removing old flooring can be done the smart way, with a floor stripper from Hirepool and a bit of elbow grease. Check out our guide on ‘How to rip up old flooring without doing serious damage to your home’ and pick up all the gear you need from Hirepool. Easily lift old carpet, tiles or vinyl before you rope in the professionals and save. 



2. Size of your job

The size of the area you want to refinish will have a big impact on the cost of your project. Sanding and polishing floors throughout your home is an ambitious job for a novice and it may be worth getting a number of quotes from the pros if this is the case. 

 

If, however, you are looking to sand one or two rooms or refresh a smaller worn area, it’s very possible to achieve a great result yourself. 

Bringing in a professional for a small job like a hallway or bathroom may not be worth it, but that doesn’t mean you should have to live with unsightly old floors in these spaces. 

 

 

3.Skill level 

If you consider yourself handy and have a lot of patience to do the job right, then you will likely have all the skills you need to achieve a great result. Sanding hardwood floors isn’t too physically demanding or difficult, but it can be repetitive and time consuming.  Achieving a professional finish requires not only having the right equipment but a willingness to do each step thoroughly. 

 

There are three key steps to refinishing your floors 

  1. Preparing the floorboards

This step includes lifting carpet, tiles or vinyl flooring and removing staples, making repairs and hammering down nail heads in preparation for sanding. 

  1. Sanding the floorboards

The level of difficulty of this task will depend on the condition of your floors. If there is glue residue or a deep scratches, you may have to start with low grit, heavy duty sanding paper before you work down to finer grits, doing more passes of the wood than if you just have to take a light layer off the top. 

You will likely need to use a couple of different types of sanders to get into the corners and against the skirting boards and edges of your room. 

  1. Finishing the floorboards 

Once you have sanded your floors to a smooth finish, you will need to seal them with a varnish or stain. There are many different types of finish available on the market, and you will need to decide what formula and colour is best suited to your needs. Other key considerations are durability, ongoing maintenance and ease of application.

 

Sanding a floor isn’t highly technical, nor is it particularly dangerous, unlike electrical or structural work. In most cases, a building consent is not required. There are many renovation jobs where it’s advisable to seek out help from qualified professionals, but when it comes to sanding your floors, there may not be any cause to outsource this job. If you’re tackling a smaller area or consider yourself pretty handy and meticulous, sanding your own floors could be a job for you. 

 

4.Time

As the saying goes, good things take time. Sanding your floors is no exception. Hiring a professional will mean your job is likely to be completed more quickly, especially if you’re inclined to leave DIY projects to the weekends. Professional floor sanders are typically on the job full time, and in most cases should be able to get sanding and finishing done in a matter of days. There may be a little more time needed for floor preparation and drying time, but you could have new look wooden floors in a week or so. 

 

Sanding floors yourself is likely to take more time, especially if you’re working on a number of rooms or a large space. If, however, you’re working in a smaller area of your home, you may be able to complete the job over the course of a couple of weekends. If you plan on renovating and refinishing one room at a time, doing it yourself offers this flexibility.

 

Availability of professionals 

Another time-related consideration is the availability of flooring professionals. Ideally, humidity levels in your home need to be controlled when you have unsealed hardwood flooring, as a dry house can cause the flooring to shrink and may create cracks between the flooring slats. An overly humid environment may cause the flooring to swell, warping the boards. This can mean that the time of year that’s ideal for getting your flooring done is limited. Much like waiting for window glazers or deck builders during peak seasons, you may be left on a long waiting list and unable to get your floors refinished in a timely manner.

 

If you’re looking to tidy up a property for resale and want to get a job done on a tight timeline, you may be better off investing the time to do this yourself. 



5. Difficulty 

One last thing to consider when deciding to DIY or hire an expert is the level of difficulty when it comes to sanding your floors. If your floor has patching or needs difficult repairs done such as levelling or straightening boards you may want to get some help with this. Colour matching to other wood finishes can be tricky and maybe best left to the pros. If your hardwood floors have a pattern such herringbone or are made of exotic woods that require special treatment, you may wish to consult with a specialist first. If the job is pretty straightforward though, then go for it!  

 

So, should you sand your floors yourself or leave it to the professionals? 

 

If you’re inexperienced or don’t have the time to complete each step yourself, you may be better off hiring a professional and footing the bill. If you are meticulous and well equipped with the right tools, follow guides exactly and don’t mind taking your time, doing it yourself could save you a lot of money, and avoid you over-capitalising on your reno project. 

 

Hire floor sanding gear from Hirepool

Hirepool has your floor preparation and sanding needs sorted. Call into your local branch to chat to the team of experts about hiring all the gear you need to achieve a professional result if you’re sanding and refinishing yourself, or order online now