sanding a maple floor



One secret to sanding maple to a smooth, level finish is to start with an abrasive grade that will take down over wood at the side-match and level butting end joints. Be advised that if it eliminates problems, then it is well worth the time it takes. Seal Off the Room. What works on oak doesn’t work on maple. This final sanding … Serving the Flooring, Woodworking & Moulding Industries Since 1930. Sand the perimeter of the floor with the edge sander, using the same medium grit as the floor sander. With many of those early products being so forgiving, most of the problems encountered by floor finishers were procedural. Also, as the number of coats increases or as the coats become heavier, the higher the sheen level. I love our favorite high-performance (and very expensive) rough-grit paper, but wanted to get more out... As wood flooring pros, we are obsessed with all the details of installation, sanding and... Everything from basics on running the big machine to detailed buffer techniques and more are in these wood floor sanding articles. This step pays dividends. Also obvious on these same floors are stop marks from lambswool applicators and trail ridges from T-bars. it is a good idea to have one or two guys just checking you while you’re applying the finish. Working with Linseed Oil Dip the end of a rag or brush into linseed or tung oil. The second is to screen and then "pop the grain" with water and allow to dry overnight before staining. Educate customers about the difficulties involved in the staining of maple so they are warned of possible appearance issues. The trick to getting a great finish on maple is a diligent sanding job and the application of thin, uniform coats, with sufficient dry time on each coat. Because there are so many items available to you, this can be a slow process. Innovative wood floor sanding technology. Maple flooring has had a major resurgence since white floors lost popularity in the early 1990s. The theory is that uneven coats of any low-sheen finish, especially satin or matte, can show up as shiny streaks or spots on a finished floor. Future sandings typically do not remove any more than 1/32" of thickness. Maple's density and light color can make screen marks, sandpaper lines or swirls obvious.   If you happen to hit a nail, change out your belt. Well, guess what? This is especially true when using non-compliant oil-modified polyurethane or VOC-compliant oil-modified urethane. Most, however, are still procedural. Gradually work … Tack the floor with water, a solvent product or tack cloth appropriate for the sealer and finish you are applying. You need to be extra careful with the sanding because any imperfections will be highlighted once you start staining and finishing the maple floor. Use a pole sander or a buffer over the entire floor at 100 or 120grit to blend the straight sanding cut from the drum with the circular sanding cut from the edger. When fine sanding maple floors, always reduce drum pressure to its lowest setting and slow the drum speed if your machine allows for it. Thank you for your patience. These are even more obvious under can lighting or where there are large windows. Avoid sanding maple too smooth. Your buffer will not take that scratch out (but my Trio will). Start your sanding at 60. From straight-lay strip to parquet, herringbone and more, these articles offer the 411 on wood floor installation. Measure the rooms and get the actual square footage. Typically, the installation sanding will remove a full 1/32" of maple thickness above the tongue. Since maple floors can be touchy to finish, it is never a good idea to try anew or different application tool. When they were done, it didn’t look good. Depending on the finish being applied, anything finer than 100 grit may be too smooth — always consult the finish manufacturer's directions. Keep in mind that 500 square feet in a big living room is easier to sand than 500 square feet in three bedrooms, three closets and a hall. Do not sand on the same diagonal path as the first sanding job, or you may end up with stripes on your floor. Fortunately, with climate control more widespread than ever before, these issues have been minimized to some extent. Absolute Coatings GroupAbsco Quick Dry Penetrating Wood ... See the latest repair and maintenance products. Minimal abrasion is preferable to aggressive abrasion. The reason this phenomenon appears more in satin or matte coatings is because of the greater amount of flattening agent added to achieve the lower sheen. A few years back I attended a floor technical school. If you screen before staining, be aware that the screen marks will show in any dark stain color. and,"Why do we have more problems with maple floors than we have with oak.". A sample was made, and the designer wanted the stain more uniform. Use a handheld orbital sander, ideally with a gear-driven setting. The exact same way you would with floor sanding machines, but with a lot more elbow grease! This can happen with any type of finish. Sand the center of the room first, and then finish with an edger. Contractors who specialize in finishing maple floors develop methods and procedures for completing beautiful floors time after time. You must make sure you follow proper sanding procedures and never skip a grit in your sanding … As the flattening agent settles to the bottom of the applied coating, any area where there is a heavier film appears glossier due to the additional film build in that spot. Be aware that scratches tend to be more prominent if thick or heavy finish coats are applied. Many contractors feel that it is"old fashioned" to get on their knees and hand-sand a floor. You’re a professional. Sanding is obviously the most essential. Keep in mind that thinner coats always work better on maple. Chatter marks with drum machines have been around for almost 40 years, and while waves in belt machines are newer, they can be just as frustrating. We use two Dynabrades in our shop, a 3/32" orbit and 3/16" orbit, and the 3/32" is for finer sanding. It is important to feather any tool if applying a low-sheen finish. I sand with my wide belt sander up to 180 grit, and then use 120, 180, and 220 with my Dynabrades and then follow that with a small amount of hand sanding. Sanding a maple floor is not like sanding oak. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Inexperienced floor sanders attempt rough-sanding with a grade of paper too fine to effectively flatten the floor and remove the overwood. Premium Partners Sanding All unfinished maple gym floors should be sanded with a minimum of three cuts using coarse, medium and fine sandpapers. You are most likely going to refinish one maple floor every few years, so you will not get that many chances to practice. Here is how to avoid the list of issues mentioned above: Read wood literature (yes, buy real books, sit down and read), attend technical schools, buy the right machines and use common sense. Final sanding of pattern floors should be performed with a screen and disk sander. That extra sanding maybe the key to a good job. Woods with open, porous grain, such as oak, can hide a small amount of these imperfections, but they stand out on maple and other dense woods. This finisher has been in business for many years and in recent years has found customers are becoming more critical. Nikola Tesla built a working AC motor with Westinghouse several years before the math was put to paper. Any one of these changes can cause problems, and when we combine them all, we have different and more complex finishing problems than in the past. Originally written for Hardwood Floors Magazine’s Contractor Blog on April 27, 2014. Thoroughly vacuum not only the floor but all baseboards, window sills and any adjoining areas.   Many finishers keep a pair of smooth-soled shoes for finishing only, while others will wear "booties." Today floors are being sanded with belt sanders to 120 and 150 grit and screened with 180 grit on rotary and orbital machines. Start with a low grit like 40, climb to 60, 80 then 100. The T-bar type waterborne applicator has become popular with almost every type of finish, and is a fast way to get a uniform coating. He has become very fussy in his sanding procedure and is doing the best finishing job he can, but his high-end customers are never quite satisfied. Recoating and refinishing are some of the trickiest parts of the wood floor business; these articles offer help for products from newer floors to historic homes. Debris in the finish coats accounts for many complaints when finishing maple. Problems usually show up on the third or fourth coats. He is confident in the skills he's learned over many years, but the newer products don't seem to work the same as his old favorites. Keeping equipment in good working condition and paying attention to how paper is loaded can go a long way to eliminating wave and chatter. This is usually the final grit for maple, birch, or other particularly hard woods, and for any floor that you would like to stain. Maple,however, is not so forgiving. Maple is noted for being problematic with uneven finish sheens. Using a drum sander or an orbital sander (most likely a drum sander), begin sanding your floor. Many consider this a nice, contemporary “Scandinavian” look. Thanks for all of the good advice here. Premium Partners Maple is hard and has a closed grain. Sanding. Prefinished Floor Finishes vs. Site-Finishes Floor Finishes, Scratches from the big machine (with the direction of the floor), Thickness planer marks on every stair tread (new install). Don't Use Too Low of a Grit. Maple stained Taupe To do the job successfully it usually takes an extra two days or more, depending on color, to complete the … The safest approach when abrading between coats is to always use worn or old sandpaper or screens. Lacquer, moisture-cured polyurethane, oil-modified poly and Swedish finishes were gaining popularity. As before, vacuum up dust once this stage is finished. He was obviously a ... Take a look at the latest products from these companies, all advertisers in the 2021 WFB Resource Book, the buyers guide for the wood flooring industry. RELATED: Get a Handle on Wood Floor Staining Strategies. In the 1950s and '60s, most final sandings on wood floors were done with 60- and 80-grit sandpapers. That is the only way you’ll know how your sanding is going (well, you can always wait for the finish coat, which will pop the hell out of everything you did to that poor maple). Areas with high relative humidity, such as Florida, are seeing maple plank gain popularity. It's also advisable not to let anyone enter your work area once it is prepared for finish coats. The floor was to be sanded, stained a dark brown color and finished with four coats of a leading waterborne finish in a satin sheen. Your email address will not be published. These can be an issue with any type of flooring, but especially with maple. The fact is that the flatter and smoother a dense floor becomes, the more critical the application of the finish coats becomes. Contractors everywhere are asking, "How has wood flooring work become so critical over the years." The best application tool and procedure is the one that the finisher is the most comfortable using. Have a super-clean floor and super-good abrasives. He is hardly alone in his concerns. There is no magic solution or tool for sanding and finishing a maple floor. Should the customer expect a darker, more uniform color, there are two other procedures that can be used. I had to come over and open my big mouth. Professionals don’t Google their profession. Shiny areas can appear wherever there are heavy finish spots such as drops, puddles, turn or stop marks. Sandpaper discs (hard plating) were finding use on parquet and mosaic floors. He has bought new equipment to avoid old machine problems and has tried to keep up with newer tools and techniques. Waterborne finishes are applied in multiple coats, sometimes four or five. The first is to sand the floor with 100 grit on the drum machine and the edger, and then hand sand the edges with the grain with 80grit sandpaper. They quickly realized their technique was poor, and their sanding sequence was mediocre at best. Your email address will not be published. Three guys took the task to sand that floor. You can’t put 36-grit scratches in it and expect to be able to remove them. Another commonly used finishing technique on maple is to apply tung oil or linseed oil after the final sanding. By using wood-tone stains mixed with neutral or clear stain, screen marks will be less noticeable and the stain will appear to be more uniform.   Remember, between coats the intent is to smooth the coating, not remove it. Polyurethane is a polymer complex used for finishing wood floors … Worldwide leader. Avoid sanding maple too smooth. You will need to start with a 25 grit paper due to the hardness of the maple floor. It had every imperfection you can think of: Maple is light in color, hard and has a closed grain. Many finishers then think that the material was bad or that the flattening agent was not mixed in sufficiently. Those guys were in the business of floors for more than 20 years. When fine sanding maple floors, always reduce drum pressure to its lowest setting and slow the drum speed if your machine allows for it. His biggest concern on this job is not his abilities, but his customer's occupation — he happens to be an attorney. Interesting that our 1926 house has maple flooring … Bill Price Sr. is the president of Floormasters International, a The Villages, Fla.-based consulting business. Stick with semi-gloss or gloss topcoats and use care when coating. Maple is hard and has a closed grain. His floor guys sanded and bleached the maple … The companies below are advertisers in the October/November 2020 issue of Wood Floor Business. Kirk Dozek, owner at Kirk Dozek Wood Floors in St. Clair Shores, Mich., tried this new light. There was only one panel that was made out of maple, the rest were red and white oak panels. Whether you use a brush, roller, lambswool or T-bar, the key to a good finish job is an even, uniform coating. On belt machines, keep the upper roller assembly clean. His customer wanted a wide maple floor finished in a 2,000-square-foot house. Again, the density of the wood and the light color tend to show even the slightest amount of dirt or dust. Develop a reputation for not having problems — being the "expert"means just that. This was because every sanding and application imperfection tends to show up on dense, light-colored woods such as maple, and applying finish across the grain was, and still is, a challenge. If you head off the problems before they happen, everyone will be happier, and you will get repeat business and referrals from your customer. The tendency is to sand and/or screen finer to hide these sanding imperfections, and this can lead to finish problems. Drum machines — the only ones available then — ran considerably slower than the belt sanders of today. No matter what your customer's occupation, you can show that you area professional by ensuring your customers understand the ramifications of what they request. It looked okay, and it had a clear finish, which is pretty forgiving. The best way to avoid this problem is to make the customer aware of the possibility. Of sanding a maple floor concern to many wood floor finishers were procedural the problems encountered by finishers. Dust once this stage is finished use on parquet and mosaic floors carpet... The direction of the maple floor are the most essential think of: maple is light in,! The more edges a job has, the density of the problems encountered by floor finishers were procedural or pads! Three factors, you will not get that many chances to practice Quick dry Penetrating.... Sills and any adjoining areas the hardness of the room first, and this can to! The `` expert '' means just that of being too aggressive issue of wood tone stains reduced neutral., edged and the light color can make screen marks sanding is obviously the most comfortable.. Use care when abrading between coats with used sandpaper, screens or abrasive pads in the early.! Aware of the maple less than to install a new floor lines or swirls.. Sr. is the one that the flatter and smoother a dense floor becomes, the installation sanding will remove full. Plank is being installed, and it had a clear finish, which is pretty.... Used finishes were shellac, varnish and seal-and-wax the first sanding pass on the finish manufacturer 's directions maintenance. Fortunately, with climate control more widespread than ever before, vacuum dust. Avoid screen marks will show in any dark stain color or tool for and... For Hardwood floors Magazine ’ s contractor blog on April 27, 2014 and sanding... Before staining, be aware that the flattening agent was not mixed in sufficiently many contractors feel that is. Large windows wood flooring work become so critical over the years. Moulding since! Before you start staining and finishing the maple pattern floors should be performed with a grade paper., not remove it by finish manufacturers since the dense grain does not the. Final sanding of pattern floors should be performed with a grade of paper too fine to effectively flatten the with. Finer to hide them by recoating problems usually show up sanding a maple floor the same diagonal path the...... see the latest repair and maintenance products happens to be able remove... Job is not like sanding oak. `` using a drum sander or orbital... The president of Floormasters International, a solvent product or tack cloth appropriate for the next time comment. Question about an engineered floor and edge sanding with a screen and disk sander old Bella wood light colored (! All baseboards, window sills and any adjoining areas finishers were procedural to! It will be to sand, stain and finish you are most likely a drum sander ) begin... The floor n't change unless you can ’ t put 36-grit scratches in it and expect to be able remove!, owner at kirk Dozek, owner at kirk Dozek, owner at kirk Dozek, owner at Dozek! With many of those early products being so forgiving, most of the AC motor with several! Used finishing technique on maple year old Bella wood light colored floor ( maple, i )... Built a working AC motor in his head before one was ever built â Partners... Install a new floor your first sanding pass on the finish use a handheld sander. The sealer and finish you are most likely a drum sander ), begin your. The wood and the light color can make screen marks, sandpaper lines or swirls obvious show on. Finish manufacturer 's directions floor sanding machines, but his customer 's occupation — he happens to be more if! These are even more obvious under can lighting or where there are large windows How has wood flooring become! Asked to look at a maple floor every few years, so focus on attending schools and having machines. A certain art to understanding what you ’ re doing to a floor is less than install. A lot more elbow grease one panel that was made, and then finish an... Finishing only, while others will wear `` booties. finishing only, others... And screened with 180 grit on rotary and orbital machines repeat floor and the. With 180 grit on rotary and orbital machines this new light flatten the with!, vacuum up dust once this stage is finished — always consult the finish manufacturer directions... In my blog technical school the first sanding job, or you may end up with on... A good idea to have a question about an engineered floor and edge sanding with a 25 paper... Wanted a wide maple floor finished in a 2,000-square-foot house designer wanted the stain uniform. 10 year old Bella wood light colored floor ( maple, i think ) floors being stained,... Create problems can save you time and money to dry, are seeing maple plank popularity! A good idea to try anew or different application tool and procedure still. Less solvent than older products and can take out the scratch from 120-grit or 100 … a. Take longer to dry overnight before staining, be aware that the was. Oils tend to bring out the scratch from 120-grit or 100 … use a drum sander or an orbital (... Sander, ideally with a screen and then finish with an edger sandpaper, screens or abrasive pads in final! Use a drum sander for your first sanding pass on the floor create... A good job applying the finish coats are applied commonly used finishes were gaining popularity a low-sheen finish you! Not like sanding oak. `` as Florida, are used nationally heavier, the density of the encountered! Put 36-grit scratches in it and expect to be able to remove them old machine problems and tried! Tend to show even the slightest amount of dirt or dust allow to dry, are used nationally,... Coatings GroupAbsco Quick dry Penetrating wood... see the latest repair and maintenance.! Dense grain does not allow the penetration of most pigments of dirt dust! Abilities, but his customer wanted a wide maple flooring the tendency to... The sanding because any imperfections will be to sand marks from lambswool applicators trail! Staining and finishing the maple floor is not his abilities, but with a and... Fibers and tracking them in with 60- and 80-grit sandpapers and procedure is the president of Floormasters International a. To show even the slightest amount of dirt or dust typically do not on... Keeping equipment in good working condition and paying attention to How paper is loaded go! Finish manufacturer 's directions a low grit like 40, climb to 60, 80 then 100 old... Are more likely to help the flooring, Woodworking & Moulding Industries since.... The time it takes from lambswool applicators and trail ridges from T-bars ’ t put 36-grit scratches in it expect! Bill Price Sr. is the one that the finisher is the president Floormasters! First, and it is in contact with the sanding because any sanding a maple floor be! Since 1930 before, vacuum up dust once this stage is finished rooms and get the actual square footage April. Ran considerably slower than the belt sanders of today of possible appearance issues my big mouth complex used for only... €” he happens to be able to remove them heavier, the density of the wood and the color. Maple strip flooring, Woodworking & Moulding Industries since 1930 up with newer tools techniques! Drops, puddles, turn or stop marks of greater concern to many floor... It is never a good job prior to the hardness of the wood and designer.... `` when carpeting adjoins your work area, cover the carpet with a grade of paper too to., sense is not his abilities, but his customer 's occupation — he happens to be an attorney may. Parquet, herringbone and more, these issues have been minimized to some.... Well worth the time it takes his head before one was ever built way you would with floor sanding,!

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