Ivo Vahkal
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Floor specialist: why and how to restore old wooden floors?

The article has been published In the postman.

Since the restoration of old painted wooden floors seems to be rather a troublesome job for people, it is usually preferred to call in a specialist in their field. However, those who want to renew the floors with their own golden hands should follow these tips shared by an expert.

Ivo Vahkal, who already has many years of experience in restoring floors at Lihvimeister OÜ, thinks that old wooden floors are worth fixing because of their history. "There were times when the table to put on the floor was carefully chosen. Among other things, the place where the wood grew, the time of cutting and the drying period were important. Therefore, it was possible to be sure that the floor would be preserved for decades to come," said Vahkal.

Where to start when renewing a wooden floor with your own hands?

According to Vahkal, you should first remove the skirting boards and drive in or pull out the nails protruding from the floor.

Then you have to do the most difficult work, i.e. remove the old paint from the floor. For this, according to the specialist, it is possible to use either an infrared lamp or a steel disc.

When working with an infrared lamp, the floor surface must be heated until smoking, then place the lamp on a new spot and remove the melted paint from the heated spot with a scraper. Good ventilation must be ensured in the room and it is definitely worth using protective equipment.

However, when removing paint with a steel disc, the floor should be sprayed with oil (e.g. cooking oil) beforehand. The use of oil ensures smoother operation, among other things, less dust is generated.

What to do if the paint is removed from the floor?

"It would be best if as much of the old paint could be removed from the floor. At the same time, the paint residues between the two tables do not prevent moving to the next stage of work,» explained Vahkal.

Next, according to the specialist, the floor must be treated with a drum sander, moving diagonally across the floor. The purpose of the work phase is to smooth out the curvatures of the wooden floor and eliminate paint residues. "Initially choose sanding paper with roughness no. 16, it is, so to speak, a coarse sanding," Vahkal knew. 

After the diagonal step, the specialist recommends to process the floor with a drum sander also while moving the longitudinal boards. In doing so, you should always use sanding paper with progressively finer grit (e.g. 24, 36, 60, 100). For the edges of the floor, however, Vehkel recommends using an edge sander and following the same roughness scheme.

"When the sanding is finished, the resulting dust must be removed very carefully from the floor," described the specialist.

The finished finish of the renewed wooden floor

According to the floor specialist, you can use any finishing materials you like on the sanded wooden floor. Their main difference lies in their further maintenance process. "For example, the floor can be covered with oil (including tinted oil), oil wax or water-based varnish. Information about the application of the respective product on the floor and maintenance can usually be found on its packaging," advised Vahkel.

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Important information:

  1. If possible, ceiling lighting should be provided.
  2. There could be a toilet in the building.
  3. All wall sockets should have power.
  4. When sending an inquiry, photos/videos provide the most information.