1)    Solid timber flooring

2)    Engineered flooring

3)    Parquet flooring (mosaic and block)

4)    Bamboo

5)    Particle boards and plywood sheets

Before you get started on your sanding project, you need to determine what kind of wood floor you have.

There are multiple varieties.

  • Solid tongue-and-groove flooring style. Usually 19 mm thick, they last a lifetime and their thickness allow them to be sanded multiple times during their usable life
  •  Pre-finished flooring, engineered flooring.Only some of these can be sanded and refinished. This type usually has a very thin wear layer of wood and cannot be sanded and refinished more than once or twice in its lifetime.If you put a sanding machine on the wrong floor, you will be very disappointed. The engineered flooring which is made to look like solid wood flooring comprises thin layers of wood laminated together with glue.
  •  Parquet floor is available either in 14- or 19-mm thickness and serves well for multiple sanding and polishing
  •  Bamboo flooring
  •  Particle boards and plywood can be (slightly) sanded and polished,
  •  Laminate flooring cannot be sanded as is made up from the MDF base with a thin laminate print on top
So how do you know if your wood flooring is possible to refurbish? There are several ways to determine which kind of flooring you have. For instance, if you know how old the flooring is you can make some assumptions about the floor, you’re working with, prior to the mid-1980s wood floors were almost only made from solid wood flooring. Engineered wood flooring, there’s a very distinct characteristic specific to these types of floor, it is called a micro bevel and it is visible where two pieces of wood come together. If your floor has this feature, then it is factory finished (sanded and pre-coated) or an engineered floor. A good spot to determine the floors is to inspect the area around a heating vent or the area where the wood floor butts up against the carpet, stairs or some other flooring. One close look at the plank profile should reveal what type of flooring you are dealing with.  
How to sand and polish floor boards?   Professional floor sanders are using a drum sander and edger.  The machine moves forward and back, sanding floor with the wood grain. The first rough cut flattens the floor. (Although most old floors have to be sanded diagonally first because the height unevenness of the boards is too great.)   The rough cut will put a lot of deep scratches into the floor. Then we will have two more cuts, the medium cut and then the fine cut, and those two cuts are just designed to hide those initial scratches.   If you want to go more technical, we start to sand with 36 or 40 grit, then 60 and finish with 80 or 100, sometimes 120.

Rough sanding

Sanding edges

Not all spots on your floor might be easily accessible

Rapid sealer goes on the floor first

The polishing timber floors Over the last several decades, there has been a lot of developing in treating, protecting, and coating floors. These days the most used types of coatings are:

  •        Oil-based finishes
  •        Composites
  •        Solvent-based polyurethanes
  •        Water-based polyurethanes.
  •        Penetrating waxes and oils

          Exept the last one , each category has all three basic lusters available: matt, satin and gloss.

types of floor coating
Which one to use, and when?

It comes to:

1)    The area of use and future traffic

2)    The effect you try to achieve

3)    The amount of maintenance time you are prepared to spend

4)    Health aspect and your sensitivity to a coating

Urethane coatings

Urethane coatings  floor finish

Toby's polyurethane

Toby’s polyurethane

Polycure polyurethane

Polycure polyurethane

Bona water based polyurethane

 Bona water based polyurethane

The high-traffic areas of use

  The areas like kitchen, house entry or stairs require coatings with high wear resistance. The average lifetime of a combination of hardwood floor (blackbutt, spotted gum) and solvent based coatings in these areas is about 7 years. How do we know? From our almost 30 years professional experience. If you decide to go for the tung oil, be prepared to treat your kitchen floor with an extra protective coating (for example Gemini) 2x-3x per month. A young busy family with 3 kids, a dog or two has almost no chance to keep the beautiful tung oil finish kitchen floor in good shape for too long. Too soft, too delicate.

The desirable appearance

  On other hand, in an 120-year-old house with an original wide plank Tallowood floor, the owner will not think for a long time, which varnish to use. The effort to preserve the tradition and beauty of the old floor will prefer prevails over practicality. Soft tung oils are traditionally considered as the most natural and prettiest coatings.

The maintenance time and how to clean timber floor

  How to maintain timber floor depends on the coating. Different coatings require different maintenance methods. The simplest and nearly maintenance-free are polyurethane coatings. Apart from the usual vacuuming and wiping with a bit of warm water and damp cloth, these coatings do not require any greater care. The abrasion resistance of the oil coatings can be increased by applying an extra protective coating of a product such as Gemini. Gemini is an acrylic polymer perfect cleaning solution for the regular follow up maintenance of all new coatings. It removes small scratches and damages caused by traffic on the floor and has a short drying time. For common household needs recommended application is 2 times – 3 times a year. In high-traffic areas such as hotels, reception, offices, cleaning hardwood floors is required once to three times a month. In extremes such as restaurants or cafes even more often.

The health aspect

  Never a boring question. Water based versus solvent based floor polish. What coating to use? When concern for our health and the health of our loved ones is important, then the answer to this question is simple.
The Green building council of Australia recommends the total VOC (violate organic compounds) in a safe coating should not exceed 140 g/liter. It is a fact that some commonly used solvent based varnishes exceed the limit. A list of most popular floor coatings and their VOC value can be found here.